Marines in World War II Commemorative Series - The Final Campaign: Marines in the Victory on Okinawa, Ryukyuan Islands, Death of Ernie Pyle, Shuri Islands
The historic battle of the Marines in Okinawa is recounted in this U.S. Marines history book. Some of the subjects covered include: Ryukyuan Islands,Japanese 32nd Army, the death of Ernie Pyle, the Shuri Highlands, Major General Roy Geiger, Pedro del Valle, Lemuel C. Shepherd, Francis Mulcahy, and more. More
The historic battle of the Marines in Okinawa is recounted in this U.S. Marines history book. Some of the subjects covered include: Ryukyuan Islands,Japanese 32nd Army, the death of Ernie Pyle, the Shuri Highlands, Major General Roy Geiger, Pedro del Valle, Lemuel C. Shepherd, Francis Mulcahy, and more.
Here is an excerpt:
Daybreak on 29 May 1945 found the 1st Marine Division beginning its fifth consecutive week of frontal assault as part of the U.S. Tenth Army's grinding offensive against the Japanese defenses centered on Shuri Castle in southern Okinawa. Operation Iceberg, the campaign to seize Okinawa, was now two months old —and badly bogged down. The exhilarating, fast-paced opening of the campaign had been replaced by week after week of costly, exhausting, attrition warfare against the Shuri complex.
The 1st Marine Division, hemmed in between two other divisions with precious little maneuver room, had advanced barely a thousand yards in the past 18 days —an average of 55 yards each bloody day. Their sector featured one bristling, honeycombed ridge line after another—sequentially Kakazu, Dakeshi, and Wana (with its murderous, reverse slope canyon). Just beyond lay the long shoulder of Shuri Ridge, the nerve center of the Japanese Thirty-second Army and the outpost of dozens of the enemy's forward artillery observers who had made life so miserable for American assault forces all month long.
But on this rainy morning, this 29th of May, things seemed somehow different, quieter. After days of bitter fighting, American forces had finally overrun both outposts of the Shuri Line: Conical Hill on the east, captured by the 96th Infantry Division, and the Sugar Loaf complex in the west, seized by the 6th Marine Division. Shuri no longer seemed invincible.
Company A of the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines moved out warily, expecting the usual firestorm of Japanese artillery at any moment. There was none. The Marines reached the crest of Shuri Ridge with hardly a firefight. Astonished, the company commander looked westward along the ridge several hundred yards to the ruins of Shuri Castle, the medieval fortress of the ancient Ryu-kyuan kings. Everyone in the Tenth Army expected the Japanese to defend Shuri to the death —but the place seemed lightly held. Spiteful small arms fire appeared to come from nothing more than a rear guard. Field radios buzzed with this astounding news. Shuri Castle itself lay beyond division and corps boundaries, but it was there for the taking. The assault Marines asked permission to seize the prize.