Event Page

The Battle of Iwo Jima

(1944—1945)

The Battle of Iwo Jima was supposed to take only five days according to U.S. military analysis. This invasion quickly became a killing field. Facing Japanese soldiers who were ordered to sacrifice their lives, the Americans fought a dedicated foe. Iwo Jima was a major battle in the Pacific Theater and a costly victory for the United States. The island became a base for bombers on their way to Japan and a refueling station for U.S. troops in the Pacific. The Battle of Iwo Jima was immortalized by the photo of six men raising an American flag atop Mount Suribachi, but of these men only three left the island and only one led a normal life. Over 6,800 Americans gave their lives, 27 earned medals of honor, and for those who went home, they would never forget the killing fields of Iwo Jima.

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Iwo Jima

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Pictures & Records (21)

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GeneralHolland.jpg
GeneralHolland.jpg
Source: US Marines; http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USMC/USMC-M-IwoJima/img/USMC-M-IwoJima-p24.jpg
IwoJimaUStroops2.jpg
IwoJimaUStroops2.jpg
US Marines climb up the volcanic island of Iwo Jima. Source: US Marines; http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USMC/USMC-M-IwoJima/img/USMC-M-IwoJima-p55.jpg
USMC-M-IwoJima-cvr.jpg
USMC-M-IwoJima-cvr.jpg
Source:US Marines; http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USMC/USMC-M-IwoJima/img/USMC-M-IwoJima-cvr.jpg
IwoJimaUStroops.jpg
IwoJimaUStroops.jpg
Source: US Marines: http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USMC/USMC-M-IwoJima/img/USMC-M-IwoJima-p45.jpg
USlandingplan.jpg
USlandingplan.jpg
IwoJimaUStroops4.jpg
IwoJimaUStroops4.jpg
Source: US Marine Corps
IwoJimaUStroops3.jpg
IwoJimaUStroops3.jpg
Source: US Marine Corps
firstflagraisingIwoJima.jpg
firstflagraisingIwoJima.jpg
First flag raising on Iwo Jima, not the famous flag raising with the larger American flag. Source: US Marine Corps
InjuredMarines.jpg
InjuredMarines.jpg
US Marine Corps photo
MailfromHome.jpg
MailfromHome.jpg
Soldier reads mail from home during the Battle of Iwo Jima. Source: U.S. Marine Corps
IwoJima.jpg
IwoJima.jpg
"Flag raising on Iwo Jima." Joe Rosenthal, Associated Press, February 23, 1945. 80-G-413988. (ww2_156.jpg)
IwoJimaFlagRaisers.jpg
IwoJimaFlagRaisers.jpg
World War II Iwo Jima Congressional Medal of Honor Recipients; Ira Hamilton Hayes, Michael Strank, Harlon H. Block, Franklin R. Sousley, Rene A. Gagnon and John H. Bradley Source: http://www.medalofhonor.com/IwoJimaFlagRaisers.jpg
IwoJima2.jpg
IwoJima2.jpg
Source: http://www.archives.gov/research/ww2/photos/images/ww2-155.jpg
ReneGagnon.jpg
ReneGagnon.jpg
Rene Gagnon was one of the six flag raisers on Iwo Jima.
JohnBradley.jpg
JohnBradley.jpg
John Bradley was one of the six flag raisers on Iwo Jima.
IWOJIMA HAYES.JPG
IWOJIMA HAYES.JPG
Ira Hayes was one of the six flag raisers on Iwo Jima.
HarlonBlock.jpg
HarlonBlock.jpg
Harlon Block was one of the six flag raisers on Iwo Jima.
Strank_M.jpg
Strank_M.jpg
Sgt. Michael Strank led the team of flag raisers on Iwo Jima.
FranklinSousley.gif
FranklinSousley.gif
Franklin Sousley was one of the six flag raisers on Iwo Jima.
General Kuribayashi
General Kuribayashi
General Kuribayashi, the Japanese Commander of Iwo Jima
President Truman greets the flag-raising survivors.
President Truman greets the flag-raising survivors.
Source: http://www.iwojima.com/bond/lbona.gif

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Japanese Strategy Held the Americans at Bay

Iwo Jima

General Kuribayashi

When U.S. military strategists planned the invasion of Iwo Jima, they estimated victory within five days. The United States did not anticipate the Japanese strategy of under-ground bunkers and suicidal soldiers that held off American forces for over a month and caused a devastating number of casualties. Iwo Jima was a strategic outpost for both the Japanese and the Americans. It was part of Japan, and, until then, Japanese soil had not been successfully invaded in over 5,000 years. The Japanese did not want to hold on to Iwo Jima simply for pride or tradition. Japan knew that if the Americans captured the tiny island, they could mercilessly bomb Tokyo and other Japanese strongholds. Japan no longer had the men and the supplies to fight a massive war. Therefore, the strategy in Iwo Jima was more about delay than men or victory.

            The Japanese strategy in Iwo Jima consisted of three parts. First, the Japanese did not fight above ground. They dug over 1,000 rooms in the rock and over 16 miles of tunnels connecting the rooms. This allowed the Japanese to have cover on an island that lacked sufficient vegetation or landmarks to hide behind. This protected the Japanese soldiers and left the American troops vulnerable. The second part of the strategy called for no Japanese survivors. The Japanese troops on Iwo Jima knew reinforcements could not be sent, and so they fought to the death. The third part of the strategy was that each Japanese soldier was ordered to kill ten Americans before they could sacrifice themselves. The Americans did not expect such a position from their enemy. This dedication by the Japanese military held off the Americans for over a month and cost 6,800 American lives. The Japanese lost almost 20,000 men in this fight to the death. The killing fields of Iwo Jima stands as a testament to the sacrifice of those who fight, no matter which side they fight for.

 

Sources: http://www.world-war-2.info/battle/bt_14.php; http://www.iwojima.com/battle/battlea.htm

 

 

 

Added by Clio

Event Details

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Casualties:
Japan: 19,000 casualties and deaths, 1,000 taken prisoner 1
United States: 25,000 casualties, with 6,800 dead 1
Date:
From: 19 Feb 1945 2
To: 26 Mar 1945 2
Event:
Also known as: Operation Detachment 2
Name: Battle of Iwo Jima 2
Amphibious Corps landing force leaves for Iwo Jima:
15 Feb 1945 3
Bombing of Iwo Jima by Amphibious Support Force:
Febrary 16, 1945--February 18, 1945 3
First B-29s land on Iwo Jima:
04 Mar 1945 3
Japanese survivors launch a final desperate attack:
25 Mar 1945 3
Last Japanese fight in Cushman’s Pocket defeated:
16 Mar 1945 3
Marine Divisions land on Iwo Jima:
19 Feb 1945 3
Nimitz informs Gen. Smith that Iwo Jima is target:
09 Oct 1944 3
The 28th Marines plant flag on Mt. Suribachi:
23 Feb 1945 3
The last U.S. Marines leave Iwo Jima:
18 Apr 1945 3
U.S. Military Government proclaimed on Iwo Jima:
14 Mar 1945 3
U.S. Navy bombs the Volcano and Bonin Islands:
June 24, 1944--July 4, 1944 3
People or Groups:
Name: General Holland Smith 2
Role: Commander of U.S. forces during the Battle of Iwo Jima 2
People or Groups:
Name: General Kuribayashi 2
Role: Japanese Commander on Iwo Jima 2
Place:
Location: Iwo Jima 2

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