The fighting on Okinawa had features that were all its own, but even so its dynamics bore a startling resemblance to the fierce no-man’s-land fighting of World War I. The conditions of warfare for both sides, but especially for the Japanese, were governed by the reality of the caves. The Okinawa caves were in some ways a unique response to the lethal mass of enemy artillery the IJA 32d Army faced, and given what they were intended to do, the caves were extremely successful. An entrance to a cave held by the Japanese on Okinawa. Cave Warfare The caves were largely responsible for the denseness and immobility of the fighting on Okinawa. Without them the Japanese would not have been able to continue to fight at all, and they greatly influenced the tactics both sides found themselves using. As an operational device, the Okinawa caves surpassed the trench systems of World War I in some respects, and in their self-sufficiency the caves were an evolution toward the style of tunnel system used by the North Vietnamese at Cu Chi. A flame-throwing tank fires into an enemy held cave.