I haven't investigated much of the topic, got curious after watching Hacksaw Ridge. I'm sorry if my question is silly or naive.

After checking historical facts, I started to ask myself why couldn't US purely bomb Okinawa (or bomb them more) until they capitulate and avoid ~50K casualties? Why did not US use solely (more) aviation and artillery when taking Okinawa during ww2?

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    Principally because experience on previous islands had shown that it bombing didn't work. The bombing technology of the time could not deal with a properly dug in force. They bombed the fecal matter out of Iwo Jima and discovered that is had made little difference. – Mark Olson Mar 27 at 15:59
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    Japanese were not of the type surrendering easily :D Plus, Okinawa is rather large place, they probably didn't have time and ammo to bomb everything, then bomb it again because some Japanese units could be moving between places :D – rs.29 Mar 27 at 15:59
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    Welcome to HSE. Please include your question in the body of the question, instead of putting it only in the title. – José Carlos Santos Mar 27 at 16:50
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    C. Eastwood movie imdb.com/title/tt0498380 shows Iwo from Japanese side, I think it shows well that bombing helps but can not really even be near to finishing the job. Note that to be able to use an island's airfields (the end objective), they had to be safe against attacks from hidden or dug-out enemy remnants – Luiz Mar 27 at 19:12

Getting WWII Japanese troops to surrender was extraordinarily difficult. They were well dug in on Okinawa, and their mission was to waste the Americans' time and munitions. Trying to bomb the Japanese troops into surrender would have made fulfilling their mission easy for them. All they would have had to do was dig deeper, and not surrender.

To clear Okinawa that way and be certain there was no resistance left, it would have been necessary to pulverise the top few metres of the entire island. This would have been very time-consuming, and would have killed all the inhabitants: Okinawa had a sizeable civilian population, and wiping them out would have been a blatant war crime. It would also have drastically reduced the value of the island as a base for the invasion of Japan.

  • thanks, makes sense – Vladyslav Zavalykhatko Mar 27 at 16:20
  • The second paragraph could be summarized in "carpet bombing the whole of Okinawa was not viable". I don't think that pulverising few metres of the entire island could be done even with the use of current nuclear stockpile available. Also, there's unnecesary speculation. Using nuclear bombs over a country that was going to surrender was a blatant war crime, just as carpet-bombing Tokio and many other cities with incendiary bombs, and it was done nevertheless and without any kind of troubles about the civilian population. – Rekesoft Mar 29 at 15:30

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