Iwo Jima

Discussion in 'History Forum' started by carpro, Feb 19, 2013.

  1. carpro

    carpro
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    Today in History. February 19

    Assault on Iwo Jima 1945

    A few interesting facts about Iwo Jima:


    Iwo Jima means Sulfur Island.

    The island is 8 square miles (4 miles wide by 2 miles long).
    American troops that landed at Iwo Jima were with the 3rd, 4th and 5th Marine divisions.

    The battle commenced on Feb. 19, 1945.

    The American flag was raised at Mount Suribachi on day four of a battle that lasted 36 days.

    A nickname was bestowed on Mount Suribachi by American troops — Meatgrinder Hill.

    There were more Congressional Medals of Honor bestowed at the Battle of Iwo Jima than any other battle in American history. A total of

    27 medals were awarded

    (13 posthumously).

    The youngest Medal of Honor recipient was Jacklyn Lucas, who had turned 17 on Valentine’s Day 1945, just days before the battle had begun. Lucas, who in 1942 told recruiters he was 17, was

    actually only 14 when he joined the Marines.

    Approximately 19,000 Marines were killed during World War II. What is staggering to note is that one-third of Marines killed in action died during the Battle of Iwo Jima.

    To put it more succinctly, one in three Marines at the Battle of Iwo Jima was either killed or wounded.

    American casualties included 6,891 dead and

    18,070 wounded.

    Of their japanese opponents approximately 22,000 soldiers — only 1,083 survived.
     
  2. kyredneck

    kyredneck
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    Incredible. Of course you know what they say about hindsight, long read but informative....:

    Worth the Cost? Justificaton of the Iwo Jima Invasion

    "....U.S. commanders had seriously underestimated the defenses on Iwo Jima, incorrectly assumed Japanese defensive strategy, and overrated the effects of American technological and numerical superiority.....resulting in the most appalling battle of the Pacific War.

    "...Operation Detachment (the code name for the U.S. war plan to invade Iwo Jima) was the largest U.S. Marine Corps operation ever conducted. It cost the lives of over 25,000 Americans and Japanese."

    "....tragically, the decision of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to seize Iwo Jima cost thousands of American lives for an objective that never fulfilled its intended purposes—a truth that historians have not addressed for over 60 years. The valuable lessons of Iwo Jima lie covered and dormant, buried under myth and legend."

    "....the planning for Iwo Jima demonstrates that the service rivalry resulting from the dual advance of the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Army in the Pacific heavily influenced the decision to initiate Operation Detachment. Rather than waiting for the army to complete its seizure of the Philippines in 1944...."

    "...This alliance between the navy, which was seeking to outflank the army, and the Army Air Forces, which wanted to prove the case for strategic bombing in order to create an independent postwar air service, satisfied their respective interests. However, the U.S. Marine Corps, which paid by far the heaviest price for carrying out Operation Detachment, remained excluded from the decision-making process...."

    "Combat on Iwo Jima was perhaps the most brutal, tragic, and costly in American history. Scholars have never yet sufficiently addressed the strategic decisions and ensuing justifications for Iwo Jima."

    "After Iwo Jima had failed to fulfill its purpose as a fighter escort base, the military presented several other justifications for Operation Detachment. Some of those reasons have more validity than others; none outweighs the tremendous cost incurred in capturing the island.

    "The major weakness in the conduct of the Pacific War was in the inability of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to unify the efforts of the army and navy. Consequently, the army, navy, and Army Air Forces conducted separate and competing campaigns against Japan. Operation Detachment derived from Army Air Forces strategy, brought about by the need to improve disappointing B-29 operations, in an atmosphere of fierce competition, and with the fear of losing potential autonomy. At the cost of thousands of lives, Operation Detachment provided an air base of questionable value, with a price that neither the public nor the military could swallow."

    Initially, at least, there was public criticism about the need for Iwo Jima. Writing in Newsweek, Adm. William V. Pratt, a retired chief of naval operations, summarized the situation on the home front: "There has been a certain amount of public criticism over this expenditure of manpower to acquire a small, Godforsaken island, useless to the Army as a staging base and useless to the Navy as a fleet base. The public wants to know if the occupation of Iwo Jima was a military necessity and wonders if the same sort of airbase could not have been reached by acquiring other strategic localities at lower cost."

    That assessment rings true today."
     
  3. kyredneck

    kyredneck
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    From the above article:

    ""Combat on Iwo Jima was perhaps the most brutal, tragic, and costly in American history."

    Not quite true though:

    "The Battle of Antietam also known as the Battle of Sharpsburg.... was the bloodiest single-day battle in American history, with 22,717 dead, wounded and missing on both sides combined"
     
  4. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
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    While written about the next battle (Okinawa) Jeff Shaara's docu-fiction account of fighting is some of the most horrific and gut-wrenching I've ever read. And I've read plenty.

    Hard to imagine any marine living thru that hell. I always read 100 pages of fiction at night in bed before sleep. Last couple of nights have been so wretched/tearful reading about the sacrifice of these men.

    Highly recommend the book (as I do 100% of Shaara's works on the Civil War, Revolution, Mexican, WWII. His WWI novel is a weak sister. But this one "THE FINAL STORM" of the War in the Pacific in 1945 is the most graphic.
     
  5. carpro

    carpro
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    I have had the pleasure of knowing 2 wounded survivors of the Iwo Jima campaign. I am a Marine Vietnam veteran, and I was simply awed in their presence.

    Both have passed now, but I live around the corner from a 90 year old Marine that was at Tarawa. He's a heck of a guy. I am in awe of him as well.

    I realize the cost of the Iwo Jima campaign was questionable, but the sacrifice and hardship suffered by the Marines who fought there is not.

    It was a battle of attrition with no quarter asked or given. It was also a forecast of the difficulties coming in the next major battle in the Pacific, Okinawa, and may have had a huge impact on the decision to deploy nuclear weapons.
     
    #5 carpro, Feb 21, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 21, 2013
  6. Crabtownboy

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    Tough books to read. Even with his skills I doubt Sharra described the horrors as horribly as they were. I stand in awe of those who fought through such battles and came back with any sanity left within them.

    In the 21st century we have sanitized war, making it more acceptable to the general public.

    Here is a photo from Iwo Jima that gives some perspective:

    [​IMG]
     

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