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Could we retire the infantry frontal assault?

Posted by John Reed on

I am watching a documentary about the Battle of Okinawa. I do not understand why they keep charging into well entrenched Japanese caves.
Back off to just outside the range of their weapons and wait for them to run out of water or food. In WW II, whenever the Japanese felt they were in desperate straits, they did a banzai charge screaming and got mowed down by .30 cal machine guns.
One of the reasons we wanted it was a place for damaged B-29s to land. They started landing in the first days of the battle before it had been won. The enemy up in the hills could fire some mortars and artillery at the airstrip.
I understand the urgency of the big picture, but let the big picture guys come out and walk point. 4,000 guys killed trying to take a 50-foot high mound called Sugarloaf. The battle was the bloodiest in the Pacific, with around 50,000 Allied and 84,166–117,000 Japanese casualties. How about a little common sense? Use time against them. They need about a gallon of fresh water per day plus 1,500 or so calories. They were in caves high up in the hills. I do not know if they had fresh water wells inside the caves and tunnels. I do not know how much food they have. They were getting zero resupplies.
Frontal assaults are suicidal, and very much a part of the follow-me tradition. Seem to me they should only be done when there is extreme time pressure and delay would cost more casualties than the frontal assault. It may be there has never been such a situation in all American warfare. I think frontal assaults are a too much a bad habit.
The atomic bombs shortly after Okinawa were an example of a far more sensible alternative than the infantry frontal assault.

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