GUAM -- American carrier-based planes have destroyed or damaged 49 Japanese ships in almost continuous attacks on the Ryukyus Islands it was announced today as Radio Tokyo reported that a huge heavily guarded transport armada was bearing down on Okinawa 330 miles south of Japan led by minesweepers.
More than 100 Superfortresses from the Marianas blasted targets on the southern Japanese island of Kyushu Big guns of Adm. Raymond A Spruance's U S 5th Fleet hammered Okinawa With thousands of shells Saturday for the ninth successive day The British Pacific fleet again battered the Sakishiraa Islands between Formosa and Okinawa.
The Japanese were reeling under some of the heaviest blows of the Pacific war Radio Tokyo said "one-fourth to one-third" of all of America's naval power I now was concentrated in the far west-ern Pacific on Japan's doorstep intensifying attacks which have cost the Japanese 976 planes and 104 to 108 ships destroyed or damaged in two weeks.
Dispatches from the American fleet flagship said Okinawa was a scene of "utter desolation" A thick black cloud of smoke covered the island.
Nimitz Announces Score
Admiral Chester W. Nimitz announced that fast carrier task forces battered Kyushu and the Ryukyu Islands Wednesday and Thursday.
They ran up the following score:
"SUNK: Two destroyer escorts, one medium cargo ship, 10 small cargo ships, four luggers, one motor torpedo boat -- total 18.
PROBABLY SUNK: Nine medium cargo ships, five small cargo ships -- total 14.
DAMAGED: One destroyer escort, 13 small cargo ships, one medium cargo ship -- total 15.
In addition carrier planes attacking numerous targets on Okinawa on Friday destroyed four submarine pens and two torpedo boats. The carrier planes in the Wednesday-Thursday attacks shot down 29 Japanese planes and one glider in air battles, destroyed 16 planes on the ground and damaged or destroyed 42 others aground. American losses were 12 planes and six pilots.
Biggest Battleships Fight
On Friday fleet battleships including n e w 45,000 tonners steamed up to Okinawa and shelled shore installations at close range. They breached sea walls and hammered gun positions airfields and bridges.
Nimitz said the Oldnawa attacks by both planes and surface ships continued through Saturday.
Tokyo radio said the gigantic fleet had been reinforced and warships alone numbered 150 including 17 battleships: The enemy said part of the fleet had approached Kume Island 50 miles west of Okinawa.
The enemy said the start of landings on Okinawa could be only a matter of time and the radio quoted one Japanese newspaper that "the time for the decisive battle between Japan and America finally has come upon us."
Tokyo Tells of Shelling
Tokyo said American minesweepers were preparing for landing operations off Okinawa end were followed by a powerful transport armada/ It said "thousands upon thousands of shells are landing on Okinawa."
Japanese communiques claimed Japanese forces had sunk 30 American ships including two carriers and a battleship --and damaged 20 others.
The British fleet yesterday struck the Sakashimas, which it also had hit last Monday and Tuesday, Nimitz said. On Friday, Army Liberator bombers attacked the Japanese naval base at Kataoka on Shimushu in the Northern Kurile Islands.