Battle of Iwo Jima

February 15, 1945

Background

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the American military was in desperate need for an air base close to the coast of Japan. They saw the island of Iwo Jima as the perfect opportunity, being only a little over 500 miles from the east coast of mainland Japan. The invasion began with an amphibious approach where the American army met 23,000 soldiers defending the island.

The decision to invade Iwo Jima was one of the most strategic moves that the US made throughout the entire war. Having an air base that close to Japan would help them tremendously in the outcome of WW2.

Japan

Japanese soldiers were trying their hardest to fight off the countless Americans that were continuously flooding their shores. 23,000 Japanese men awaited the arrival of the US troops. The Japanese army had dug an intricate series of caves, dugouts, tunnels, and underground installations to pose extreme advantages against the Americans. Japan held a huge defensive advantage against America. Their defense systems ran deep into the island with over 11 miles of underground tunnels in case of air attacks and machine guns, snipers, artillery, and mines were set up and camouflaged around the island. Japan was more than prepared, but they were out-manned and out-gunned.

America

Iwo Jima was crucial for the American military during WW2. Iwo Jima was seen as a perfect place to serve for damaged planes on their way to the east coast of Asia. The invasion of the island was a part of a three-point plan to win the war in the Far East. With the first attack of naval boats and air bombers, the battle was already considered over. Air raids had originally begun in June of 1944. The first amphibious attack was in February, 1945. There was over 450 US ships and 60,000 American soldiers. America held a distinct advantage in terms of numbers of men and weapons that their men carried. The image of 6 American men raising the flag is the most popular picture from Iwo Jima and is the image that represented the USA in WW2.

The Battle

The battle of Iwo Jima is one of the most famous battles that the US fought in during WW2. It was the only battle that America fought in that they had more casualties than their enemy. The battle itself, lasted only 36 days, but there was a series of air raids and bombings that begun in June of 1944. Little by little, the American military conquered more and more of the island. Americans had introduced a new weapon to the war game: the flamethrower. While it was extremely useful to destroy Japanese pill boxes, it created an easy target for Japanese snipers.

Even with the lack of Japanese casualties, America hands down won the battle fairly easily. The Battle of Iwo Jima was possibly the most important battle for US troops. The ability for them to use the two airfields on the island set up their fate for the rest of the war.

Conclusion

It took America barely over a month to fully control the island of Iwo Jima. Even with their extensive casualties, 7,000 dead & 18,000 wounded, American troops managed to pull of a huge win against Japan. This battle showed America how willing Japan was to protect their land. This is what decided whether or not to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. America left their mark on Japan with their dominance on the island of Iwo Jima.

Works Cited

Battle of Iwo Jima. (2014, April 11) Wikipedia. Retrieved on April 14, 2014 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Iwo_Jima

Battle of Iwo Jima. (1996) History Channel. Retrieved on April 15, 2014 from http://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/battle-of-iwo-jima

Battle for Iwo Jima. The Navy Department Library. Retrieved on April 15, 2014 from http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/events/wwii-pac/iwojima/iwojima.htm