Operation: Olympic, the invasion of Kyūshū in Japan, was to begin on "X-Day", which was scheduled for 1 November 1945. The combined Allied naval armada would have been the largest ever assembled, including 42 aircraft carriers, 24 battleships, and 400 destroyers and destroyer escorts. Fourteen U.S. divisions were scheduled to take part in the initial landings. Using Okinawa as a staging base, the objective would have been to seize the southern portion of Kyūshū. This area would then be used as a further staging point to attack Honshū in Operation: Coronet.
Operation: Olympic in Joe Steele
Operation: Olympic, the U.S. invasion of the southern most Japanese Home Island of Kyushu took place six months after the successful capture of Okinawa. Sgt. Mike Sullivan took part in this attack. As before, the Navy bombarded the coastal defenses and sent out fighter-bombers for several days before the punishment brigades and Marines went in. As before, it did less good than the generals and admirals had hoped. The Japanese fired on the troopships and then the landing craft when they came within range using smaller guns that had kept quiet until then. Kamikaze air attacks also proved damaging but enough landing craft came ashore to land an effective force.
Once the punishment brigades reached the interior, they came across a new threat. Civilians armed with black-powder muskets popped up and took single shots before trying to disappear in the undergrowth. The effective range was only fifty yards beyond which only luck would allow a hit. However, the Americans at first hesitated to shoot, especially at women, and would try to save the wounded and take them prisoner. After a number were killed by wounded civilians allowing a soldier to come up and then killing both them and themselves with a grenade, they quickly became hardened and shot to kill.
It proved to be a bloody fight with the Japanese fighting street by street, and house by house to hold Kagoshima, a mid-sized harbor city. Sullivan compared the fight to what the Germans faced in Trotskygrad. However, with American losses in the thousands and Japanese (both military and civilian) in the hundreds of thousands, the U.S. managed to take the island.
- Joe Steele, pgs. 307-311, HC.
- Ibid, pgs. 311-312
- Ibid, pgs. 313-315