GUAM -- The American 10th Army has won the battle of Okinawa after 82 days of the bloodiest fighting of the Pacific war, Admiral Chester W. Nimitz announced today.
Simultaneously, Gen. Douglas MacArthur in a surprise move appointed Gen. Joseph W. (Vinegar Joe) Stilwell, Chief of U. S. Army Ground Forces, to command the victorious 10th in the climactic battle of Japan.
Nimitz's brief, triumphant communique reported all organized Japanese resistance on Okinawa, hard-won stepping stone island only 330 miles southwest of Japan ended today.
"Remnants of the enemy garrison in two small pockets in the southern portion of the island are being mopped up," the communique said.
The return of one of America's most experienced Eastern warriors to a field command for the final battles came as Tokyo broadcast that the United States apparently already has begun preparations for a "direct invasion of the Japanese mainland."
Stilwell will succeed Lt. Gen. Simon Bolivar Buckner, Jr., who was killed in action on Okinawa only Monday as he watched his forces carve up the Japanese in the final phase of the bloody campaign.
On Okinawa, only a handful of diehard Japanese remained in shrinking pockets, the largest 1,500 yards in diameter. American guns ceased fire for fear of hitting attacking Marines and Doughboys.
Japanese casualties on Okinawa passed the 90,000-mark as the bloodiest campaign in the Pacific war entered its 82nd day. A total of 87,343 Japanese dead had been counted through Tuesday and 2,565 other enemy troops had surrendered.
Radio Tokyo said informed quarters in the Japanese capital reported American preparations under way "for their next operations, which in all probability will involve direct invasion" of Japan.
Tokyo cited these signs of American intentions:
l -- B-29 raids on small as well as large Japanese cities point to an attempt to destroy the country's transportation network and factories in a prelude to invasion.
2 -- More than 100 American transports are at anchor in the American-won Kerama Islands southwest of Okinawa and two naval task forces have appeared near Miyako Island, farther southwest.
3 -- Gen. Douglas MacArthur's establishment of a Western Pacific command indicates that large bases are to be et up for the assembly of personnel and material for an invasion of Japan.
Radio Tokyo also revealed that the newspaper Matrichi had published photographs of Admirals Chester W. Nimitz, Raymond A. Spruance and other American officers who "guide the war strategy." strategy."
"An accompanying article," the broadcast said, "analyzes the enemy Pacific fleet, which may make its appearance in the near waters of Japan, giving its character and makeup through its length and breadth "
Still another broadcast said Japan was rushing the construction of portable electric blast furnaces to convert the scrap from bomb-devastated cities into grenades and other weapons to "smite the invaders."
Field dispatches from Okinawa said the last surviving Japanese civilians and troops on the island were milling about frantically in wild confusion under murderous American tank, anti-tank, machine- gun and small arms fire.
Though increasing numbers of Japanese soldiers were surrendering and committing suicide, others were fighting back against hopeless odds in an effort to make the American conquest of the stepping-stone island island 330 miles south of Japan as costly as possible.
Tenth Army forces who the split last Japanese survivors on the southern tip of the island into pockets on Tuesday split them again yesterday, clamping the doomed enemy into three death traps.
The first Marine Division in the west and Seventh Infantry Division on the east created the third pocket with a junction between the towns of Aragachi and Makabe atop Yaeju-Dake Plateau.
Aragachi, keystone of the northern and smaller pocket left by the plateau junction, was under frontal frontal assault by the 96th Infantry Division. The Japanese put up a stubborn fight from individual concrete pillboxes, but failed to halt the advancing Doughboys.
Marines of the Sixth Division squeezed the remaining Japanese around Ara Cape at the extreme southern tip of the island into a 1,000-square-yard them pocket behind them.