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Okinawa Raid

World History - Cold War
Kaizoku War 29th of April, 1968


As the Kaizoku War went on, the Farenday Pirates' innovative naval tactics had been proven as effective against Imperial Japanese Navy surface combat units. However, such a conflict was much harder on the Australian side's treasury, owing to the fact that Japan possessed an enormous industrial economy. Farenday's leadership, therefore, planned for a land raid to rival Ching Shih's attacks on the Qing. What would later be known by the international community as the Okinawa Raid was conceived in the Farenday Pirate Navy's headquarters as Operation Thunderstruck. Preparations for the raid itself were fairly simple; eight Liberty-class Cargo Ships would be disguised as merchant ships from The Republic of Great Britain, which would likely not arouse much suspicion from IJN patrols. Their accents and mannerisms were deemed as the closest and most credible cover, though alternative plans existed to dress up as American, Indian, Pakistani, Irish or Canadian sailors. Such a large number of ships in a single convoy were not unusual when sailing through the Malay archipelago, as Oceanykan pirates were a constant threat. Each ship would be manned by 40 sailors and carry a company of 120 soldiers from the Farenday Pirates' Marine Infantry, who would do most of the land work. In total, 960 men were expected to disembark in this amphibious operation, which were assembled as the 9th Volunteer Marine Infantry Regiment "Bartholomew Roberts". As its name suggests, all participants of Operation Thunderstruck were strictly volunteers. While they would have to fend off IJN attacks and boarding teams on their own for some time, six Fubuki-class Destroyers and two Algerie-class Heavy Cruiser  warships were assembled as part of a temporary Northern Squadron, which would come to their aid once they reached the Malacca Sea. All twelve ships were retrofit with the FPN's most capable weaponry, namely the P-15 Termit anti-ship missile and the S-75 Dvina surface-to-air missile.

On the 24th of April, Farenday's convoy sailed towards Indonesian Aceh through the Indian Ocean, still flying the Oceanykan Federation's colours. Once there, the crew repainted their hulls and changed their ensigns to that of the British Merchant Navy. By the 27th they had passed Singapore. Operation Thunderstruck was timed to coincede with Shōwa Day, Emperor Hirohito's birthday and a national holiday. It was believed, correctly, that many Japanese servicemen would not be in active duty at that specific date, and this would slow down any Japanese reaction.

Records from Naha City's Tomari Port indicate that at 14:00 approximately, eight cargo ships flying the Republic of Great Britain's naval ensign docked in its facilities. Because they did not reply to attempts to communicate by radio, Okinawa prefecture police prevented anyone from disembarking, and requested the crew to comply for a search. Farenday marines, equipped with PB Supressed Pistols, killed these police agents and took some nearby port workers hostage. Heavy fogs prevented Naha's fishermen, the rest of the port's staff, or bystanders from noticing. Also, being a national a holiday, most government workers were off duty, including both policemen and dockers.

The 9th Regiment's pirates disembarked and rapidly organised themselves in the following manner.

  • 1st Battalion, A Company. This unit would form the vanguard of Task Force Thunderstruck.
  • 1st Battalion, B Company. Assigned to TF Thunderstruck.
  • 1st Battalion, C Company. Assigned to TF Thunderstruck.
  • 1st Battalion, D Company. Vanguard unit for Task Force Northstar.
  • 2nd Battalion, A Company. Assigned to TF Northstar.
  • 2nd Battalion, B Company. Vanguard unit for Task Force Southwind.
  • 2nd Battalion, C Company. Assigned to TF Southwind.
  • 2nd Battalion, D Company. Assigned to TF Southwind.

The plan was as follows.

  1. Task Force Thunderstruck was to perform the main part of the operation, which was to loot Naha's affluent Makishi district, and take as many hostages as possible, preferably Japanese children which were more compliant.
  2. Task Force Northstar was to prepare traps, mines and defensive positions across the regiment's northern flank. 1/D Company would defend the Aja river, while 2/A Company would focus on the area around Shurijo Castle.
  3. Task Force Southwind was to defeat the understaffed Imperial Japanese Army's 15th Infantry Brigade just to the south, capture the IJAF's Naha Base, and seize as much military equipment as possible.

For this purpose, all of the 9th Regiment's units were instructed to hijack nearby cars and buses, achieving full motorisation as quickly as possible.

At 14:20, Naha's prefectural police was made aware of the presence of armed men near Tomari Port through a police box. Choosing to investigate an unlikely scenario instead of overreacting, the Okinawa police chief sent three patrol cars. Just 500 metres away from their starting point at the Okinawa prefectural police headquarters, all three vehicles were ambushed through the use of automatic rifles and their occupants killed. The sound of gunfire echoed through the city of Naha, reaching the 15th Infantry Brigade, which was immediately put on full alert and ordered to mobilise. Within minutes, the island's police HQ had been stormed by men from 2/D Company, dressed in Japanese civilian clothing. In half an hour this unit had also seized Kainan Elementary, the Naha City Hall, and the Prefectural Assembly (which was in session). Hostages were taken back to Tomari and loaded onto the pirates' ships by a detached squad which had commandeered two city buses. 2nd Battalion's B and C companies sought battle with the 15th Brigade, surrounding their base from Meiji Bridge and Naha Airport. They passed through, and rapidly captured, the US Army Naha Port.

At the 15th's headquarters, only a few troops could respond to this two-pronged attack, as most were on leave. No quarter was given to common soldiers, though the brigade's XO and some of its general staff were captured and sent to Tomari Port. Japanese tankers of the 15th Reconnaissance Company were able to hold off Oceanykan troops for longer, but their armoured vehicles were destroyed by RPG-2s. Both companies were too occupied looting IJA Camp Naha for weapons, ammunition, intelligence and other military equipment to attack IJAF Naha Base until 16:30. By then, IJAF soldiers and airmen had fortified the complex, and even managed to scramble a few fighter jets. These were ineffective at targetting FPMC soldiers because of their civilian clothing, but did manage to damage one Liberty-class ship. Despite arduous hall-by-hall and door-by-door fighting, IJAF Naha Base was captured by 17:30. Half an hour later, after looting the place clean, Task Force Southwind returned to its ships to unload and reorganise, then headed north and east to assist friendly troops.

In the same time frame, TF Thunderstruck had cleaned an area from Naminoue Shrine to the Okinawa Central Hospital of valuables, and had taken close to 500 hostages (mostly women and children). These were closely guarded by the pirate ships' crew. Around 16:30, they were instructed by radio to reinforce fighting positions across the Aja River and around Shurijo Castle.

The heaviest fighting, and the worst casualties, were shouldered by the men of Task Force Northstar. At 14:50, fire was exchanged between pirates and United States Marines stationed at Base Kinser, a major logistic base for USMC forces in the Pacific. Against orders, Major Charles Mumbarra of the FPMC instructed the men of 1/D Company to storm Base Kinser, assuming that whether or not they touched American military installations was irrelevant; they were still going to face American forces at land, air and sea on the retreat. Unlike Japanese servicemen, which were largely on leave, most American soldiers were on duty, and there were between 800 and 2000 in Base Kinser alone. The vast majority of these were not combat troops, but they were trained soldiers nevertheless, and severely outnumbered Mumbarra's comparatively measly 120-man company. Unlike in other parts of the city, here Farenday's marines were unable to employ shock tactics and gain the upper hand, being beaten back by the USMC's mechanics and forklift drivers. At approximately 15:30, a number of Bell UH-1 "Iroquois" transport helicopters with door machineguns began to arrive from the US 3rd Marine Division, stationed further north in Okinawa. Now outnumbered and outgunned, Major Mumbarra radio'd 1/D company to retreat across the Aja river through pre-established safe routes (as much of the area was now mined or booby trapped.)

Around this time, FPMC troops began to arrive to their defensive positions, centered around Shurijo Castle. An M2 Browning heavy machinegun was established in one of its walls overlooking the east, from where reconnaissance helicopters belonging to the Imperial Japanese Navy 7th Special Naval Landing Brigade were engaged. Of the three spotted, one was downed by automatic fire. Half an hour later, transport helicopters containing IJN SNL marines suppressed the pirates' machinegun position with their own fire, and disembarked not far from them. Unlike the understaffed 15th Brigade, or the mainly POG USMC units within Base Kinser, these were an elite combat formation of the IJN, which aggressively moved in to destroy 2/A Company. Through the use of booby trapping, meat shields, IEDs, sniper fire, mines, claymores and civilian clothing, 2/A held off the 7th SNL Brigade's soldiers, even as reinforcements began to arrive. By 17:00, 1/B and 1/C had arrived to reinforce their allies. A successful counter-attack resulted in the IJN retreating to reorganise and await reinforcements, while the Farenday marines took advantage of the situation and also retreated, leaving numerous traps and explosive artifacts in the way. By the time an entire battalion of the 7th SNL Brig. had amassed and gone on the pursuit, this sector had been reinforced by 2/D Company. 

Approximately 16:50, 1/A Company from TF Thunderstruck arrived to reinforce fighting positions across the Aja River. USMC armoured units from the 3rd Marine Division equipped with M48 Patton main battle tanks began to arrive, pushing back the Oceanykans in a combined arms assault. Were it not for the IEDs and mines, Task Force Northstar would have been overrun and destroyed then and there. One hour of fighting ensued, in which both sides took grueling casualties. At 18:20, 2/B and 2/C companies arrived, but the pirates were still outnumbered and did not possess neither tanks nor helicopters, while the USMC did.

By 18:30, Colonel Uribe Mendoza of the FPMC radio'd all units subordinate to the 9th Regiment, and ordered them to retreat; they were going to sail away in 20 minutes. Under the cover of smoke grenades, and with the enemy extremely wary of any traps, all eight companies successfully regrouped at Tomari Port. American fighter jets had been circling in the air for some time now, but communication with American-Japanese forces had been limited to informing them that the pirates had hundreds of hostages on their ships, which dissuaded all attempts at fighting them using artillery or air-dropped bombs. At close formation, all eight Liberty-class ships sailed for the coast of the Phillipines, carrying with them 620 hostages and approximately $200,000,000 USD (1960) in jewelry, computers, TVs, home appliances, radars, guns, ammunition, luxury goods, car and aircraft parts, technical specialists and electronics.

The Imperial Japanese Navy's Western Fleet, based in the city of Sasebo 800km to the north, was hot on their trail. The pirates' modified Liberty-class transports were able to maintain a higher top speed than their enemy's warships, who could not resort to aerial bombing either for fear of killing innocent civilians. However, they were intercepted on the way by vessels belonging to the United States Navy Special Warfare Service (headquartered in Guam), and containing none other than SEAL Team Three. Knowing full well that Farenday's pirates were masters at close-quarters combat within the confines of a ship, the US Navy decided to concentrate their eight 16-man platoons on the rearmost two vessels, boarding them with 64 men each. For comparison, in each of these vehicles there were 40 sailors and approximately 80 soldiers (as they had suffered casualties), meaning the SEALs were outnumbered two-to-one.

During the early morning hours, at approxiamately 01:40 of April 30th, Farenday's pirate convoy was intercepted by Destroyer Squadron 1's four Gearing-class destroyers and USS Guadalcanal, an Iwo-Jima Class Amphibious Assault Ship. Thanks to radar, this naval force spotted the Oceanykans far before the contrary was true. USS Guadalcanal's twenty helicopters, carrying one squad of six SEALs each, rushed to intercept their targets; ships 7 and 8. By the time the pirates had sounded a general alarm, the UH-1s were already practically on top. M60 Machinegun door gunners duelled with those manning the Liberty-class' anti-aircraft armaments, losing two rotorcraft before they had even boarded, which crashed into the Philipine Sea. The Navy SEALs, lacking a reliable method of boarding a ship from a helicopter, resorted to jumping from as low an altitude as possible. A brutal close-quarters firefight began, in which the eight Liberty-class was successfully seized and its hostages rescued. This ship sailed back to the American fleet with 24 prisoners of war, 83 hostages, and $20,000,000 in stolen goods. On the seventh ship, however, American forces were subjected to a vicious bayonet charge led by Colonel Uribe Mendoza himself (who was killed in action). All 58 SEALs on board were killed, with the Oceanykans losing 129 men. Only eleven sailors, most of them wounded, were left to man the ship. While the battle was raging, a further five helicopters were downed by automatic fire, forcing the Guadalcanal's rotorwing complement to retreat. 

US Navy ships tailing the convoy were met with missile fire at the Molucca Sea, where they were intercepted by the Farenday Pirate Navy's Northern Squadron. Two Gearing-class destroyers were severely damaged, and Destroyer Squadron 1 was forced to retreat. However, by this time the IJN Western Fleet had catched up. Its flagship, IJN Yamato, outclassed all of Oceanyka's present warships by far, but did not have any defence against Soviet AShMs such as the P-15 Termit. They were supported by an aerial squadron of Douglas A-4 Skyhawk light attackers and McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II fighters originating from USS Ticonderoga, redirected from operations gainst North Vietnam to aid the IJN in case they were ambushed. In the grueling battle, American aircraft faced off against the pirates' cutting-edge air defence umbrella consisting of S-75 Dvina long-range missiles and close defence weapons stations derived from the novel ZSU-23-4 Shilka air defence system. Battleship Yamato's enormous 46cm guns had the range to compete with the pirates' P-15 missiles, which were in limited supply. In the ensuing Malacca Sea Incident, one heavy cruiser and two destroyers belonging to the FPN were sunk, while the Japanese-American taskforce suffered from 9 downed jet aircraft, heavy damage to IJN Yamato, along with one destroyer and three frigates sunk.

It was common knowledge that once reaching the Banda Sea, pursuit would be impossible due to the concentration of pirate warships, spies and guerillas in the Malay Archipelago. All seven Liberty-class transports were unloaded at the city of Farenday on May 1st, coinciding with Labour Day. Celebrations by and for the Farenday Pirate Syndicate  were immense. While the pirates were drinking and partying, the Oceanykan Council attempted to leverage its influence with the Soviet Union to broker a more permanent peace agreement, as President Lyndon B. Johnson had threatened a full-scale naval invasion of northern Australia if the pirate threat was not kept on a leash. The Treaty of Jakarta (signed on the 8th of May) resulted in the release of 397 Japanese hostages and a permanent, binding agreement in which the Farenday Pirate Syndicate was to renounce acts of piracy against Japan or the United States. Of the other 140 captured Japanese citizens, 27 had been killed during the Philipine Sea boarding and 113 were "voluntarily contracted" to act as technical specialists (these were all engineers, electricians, IJAF or IJA weapons technicians, etc.) This event marks the end of the Kaizoku War.

Created by andreslucero 7 months ago. Last modified by andreslucero 2 weeks ago