Iwo Jima

Iwo Jima was one of the greatest land battles in World War II. It cost the Americans thousands of lives because of poorly planned techniques by the sergeants and generals of the Navy and Marines. It is located in the Volcano Islands off the coast of Japan. The battle lasted 26 days, and the island was secured ten days later. It was one of the most costly battles in World War II.
Iwo Jima is an inactive volcanic island located 660 miles south of Tokyo, Japan (Josephy 93). Its name means sulphur island (Paull 1). It is eight square miles (Iwo 1) and in the shape of a pork chop. Iwo's southern tip is composed of an inactive volcano, Mount Suribachi, the highest point of the island (Josephy 93). The land is made of coarse black sand and jagged rock, and the air smelled of rotten eggs from the sulphur emissions. The water circling the island is twelve feet deep only two feet away from the shore. This made it difficult for the Marines to get on the island from boats (Paull 1). Iwo Jima is only two miles wide and four miles long (Josephy 93).
The Americans were to fit 70,000 Marines on this tiny island, and would fight 22,000 Japanese soldiers. It took
the Marines 36 days to travel four miles on Iwo (Iwo 1). The Americans began bombing on December 8th. They did this to reduce the number of casualties when the troops came on land. The air raids lasted a total of 72 days (Bradly 135).
The Navy Bombardments from offshore were to last ten days requested by the Marine generals. The Navy did not comply with this. They were to give them only three days of bombardments, then the Marines were to invade. The shelling took place on February 16th through February 18th. On February 16th bombarding was cut short because of a heavy cloud cover. February 17th was the only complete day of shelling. On February 18th the bombing was cut short because of heavy rains. It was now time for the Marines to move in (Bradly 144-145).


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