The Battle for Okinawa: A Direct Approach for Direct Defeat
NATIONAL WAR COLL WASHINGTON DC
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Throughout the fall of 1944 and early spring of 1945, the Japanese defenders of Okinawa prepared a defensive battle strategy that resulted in Japanese defeat and the most casualties for both forces in any single battle of the Pacific Campaign. Lieutenant General Mitsuru Ushijima, Commander of the Thirty-second Army defending Okinawa, formulated a direct approach strategy based on defensive positions strategically situated to confront head-on the brunt of the Allies main attack. This approach aimed at prolonging each action to the utmost, while inflicting maximum casualties. The result would be the defeat of Allied forces through Japanese will power and Allied attrition. Applying Sir Basil Henry Liddell Harts theory of the Indirect Approach, this paper examines the Japanese defensive plan in terms of Lt. General Ushijimas failure to develop a scheme of battle based upon the enemys strategy and disposition of forces. It will specifically examine the Thirty-second Armys plan for concentration of forces -- as well as the absence of maneuver and surprise -- in view of Harts concepts of dispersion of forces, dissolution, and diminished resistance fighting. To systematically analyze each area, the author discusses a thesis Harts concept, antithesis Japanese plan, and synthesis Lt. General Ushijimas plan, using Harts theory. Before examining Harts theory, he will briefly discuss each forces strategic plan, and its place in the overall context of the war in the Pacific.
- Humanities and History
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics