At dawn, a naval bombardment marked the maneuvering of 1,300 transport vessels and war ships. Four divisions of Task Force 51, two Army and two Marine, land on Okinawa’s Hagushi beaches at 8:30 a.m. Resistance is minimal.
Kamikaze bombers attack and damage a battleship and cripple two destroyers.
The island of Okinawa
The 32nd Infantry, 7th Division, encounters first substantial Japanese resistance while advancing east and taking Kubusaki and the Katsuren (Katchin) Peninsula. U.S. starts northern campaign, taking Zampa Misaki (Bolo Point) and sealing off the narrow neck of Okinawa at Ishikawa.
Marines land at Nago in northern Okinawa.
Kamikaze wave of 699 planes strikes the American invasion fleet. Only 24 score direct hits.
U.S. carrier-based planes attack and sink the Japanese supercarrier Yamoto. Of 2,767 officers and men, only 269 survived. This photo was taken from a USS Yorktown plane. An escorting destroyer is at left.
U.S. forces start flights from Kadena Air Field. Marines take most of Motubu Peninsula near Nago.
U.S. Army XXIV Corps bogged down in drive south.
More than 400 kamikazes strike the U.S. invasion fleet. This time they include the “bakas,” piloted bombs dropped from larger planes.
The island of Okinawa
U.S. Marines suffer heavy casualties from Japanese artillery fire on the Motobu peninsula.
The U.S. Army’s 77th Infantry lands on Ie Shima. Another massive kamikaze attack hits. The “Floating Chrysanthemums” concentrate on the ring of destroyers serving as advance radar pickets.
U.S. war correspondent Ernie Pyle, whose columns also appeared in various World War II editions of Stars and Stripes, is killed on Ie Shima. Americans attempt to break the Shuri Line right flank. After a week of toe-to-toe fighting, the attempt fails.
U.S. forces begin new offensive on Shuri. Three-quarters of Okinawa is in U.S. hands. In this photo, Marine Maj. Gen. Lemuel Shepherd of the 6th Marine Division studies a map on Okinawa, June 1945.
The USS Hazelwood is heavily damaged in a kamikaze attack and has to return to her U.S. port for repairs. This photo was taken after the fires were extinguished and shows the extensive damage the ship took.
Japanese 3rd Army begins all-out offensive, including an attempted amphibious landing behind U.S. lines. It fails. A wave of kamikazes sinks two destroyers, two small landing ships and damages many other warships.
Americans cross the Aja River and move closer to Naha.
U.S. offensive along the Shuri Line and on the capital Naha. Yet another wave of kamikazes smashes into the warships crowding the Okinawa waters. At Kakazu Ridge, called the "Siegfried line" of Okinawa, 12 Americans overcome 150 Japanese.
Americans advance on Sugarloaf Hill north of Asato. Hand-to-hand fighting is reported as the most fierce that it's ever been in the Pacific.
6th Marine Division takes Sugarloaf Hill. The cost: 2,662 Marines killed and wounded, another 1,289 need treatment for battle fatigue. Some 7,000 or more Japanese are killed.
U.S. forces capture Conical Hill and enter Yonabaru. Stars and Stripes coorespondent Bill Land reports of orphanages being set up for the large amounts of children being found as Americans advance.
Twenty Japanese two-engine bombers loaded with suicide paratroopers attack Yomitan and Kadena air fields, 11 are shot down, 8 others flee. Kamikazes cripple more allied ships.
The Japanese 32nd Army begins its retreat from Shuri to Mabuni in the extreme south.
Shuri Line crumbles, Americans in full control of the rubble that was once a medieval castle. The toll: 60,000 Japanese, 6,000 U.S. soldiers and Marines dead or wounded. Pfc. Clarence B. Craft would later receive the Medal of Honor for his actions on Hen Hill, a tactical position on the Shuri Line.
The 8th Marines of the 2nd Division, under the command of World War I veteran Brig. Gen. LeRoy P. Hunt, land on Iheya Island.
The U.S. 6th Reconnaissance Company lands on Oroku Peninsula attacking the Japanese rear; one of the objectives is to capture Naha Air Field.
Americans take Naha Air Field, securing a major foothold in their push to take the Oruku peninsula.
U.S. forces push and isolate Japanese resistance on Oruku into area of a mere 2,000 square yards. In the following days, pushed back farther and farther, the Japanese start committing suicide to avoid surrender.
Japanese resistance on Oruku ends. Okinawa Naval Base Forces, commanded by Rear Adm. Minoru Ota, cease resistance. Ota and his senior officers commit suicide in their underground headquarters.
U.S. forces capture Mount Yuza. Tanks play a critical role in forcing embedded Japanese troops from their hidden caves along the mountains ridge. Here, M4 Sherman tanks from the U.S. 769th Tank Battalion move toward Hill 89.
Gen. Simon Buckner Jr., commander of all U.S. ground forces on Okinawa, becomes the highest-ranking American officer killed in action in World War II after a Japanese artillery shot hits a nearby coral rock outcropping and fragments enter his chest.
Maj. Gen. Roy S. Geiger, commander of the Tenth Army, declares Okinawa secured after XXIV Corps takes Mabuni-dake, the site of the Japanese headquarters.
U.S. flag raised on southern end of island. Japanese commanding general Mitsuru Ushijama and Lt. Gen. Isamu Cho, his chief of staff, commit suicide at the mouth of their headquarters.