Battle of Iwo Jima

Operation Detachment


The Battle of Iwo Jima was fought on the island of Iwo Jima itself. The battle was fought between the Japanese Imperial Army and the United States Armed Forces. The US planned to take the whole island and the three major airfields located there. The Japanese were defending their land to try and hold on to whatever they could. The initial invasion occurred on February 19,1945 while the fighting lasted for 35 days and ended March 26, 1945 to be known as one of the bloodiest battles of World War II.

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The plan for the US was to simply land 2 Marine Divisions on the beach and another further away to provide support troops or defense, if necessary. Then, multiple other Regiments would land after the initial forces were already ashore. The Japanese plan was to employ standard guerrilla warfare tactics to defend themselves. There tactics consisted of mainly of flanking the Marines to get a few shots off before taking cover. The American forces eventually won the battle and left no survivors. Though a few Japanese troops escaped into the tunnels of the island, they were eventually killed or died from their injuries. After the capturing of Iwo Jima, the US could use the airfields throughout the rest of the war to land planes and to use the island as a place to write plans for conquering Japan.


The commanding general of the US Marine Corps at the Battle of Iwo Jima was Holland McTyeire "Howlin Mad" Smith. He earned his nickname from his troops in the Dominican Republic in 1916. He is commonly referred to as "The Father of Amphibious Warfare". He served as the commanding general of Fleet Marine Force, Pacific and then Task Force 56 at Iwo Jima. Smith was born on April 20, 1882 in Hatchechubee, Alabama and died on January 12, 1967 (age 84) in San Diego, California and was buried at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.

General Tadamichi Kuribayashi was the leading general for the Imperial Japanese Army forces during the Battle of Iwo Jima. Tadamichi was a part-time writer, haiku poet and diplomat while he was not commanding his troops. He refused to lead banzai charges as they were an unnecessary waste of lives in his eyes. He was born on July 7,1891 in Nagano Prefecture, Japan and is assumed to have died in action at Iwo JIma on March 26, 1945 although his body was never identified by the US Military.

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