Battle of Okinawa (5/9)

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The Battle of Okinawa, fought in mid-1945 between the United States and the Japanese, was one of the bloodiest battles in the Pacific theater of war. The Americans needed to take Okinawa for the airfields to aid in the bombing of the Japanese islands and as a base for the upcoming planned invasion of the home isalnds. The Japanese dispatched their largest warship, Yamato, in a desperate attempt to stop the American ships but it was sunk.

Over 250,000 American troops landed in the island to engage the 96,000 Japanese defenders. The fighting was fierce and brutal, as the Japanese stubbornly refused to give ground and fought to the death. Only a few survivors surrendered.

By the end of the battle, more than 20,000 American soldiers were killed and 55,000 were wounded. Only 7,000 Japanese surrendered, while the rest of the garrison was wiped out.

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Written by Nicholas