Battle of Iwo Jima

"Iwo was another kind of war" Colonel Thomas M. Fields

United States vs. Japan

The United States, as part of their attack plan on Japan, was "island hopping" their way to Japan. Iwo Jima was a very crucial island to secure because it would provide an air base that would be a useful place for B-29 planes damaged over Japan to land. A victory over Iwo Jima would also insure that the US was within air-striking distance of Japan in case they needed to use the atomic bomb.


Japan hoped to fight off the Americans and defend their property. The Americans were completely on the offense. Their goal was to conquer the Japanese on this island and gain the island for a base.

Location

This battle was fought on the small Japanese island of Iwo Jima, located about 575 miles southeast of Japan's coast. It was a very long fight, lasting from February 19, 1945 to March 26, 1945.

Strategies

Japan
Japan's strategy was very unique. First of all, they didn't fight at the beach, they dug into the ground towards the center of the island. That way, the Americans would be lured all the way onto the island before they were attacked. Second, the Japanese soldiers planned not to survive. They knew they would lose, they just hoped that they could cause enough American casualties to discourage them. The Japanese were instructed to kill ten Americans before they themselves died.

America
Part of the US's strategy was to destroy the island of Iwo Jima before the American soldiers even made it to the island. It was bombed for three days prior to the Marines' landing. Then, the first wave of Marines was to land on the southeastern beach with the goal of capturing Mt. Suribachi in the first day. The second wave was to land on the western beach and start working their way into the island.

Outcome

After a long month of continuous fighting, America secured the island on March 16. But, fighting was still happening on the other side of the island to take down the last Japanese stronghold. One final attack by the Japanese was stopped and the Americans had completely taken Iwo Jima on March 26.

Impact

Although the Americans won, they had way more casualties than the Japanese. When the battle ended, 3,000 Japanese were still alive and the last ones did not surrender until 1951. Having Iwo Jima was a big asset, bombers were able to take off and land their for the rest of the war.