On April 1, 1945, under heavy naval gunfire and aircraft support, U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps troops began the invasion of Okinawa, the last major amphibious assault of World War II. To Japan, the island was the barrier to a direct invasion of its homeland. To the Allies, once the island was in their control, it would clear the path for a planned final invasion of Japan. When the island was finally declared secure on 21 June after 82 days being bitterly fought, the campaign ended up being the largest, and one of the most costly, battles in the Pacific.
USS Idaho (BB-42). Bombarding Okinawa with her 14″/50 main battery guns, 1 April 1945. Photographed from USS West Virginia (BB-48). Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives, 80-G-K-3829 (Color).
USS West Virginia (BB-48). Crewmen on watch on a 40mm Quad. Gun Mount, while their ship was supporting the Invasion of Okinawa, 1 April 1945. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives, 80-G-K-4707 (Color).
USS Indiana (BB-58). Chaplain serves Holy Communion while holding Mass on the quarterdeck, during the Okinawa operation, 1 April 1945. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives, 80-G-325209. Note: The landings on Okinawa on 1 April happened to fall on Easter Sunday.
D-Day Plus One, Green Beach, Okinawa. Artwork Mitchell Jamieson. Courtesy of the Navy Combat Art Collection. National Archives photograph, KN 21276 (Color).
Okinawa Beachhead, Ryukyus Island, April 1945. In the background, part of the huge invasion armadea is busy offloading supplies to support the forces ashore. Courtesy of the Naval Historical Foundation. NHHC Photograph Collection, NH 91387.
Underwater Demolition Teams at Work. In their mission at Okinawa, UDT member daubed aluminum paint on their bodies as camouflage to throw off Japanese marksmen. Photographed on the fantail of a fast transport (APD), circa Spring 1945. National Archives photograph, 80-G-274695
Okinawa Invasion, April 1945. LVTs and other landing craft head for the Okinawa landing beaches on 1 April 1945. USS LCI(G)-809 is partially visible at left, helping to cover the assault, with another LCI beyond her. Photographed from USS West Virginia (BB-48). Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives, 80-G-K-3848 (Color).
On the Web: Battle of Okinawa on Wikipedia
Operation Iceberg – US Army Center Of Military History
Operation Iceberg: The Assault on Okinawa – The Last Battle of World War II