Battle of Iwo Jima

Battle of Iwo Jima

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Encyclopedia
The Battle of Iwo Jima (19 February–26 March 1945), or Operation Detachment, was a major battle in which the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 fought for and captured the island of Iwo Jima
Iwo Jima
Iwo Jima, officially , is an island of the Japanese Volcano Islands chain, which lie south of the Ogasawara Islands and together with them form the Ogasawara Archipelago. The island is located south of mainland Tokyo and administered as part of Ogasawara, one of eight villages of Tokyo...

 from the Empire of Japan
Empire of Japan
The Empire of Japan is the name of the state of Japan that existed from the Meiji Restoration on 3 January 1868 to the enactment of the post-World War II Constitution of...

. The U.S. invasion, charged with the mission of capturing the three airfields
Airbase
An airbase is a military airfield that provides basing and support of military aircraft....

 on Iwo Jima, resulted in some of the fiercest fighting in the Pacific Campaign
Pacific War
The Pacific War, also sometimes called the Asia-Pacific War refers broadly to the parts of World War II that took place in the Pacific Ocean, its islands, and in East Asia, then called the Far East...

 of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

.

The Imperial Japanese Army
Imperial Japanese Army
-Foundation:During the Meiji Restoration, the military forces loyal to the Emperor were samurai drawn primarily from the loyalist feudal domains of Satsuma and Chōshū...

 positions on the island were heavily fortified
Fortification
Fortifications are military constructions and buildings designed for defence in warfare and military bases. Humans have constructed defensive works for many thousands of years, in a variety of increasingly complex designs...

, with a vast network of bunkers, hidden artillery, and 18 km (11.2 mi) of underground tunnels. The Americans were covered by extensive naval and air support, capable of delivering an enormous amount of firepower onto the Japanese positions. The battle was the first American attack on the Japanese Home Islands
Japanese Archipelago
The , which forms the country of Japan, extends roughly from northeast to southwest along the northeastern coast of the Eurasia mainland, washing upon the northwestern shores of the Pacific Ocean...

, and the Imperial soldiers defended their positions tenaciously. Iwo Jima was also the only U.S. Marine
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

 battle where the American overall casualties exceeded the Japanese, although Japanese combat deaths numbered 3 times that of Americans. Of the more than 18,000 Japanese soldiers present at the beginning of the battle, only 216 were taken prisoner. The rest were killed or missing and assumed dead. Despite heavy fighting and casualties on both sides, Japanese defeat was assured from the start. The Americans possessed an overwhelming superiority in arms and numbers; this, coupled with the impossibility of Japanese retreat or reinforcement, ensured that there was no plausible scenario in which the U.S. could have lost the battle.

The battle was immortalized by Joe Rosenthal
Joe Rosenthal
Joseph John Rosenthal was an American photographer who received the Pulitzer Prize for his iconic World War II photograph Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima, taken during the Battle of Iwo Jima. His picture became one of the best-known photographs of the war.-Early life:Joseph Rosenthal was born on...

's photograph of the raising of the U.S. flag
Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima
Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima is a historic photograph taken on February 23, 1945, by Joe Rosenthal. It depicts five United States Marines and a U.S. Navy corpsman raising the flag of the United States atop Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II.The photograph was extremely...

 on top of the 166 m (544.6 ft) Mount Suribachi by five Marines
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

 and one Navy Corpsman
United States Navy Hospital Corpsman
A Hospital Corpsman is an enlisted medical specialist for the United States Navy who serves with Navy and United States Marine Corps units. The Hospital Corpsman works in a wide variety of capacities and locations, including shore establishments such as naval hospitals and clinics, aboard ships,...

. The photograph records the second flag-raising on the mountain, which took place on the fifth day of the 35-day battle. The picture became the iconic image of the battle and has been heavily reproduced.

Background


After the American seizure of the Marshall Islands
Gilbert and Marshall Islands campaign
In the Pacific Theater of World War II, the Gilbert and Marshall Islands campaign, from November 1943 through February 1944, were key strategic operations of the United States Pacific Fleet and Marine Corps in the Central Pacific. The campaign was preceded by a raid on Makin Island by U.S...

 and devastating air attacks
Operation Hailstone
Operation Hailstone was a massive naval air and surface attack launched on February 17–18, 1944, during World War II by the United States Navy against the Japanese naval and air base at Truk in the Caroline Islands, a pre-war Japanese territory.-Background:Truk was a major Japanese logistical base...

 against Truk in the Caroline Islands
Caroline Islands
The Caroline Islands are a widely scattered archipelago of tiny islands in the western Pacific Ocean, to the north of New Guinea. Politically they are divided between the Federated States of Micronesia in the eastern part of the group, and Palau at the extreme western end...

 in January 1944, the Japanese military leadership reappraised the military situation. All indications pointed to an American drive towards the Marianas
Mariana Islands
The Mariana Islands are an arc-shaped archipelago made up by the summits of 15 volcanic mountains in the north-western Pacific Ocean between the 12th and 21st parallels north and along the 145th meridian east...

 and Carolines
Caroline Islands
The Caroline Islands are a widely scattered archipelago of tiny islands in the western Pacific Ocean, to the north of New Guinea. Politically they are divided between the Federated States of Micronesia in the eastern part of the group, and Palau at the extreme western end...

. To counter such a move they established an inner line of defense extending generally northward from the Carolines to the Marianas, and thence to the Ogasawara Islands
Ogasawara Islands
The Bonin Islands, known in Japan as the are an archipelago of over 30 subtropical and tropical islands, some directly south of Tokyo, Japan. Administratively, they are part of Ogasawara Municipality of Ogasawara Subprefecture, Tokyo...

. In March 1944, the 31st Army
Thirty-First Army (Japan)
The was an army of the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II.-History:The Japanese 31st Army was formed on February 18, 1944 under the Imperial General Headquarters as a garrison force to contest landings by Allied forces in the Japanese South Seas Mandate island-by-island, and to inflict...

, commanded by General Hideyoshi Obata
Hideyoshi Obata
was a general in the Imperial Japanese Army in World War II.-Biography:Obata was a native of Osaka prefecture. He graduated from the 23rd class of the Imperial Japanese Army Academy in December 1911, and was commissioned as a lieutenant in the cavalry...

, was activated to garrison this inner line. The commander of the Chichi Jima garrison was placed nominally in command of Army and Navy units in the Ogasawara Islands. Daily bomber raids from the Marianas hit the mainland as part of Operation Scavenger
Operation Scavenger
During World War II, Operation Scavenger was the aerial bombardment of Iwo Jima and the Bonin Islands in 1944 as part of the preparation for the invasion and other fighting around the Marianas Islands....

. Iwo Jima served as an early warning station which radioed reports of incoming bombers back to mainland Japan, allowing Japanese air defenses to be prepared for the arrival of American bombers.

After the U.S. seized bases in the Marshalls in the battles of Kwajalein
Battle of Kwajalein
The Battle of Kwajalein was a battle of the Pacific campaign of World War II, fought from 31 January-3 February 1944, on Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. Employing the hard-learned lessons of the battle of Tarawa, the United States launched a successful twin assault on the main islands of...

 and Eniwetok
Battle of Eniwetok
-External links:* *...

 in February 1944, Army and navy reinforcements were sent to Iwo Jima: 500 men from the naval base at Yokosuka and 500 from Chichi Jima reached Iwo Jima during March and April 1944. At the same time, with reinforcements arriving from Chichi Jima and the home islands, the Army garrison on Iwo Jima had reached a strength of over 5,000 men. The loss of the Marianas during the summer of 1944 greatly increased the importance of the Ogasawaras for the Japanese, who were well aware that the loss of these islands would facilitate American air raids against the home islands, disrupting war manufacturing and severely damaging civilian morale. Final Japanese plans for the defense of the Ogasawaras were overshadowed by the fact that the Imperial Japanese Navy
Imperial Japanese Navy
The Imperial Japanese Navy was the navy of the Empire of Japan from 1869 until 1947, when it was dissolved following Japan's constitutional renunciation of the use of force as a means of settling international disputes...

 had already lost most of its strength and could no longer prevent American landings. Moreover, aircraft losses throughout 1944 had been so heavy that, even if war production were not affected by American air attacks, combined Japanese air strength was not expected to increase to 3,000 aircraft until March or April 1945. Even then, these planes could not be used from bases in the home islands against Iwo Jima because their range was not more than 900 km (559.2 mi); besides, all available aircraft had to be hoarded for possible use on Taiwan
Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

 and adjacent islands near land bases.

In a postwar study, Japanese staff officers described the strategy applied in the defense of Iwo Jima in the following terms:
At the end of the Battle of Leyte
Battle of Leyte
The Battle of Leyte in the Pacific campaign of World War II was the invasion and conquest of the island of Leyte in the Philippines by American and Filipino guerrilla forces under the command of General Douglas MacArthur, who fought against the Imperial Japanese Army in the Philippines led by...

 in the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

, the Allies
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

 were left with a two month lull in their operations before the planned invasion of Okinawa
Battle of Okinawa
The Battle of Okinawa, codenamed Operation Iceberg, was fought on the Ryukyu Islands of Okinawa and was the largest amphibious assault in the Pacific War of World War II. The 82-day-long battle lasted from early April until mid-June 1945...

. Iwo Jima was strategically important: it provided an airbase for Japanese aircraft to intercept long-range B-29 Superfortress
B-29 Superfortress
The B-29 Superfortress is a four-engine propeller-driven heavy bomber designed by Boeing that was flown primarily by the United States Air Forces in late-World War II and through the Korean War. The B-29 was one of the largest aircraft to see service during World War II...

 bombers and provided a haven for Japanese naval units in dire need of any support available. In addition, it was used by the Japanese to stage air attacks on the Mariana Islands
Japanese air attacks on the Mariana Islands
During World War II, a series of Japanese air attacks on the Mariana Islands took place between November 1944 and January 1945. These raids targeted United States Army Air Forces bases and sought to disrupt the bombing of Japan by B-29 Superfortress heavy bombers operating from the islands...

 from November 1944-January 1945. The capture of Iwo Jima would eliminate these problems and provide a staging area for the eventual invasion of the Japanese mainland
Operation Downfall
Operation Downfall was the Allied plan for the invasion of Japan near the end of World War II. The operation was cancelled when Japan surrendered after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the Soviet Union's declaration of war against Japan. The operation had two parts: Operation...

. The distance of B-29 raids would be cut in half, and a base would be available for P-51 Mustang
P-51 Mustang
The North American Aviation P-51 Mustang was an American long-range, single-seat fighter and fighter-bomber used during World War II, the Korean War and in several other conflicts...

 fighters to escort and protect the bombers. Intelligence sources were confident that Iwo Jima would fall in a week. In light of the optimistic intelligence reports, the decision was made to invade Iwo Jima: the landing was designated Operation Detachment. They were unaware that the Japanese were preparing a complex defensive posture, radically departing from any of their previous tactics. 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 left the Japanese defenders almost unscathed and ready to inflict losses on the U.S. Marines unparalleled up to that point in the Pacific War.

Japanese preparations


By June 1944, Lieutenant General Tadamichi Kuribayashi
Tadamichi Kuribayashi
General was a haiku poet, diplomat, and General of the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff. He is best known for being overall commander of the Japanese garrison during the Battle of Iwo Jima....

 was assigned to command the defense of Iwo Jima. 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 would reconsider the planned invasion of Japan
Operation Downfall
Operation Downfall was the Allied plan for the invasion of Japan near the end of World War II. The operation was cancelled when Japan surrendered after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the Soviet Union's declaration of war against Japan. The operation had two parts: Operation...

.

While drawing inspiration from the defense in the Battle of Peleliu
Battle of Peleliu
The Battle of Peleliu, codenamed Operation Stalemate II, was fought between the United States and the Empire of Japan in the Pacific Theater of World War II, from September–November 1944 on the island of Peleliu, present-day Palau. U.S...

, Kuribayashi designed a defense that broke with Japanese military doctrine. Rather than establish his defenses on the beach to oppose the landings directly, he created strong, mutually supporting defensive positions in depth using static and heavy weapons such as heavy machine guns and artillery, while Colonel Baron Takeichi Nishi
Takeichi Nishi
Colonel/Baron was a Japanese Imperial Army officer, equestrian show jumper, and Olympic Gold Medalist at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics. He was a tank unit commander at the Battle of Iwo Jima and was killed in action during the defense of the island....

's tanks were used as camouflaged artillery positions. Because the tunnel linking it 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, while the main defensive zone was built 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. The network of bunkers and pillboxes greatly favored the defender. Hundreds of hidden artillery and mortar positions along with land mines were placed all over the island. Among the Japanese weapons were 320 mm (12.6 in) spigot mortars and a variety of rockets. Numerous Japanese snipers and camouflaged machine gun positions were also present. Kuribayashi had specially engineered the defenses so that every part of the island was subject to Japanese fire. He also received a handful of kamikaze
Kamikaze
The were suicide attacks by military aviators from the Empire of Japan against Allied naval vessels in the closing stages of the Pacific campaign of World War II, designed to destroy as many warships as possible....

 pilots to use against the enemy fleet (318 Americans were killed by them throughout the battle). Against his wishes, however, Tokyo forced Kuribayashi to erect beach defenses which were the only part of the island's defenses destroyed in the pre-landing bombardment.

Invasion


Starting on 15 June 1944, the U.S. began routine strikes against Iwo Jima that would become the longest and most intense conflict in the Pacific theater. These would be a combination of naval assaults and bombings that would go on for almost one year. Major General Harry Schmidt requested for a ten day shelling of the island before the land invasion, but was given only three, which were impaired by the weather conditions. Each heavy ship was given an area to fire on which combined with all the ships covered the entire island. A ship would fire for approximately six hours before stopping for a certain amount of time. The bombing continued until 19 February 1945 — the day of the invasion, operationally known as "D-Day". The limited bombardment had questionable success on the enemy due to the Japanese being heavily holed in and fortified. Still many bunkers and caves were destroyed during the bombing giving it a limited success. The Japanese had been preparing for the battle since March 1944, which gave them a heavy advantage. By the time of the land invasion, more than 450 American ships were located off of Iwo Jima which would involve around 60,000 American Marines.
At 08:59, one minute ahead of schedule, the first of an eventual 30,000 Marines of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Marine divisions, under V Amphibious Corps
V Amphibious Corps
The V Amphibious Corps was a formation of the United States Marine Corps and was composed of the 3rd, 4th and 5th Marine Divisions during World War II. They were the amphibious landing force for the United States Fifth Fleet and were notably involved in the battles for Tarawa and Saipan in 1944...

, landed on the beach. The initial wave was not hit by Japanese fire for quite some time; it was the plan of Japanese General Kuribayashi to hold fire until the beach was full of Marines and equipment. Many of the Marines who landed on the beach in the first wave speculated that perhaps the naval artillery and air bombardment of the island had killed all of the Japanese troops that were expected to be defending the island. In the deathly silence, they became somewhat unnerved as Marine patrols began to advance inland in search of the Japanese positions. Only after the front wave of Marines reached a line of Japanese bunkers defended by machine gunners did they take hostile fire. Many cleverly concealed Japanese bunkers and firing positions lit up and the first wave of Marines took devastating losses from machine guns. Aside from the Japanese defenses situated on the beaches, the Marines faced heavy fire from Mount Suribachi at the south of the island. It was extremely difficult for the Marines to advance because of the inhospitable terrain, which consisted of volcanic ash. This ash allowed for neither a secure footing nor the construction of defensive foxholes to protect the Marines from hostile fire. However, the ash did help to absorb a portion of the fragments that were expelled by the Japanese artillery. The Japanese heavy artillery in Suribachi would open their reinforced steel doors to fire and then immediately close their doors following to prevent counterfire from the American forces. This made it extremely difficult for American units to destroy a piece of Japanese artillery. To make matters worse for the American troops, the bunkers were connected to the elaborate tunnel system so that bunkers that were cleared with flamethrowers and grenades were reoccupied shortly afterwards by Japanese troops moving through the tunnels. This Japanese tactic caused many casualties among the Marines, as they walked past the reoccupied bunkers without expecting to suddenly take fresh fire from them. The Marines advanced slowly while taking heavy machine gun and artillery fire. Due to the arrival of armored units, and heavy naval artillery and air units maintaining a heavy base of fire on Suribachi, the Marines were eventually able to advance past the beaches. 760 Marines made a near-suicidal charge across to the other side of Iwo Jima that day. They took heavy casualties, but they made a considerable advance. By the evening, the mountain had been cut off from the rest of the island, and 30,000 Marines had landed. About 40,000 more would follow.

In the days after the landings, the Marines expected a banzai attack during the night. This had been the standard Japanese final defense strategy in previous battles against enemy ground forces in the Pacific (such as the Battle of Saipan
Battle of Saipan
The Battle of Saipan was a battle of the Pacific campaign of World War II, fought on the island of Saipan in the Mariana Islands from 15 June-9 July 1944. The Allied invasion fleet embarking the expeditionary forces left Pearl Harbor on 5 June 1944, the day before Operation Overlord in Europe was...

), during which the majority of the Japanese attackers would be killed and the Japanese strength greatly reduced. However Kuribayashi had strictly forbidden banzai charges because he considered them futile. The fighting was extremely fierce. The Americans' advance was stalled by numerous defensive positions augmented by artillery, where they were ambushed by Japanese troops who occasionally sprang out of tunnels. At night, the Japanese would leave their defenses under cover of darkness to attack American foxholes, and battleships fired star shells to deny them cover of darkness. Many Japanese soldiers who knew English would deliberately call for Navy corpsmen, and then shoot them as they approached. 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
M4 Sherman
The M4 Sherman, formally Medium Tank, M4, was the primary tank used by the United States during World War II. Thousands were also distributed to the Allies, including the British Commonwealth and Soviet armies, via lend-lease...

 medium tanks equipped with a flamethrower
Flame tank
A flame tank is a type of tank equipped with a flamethrower, most commonly used to supplement combined arms attacks against fortifications, confined spaces, or other obstacles...

 ("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 the Japanese troops would fall victim to the superior numbers of Marines. Close air support
Close air support
In military tactics, close air support is defined as air action by fixed or rotary winged aircraft against hostile targets that are close to friendly forces, and which requires detailed integration of each air mission with fire and movement of these forces.The determining factor for CAS is...

 (CAS) was initially provided by fighters from escort carriers off the coast. This shifted over to the 15th Fighter Group, flying P-51 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 talker
Code talker
Code talkers was a term used to describe people who talk using a coded language. It is frequently used to describe 400 Native American Marines who served in the United States Marine Corps whose primary job was the transmission of secret tactical messages...

s were part of the American ground communications, along with walkie-talkie
Walkie-talkie
A walkie-talkie is a hand-held, portable, two-way radio transceiver. Its development during the Second World War has been variously credited to Donald L. Hings, radio engineer Alfred J. Gross, and engineering teams at Motorola...

s and SCR-610
SCR-610
The SCR-610 was a Signal Corps Radio used by the U.S. Army during and after World War II, for short range ground communications, it was standardized 29 Sept...

 backpack radio sets.

After running out of water, food, and most supplies, the Japanese troops became desperate towards the end of the battle. Kuribayashi, who had argued against banzai attacks at the start of the battle, realized that Japanese defeat was imminent. Marines began to face increasing numbers of nighttime attacks; these were only repelled by a combination of machine gun defensive positions and artillery support. At times, the Marines engaged in hand-to-hand fighting to repel the Japanese attacks. With the landing area secure, more troops and heavy equipment came ashore and the invasion proceeded north to capture the airfields and the remainder of the island. Most Japanese soldiers fought to the death.

Raising the flag


"Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima" is a historic photograph taken on 23 February 1945 by Joe Rosenthal. It depicts five Marines and a U.S. Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 corpsman raising the flag of the United States atop Mount Suribachi. The photograph was extremely popular, being reprinted in thousands of publications. Later, it became the only photograph to win the Pulitzer Prize for Photography in the same year as its publication, and ultimately came to be regarded as one of the most significant and recognizable images of the war, and possibly the most reproduced photograph of all time. Of the six men depicted in the picture, three (Franklin Sousley
Franklin Sousley
Franklin Runyon Sousley was one of the six men in the famous photograph of United States Marines raising the flag on Iwo Jima in World War II.-Childhood:...

, Harlon Block
Harlon Block
Harlon Henry Block was a United States Marine during World War II. Born in Texas, Block joined the Marine Corps in November 1943 and subsequently saw action during the Battle of Bougainville and the Battle of Iwo Jima where he was killed in action...

, and Michael Strank
Michael Strank
Michael Strank was a Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps during World War II. He was photographed raising the flag atop Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima. The leader of the group in the famous picture was Strank, who got the order to climb Mt. Suribachi to lay telephone wire...

) did not survive the battle; the three survivors (John Bradley, Rene Gagnon
Rene Gagnon
Rene Arthur Gagnon was one of the U.S. Marines immortalized by Joe Rosenthal's famous World War II photograph Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima.-Early life:...

, and Ira Hayes
Ira Hayes
Ira Hamilton Hayes was a Pima Native American and an American Marine who was one of the six men immortalized in the iconic photograph of the flag raising on Iwo Jima during World War II. Hayes was an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Community in Sacaton, Arizona, and enlisted in the Marine...

) became celebrities upon the publication of the photo. For a while, it was believed that the man now known to be Block was actually Hank Hansen, but Hayes set the record straight. The picture was later used by Felix de Weldon
Felix de Weldon
Felix Weihs de Weldon was an American sculptor. His most famous piece is the Marine Corps War Memorial of five U.S. Marines and one sailor raising the flag of the United States on Iwo Jima during World War Two.-Biography:...

 to sculpt the Marine Corps War Memorial, located adjacent to Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington County, Virginia, is a military cemetery in the United States of America, established during the American Civil War on the grounds of Arlington House, formerly the estate of the family of Confederate general Robert E. Lee's wife Mary Anna Lee, a great...

.

By the morning of 23 February, Mount Suribachi was effectively cut off from the rest of the island — above ground. By then, the Marines knew that the Japanese defenders had an extensive network of below-ground defenses, and knew that in spite of its isolation above ground, the volcano was still connected to Japanese defenders via the tunnel network. They expected a fierce fight for the summit. Two four-man patrols were sent up the volcano to reconnoiter routes on the mountain's north face. Popular legend (embroidered by the press in the aftermath of the release of the famous photo) has it that the Marines fought all the way up to the summit. The American riflemen expected an ambush, but none materialized. The Marines did encounter small groups of Japanese defenders on Suribachi, but the majority of the Japanese troops stayed in the tunnel network and only occasionally attacked in small groups and were generally all killed. The patrols made it to the summit and scrambled down again, reporting the lack of enemy contact to Colonel Chandler Johnson. Johnson then called for a platoon of Marines to climb Suribachi; with them, he sent a small American flag to fly if they reached the summit. Again, Marines began the ascent, expecting to be ambushed at any moment, but reached the top of Mount Suribachi without incident. Using a length of pipe they found among the wreckage atop the mountain, the Marines hoisted the U.S. flag over Mount Suribachi: the first foreign flag to fly on Japanese soil. A photograph of this "first flag raising" was taken by photographer Louis R. Lowery
Louis R. Lowery
Louis R. "Lou" Lowery was a United States Marine Corps photographer best known for taking the first flag-raising photograph on Iwo Jima on February 23, 1945...

.

As the flag went up, Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal
James Forrestal
James Vincent Forrestal was the last Cabinet-level United States Secretary of the Navy and the first United States Secretary of Defense....

 had just landed on the beach at the foot of Mount Suribachi and decided that he wanted the flag as a souvenir. Popular legend has it that Colonel Johnson wanted the flag for himself, but, in fact, he believed that the flag belonged to the 2nd Battalion 28th Marines
2nd Battalion 28th Marines
The 2nd Battalion, 28th Marines is an inactive infantry battalion of the United States Marine Corps. They were part of the 28th Marine Regiment and 5th Marine Division and fought during the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II...

, who had captured that section of the island. Johnson sent Sergeant Mike Strank to take a second (larger) flag up the volcano to replace the first. As the first flag came down, the second went up. It was after the second flag went up that Rosenthal took the famous photograph "Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima" of the replacement flag being planted on the mountain's summit.

Northern Iwo Jima



Despite Japan's loss of Mount Suribachi on the south end of the island, the Japanese still held strong positions on the north end. The rocky terrain vastly favored defense, even more so than Mount Suribachi. Coupled with this, the fortifications constructed by Kuribayashi were more impressive than at the Southern end of the island. Remaining under the command of Kuribayashi was the equivalent of eight infantry battalions, a tank regiment, and two artillery and three heavy mortar battalions. Also he had about 5,000 gunners and naval infantry. The most arduous task left to the Marines was the overtaking of the Motoyama Plateau with its distinctive Hill 382 and Turkey knob and the area in between referred to as the Amphitheater. This formed the basis of what came to be known as the "meatgrinder". While this was being achieved on the right flank, the left was clearing out Hill 362 with just as much difficulty. The overall objective at this point was to take control of airfield no. 2 in the center of the island. However, every "penetration seemed to become a disaster" as "units were raked from the flanks, chewed up—sometimes wiped out. Tanks were destroyed by interlocking fire or were hoisted into the air on the spouting fireballs of buried mines". As a result the fighting bogged down with Americans casualties piling up. Even capturing these points was not a solution to the problem since a previously secured position could be attacked from the rear by the use of the tunnels and hidden pillboxes. As such, it was said that "they could take these heights at will, and then regret it".

The Marines nevertheless found ways to prevail under the circumstances. It was observed that during bombardments, the Japanese would hide their guns and themselves in the caves only to reappear when the troops would advance and lay devastating fire on them. The Japanese had over time learned basic American strategy which was to lay heavy bombardment before an infantry attack. Consequently, General Erskine ordered the 9th Marine Regiment to attack under the cover of darkness with no preliminary barrage. This came to be a resounding success with many soldiers taken out while still sleeping. This was a key moment in the capture of hill 362. It held such importance that the Japanese organized a counterattack the following night. Although Kuribayashi had forbidden the suicide charges familiar with other battles in the Pacific, the commander of the area decided on a banzai charge with the optimistic goal of recapturing Mount Suribachi. Captain Samaji Inouye and his 1,000 men charged the American position inflicting 347 casualties (90 deaths). The Marines counted 784 dead Japanese soldiers the next day. There was also a kamikaze air attack (the only one of the battle) on the ships anchored at sea on 21 February, which resulted in the sinking of the escort carrier , severe damage to and slight damage to the escort carrier , an LST and a transport.

Although the island was officially declared secure at 18:00 on 26 March, 35 days after the landings, the 5th Marine Division still faced Kuribayashi's stronghold in a gorge 640 m (699.9 yd) at the northwestern end of the island. On 21 March, the Marines destroyed the command post in the gorge with four tons of explosives and on March 24, Marines sealed the remaining caves at the northern tip of the island. However, on the night of 25 March, a 300-man Japanese force launched a final counterattack
Counterattack
A counterattack is a tactic used in response against an attack. The term originates in military strategy. The general objective is to negate or thwart the advantage gained by the enemy in attack and the specific objectives are usually to regain lost ground or to destroy attacking enemy units.It is...

 in the vicinity of Airfield No. 2. Army pilots, Seabee
Seabee
Seabees are members of the United States Navy construction battalions. The word Seabee is a proper noun that comes from the initials of Construction Battalion, of the United States Navy...

s and Marines of the 5th Pioneer Battalion and 28th Marines fought the Japanese force for up to 90 minutes but suffered heavy casualties (53 were killed, and another 120 were wounded). Two Marines from the 36th Depot Company, an all-African-American unit, received the Bronze Star. 1st Lieutenant Harry Martin
Harry L. Martin
First Lieutenant Harry Linn Martin was a United States Marine Corps officier who posthumously received the Medal of Honor for his actions on Iwo Jima on March 26, 1945.-Biography:...

 of the 5th Pioneer Battalion was the last Marine to be awarded the Medal of Honor during the battle. Although still a matter of speculation because of conflicting accounts from surviving Japanese veterans, it has been said that Kuribayashi led this final assault, which unlike the loud banzai charge of previous battles, was characterised as a silent attack. If ever proven true, Kuribayashi would have been the highest ranking Japanese officer to have personally led an attack during World War II. Additionally, this would also be Kuribayashi's final act, a departure from the normal practice of the commanding Japanese officers committing seppuku
Seppuku
is a form of Japanese ritual suicide by disembowelment. Seppuku was originally reserved only for samurai. Part of the samurai bushido honor code, seppuku was either used voluntarily by samurai to die with honor rather than fall into the hands of their enemies , or as a form of capital punishment...

 behind the lines while the rest perished in the banzai charge, as happened during the battles of Saipan
Saipan
Saipan is the largest island of the United States Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands , a chain of 15 tropical islands belonging to the Marianas archipelago in the western Pacific Ocean with a total area of . The 2000 census population was 62,392...

 and Okinawa.

Weapons



A weapon heavily used in the Pacific was the United States M2A1
M1A1 Flamethrower
The M1 and M1A1 were portable flamethrowers developed by the United States of America during World War II. M1 weighed 72 lb, had a range of 15 meters, and had a fuel tank capacity of 5 gallons...

 flamethrower. Featuring two tanks containing fuel and compressed gas the mixture combines to produce a force shooting flame out of the tip., these flamethrowers were used to kill Japanese holed into pillboxes, buildings and caves. A battalion would assign one flamethrower per platoon with one reserve flamethrower in each group. Flamethrower operators were usually in more danger than regular troops as the short range of their weapon required close combat, and the visibility of the flames on the battlefield made them a prominent target for snipers. Still they were essential to breaking the enemy and one battalion commander called the flamethrower the “best single weapon of the operation”

Marines later experimented putting flamethrowers on tanks which were also deployed during battle. Their effectiveness was more limited due to the rough terrain of Iwo Jima. A flamethrower tank would have a range of approximately 100 yd (91.4 m), carry 300 gallons of fuel and have a firing time of 150 seconds.

Aftermath


Of the 22,060 Japanese soldiers entrenched on the island, 21,844 died either from fighting or by ritual suicide. Only 216 were captured during the battle. According to The official Navy Department Library website,“The 36-day (Iwo Jima) assault resulted in more than 26,000 American casualties, including 6,800 dead.” To put that into context, the 82-day Battle for Okinawa lasted from early April until mid-June 1945 and U.S. (5 Army and 2 Marine Corps Divisions) casualties were over 62,000 of whom over 12,000 were killed or missing ; while the Battle of the Bulge lasted 40 days (16 Dec 44 – 25 Jan 45) with almost 90,000 U.S. casualties; 19,000 killed, 47,500 wounded, and 23,000 captured or missing.

Iwo Jima was also the only U.S. Marine battle where the American casualties exceeded the Japanese, although Japanese combat deaths numbered three times as many American deaths. 2 US Marines were captured as POWs during the battle, though neither of them survived their captivity. USS Bismarck Sea had also been lost, as the last U.S. aircraft carrier sunk in World War II. Because all the civilians had been evacuated, there were no civilian casualties at Iwo Jima, unlike at Saipan and Okinawa.

After Iwo Jima, it was estimated there were no more than 300 Japanese left alive in the island's warren of caves and tunnels. In fact, there were close to 3,000. The Japanese bushido
Bushido
, meaning "Way of the Warrior-Knight", is a Japanese word which is used to describe a uniquely Japanese code of conduct and a way of the samurai life, loosely analogous to the concept of chivalry. It originates from the samurai moral code and stresses frugality, loyalty, martial arts mastery, and...

 code of honor, coupled with effective propaganda which portrayed American G.I.s as ruthless animals, prevented surrender for many Japanese soldiers. Those who could not bring themselves to commit suicide hid in the caves during the day and came out at night to prowl for provisions. Some did eventually surrender and were surprised that the Americans often received them with compassion, offering water, cigarettes, or coffee. The last of these holdouts on the island
Japanese holdout
Japanese holdouts or stragglers were Japanese soldiers in the Pacific Theatre who, after the August 1945 surrender of Japan that marked the end of World War II, either adamantly doubted the veracity of the formal surrender due to strong dogmatic or militaristic principles, or were not aware of it...

, two of Lieutenant Toshihiko Ohno's men, Yamakage Kufuku and Matsudo Linsoki, lasted six years without being caught and finally surrendered in 1951 (another source gives the date of surrender as January 6, 1949).

Strategic importance


Given the number of casualties, the necessity and long-term significance of the island's capture to the outcome of the war was a contentious issue from the beginning, and remains disputed. As early as April 1945, retired Chief of Naval Operations, William V. Pratt, asked in Newsweek
Newsweek
Newsweek is an American weekly news magazine published in New York City. It is distributed throughout the United States and internationally. It is the second-largest news weekly magazine in the U.S., having trailed Time in circulation and advertising revenue for most of its existence...

 magazine about the
Pratt did not know, or else could not disclose, the need to take Iwo Jima for delivery of the atomic bomb. Iwo Jima was designated a crucial emergency landing point for the B-29s carrying the atomic bombs destined for Japan in late 1945, at least four months after the European D-Day (6 June 1944). The 509th Composite Group practiced mock emergency landings on Iwo Jima at its Utah base opened in December 1944. B-29s were not entirely reliable, and engine failure was common. Due to the scarcity of materials and engineering complexity, replacement of the bombs could take many months or even years. Thus planners feared that the loss of the bombs into the Pacific would have delayed the end of the war and potentially forced a full scale invasion of the Japanese mainland. Due to the extreme secrecy surrounding the Manhattan Project
Manhattan Project
The Manhattan Project was a research and development program, led by the United States with participation from the United Kingdom and Canada, that produced the first atomic bomb during World War II. From 1942 to 1946, the project was under the direction of Major General Leslie Groves of the US Army...

, the United States Army Air Forces
United States Army Air Forces
The United States Army Air Forces was the military aviation arm of the United States of America during and immediately after World War II, and the direct predecessor of the United States Air Force....

 (USAAF) could not disclose or even hint at the critical need to take Iwo Jima.
The Japanese on Iwo Jima had radar
Radar
Radar is an object-detection system which uses radio waves to determine the range, altitude, direction, or speed of objects. It can be used to detect aircraft, ships, spacecraft, guided missiles, motor vehicles, weather formations, and terrain. The radar dish or antenna transmits pulses of radio...

 and were thus able to notify their comrades at home of incoming B-29 Superfortresses flying from the Mariana Islands
Mariana Islands
The Mariana Islands are an arc-shaped archipelago made up by the summits of 15 volcanic mountains in the north-western Pacific Ocean between the 12th and 21st parallels north and along the 145th meridian east...

. Fighter aircraft based on Iwo Jima sometimes attacked these planes, which were especially vulnerable on their way to Japan because they were heavily laden with bombs and fuel. Although the island was used as an air-sea rescue
Air-sea rescue
Air-sea rescue is the coordinated search and rescue of the survivors of emergency water landings as well as people who have survived the loss of their sea-going vessel. ASR can involve a wide variety of resources including seaplanes, helicopters, submarines, rescue boats and ships...

 base after its seizure, the traditional justification for Iwo Jima's strategic importance to the United States' war effort has been that it provided a landing and refueling site for American bombers on missions to and from Japan. As early as 4 March 1945, while fighting was still taking place, the B-29 Dinah Might of the USAAF 9th Bomb Group reported it was low on fuel near the island and requested an emergency landing. Despite enemy fire, the airplane landed on the Allied-controlled section of the island, without incident, and was serviced, refueled and departed. In all, 2,251 B-29 landings on Iwo Jima were recorded during the war. Moskin records that 1,191 fighter escorts and 3,081 strike sorties were flown from Iwo Jima against Japan.

The lessons learned on Iwo Jima served as guidelines for the following Battle of Okinawa
Battle of Okinawa
The Battle of Okinawa, codenamed Operation Iceberg, was fought on the Ryukyu Islands of Okinawa and was the largest amphibious assault in the Pacific War of World War II. The 82-day-long battle lasted from early April until mid-June 1945...

 and the planned invasion of the Japanese homeland
Operation Downfall
Operation Downfall was the Allied plan for the invasion of Japan near the end of World War II. The operation was cancelled when Japan surrendered after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the Soviet Union's declaration of war against Japan. The operation had two parts: Operation...

. For example, "because of the casualties taken at Iwo Jima on the first day, it was decided to make the preparatory bombardment the heaviest yet delivered on to a Pacific island". Also, in the plan for the attack on the main islands, it was taken into account that around a third of the troops committed to Iwo Jima and again at Okinawa had died. None of these calculations played much if any of a role in the original decision to invade, however, which was almost entirely based on the USAAF's belief that the island would be a useful base for long-range fighter escorts. These escorts proved both impractical and unnecessary, and only ten such missions were ever flown from Iwo Jima. Other justifications are also debatable. Although some Japanese interceptors were based on Iwo Jima, their impact on the American bombing effort was marginal; in the three months before the invasion only 11 B-29s were lost as a result. The Superfortresses found it unnecessary to make any major detour around the island. The capture of Iwo Jima did not affect the Japanese early-warning radar system, which continued to receive information on incoming B-29s from the island of Rota
Rota (island)
Rota also known as the "peaceful island", is the southernmost island of the United States Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and the second southernmost of the Marianas Archipelago. It lies approximately 40 miles north-northeast of the United States territory of Guam...

 (which was never attacked). Some downed B-29 crewmen were saved by air-sea rescue aircraft and vessels operating from the island, but Iwo Jima was only one of many islands that could have been used for such a purpose. As for the importance of the island as a landing and refueling site for bombers, Marine Captain Robert Burrell, then a history instructor at the United States Naval Academy
United States Naval Academy
The United States Naval Academy is a four-year coeducational federal service academy located in Annapolis, Maryland, United States...

, suggested that only a small proportion of the 2,251 landings were for genuine emergencies, the great majority possibly being for minor technical checkups, training, or refueling. According to Burrell,
Nevertheless, in promoting his expanded exploration of the issue, The Ghosts of Iwo Jima, Burrell's publishers also claim that the very losses formed the basis for a "reverence for the Marine Corps" that not only embodied the "American national spirit" but ensured the "institutional survival" of the Marine Corps.

Legacy



The United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 has commissioned several ships of the name .

On February 19, 1985, the 40th anniversary of the landings, an event called the Reunion of Honor was held. The veterans of both sides who fought in the battle of Iwo Jima attended the event. The place was the invasion beach where U.S. forces landed. A memorial on which inscriptions were engraved by both sides was built at the center of the meeting place. Japanese attended at the mountain side, where the Japanese inscription was carved, and Americans attended at the shore side, where the English inscription was carved. After unveiling and offering of flowers were made, the representatives of both countries approached the memorial; upon meeting, they shook hands. The combined Japan-U.S. memorial service
Funeral
A funeral is a ceremony for celebrating, sanctifying, or remembering the life of a person who has died. Funerary customs comprise the complex of beliefs and practices used by a culture to remember the dead, from interment itself, to various monuments, prayers, and rituals undertaken in their honor...

 of the 50th anniversary of the battle was held in front of the monument in February 1995. Further memorial services have been held on later anniversaries.

The importance of the battle to Marines today is demonstrated in pilgrimages made to the island, and specifically the summit of Suribachi. Marines will often leave dog tags
Dog tag (identifier)
A dog tag is the informal name for the identification tags worn by military personnel, named such as it bears resemblance to actual dog tags. The tag is primarily used for the identification of dead and wounded and essential basic medical information for the treatment of the latter, such as blood...

, rank insignia
United States Marine Corps rank insignia
Marine ranks in descending order, with tables indicating abbreviations in the style used by the United States Marine Corps, pay grades, and rank insignia:-Commissioned Officers:...

, or other tokens at the monuments in homage. Iwo Jima Day is observed annually on February 19 in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

 with a ceremony at the State House.

Medal of Honor awards


The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration
Awards and decorations of the United States military
Awards and decorations of the United States Military are military decorations which recognize service and personal accomplishments while a member of the United States armed forces...

 awarded by the United States government. It is bestowed on a member of the United States armed forces who distinguishes himself by "...conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States..." Because of its nature, the medal is commonly awarded posthumously; since its creation during the American Civil War it has only been presented 3,464 times. During this one-month-long battle, 27 U.S. military personnel were awarded the Medal of Honor for their actions, 13 of them posthumously. Of the 27 medals awarded for the actions at Iwo Jima, 22 were presented to Marines
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

 and five were presented to United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 sailors; this was 28% of the 82 Medals of Honor awarded to Marines in the entirety of World War II.

Movies and documentaries

  • To the Shores of Iwo Jima
    To the Shores of Iwo Jima
    To the Shores of Iwo Jima is a 1945 Kodachrome color short war film produced by the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps. It documents the Battle of Iwo Jima, and was the first time that American audiences saw in color the footage of the famous flag raising on Iwo Jima.-Overview:The...

    , a 1945 American documentary
    Documentary film
    Documentary films constitute a broad category of nonfictional motion pictures intended to document some aspect of reality, primarily for the purposes of instruction or maintaining a historical record...

     produced by the United States Navy
    United States Navy
    The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

    , Marine Corps
    United States Marine Corps
    The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

     and the Coast Guard
    United States Coast Guard
    The United States Coast Guard is a branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven U.S. uniformed services. The Coast Guard is a maritime, military, multi-mission service unique among the military branches for having a maritime law enforcement mission and a federal regulatory agency...

    .
  • Glamour Gal
    Glamour Gal
    Glamour Gal is a 1945 propaganda film documentary film about the eponymous large artillery gun and the ten Marines who work her, "a team of eleven".-Overview:...

    , a 1945 film about Marine artillery.
  • Sands of Iwo Jima
    Sands of Iwo Jima
    Sands of Iwo Jima is a 1949 war film that follows a group of United States Marines from training to the Battle of Iwo Jima during World War II. It stars John Wayne, John Agar, Adele Mara and Forrest Tucker. The movie was written by Harry Brown and James Edward Grant and directed by Allan Dwan...

    , a 1949 American film
    Film
    A film, also called a movie or motion picture, is a series of still or moving images. It is produced by recording photographic images with cameras, or by creating images using animation techniques or visual effects...

     starring John Wayne
    John Wayne
    Marion Mitchell Morrison , better known by his stage name John Wayne, was an American film actor, director and producer. He epitomized rugged masculinity and became an enduring American icon. He is famous for his distinctive calm voice, walk, and height...

    .
  • The Outsider, a 1961 film starring Tony Curtis
    Tony Curtis
    Tony Curtis was an American film actor whose career spanned six decades, but had his greatest popularity during the 1950s and early 1960s. He acted in over 100 films in roles covering a wide range of genres, from light comedy to serious drama...

     as the conflicted flag raiser Ira Hayes
    Ira Hayes
    Ira Hamilton Hayes was a Pima Native American and an American Marine who was one of the six men immortalized in the iconic photograph of the flag raising on Iwo Jima during World War II. Hayes was an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Community in Sacaton, Arizona, and enlisted in the Marine...

    .
  • Flags of Our Fathers
    Flags of Our Fathers (film)
    is a 2006 American war film directed, co-produced and scored by Clint Eastwood and written by William Broyles, Jr. and Paul Haggis. It is based on the book of the same name written by James Bradley and Ron Powers about the Battle of Iwo Jima, the five Marines and one Navy Corpsman who were involved...

     and Letters from Iwo Jima
    Letters from Iwo Jima
    is a 2006 war film directed and co-produced by Clint Eastwood, and starring Ken Watanabe and Kazunari Ninomiya. The film portrays the Battle of Iwo Jima from the perspective of the Japanese soldiers and is a companion piece to Eastwood's Flags of Our Fathers, which depicts the same battle from the...

     are two 2006 films directed by Clint Eastwood
    Clint Eastwood
    Clinton "Clint" Eastwood, Jr. is an American film actor, director, producer, composer and politician. Eastwood first came to prominence as a supporting cast member in the TV series Rawhide...

    . Flags of Our Fathers is filmed from the American perspective and is based on the book by James Bradley
    James Bradley (author)
    James Bradley is an American author, specializing in historical nonfiction chronicling the Pacific theatre of World War II. His father, John Bradley, was one of six men who became famous for being photographed raising the American flag on Mt. Suribachi...

     and Ron Powers (Flags of Our Fathers
    Flags of Our Fathers
    Flags of Our Fathers is a New York Times bestselling book by James Bradley with Ron Powers about the five United States Marines and one United States Navy Corpsman who would eventually be made famous by Joe Rosenthal's lauded photograph of the flag raising at Iwo Jima, one of the costliest and...

    ). Letters from Iwo Jima (originally titled Red Sun, Black Sand) is filmed from the Japanese perspective.
  • Part 8 of the 2010 HBO miniseries The Pacific, produced by Tom Hanks
    Tom Hanks
    Thomas Jeffrey "Tom" Hanks is an American actor, producer, writer, and director. Hanks worked in television and family-friendly comedies, gaining wide notice in 1988's Big, before achieving success as a dramatic actor in several notable roles, including Andrew Beckett in Philadelphia, the title...

     and Steven Spielberg
    Steven Spielberg
    Steven Allan Spielberg KBE is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, video game designer, and studio entrepreneur. In a career of more than four decades, Spielberg's films have covered many themes and genres. Spielberg's early science-fiction and adventure films were seen as an...

    , includes part of the battle of Iwo Jima from the point of view of John Basilone
    John Basilone
    John Basilone was a United States Marine Gunnery Sergeant who received the Medal of Honor for his actions at the Battle of Guadalcanal during World War II...

     from the beginning of the invasion until his death later in the day.
  • Episode 23 from the acclaimed 1973 BBC Documentary The World at War.

See also


  • List of naval and land-based operations in Pacific Theater during World War II
  • Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima
    Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima
    Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima is a historic photograph taken on February 23, 1945, by Joe Rosenthal. It depicts five United States Marines and a U.S. Navy corpsman raising the flag of the United States atop Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II.The photograph was extremely...


National Museum of American History



Online


– Site contains 250 photographs. – 3-D Stereo Photograph of Iwo Jima Flag-raising. – A tone-mapped High Dynamic Range Image of Iwo Jima.