The Battle for Sugar Loaf Hill was a vicious military engagement fought between the US 6th Marine Division and Imperial Japanese 32nd Army’s units, from May 12 to May 19, 1945, during the major Battle of Okinawa, at the end of the island-hopping campaign of World War II.
Sugar Loaf Hill was located on the western end of the Shuri Line, a Japanese defensive line in the southern tip of Okinawa Island. In early May, the US 1st and 6th Marine Divisions, which had already mopped up the last pockets of resistance in the north, were ordered to head south to help the elements of the US 10th Army breach the Shuri Line and take its hilly terrain.
On May 12, while the 10th Army’s 96th Division fought for Conical Hill, a couple of miles away to the east, on the same line, the 22th Regiment of US 6th Marine Division began an assault on Sugar Loaf Hill. Although they got fire support from M4 Shermans from the 6th Tank Battalion, the US Marine attacks on the enemy positions failed one after another as the Japanese defenders were hidden in caves in the hill side. During the battle, several American tanks were destroyed by Japanese anti-tank guns implaced on the rough hill crest. Finally, on May 19th, after 8 days and 11 attempts, the charging Marines of the 29th Company were able to reach the crest and secure Sugar Loaf.
Casualties: 4,100 Japanese and 2,300 Marine casualties, dead and wounded.