This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Operation ICEBERG: How the Strategic Influenced the Tactics of LTG Simon Bolivar Buckner Jr. at Okinawa




Isaac, Evan

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis




The Okinawan campaign was World War II’s last major offensive operation. Selected as the last position for which to organize the invasion of Japan, the scale and intensity of combat led to critical accounts from journalists accustomed to the war’s smaller amphibious operations in 1943 and 1944. This criticism carried forward to later historical analysis of the operation’s ground commander, Army Lieutenant General Simon Bolivar Buckner, Jr. Labeled as inexperienced and an Army partisan, Buckner was identified as a major contributor to the campaign’s high casualty numbers. This historical analysis has failed to address the impacts of decisions on early war strategy and their impacts to three key strategic factors: a massive shortage of service units, a critical deficit in shipping, and the expansion of strategic bombing in the Pacific. This thesis examines the role that these strategic factors played in influencing the tactical decision making of General Buckner at Okinawa.