History of U.S. Marine Corps Operations in World War II

Volume 5: Victory and Occupation


Benis M. Frank,

Henry I. Saw, Jr.

Historical Branch, G-3 Division, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps


. . . For Those Who Served




Part I: Prologue to the End

Chapter 1: Strategic Background

Chapter 2: The Japanese Situation

Chapter 3: Marine Corps Order of Battle

Part II: Okinawa

Chapter 1: The Target and the Enemy

Chapter 2: Project ICEBERG

Chapter 3: Assault Preparations

Chapter 4: The First Days Ashore

Chapter 5: Phase I Continued

Chapter 6: The Defense Stiffens

Chapter 7: Forging Ahead

Chapter 8: Reduction of the Shuri Bastion

Chapter 9: Breakout to the South

Chapter 10: Battle’s End

Chapter 11: ICEBERG Dissolves

Part III: The End of the War

Chapter 1: Future Operations

Chapter 2: The Closing Days

Chapter 3: Return to the Islands

Part IV: Occupation of Japan

Chapter 1: Initial Planning and Operations

Chapter 2: Kyushu Deployment to December 1945

Chapter 3: Last Months in Japan

Part V: North China Marines

Chapter 1: Background for Military Assistance

Chapter 2: Ashore in North China

Chapter 3: An Extended Stay

Chapter 4: Abortive Peace Mission

Chapter 5: Withdrawal of the 1st Marine Division

Chapter 6: Withdrawal

Part VI: Conclusion

Chapter 1: Amphibious Doctrine in World War II

Chapter 2: A Final Accounting


Appendix A: Marine POWs

Appendix B: Bibliographical Notes

Appendix C: Guide to Abbreviations

Appendix D: Military Map Symbols

Appendix E: Chronology

Appendix F: Fleet Marine Force Status—30 April 1945

Appendix G: Fleet Marine Force Status—31 October 1946

Appendix H: Table of Organization G-100—Marine Division

Appendix I: Comparison of Organization—Marine Division

Appendix J: Comparison of Equipment—Marine Division

Appendix K: World War II Development of the Marine Infantry Regiment

Appendix L: Marine Task Organization and Command List

Appendix M: Marine Casualties

Appendix N: Unit Citations



I. 14th IIB Defensive Dispositions

II. 6th Marine Division Progress in Northern Okinawa

III. XXIV Corps Progress, 5–30 April 1945

IV. Japanese Counteroffensive and Tenth Army Progress, 5–21 May 1945

V. Battle for Sugar Loaf Hill, 13–15 May 1945

VI. Battle for Sugar Loaf Hill, 16–17 May 1945

VII. Battle for Sugar Loaf Hill, 18–19 May 1945

VIII. Tenth Army Progress, 21–31 May 1945

IX. Breakout to the South, 1–12 June 1945

X. Tenth Army Progress, 14–21 June 1945

XI. Significant Marine Corps Activities in World War II

Inline Maps

1. Nansei Shoto

2. Okinawa Shima

3. Japanese Defensive Positions

4. ICEBERG Scheme of Maneuver

5. Seizure of Kerama Retto

6. Landing Plan

7. Severing the Island

8. 6th Marine Division Progress, Motobu Peninsula, 14 April 1945

9. 6th Marine Division Progress, Motobu Peninsula, 15–16 April 1945

10. 6th Marine Division Progress, Motobu Peninsula, 17–23 April 1945

11. Reconnaissance and Capture of the Eastern Islands

12. Assault and Capture of Ie Shima

13. 1st Marine Division Advances

14. Dakeshi–Wana

15. Capture of Naha

16. Thirty-second Army Dispositions

17. Battle for Oroku Peninsula, 4–6 June 1945

18. Battle for Oroku Peninsula, 7–9 June 1945

19. Battle for Oroku Peninsula, 10–11 June 1945

20. Battle for Oroku Peninsula, 12–14 June 1945

21. Seizure of Kunishi Ridge

22. Outlying Islands

23. End of Organized Resistance

24. Scheme of Maneuver, Operation OLYMPIC

25. Marine Surrender and Occupation Duties


27. Yokosuka Occupation

28. Maximum Deployment of VAC

29. VAC Deployment, 8 December 1945

30. 2nd Marine Division Deployment

31. Typical Deployment of a Marine Regiment

32. China, 1945

33. North China

34. Hopeh Deployment

35. Anping Ambush

36. Attack on Hsin Ho


Admiral Nimitz Briefs the President at Pearl Harbor—Combined Chiefs of Staff Meet at Quebec—Thirty-second Army Officers Sit For a Portrait—North Bank of the Bishi Gawa—Landing Craft Form Up For the Run to Kerama Retto Beaches—155-mm Guns of the 420th Field Artillery Group on Keise Shima—Main Batteries of USS Tennessee Hurl Tons of Explosives—Aerial View of the Hagushi Anchorage—Bewildered Civilians—Two Marines Safeguard a Young Okinawan—Heavy Undergrowth on the Ishikawa Isthmus—Grinning Troops of the 29th Marines Heading For Chuta—Japanese 105-mm Gun Captured on Yae Take—Suicide Boats Found at Unten Ko—USS Enterprise Is Hit By a Kamikaze—Tracers Fill the Sky—Yellow Beach 3 on L Plus 2—Causeways Relieve Logistical Problems—Marine Reconnaissance Personnel Prepare Rubber Boats—Dominating Ie Shima is Iegusugu Yama—Marine Rocket Launchers in Support of the Drive South—Awacha Pocket—Sugar Loaf Hill—Tanks Evacuate the Wounded—Wana Ridge—105-mm Howitzer of the 15th Marines—Aerial View of Shuri on 28 April—Shuri, One Month Later—Corkscrew—Blowtorch—Air Delivery Section Marines—VMTB-232 TBM Drops Supplies—6th Division Marines Land on Oroku Peninsula—Final Sweep of Oroku Peninsula—Marine Casualties Are Evacuated by Spotter Plane—8th Marines Landing on Iheya Shima—Marine Tanks Shelling Positions in the South—Cooperative Prisoners—Men of the Tenth Army Pay Homage—Surrender of All Japanese Forces in the Ryukyus—VMF(CVS)-511 Corsair Ready to be Launched—An Explosion Rips the Critically Damaged Franklin—Among the Few Marines Present At the Surrender Ceremony—Corsairs and Hellcats Fly in Formation Over Tokyo Bay—To The Colors—Fleet Landing Force Personnel Are Transferred—Members of the Yokosuka Occupation Force—General Clement Looks Over Yokosuka Naval Base—The “New” 4th Marines Passes in Review—26th Marines Moves Into Sasebo—Battered Buddhist Figures—More Than 200 Japanese Planes Are Destroyed—1st Marine Division Troops Landing at Taku—Tientsin Citizens Welcome First Marines To Return—Navy Carrier Planes in a “Show of Force”—Repatriated Japanese Soldiers Salute American Flag—Arrow Directs Corsairs to Village—Communist Mine Damages Roadbed—Chinese Nationalist Sentries—A Portion of the Marines Remaining in Tsingtao—North China Marines—POW Quarters at Fengt’ai—Shadow of a B-29 on a Supply Drop—American and British POWs