In celebration of the 75th anniversary, a riveting first-hand account of the Battle of Okinawa—the Pacific War’s “bloodiest battle of all” (New York Times)—from the first officer ashore, who served at the front for the battle’s entire 82-day duration, heroism that earned him a Bronze Star.
On Easter Sunday, April 1, 1945, 1,500 Allied ships and 1.5 million men gathered off the coast of the Japanese island of Okinawa and launched the largest amphibious assault of the Pacific War. They expected an 80% casualty rate. The first American officer ashore was Major Art Shaw, a unit commander in the U.S. Army’s 361st Artillery Battalion of the 96th Division, often called the Deadeyes. For the next three months, Major Shaw and his men served at the front lines of the Pacific’s bloodiest battle, their artillery proving decisive against a “phantom enemy” who had entrenched themselves into rugged, craggy island. Now, at 98, Art Shaw looks back to tell the story. 82 Days on Okinawa is an extraordinary eyewitness account of this critical World War II battle.
The first step of Operation Downfall—the ground invasion of Japan—the Battle of Okinawa became legendary for its brutality. Over 82 days, the Allies fought the Japanese Army in one of the bloodiest campaigns of the war, one in which more than 150,000 soldiers would die. When the final calculations were made, the totals said that the Deadeyes had killed 37,763 of the enemy. The 361st Field Artillery Battalion had played a crucial role in victory. It would be the last major battle of World War II, and a key pivot point leading to the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the Japanese surrender in August, two months after the siege’s end.
A riveting first-person account of this turning point, featuring 20 black-and-white photos, 82 Days on Okinawa joins the ranks of Donald Stratton’s All the Gallant Men and Dusty Kleiss Never Call Me a Hero.