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    Kerama Island Group 慶良間諸島 Okinawa Prefecture Japan

Location
The Kerama Island Group (Kerama Islands) is located roughly fifteen miles west of the southwestern tip of Okinawa Island in Okinawa Prefecture in southern Japan. Also known as "Kerama Retto" meaning "Island chain between Happiness and Good".

Wartime History
The first American landings in the Ryukyus were to capture the Kerama Islands six days prior to the landing on Okinawa to secure a seaplane base and a fleet anchorage to support the main invasion. Also, to eliminate Japanese "Sea Raiding Units" armed with suicide boats based in the Kerama Islands.

On March 24, 1944 US Navy Task Force 58 (TF 58) off eastern Okinawa began operations against the Keramas with mine sweeping operations, joined on March 25 by a Naval support force led by Vice Admiral William H. Blandy. By evening of March 25, 1945 a 7-mile-wide lane had been cleared to Kerama from the south and a slightly larger one from the southwest. Few mines were found. Underwater Demolition Teams (UDT) landed on March 25t and found the approaches to the Kerama beaches clear of man-made obstacles, though the reefs were studded with sharp coral heads, many of which lay only a few feet beneath the surface at high tide and were flush with the surface at low tide.

Meanwhile, the "Western Islands Attack Group" departed Leyte on March 20, 1945 in two convoys consisting of LSTs, 14 LSMs, and 40 LCIs, organized into a tractor flotilla with its own screen, departing Leyte on March 20. Two days later twenty transports and large cargo vessels followed, screened by two carrier escorts and destroyers. The force selected for the landings in the Keramas was the US Army, 77th Division commanded by Maj. Gen. Andrew D. Bruce. The 420th Field Artillery Group would land on Keise Shima, eleven miles southwest of the Hagushi beaches, to provide artillery support for the amphibious landing. After an uneventful voyage, broken only by false submarine alarms, the force arrived off the Kerama Islands by March 26, 1945 and landed the next morning. During the battle, the first civilian mass suicides of the Okinawa campaign took place. By March 29, Kerama Retto was occupied.

Kerama Anchorage
Located between Tokashiki Island to the east and Zamami Island to the northwest. On March 26, 1945 occupied by the US Navy warships.

Kerama Retto Seaplane Base
Wartime seaplane base and anchorage used by the US Navy

Tokashiki Island
Located at the east of the group

Zamami Island
Large island located on the northwestern side of Kerama Anchorage

Amuro Island
Small island located at the western side of Kerama Anchorage

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Last Updated
August 25, 2018

 

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1945
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