by Cameron Coil and Jules Ross - Edit
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The Battle of Iwo Jima also known as Operation Detachment (February 19- March 26, 1945) was a battle between the United States and the Japanese during WW2. It was required to be captured by the United States before the invasion of Okinawa, in April 1945. Located approximately mid-way between the Marianas and the Japanese Home Islands, Iwo Jima served as an early warning station for Allied bombing raids and provided a base for Japanese fighters to intercept approaching bombers. Major General Harry Schmidt V was put in charge of the operation. The General in charge of the island for the Japanese was General Tadamichi Kuribayashi. He knew that the Imperial Japanese Navy would not be able to offer support during an invasion of the island, so his goal was to kill as many Americans as possible before they captured the island. He encouraged his men to fight to the death and to take ten Americans with them before they died.Through this he hoped to discourage the Allies from attempting an invasion of Japan.



Start of the Battle of Iwo Jima

American commander’s involved:

Admiral Raymond A. Spruance:
Overall commander.

Vice Admiral Richmond Kelly Turner:
Joint Expeditionary Force commander

Admiral Harry W. Hill:
Second in command of the Joint Expeditionary Force

Lieutenant General Holland M. Smith ("Howlin' Mad" Smith)
Assigned as the commanding general of the expeditionary troops. 


Major General Harry Schmidt:
Commanded the 5th Amphibious Corps.

Japanese commanders:

Lieutenant General Tadamichi Kuribayashi was assigned to command the defense of Iwo Jima.


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The American planned called for the 4th and 5th Marine Divisions to go ashore on Iwo Jima's southeastern beaches with the goal of capturing Mt. Suribachi and the southern airfield on the first day.Heading towards the beach, the first wave of Marines landed at 8:59 AM and initially met little resistance. Sending patrols off the beach, they soon encountered Kuribayashi's bunker system. Quickly coming under heavy fire from the bunkers and gun emplacements on Mt. Suribachi, the Marines began to take heavy losses. The situation was further complicated by the island's volcanic ash soil which prevented the digging of foxholes. The Marines also found that clearing a bunker did not put it out of action as Japanese soldiers would use the tunnel network to make it operational again. This practice would be common during the battle and led to many casualties when Marines believed they were in a "secure" area. Utilizing naval gunfire, close air support, and arriving armoured units, the Marines were slowly able to fight their way off the beach. Around 10:35 AM a force of Marines succeeded in reaching the island's western shore and cutting off Mt. Suribachi. Under heavy fire from Mt. Suribachi, efforts were made over the next few days to neutralize the Japanese on the mountain. This culminated with American forces reaching the summit on February 23 and the raising of the flag atop the heights.



Victory of the Battle of Iwo Jima

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Fighting to the last man, the Japanese made superb use of the terrain and their tunnel network, constantly popping out to surprise the Marines. Continuing to push north, the Marines encountered fierce resistance at the Motoyama Plateau and nearby Hill 382 during which the fighting bogged down. A similar situation developed to the west at Hill 362. With the advance halted and casualties mounting, Marine commanders began changing tactics to combat the nature of the Japanese defenses. These include assaulting with out preliminary bombardments and night attacks.
By March 16, after weeks of brutal fighting, the island was declared secure.


Aftermath

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After over a month, The Battle of Iwo Jima marked tremendous loses for both sides. Japanese losses in the fighting for Iwo Jima range from 17,000 to 21,500 killed, and 216 captured. During the fighting only 216 Japanese soldiers were captured. When the island was declared secured again on March 26, approximately 3,000 Japanese remained alive in the tunnel system. While some carried on limited resistance or committed ritual suicide, others emerged to scavenge for food. US Army forces reported in June that they had captured an additional 867 prisoners and killed 1,602. American losses for Operation Detachment were a staggering 6,821 killed/missing and 19,200 wounded. The fighting for Iwo Jima was the one battle in which American forces sustained a greater number of total casualties than the Japanese. A bloody and pricey victory for America provided valuable lessons for the upcoming Okinawa campaign.

US Navy Ships Sunk or Badly Damaged By Enemy Action at Iwo Jima

Date
Name
Cause
Killed
Wounded
17 Feb
LCI(G)-438
Coastal battery
0
4

LCI(G)-441
Coastal battery
7
21

LCI(G)-449
Coastal battery
21
18

LCI(G)-450
Coastal battery
0
6

LCI(G)-457
Coastal battery
1
20

LCI(G)-466
Coastal battery
5
19

LCI(G)-469
Coastal battery
0
7

LCI(G)-473
Coastal battery
0
31

LCI(G)-474
Coastal battery
3
18

18 Feb
Blessman (DE-69)
Air attack
42
29

Gamble (DD-123)
Air attack
5
9

20 Feb
LSM-216
Air attack
0
0

21 Feb
Bismarck Sea (CVE-95)
Air attack
119
99

Saratoga (CV-3)
Air attack
123
192

Napa (APA-157)
Air attack
0
0

25 Feb
LCI(M)-760
Coastal battery
0
2

28 Feb
Terry (DD-513)
Coastal battery
11
19

Whitley (AKA-91)
Air attack
0
5

Source: Adapted from Miller, Kimberly J. "Battle for Iwo Jima: WWII Fact Sheet" Wasington, D.C.: Navy & Marine Corps WWII Commemorative Committee [subsequently disestablished], Navy Office of Information, n.d.; and Morison, Samuel Eliot. Victory in the Pacific, 1945 – History of the United States Naval Operations in World War II, Vol 14. (Boston: Little, Brown, 1960): 389.




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Sources


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Iwo_Jima
http://www.history.navy.mil/library/online/battleiwojima.htm
http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/battle_of_iwo_jima.htm