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"The battle for Okinawa: one Marine’s story" Topic

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284 hits since 26 Mar 2018
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP27 Mar 2018 2:27 p.m. PST

"April 1, 1945 – April Fool's Day, Easter Sunday, and ‘L-Day' for the invasion of Okinawa, Japan. In the deep blue waters around the island were more than 1,457 ships and landing craft, crammed with more than half a million men, and including a joint US Army and Marine Corps landing force of around 182,000 troops.

Among those taking part in the landings and bracing himself for his first taste of action was 20-year-old Bill Pierce, a New Yorker and part of the US 6th Marine Division. He had waited nearly two years for this moment; two years of training, first in the United States, and then, for the past ten months, on the island of Guadalcanal in the Pacific. Pierce reckoned he was as ready as he was ever going to be, but that didn't stop the nerves. Part of a five-man, 37mm anti-tank gun crew, he was in the Weapons Company of the 29th Marine Regiment and by mid-morning he and his crew were heading towards the shore. Overhead, naval shells whistled through the sky. He and his buddies stood up on the side of the boat, their arms on the railings so they could see where they were heading. The shoreline itself was shrouded in smoke from exploding shells, but along the landing beaches it seemed calmer, with hundreds of landing craft already moored at the water's edge. None of them had much idea what to expect, however. All Pierce knew about Okinawa was what they'd been told in the briefing: that it was an island some 70 miles long, and because of its relative proximity to mainland Japan itself, it would be an important staging post for the ongoing aerial assault of the last of the Axis powers…"
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RudyNelson27 Mar 2018 2:48 p.m. PST

My uncle who fought in an Army Division in the Pacific obtained a book following the unit across the Philippines and Okinawa. great stories in it. It was written by two members of the division.
Seems the biggest obstacle in both places was the rain and the mud.

goragrad27 Mar 2018 7:52 p.m. PST

Read about this in 'With the Old Breed.'

In reading recently of the rotation system (at least for the British forces) in the trenches in WWI, it is clear that the Marines were subjected to harsher conditions – although for a less time overall.

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