If not for the tragedy of Minoru Ota, the situation in Okinawa would have been even dire for the Americans. In Okinawa, the Americans had 12000 killed and 38000 wounded out of a field force of 183000.
Ota was a Kaigun Shōshō (Rear Admiral) looking after the naval forces based on Okinawa. He commanded a force of 10000, of which atleast 4000-5000 are highly trained, not as ground forces, but as naval forces. But, they constituted an effective force holding a very strong position in Oroku Peninsula, which was their last line of defence. He received orders to withdraw from Oroku Peninsula to support the main army further south. Accordingly, all heavy weaponry was destroyed and they started moving from 24th May. While enroute, it turned out that it was a miscommunication and his forces returned to his previous positions. They had no heavy weapons and half of them even did not have rifles. Americans then attacked them and 4000 soldiers including Ota committed suicide. Ota died on 13th June and was posthumously promoted to a Vice Admiral.The war was formally over by 22nd June 1945. Had he not withdrawn and the way Japanese fought their war in Okinawa and elsewhere, Americans would have seen fighting for atleast a month or two with another 10000 casualties.
Below is the last message he sent. Just tell me how many field commanders and governors wrote these sort of farewell messages, whatever the country?
Sent at 20:16 on the 6th of June, 1945:
“Please convey the following telegram to the Vice-Admiral.
While the Governor should be the person to relay this report on the present condition of the Okinawa prefectural inhabitants, he has no available means of communication and the 32nd Division Headquarters appears to be thoroughly occupied with their own correspondences. However, due to the critical situations we are in, I feel compelled to make this urgent report though it is without the Governor’s consent.
Since the enemy attack began, our Army and Navy has been fighting defensive battles and have not been able to tend to the people of the Prefecture. Consequently, due to our negligence, these innocent people have lost their homes and property to enemy assault. Every man has been conscripted to partake in the defense, while women, children and elders are forced into hiding in the small underground shelters which are not tactically important or are exposed to shelling, air raids or the harsh elements of nature. Moreover, girls have devoted themselves to nursing and cooking for the soldiers and have gone as far as to volunteer in carrying ammunition, or join in attacking the enemy.
This leaves the village people vulnerable to enemy attacks where they will surely be killed. In desperation, some parents have asked the military to protect their daughters against rape by the enemy, prepared that they may never see them again.
Nurses, with wounded soldiers, wander aimlessly because the medical team had moved and left them behind. The military has changed its operation, ordering people to move to far residential areas, however, those without means of transportation trudge along on foot in the dark and rain, all the while looking for food to stay alive.
Ever since our Army and Navy occupied Okinawa, the inhabitants of the Prefecture have been forced into military service and hard labor, while sacrificing everything they own as well as the lives of their loved ones. They have served with loyalty. Now we are nearing the end of the battle, but they will go unrecognized, unrewarded. Seeing this, I feel deeply depressed and lament a loss of words for them. Every tree, every plant life is gone.
Even the weeds are burnt. By the end of June, there will be no more food. This is how the Okinawan people have fought the war. And for this reason, I ask that you give the Okinawan people special consideration, this day forward”