Custom Search
To find what you are looking for on Effectual History.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

1945 Battle of Iwo Jima; Like No Other

1945 Battle of Iwo Jima; Like No Other

The 1945 battle of Iwo Jima, on a tiny eight- square-mile volcanic island about 650 miles south of Tokyo, was of vast significance; most importantly the contribution the capture of that island had in regards to the conclusion of World War II.

Not coincidentally or separately, Germany surrendered to the Allies on the Western Front less than two months after the 36-day U.S. Marine conquest of Iwo Jima, March 26, 1945. And the subsequent Japanese surrender August 14, just days after atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, was precipitated in part by the resolution of the same battle.

Iwo Jima was unique because 22,000 Japanese soldiers fought the entire battle from 1,500 underground rooms connected by 16 miles of tunnels; and U.S. soldiers fought above ground, rarely if ever seeing the enemy.

Historical facts, figures, and footnotes about the battle of Iwo Jima include:

* Until that conquest, no foreign army successfully had trod on Japanese soil throughout Japan’s 5,000-year history

* Japan’s military strategy, led by Canadian-educated General Kuribayashi, didn’t include provision for Japanese soldier survival, but instead to die nobly for country and kill at least 10 Americans each in the process

* The U.S. coveted control of Iwo Jima because of its three airstrips and location … halfway between bomber bases on the Mariana Islands and Japan; a site where the U.S. could launch smaller escort planes to protect long-range B-29 bombers

* Although the U.S. bombed Iwo Jima from planes and naval vessels heavily prior to the February 19 ground assault, those strikes had little impact on the underground Japanese soldiers

* Within a span of 40 days, the U.S. sent an armada of 880 ships to confront the Japanese there

* Iwo Jima was the only World War II Marine battle where U.S. casualties (about 26,000,) exceeded enemy casualties (most of their 22,000 total)

* 70,000 U.S. Marines fought on Iwo Jima and nearly 7,000 died
* More Medal of Honor medals were awarded to U.S. Marines who fought on Iwo Jima than for any other single battle in U.S. history

Once captured, Iwo Jima immediately became a key link to U.S. bomber success in the South Pacific. From the capture date of March 26 to war’s end, a little more than 100 days, some 2,400 B-29 bombers carrying about 27,000 crewmen landed there.

The famous photograph of the U.S. flag being raised on Iwo Jima after the bloody attack where Marines--always visible to Japanese soldiers--used liquid gas, napalm, and hand grenades to kill unseen enemy soldiers, provides Americans with a mental image of sacrifice and courage.

Those who survived the 1945 battle of Iwo Jima and return to the Pacific island on memorial or historical trips describe the carnage those days in different ways. While one returning officer says, “The Japanese were not on Iwo Jima, they were in it,” another remembers friends dying by his side while he, wounded, crawled to safety.

No comments:

Post a Comment