Battle of Iwo Jima

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by dblackburn9737
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Discipline:
Social Studies
Subject:
World War II

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Battle of Iwo Jima

Battle of Iwo Jima

The Battle of Iwo Jima took placein February, 1945. The captureof Iwo Jima was a part of athree-point plan the Amercainshad due to the fact they had wonthe war in the Far East. Despite thesize of the island (a bit over 4.5 mileslong and 2.5 miles wide), Iwo Jima wasseen with tactical significance. Two airfields were located on the island,both under Japan's control. They couldbe used by Japanese fighter planes toattack Amercain bombers on their flightsto Japan. Under American control, theairfields could be used as an emergencylanding base for damaged airplanes inthe bombing raids.

There were about 22,000 soldiers under the command of Lieutenant-General Kuribayashi. These men were able to build strong defensive positions throughout the island, specifically in the north. Kuribayashi realized his options for launching attacks were limited due to the small size of the island. His only true option was defense.

The Americans were led by Admiral Raymond Spruance, although the overall commander of campaign was Admiral Chester Nimitz. The landing forces were under the command of Lieutenant-General Holland Smith. The bulk of the attack was conducted by the Marines.There were a total of 100,000 Americantroops.

Lieutanant-General Holland Smith

Lieutanant-General Kuribayashi

Admiral Chester Nimitz

On February 16, 1945, the Americans initiated a pre-invasion naval bombardment which lasted three days. On the following Monday at 9:00 A.M, the 4th and 5th Marine Divisions landed on the southeastern shore of Iwo Jima. Within 20 minutes, the marines were 250 yards inland. After three gruesome days of fighting, on February 23rd, a forty-man patrol of the 5th Division's 2nd battalion, 28 Marines, cleared the 550 foot summit of Mount Suribachi. There they raised an American flag, signifying victory over the Japanese on the island of Iwo Jima. However, all was not won until the evening of March 25th, when the last pocket of Japanese resistance was secured at Kitano Point on the northern tip of the island.

However, the cost of the battle also remains: the Battle of Iwo Jima was a gruesome fight between the Americans and the Japanese which lasted form February 19th to March 25th. Nearly all of the Japanese troops placed on Iwo Jima were killed, while only approximately 7,000 American troops were killed. 27 Medals of Honor were rewarded to troops, more than any other battle. The capture of Iwo Jima allowed the U.S. to breech the inner defenses of Japan.

(February 19-March 26th, 1945)

Interview With Hershel Williams:

Hershel "Woody" Williams was invited by the Navy to a remembrance ceremony aboard the USS Iwo Jima at Norfolk Naval Station on Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011. Williams was only seventeen when he joined the Marines. His accomplishments on Iwo Jima are recalled as legendary. He landed on Iwo Jima on February 21st, 1945, then a corporal and distinguished himself two days later when American tanks, trying to open a lane for infantry, encountered a network of reinforced concrete pillboxes, buried mines, and black volcanic sands. He was presented the Medal of Honor by President Harry S. Truman on October 5th, 1945, at the White House. "I wear it especially for two Marines who, on February 23rd, 1945, gave their lives protecting mine," Williams said, "I claim only to be the caretaker of the medal."

Resources:

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-31647414http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/6224870.stmhttp://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/5277862.stm


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