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Why not just hold at the Shuri line?

Discussion in 'Land Warfare in the Pacific' started by Toller, Dec 4, 2016.

  1. Toller

    Toller New Member

    Dec 4, 2016
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    I've always wondered why the Americans just didn't hold at the Shuri line, instead of pressing on to take the entire island. They didn't need that part of the island; the Japanese couldn't run any air fields out of it, so why take the casalties? The Japanese could have infiltrated from it, or launched a counter attack, but that would be minor compared to the task of siezing it.

    I just stumbled across this forum; hoping someone can explain it to me.
  2. Takao

    Takao Ace

    Apr 27, 2010
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    Reading, PA
    Because that was where the sizable proportion of Japanese troops were. Estimates of Japanese troops killed in the fighting along the Shuri Line range from 50,000-70,000 killed, and that is not including those that survived the combat in that area.

    That will require a sizeable American force to keep those Japanese troops "contained", let alone defend against a massive Banzai charge should it occur.

    You have to remember that Okinawa was to have been the main staging base for Operation Olympic, and that the invasion of Japan was going to require a lot of troops that could not be left idly "guarding" trapped Japanese forces. Nor, could a sizable Japanese force be left untouched, when a counterattack that penetrated into Okinawa's rear areas could severely upset the timetable for Olympic.
  3. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

    May 9, 2010
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    Interesting that you phrase it that way.

    Had Operation Olympic gone as planned US forces would do essentially what Toller proposed. Take only enough ground to support the follow up ​Operation Coronet and contain Japanese forces north of American air fields and supply dumps.
  4. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

    Jun 5, 2008
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    It would have worked if the Japanese didn't have ~50% more troops on Kyushu than the Allies knew of.

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