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For the April 1945 invasion of Okinawa, the Allies assembled the most powerful naval force in history. Since the few remaining capital ships of the Imperial Japanese Combined Fleet had been sunk or otherwise put out of action at the Battle of Leyte Gulf, the Allies were effectively unopposed in terms of surface vessels; a single mission consisting of the superbattleship Yamato and a few escorts was undertaken, but the task force did not get within 200 nautical miles (370 km; 230 mi) of the invasion area.

Since the Japanese air arm had been equally decimated by this point in the war, the lack of trained and experienced pilots led them to deploy the kamikaze extensively in the waters off Okinawa.

Naval commanders for Operation Iceberg

Adm. Chester W. Nimitz
Adm. Raymond A. Spruance
Vice Adm. Richmond Kelly Turner

The roles of Commander in Chief, Pacific Ocean Areas (CINCPOA) and Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet (CINCPAC), were both exercised by Admiral Chester W. Nimitz from his headquarters at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Since the "Big Blue Fleet" was at this time under the command of Admiral Raymond Spruance aboard his flagship USS Indianapolis, the force was designated Fifth Fleet. (It had been Third Fleet until Spruance relieved Admiral William Halsey in January, as part of the "alternating command" system).

The ships and troops of Operation Iceberg were under direct operational command of Rear Admiral Richmond Kelly Turner aboard amphibious command ship Eldorado.

US Navy combat ships:
11 fleet carriers, 6 light carriers, 22 escort carriers, 8 fast battleships, 10 old battleships, 2 large cruisers, 12 heavy cruisers, 13 light cruisers, 4 anti-aircraft light cruisers, 132 destroyers, 45 destroyer escorts

Amphibious assault vessels:
84 attack transports, 29 attack cargo ships, LCIs, LSMs, LSTs, LSVs, etc.

52 submarine chasers, 23 fast minesweepers, 69 minesweepers, 11 minelayers, 49 oilers, etc.

Royal Navy combat ships:
5 fleet carriers, 2 battleships, 7 light cruisers, 14 destroyers

The smaller ships were least able to withstand damage from kamikaze attacks.

Allied order of battle

United States Pacific Fleet[1]
Admiral Chester W. Nimitz at Pearl Harbor

US Fifth Fleet augmented with RN forces
Admiral Raymond A. Spruance in heavy cruiser Indianapolis

Task Force 51 – Joint Expeditionary Force

Vice Admiral Richmond Kelly Turner in amphibious command ship Eldorado

TG 51.1 Western Islands Attack Group

Amphibious command ship Mount McKinley in the early 1950s

File:LaGrange APA-124.jpg

Attack transport LaGrange

Destroyer transport Scribner

Landing craft repair ship Egeria

Rear Admiral I.N. Kiland in amphibious command ship Mount McKinley
Embarking 77th Infantry ("Statue of Liberty") Division and one Marine BLT (Maj. Gen. Andrew D. Bruce, USA)

Screen: Captain Frederick Moosbrugger in amphibious command ship Biscayne

Attack transport Hendry

TG 51.2 Demonstration Group "Charlie"
Rear Admiral Jerauld Wright
Embarking Demonstration Landing Force (2nd Marine Division), Major General Thomas E. Watson, USMC

Task Force 52 – Amphibious Support Forces

Rear Adm. William H.P. Blandy

Rear Admiral William H.P. Blandy in amphibious command ship Estes

Marine Corps Corsairs in 1944

Grumman F6F Hellcat fighters

Curtiss SB2C Helldiver dive bombers

Grumman TBF Avenger torpedo bomber

TG 52.1 Support Carrier Group

Rear Admiral Calvin T. Durgin

Unit One

Rear Admiral Clifton Sprague

Unit Two

Fletcher-class destroyer underway

Destroyer escort Ulvert M. Moore, commanded by Lt. Cmdr. Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr.

Rear Admiral Felix B. Stump

Unit Three

Escort carrier Suwannee at Kwajalein, 1944

Allen M. Sumner-class destroyer Drexler refueling, February 1945

Rear Admiral William D. Sample

Special Escort Carrier Group

Gunnery practice aboard escort carrier Hollandia, 1944

Captain C.L. Lee (arriving 4 April)

TG 52.2 Mine Flotilla

Former destroyer Gherardi in minesweeper configuration

Auk class minesweeper

Admirable class minesweeper

Ailanthus class net laying ship

Rear Admiral Alexander Sharp and Captain R. P. Whitemarsh in Terror
Task Group 52.3 – Destroyer Minesweeper Group (Capt. R.A. Larkin)

Task Group 52.4 – Minesweeper Group One (Captain T.F. Donohue)0

Task Group 52.5 – Minesweeper Group Two (Captain L. F. Freiburghouse)

Task Group 52.7 Reserve Sweep Group (Cmdrs. E.D. McEathron and J.W. Wyckoff)

Task Group 52.8 – Net and Buoy Group (Cmdr. G. C. King, USNR)

Task Force 53 – Northern Attack Force

Maj. Gen. Roy S. Geiger, USMC (III Amph. Corps)

Catskill-class vehicle landing ship at Subic Bay, 1945

Steel-hulled sub chaser

Rear Admiral Lawrence F. Reifsnider in amphibious command ship Panamint
Embarking III Amphibious Corps (Maj. Gen. Roy S. Geiger, USMC)

TG 53.1 Transport Group "Able" (Commodore H.B. Knowles)
Embarking 6th Marine Division (Maj. Gen. Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr., USMC)

TG 53.2 Transport Group "Baker" (Commodore J. G. Moyer)
Embarking 1st Marine Division (Maj. Gen. Pedro A. del Valle, USMC)

TG 53.3 Northern Tractor Flotilla (Capt. J. S. Laidlaw)

  • Tractor Group "Able": 16 LSTs carrying 6 LCTs, 22 pontoon barges and 6 pontoon causeways; 7 LSMs
  • Tractor Group "Baker": 16 LSTs carrying 10 LCTs, 16 pontoon barges and 6 pontoon causeways
  • Tractor Group "Charlie": 14 LSTs carrying 20 pontoon barges; 8 LSMs
  • Northern Control Group: 18 submarine chasers (4 steel hull, 9 wooden hull, 5 sweeper type), Northern Beach Party

TG 53.6 Northern Attack Force Screen (Captain J. H. Wellings)

Buckley class destroyer escort

File:Porcupine IX-126.jpg

Armadillo-class oil storage ship

TG 53.7 Northern Defense Group (Capt. W. W. Weeden)
Embarking Marine Corps support units and high priority cargo: 21 LSTs carrying LCT and pontoon causeways

Task Force 54 – Gunfire and Covering Force

Rear Adm. Morton L. Deyo

Battleship Texas in Hawaiian waters in 1945

Heavy cruiser Wichita firing broadside in 1944

Cannon-class destroyer escort

Rear Admiral Morton L. Deyo in battleship Tennessee

Task Force 55 – Southern Attack Force

Maj. Gen. John R. Hodge, USA (XXIV Corps)

Gilliam-class attack transport

Attack cargo ship Algorab

Landing ship, tank (LST)

Evarts-class destroyer escort

Landing craft, infantry (LCIs)

Rear Admiral John L. Hall in amphibious command ship Teton
Embarking XXIV Army Corps (Maj. Gen. John R. Hodge)

TG 55.1 Transport Group "Dog" (Commodore M.O. Carlson)
Embarking 7th Infantry ("Bayonet") Division (Maj. Gen. Archibald V. Arnold, USA)

TG 55.2 Transport Group "Easy" (Commodore C.G. Richardson)
Embarking 96th Infantry ("Deadeye") Division (Maj. Gen. James L. Bradley, USA)

TG 55.6 Screen (Captain E.W. Young)

TG 55.7 Southern Defense Group (Commander B.T. Zelenka)

Task Force 56 – Expeditionary Troops

Lt. Gen. Simon B. Buckner, USA (US Tenth Army)

Lieutenant General Simon Bolivar Buckner, Jr., USA (KIA 18 June)
Consisting of United States Tenth Army
Northern Landing Area:

Southern Landing Area:

Western Islands:

  • Landed L+26: 77th Infantry ("Statue of Liberty") Division and one Marine BLT (Maj. Gen. Andrew D. Bruce, USA)

Task Force 57 – British Carrier Force

Vice Adm. Sir Bernard Rawlings, RN

Supermarine Seafire fighter

Supermarine Walrus reconnaissance plane

Vice Admiral Sir Bernard Rawlings, RN

TG 57.2 First Aircraft Carrier Squadron (Rear Admiral Sir Philip L. Vian, RN)

TG 57.1 First Battle Squadron (Vice Admiral Rawlings)

TG 57.4 Fourth Cruiser Squadron (Rear Admiral E.J.P. Brind)

TG 57.8 Screen (Rear Admiral J.H. Edelston)

  •   4th Destroyer Flotilla
  • 24th Destroyer Flotilla
  • 25th Destroyer Flotilla
  • 27th Destroyer Flotilla

Task Force 112 – British Fleet Train (Rear Admiral D.B. Fisher, RN)
70+ auxiliaries including repair ships, oilers, minesweepers, hospital ships, etc.

Task Force 58 – Fast Carrier Force

Vice Adm. Marc A. Mitscher

Vice Admiral Marc A. Mitscher in fleet carrier Bunker Hill

Task Group 58.1

Rear Adm. Joseph J. Clark

Fleet carrier Bennington October 1944 during shakedown in Caribbean Sea

Anti-aircraft light cruiser San Juan off Norfolk in 1942

Rear Admiral Joseph J. Clark

3 fleet carriers:

2 light carriers:

Battleship Division 8 (Rear Admiral J.F. Shafroth)

  • 2 fast battleships

Cruiser Division 10 (Rear Admiral L.J. Wiltsie)

Cruiser Division 14 (Rear Admiral F.E.M. Whiting)


Task Group 58.2

Rear Adm. Gerald F. Bogan

Damaged fleet carrier Franklin following air attack off coast of Japan in March 1945

Rear Admirals Ralph E. Davison and Gerald F. Bogan

3 fleet carriers:

1 light cruiser:


Task Group 58.3

Rear Adm. Forrest P. Sherman

Light carrier Cabot in 1945

Fast battleship North Carolina underway

Heavy cruiser Indianapolis

Rear Admiral Forrest P. Sherman

3 fleet carriers:

2 light carriers:

Battleship Division 6 (Capt. Thomas R. Cooley)

Cruiser Division 17 (Rear Admiral J. Cary Jones)


Task Group 58.4

Rear Adm. Arthur W. Radford

Fleet carrier Intrepid off Newport News, August 1943

Fast battleship New Jersey underway

Large cruiser Alaska at anchor, 1944

Rear Admiral Arthur W. Radford

2 fleet carriers:

2 light carriers:

Battleship Division 9 (Rear Admiral Edward W. Hanson and Louis E. Denfeld)

Cruiser Division 16 (Rear Admiral Francis S. Low)


Task Force 50 – Support and Service Units

Seaplane tender Chandeleur

Martin PBM Mariner

Oiler Escambia

Ammunition ship Akutan

Hospital ship Mercy

Destroyer tender Cascade

TG 50.5 Search and Reconnaissance Group

Commodore Dixwell Ketcham

TG 50.8 Logistics Support Group Fifth Fleet

Rear Admiral D.B. Beary

TG 50.9 Service Squadron 10

Commodore W.R. Carter at Ulithi

Japanese order of battle

Japanese Combined Fleet[5]
Vice Admiral Jisaburo Ozawa

Super battleship Yamato under air attack, 7 April 1945

Surface Special Attack Force

Vice Admiral Seiichi Ito (KIA)


  1. These cruisers were intended as destroyer leaders when designed. After the first two to be used in this role, Atlanta and Juneau, were lost at the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, this mission was rejected and the anti-aircraft mission adopted.[2]
  2. About 19 years after Okinawa, the Maddox was involved in the Tonkin Gulf Incident that served as a pretext for the escalation of US combat forces in Vietnam.
  3. These cruisers were intended as destroyer leaders when designed. After the first two to be used in this role, Atlanta and Juneau, were lost at the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, this mission was rejected and the anti-aircraft mission adopted.[4]
  4. Sunk by US carrier planes 7 April
  5. Sunk by US carrier planes 7 April
  6. Scuttled after receiving severe damage from US carrier planes 7 April
  7. Sunk by US carrier planes 7 April
  8. Scuttled after receiving severe damage from US carrier planes 7 April
  9. Scuttled after receiving severe damage from US carrier planes 7 April


  1. Morison 1960, pp. 372-388
  2. Stille 2016, p. 7
  3. O'Callahan, Joseph T. (1956). I Was Chaplain on the Franklin. New York: The Macmillan Company. p. 40. LCCN 56010786. 
  4. Stille 2016, p. 7
  5. Morison 1960, p. 202


  • Morison, Samuel Eliot (1960). Victory in the Pacific, 1945: Volume XIV of History of United States Naval Operations in World War II. Boston: Little, Brown and Co.. ISBN 0-7858-1315-2. 
  • Silverstone, Paul H. (1970). U.S. Warships of World War II. Garden City, NY: Doubleday and Co.. ISBN 0-8702-1773-9. 
  • Stille, Mark (2016). US Navy Light Cruisers, 1941–-45. Oxford: Osprey Publishing, Ltd.. ISBN 978-1-4728-1140-0. 

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