<April 1, 1945 - June 21, 1945>
The final battle in the Pacific was at Okinawa, the largest of the Ryukyus Islands located at the southern tip of Japan. The Allied forces had been on Japanese soil since the battle at Iwo Jima. The invasion of Okinawa, “Operation Iceberg,” would establish the island as a base for troops to train, and later stage an attack on the Japanese mainland. Okinawa had four airfields that American forces could utilize in conjunction with the invasion.
The work of the MIS was invaluable in the Okinawa campaign. MIS linguists translated two vital captured documents. One document captured was the Japanese defense plan for Okinawa, which included a signal codebook. The other was a chart showing the artillery and heavy mortar positions of the Japanese defense strategy. The two key translated documents provided the American troops with an advantage over the Japanese and are believed to have shortened the Okinawa campaign.
The battle of Okinawa became the largest amphibious assault in the Pacific war. Both sides were aware that a victory at Okinawa was vital to the outcome of the entire war. The Japanese fought desperately with kamikaze attacks. The American and Japanese forces both suffered very high casualties, however American forces emerged victorious. In addition to conquering Okinawa, American forces also sunk Japan’s largest battleship, Yamato.
With Allied forces securing Okinawa, communications and essential raw material supplies were cut off to Japan. Okinawa became a great air and naval base for American forces to plan the invasion of Japan.
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