Turns 7 to 11 – The Last Japanese Fleet Attacks
The Japs sent their last significant surface fleet to attack the Okinawa invasion. A US Navy surface engagement would incur needless casualties – so I’m planning to sink the fleet with my dive bombers. US dive bombers are currently engaged in ground support missions and must land to refuel and rearm. Some squadrons need replacements. The Jap fleet is far to the North, and US dive bombers are slow. Thus, the Japanese fleet will sail unmolested for many turns until the Dive Bombers reach their targets.
Shuri Castle was isolated on turn 7 and captured on turn 8. The main Japanese defensive line is broken.
Only three victory hexes are under Japanese control at the end of Turn 8. The Northern victory hex is primarily protected by distance, bad terrain, and no roads. In the South, the Shuri line fell. Dive bombers redirected North towards the Japanese fleet, greatly reduces available firepower in the South which may slow the advance. It is doubtful than anything can prevent US forces from capturing the remaining ground objectives.
During turns 9 to 11 US forces in South Okinawa easily break the last river line. The Japanese lacked the forces to fully man the last river line much less successfully counter-attack. The ocean is in sight and the US is close to the mopping up stage.
US forces slowly advance North through bad terrain. Several Jap suicide torpedo boats are sighted, and should be blasted out of the water by the lone US Cruiser providing ground fire support.
Refueled and rearmed US Dive Bombers are flying at their maximum (yet slow) speed towards the Japanese Fleet.
Half of the Japanese destroyer screen was sunk on turn 12 with the last destroyers sunk on turn 13. Destroyers are helpless against dive bombers without fighter cover. The Yamato was sunk on turn 15. She never fired a shot in anger against US ships or ground targets.
On Turn 13 Marines in North Okinawa are closing on their final objective. No serious Japanese opposition has been encountered. The pace of advance has largely been set by bad terrain and no roads. In the South US forces have reached the coast splitting the remaining Japanese forces into pockets.
Victory, Nukes and On to Tokyo!
Victory in Okinawa was achieved on turn 21 (out of 40). US research has discovered the atomic bomb and a single nuclear bomb is designated for the Tokyo invasion.
Comparing this AAR to the Okinawa Campaign
My US forces largely followed the historic US strategy. Initial landings were unopposed, and the island was split. The Japanese placed the bulk of their defenses in the South. US forces eventually broke the Shuri Line by outflanking it on both coasts. The Japanese suicide plane attacks killed a lot of US sailors and sank many ships, but not enough to put the outcome of the battle into question. The Yamato and her escorts were sunk without causing any damage to the US Navy.
However, my advance was far faster than what occurred in 1945. Then US forces mopped up in the North and those troops were transferred south.
US Marines and Army troops took tremendous casualties with some rifle platoons incurring 300% casualties in South Okinawa. Many replacements were killed or wounded so quickly that they never officially had their paperwork transferred to the units they reinforced. Japanese positions were so well designed and so fiercely defended that the US advance in the South was stymied for weeks. The rain and mud in the South also slowed the US advance. Okinawa was a living hell for US Marines and Army infantry.