Even the suicidal attacks by small groups of our Army and Navy airplanes, the surprise attacks by our submarines , and the actions of parachute units, although effective, could be regarded only as a strategical ruse on our part. It was a most depressing thought that we had no available means left for the exploitation of the strategical opportunities which might from time to time occur in the course of these operations.
At the end of the Battle of Leyte in the Philippines , the Allies were left with a two-month lull in their offensive operations before the planned invasion of Okinawa. Iwo Jima was strategically important: In addition, it was used by the Japanese to stage air attacks on the Mariana Islands from November through January The capture of Iwo Jima would eliminate these problems and provide a staging area for Operation Downfall — the eventual invasion of the Japanese Home Islands.
The distance of B raids could hypothetically be cut in half, and a base would be available for P Mustang fighters to escort and protect the bombers. American intelligence sources were confident that Iwo Jima would fall in one week.
Battle of Iwo Jima
In light of the optimistic intelligence reports, the decision was made to invade Iwo Jima and the operation was given the code name Operation Detachment. So successful was the Japanese preparation that it was discovered after the battle that the hundreds of tons of Allied bombs and thousands of rounds of heavy naval gunfire had left the Japanese defenders almost undamaged and ready to inflict losses on the U. Kuribayashi knew that Japan could not win the battle, but he hoped to inflict massive casualties on the American forces, so that the United States and its Australian and British allies would reconsider carrying out the invasion of Japan Home Islands.
While drawing inspiration from the defense in the Battle of Peleliu , Kuribayashi designed a defense that broke with Japanese military doctrine. Rather than establishing his defenses on the beach to face the landings directly, he created strong, mutually supporting defenses in depth using static and heavy weapons such as heavy machine guns and artillery. Takeichi Nishi 's armored tanks were to be used as camouflaged artillery positions. Because the tunnel linking the mountain to the main forces was never completed, Kuribayashi organized the southern area of the island in and around Mount Suribachi as a semi-independent sector, with his main defensive zone built up in the north.
The expected American naval and air bombardment further prompted the creation of an extensive system of tunnels that connected the prepared positions, so that a pillbox that had been cleared could be reoccupied. This network of bunkers and pillboxes favored the defense. The bunker was 90 feet deep and had tunnels running in various directions. Approximately gallon drums filled with water, kerosene, and fuel oil for generators were located inside the complex.
Gasoline powered generators allowed for radios and lighting to be operated underground. By February 19, , the day the Americans invaded, 11 miles of a planned 17 miles of tunnel network had been dug. Besides the Nanpo Bunker, there were numerous command centers and barracks that were 75 feet deep. Tunnels allowed for troop movement to go undetected to various defense positions. Hundreds of hidden artillery and mortar positions along with land mines were placed all over the island. Among the Japanese weapons were mm spigot mortars and a variety of explosive rockets.
Nonetheless, the Japanese supply was inadequate. Numerous Japanese snipers and camouflaged machine gun positions were also set up. Kuribayashi specially engineered the defenses so that every part of Iwo Jima was subject to Japanese defensive fire. He also received a handful of kamikaze pilots to use against the enemy fleet. Three hundred and eighteen American sailors were killed by kamikaze attacks during the battle. However, against his wishes, Kuribayashi's superiors on Honshu ordered him to erect some beach defenses.
These were the only parts of the defenses that were destroyed during the pre-landing bombardment. Starting on 15 June , the U. Navy and the U. Army Air Forces began naval bombardments and air raids against Iwo Jima, which would become the longest and most intense in the Pacific theater. The Japanese infantry fired on them, killing one American diver.
On the evening of 18 February, the Blessman was hit by a bomb from a Japanese aircraft, killing 40 sailors, including 15 members of her UDT. Unaware of Kuribayashi's tunnel defense system, many of the Americans assumed the majority of the Japanese garrison were killed by the constant bombing raids. The Japanese will surrender Iwo Jima without a fight. Harry Schmidt , commander of the Marine landing force, requested a day heavy shelling of the island immediately preceding the mid-February amphibious assault. Blandy , commander of the Amphibious Support Force Task Force 52 , did not believe such a bombardment would allow him time to replenish his ships' ammunition before the landings; he thus refused Schmidt's request.
Schmidt then asked for nine days of shelling; Blandy again refused and agreed to a three-day bombardment. This decision left much hard feeling among the Marines. After the war, Lieut. Each heavy warship was given an area on which to fire that, combined with all the ships, covered the entire island.
Each warship fired for approximately six hours before stopping for a certain amount of time. Poor weather on D minus 3 led to uncertain results for that day's bombardment. On D minus 2, the time and care that the Japanese had taken in preparing their artillery positions became clear. Later, 12 small craft attempting to land an underwater demolition team were all struck by Japanese rounds and quickly retired.
On D minus 1, Adm. Blandy's gunners were once again hampered by rain and clouds. Schmidt summed up his feelings by saying, "We only got about 13 hours worth of fire support during the 34 hours of available daylight. The limited bombardment had questionable impact on the enemy due to the Japanese being heavily dug-in and fortified. However, many bunkers and caves were destroyed during the bombing, giving it some limited success. The Japanese had been preparing for this battle since March , which gave them a significant head start. The entire battle involved about 60, U.
Marines and several thousand U. Fifth Fleet  Admiral Raymond A. Spruance in heavy cruiser Indianapolis. During the night, Vice Adm. Mitscher's Task Force 58, a huge carrier force, arrived off Iwo Jima. Also in this flotilla was Adm. Mitscher's fliers did contribute to the additional surface-ship bombardment that accompanied the formation of the amphibious craft.
Unlike the days of the pre-landing bombardment, D-Day dawned clear and bright. Major Howard Connor, 5th Marine Division signal officer, had six Navajo code talkers working around the clock during the first two days of the battle. These six sent and received over messages, all without error.
Unfortunately for the landing force, the planners at Pearl Harbor had completely misjudged the situation that would face Gen.
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The beaches had been described as "excellent" and the thrust inland was expected to be "easy. However, the ash did help to absorb some of the fragments from Japanese artillery. Marines were trained to move rapidly forward; here they could only plod. The weight and amount of equipment was a terrific hindrance and various items were rapidly discarded. First to go was the gas mask The lack of a vigorous response led the Navy to conclude that their bombardment had suppressed the Japanese defenses and in good order the Marines began deployment to the Iwo Jima beach. Kuribayashi was far from beaten, however.
In the deathly silence, landed US Marines began to slowly inch their way forward inland, oblivious to the danger. After allowing the Americans to pile up men and machinery on the beach for just over an hour, Kuribayashi unleashed the undiminished force of his countermeasures. At first it came as a ragged rattle of machine-gun bullets, growing gradually lower and fiercer until at last all the pent-up fury of a hundred hurricanes seemed to be breaking upon the heads of the Americans.
Marines On Iwo Jima: Volume 1, A Pictorial Record - Eric Hammel - Google Книги
Shells screeched and crashed, every hummock spat automatic fire and the very soft soil underfoot erupted underfoot with hundreds of exploding land mines Marines walking erect crumpled and fell. Concussion lifted them and slammed them down, or tore them apart Time-Life correspondent Robert Sherrod described it simply as "a nightmare in hell. The Japanese heavy artillery in Mount Suribachi opened their reinforced steel doors to fire, and then closed them immediately to prevent counterfire from the Marines and naval gunners. This made it difficult for American units to destroy a Japanese artillery piece.
This tactic caused many casualties among the Marines, as they walked past the reoccupied bunkers without expecting to suddenly take fresh fire from them. The mission was to fire on the enemy opposing the Marine landings on the beaches below. Amtracs , unable to do more than uselessly churn the black ash, made no progress up the slopes; their Marine passengers had to dismount and slog forward on foot. This allowed the Marines and equipment to finally make some progress inland and get off the jam-packed beaches. The Marines endured a fanatical man charge by the Japanese, but were able to keep their toehold on Airfield No.
Cole of the 23rd Marines was killed after single-handedly knocking out several pillboxes and a bunker, thereby earning the Medal of Honor. In the left-most sector, the Americans did manage to achieve one of their objectives for the battle that day. Tony Stein , a former toolmaker, had transformed a wing gun from a wrecked fighter plane into what he called his "stinger. The right-most landing area was dominated by Japanese positions at the Quarry.
The 25th Marine Regiment undertook a two-pronged attack to silence these guns. Their experience can be summarized by the ordeal of 2nd Lt. Benjamin Roselle, part of a ground team directing naval gunfire:. Within a minute a mortar shell exploded among the group Within minutes a second round landed near him and fragments tore into his other leg. For nearly an hour he wondered where the next shell would land. He was soon to find out as a shell burst almost on top of him, wounding him for the third time in the shoulder.
Almost at once another explosion bounced him several feet into the air and hot shards ripped into both thighs The 25th Marines' 3rd Battalion had landed approximately men in the morning. Japanese resistance at the Quarry was so fierce that by nightfall only were left in fighting condition, an astounding By the evening, 30, Marines had landed. About 40, more would follow. To the war correspondents covering the operation he confessed, "I don't know who he is, but the Japanese general running this show is one smart bastard. D-Day Medals of Honor: In the days after the landings, the Marines expected the usual Japanese banzai charge during the night.
This had been the standard Japanese final defense strategy in previous battles against enemy ground forces in the Pacific, such as during the Battle of Saipan. In those attacks, for which the Marines were prepared, the majority of the Japanese attackers had been killed and the Japanese strength greatly reduced. However, General Kuribayashi had strictly forbidden these "human wave" attacks by the Japanese infantrymen because he considered them to be futile. The fighting on the beachhead at Iwo Jima was very fierce.
The advance of the Marines was stalled by numerous defensive positions augmented by artillery pieces. There, the Marines were ambushed by Japanese troops who occasionally sprang out of tunnels. At night, the Japanese left their defenses under cover of darkness to attack American foxholes, but U. Navy ships fired star shells to deny them the cover of darkness.
On Iwo Jima and other Japanese held islands , Japanese soldiers who knew English were used to harass and or deceive Marines in order to kill them if they could; they would yell "corpsman" pretending to be a wounded Marine, in order to lure in U. Navy medical corpsmen attached to Marine infantry companies. The Marines learned that firearms were relatively ineffective against the Japanese defenders and effectively used flamethrowers and grenades to flush out Japanese troops in the tunnels.
One of the technological innovations of the battle, the eight Sherman M4A3R3 medium tanks equipped with a flamethrower "Ronson" or "Zippo" tanks , proved very effective at clearing Japanese positions. The Shermans were difficult to disable, such that defenders were often compelled to assault them in the open, where they would fall victim to the superior numbers of Marines. Close air support was initially provided by fighters from escort carriers off the coast.
This shifted over to the 15th Fighter Group , flying P Mustangs, after they arrived on the island on 6 March. Similarly, illumination rounds flares which were used to light up the battlefield at night were initially provided by ships, shifting over later to landing force artillery. Navajo code talkers were part of the American ground communications, along with walkie-talkies and SCR backpack radio sets. Kindle Edition File Size: Pacifica Military History 19 January Sold by: Amazon Australia Services, Inc. Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review. Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.
Thumbing through Hammel and Lane's book one initially suspects that the pictures are the story. Contrary to this first impression, the book is an excellent telling of the battle for Betio Island in the Tarawa Atoll. Augmented by literally hundreds of top quality combat photos the tale flows in a most easily understood fashion. The narrative recreates the action as it occurred on each beachhead and follows it along until a logical point occurs before switching to another beachhead.
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Progressing along the three initial beachheads the reader follows the action of individual men, squads, and remnants of platoons and companies fighting for a toehold. The confusion that occurred on all the landing zones is told in a most understandable manner. The slaughter caused by the low tide and the reef surrounding the island is well presented. The maps, placed in front of the book preceding the text, are excellent.
The book's weakness lays in its lack of a significant discussion of planning, strategy and the then existing conditions in the Pacific. Tarawa played a key roll in the future invasions of the Marshalls, the Marianas and beyond.
This was the first time an amphibious assault was made against a well-defended and contested beachhead. It also marked the turning point for amphibious assaults in that the LVTs Landing Vehicle Tracked were used for the first time as troop carriers instead of merely supply vehicles. As Admiral Hill stated, " Considering their all-important role, this is puzzling to this reviewer. This provides a clear factual account of the events in this brutal conflict. The gunfire did not die for thirty-four of the bloodiest days of the Pacific War.
Marines On Iwo Jima: A Photographic Record is an enhanced and expanded ebook edition of the hardcover and trade paperback book entitled Iwo Jima: Portrait of a Battle. The much larger book requires that it be presented in two volumes, each with more than three hundred photos. It was in a class by itself, a meatgrinder smashed by a
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