The Battle of Okinawa 1945...


...The Pacific War's Last Invasion, anImages of War from Pen and Sword



Title: The Battle of Okinawa 1945

Author: Jon Diamond

Publisher: Pen and Sword

ISBN: 978-1-52672-600-1

A new Images of War book from Pen & Sword, covering the final assault of the Pacific Island Hopping campaign before the possible invasion of the Japanese home islands. That final element was prevented due to the dropping of the two atomic bombs, on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  With the high level of casualties on Okinawa, on both sides, it doesn't really bear thinking about what would have happened had the Americans needed to assault the islands of Japan itself. The battle took place between 1 April and 22 June 1945.

The fighting for Okinawa involved not only the ground assault on the islands but also significant naval forces as well, with the US Navy supported by Royal Navy assets as well.  They faced the most significant kamikaze attacks, involving both aircraft and small, fast attack boats. Allied naval casualties were damaging but not enough to sway the balance in the end. The book features well written text to introduce each chapter, then supported by archive photos along with equally informative captions. The bulk of the archive photos I had not seen before and they do give a good impression of the brutality of the campaign. The book is split across 5 chapters. It starts with the Strategic Prelude to the Campaign for Okinawa, which includes maps, and shows how the US led Island Hopping campaign arrived at Okinawa, on the doorstep of the Japanese home islands. This of followed by an examination of Terrain, Fortifications and Weapons featuring in the Okinawa fighting. Chapter 3 introduces the Commanders and Combatants while chapter 4 details the US Tenth Army's Amphibious Assault on Okinawa, while the final one examines their Advance and Protracted Conquest of Okinawa.

The photos show plenty of examples of equipment used by both sides, but the greatest number show the devastation of the island along with the core factors of the Infantryman's war. As well as the aircraft that took part, a number of photos show the Kamikaze equipment of boats and the 'Cherry Blossom' suicide rocket.  Add artillery emplacements, simple rail launched rockets, plus the use of wooden decoys of aircraft and tanks.

There is so much in here to interest historians interested in the PTO, with this final invasion of the campaign, while the photos also show some very useful references for modellers regarding aircraft, ships, uniforms and equipment such as artillery, tanks and Landing Craft. Another good addition to the Images of War series from Jon Diamond.

Thanks to Pen and Sword for this review copy.