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The battle was fierce, with many soldiers killed or wounded on both sides. It raged on for days, but aided by the fortifications along their beaches of which the Mongols had no advance knowledge; and, inspired by the sacred cause of the defense of their homeland, these ancient Japanese warriors pushed the much stronger Mongol invaders off the beaches and back into their ships lying at anchor in the Bay. This Mongol fleet then set back out to sea, where it rendezvoused with the main body of its army, which was arriving with the second fleet coming from China. During the summer of [[underlined red ink]] 1281 [[/underlined red ink]], this combined force of foreign invaders maneuvered off shore in preparation for the main assault on the western shores of Kyushu. All over Japan elaborate Shinto ceremonies were performed at shrines, in the cities, and in the countryside. Hundreds of Thousands of Japanese urged on by their Emperor, their warlords, and other officials prayed to their Shinto gods for deliverance from these foreign invaders. A million Japanese voices called upwards for divine intervention. Miraculously, as if in answer to their prayers, from out of the south a savage typhoon sprang up and headed toward Kyushu. Its powerful winds screamed up the coast where they struck the Mongol's invasion fleet with full fury, wreaking havoc on the ships and on the men onboard. The Mongol fleet was devastated. After the typhoon had passed, over 4,000 invasion craft had been lost and the Mongol casualties exceeded 100,000 men. All over Japan religious services and huge celebrations were held. Everywhere tumultuous crowds gathered in thanksgiving to pay homage to the "divine wind" that had saved their homeland from foreign invasion. At no time thereafter has Japan ever been successfully invaded. The Japanese ferverently believed that it was this "divine wind" that would forever protect them. During the summer of 1945 another powerful armada was being assembled to assault the same western coastline on the island of Kyushu, where 6 1/2 centuries earlier the Mongols had been repelled. The Americans invasion plans for Kyushu, scheduled for November 1, 1945 called for a floating invasion force of 14 army and marine divisions to be transported by ship to hit the western, eastern and southern shoreline of Kyushu. This shipboard invasion force would consist of 550,000 combat -20- [[end page]] [[start page]] soldiers, tens of thousands of sailors and hundreds of naval aviators. The assault fleet would consist of thousands of ships of every shape, size and description, ranging from the mammoth battleships and aircraft carriers to the small amphibious craft, and they would be sailing from Okinawa, the Philippines and the Marianas. Crucial to the success of the invasion were nearly 4,000 army, navy, and marine aircraft that would be packed into the small island of Okinawa to be used for direct air support of our landing forces at the time of this invasion. By July of 1945, the Japanese know the Americans were planning to invade their homeland. Throughout the early summer, the Emperor and his government officials exhorted the military and civilian population to make preparations for the invasion. Japanese radios throughout that summer cried out to the people to "form a wall of human flesh" and when the invasion began, to push the invaders back into the sea, and back onto their ships. The Japanese people ferverently believed that the American invaders would be repelled. They all seemed to share a mystical faith that their country could never be invaded successfully and that they, again, would be saved by the "divine wind". The American invasion never came, however, because the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as if by miracle, ended the war. Almost immediately American soldiers, sailors and airmen, in for the duration, were being discharged and sent home. By the fall of 1945, there remained approximately 200,000 soldiers, sailors and airmen still on Okinawa. Okinawa, which would have been the major launching platform for the invasion of Japan, was now peaceful. In October, Buckner Bay, on the east coast of the island, was still jammed with vessels of all kinds - from Victory ships to landing craft. On the island itself, 150,000 soldiers lived under miles of canvas, in what were referred to as "Tent Cities." All over the island, hundreds of tons of food, equipment and supplies stacked in immense piles lay out in the open. During the early parts of October, to the southwest of Okinawa just northeast of the Marianas, the seas were growing restless and the winds began to blow. the ocean skies slowly turned black and the large swells that were developing began to turn the Pacific Ocean white with froth. In a matter of only a few -21-
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