#1The fight for Iwo Island began on February 19th, 1945. Iwo Jima was defended by about 23,000 Japanese military and naval troops, and it was attacked by three marine divisions after complex air and naval bombardment. Approximately 68 hundred tons of bombs and 22 thousand shells were used. The Japanese frequently changed their defense tactics. Moving from the beach line and regrouping more inland. Japanese armies fought from networks of caves, tunnels, dugouts and underground trenches. These complex networks made it hard for U.S. forces to find and destroy. Except for 1,083 prisoners ( two of which didn't surrender until 1951) the entire fort was wiped out. American losses included 5,900 dead and 17,400 were wounded. A damaged B-29 landed on Iwo Jima as early as March 4. Before the wars end between 2,250 and 2,400 other bombers did so too. Fighter also began to operate from Iwo Jima on March 11th, 1945.
Letter from the U.S.N. Hospital. July 9, 1945. “In that picture of the flag raising on Mt. Suribachi there were 5 Marines and One Navy Pharmacist mate. Three of the Marines were later killed. The flag raising took place on Feb. 23, 1945. Two Marines were killed March 1st and the third was killed March 19. Gagnon & Ira Hayes, two Marines were uninjured and I was wounded on March 12th.” Bradly was one of the flag raisers; his son was the author of "Flags of our Fathers".
This photo of these two maps shows "Sulfur Island" from an Aerial view. The left photo of this map shows the preferred assault plan. The right photo shows an alternative Marine assault plan. These pictures show original draft landings.
One of the main reasons the U.S. wanted to conquer Iwo island is because, they belived it was a smart and strategic option. If they overcame the islad they could use it for an emergency landing strip for damaged B-29's and as a refueling station. Fighter escorts could support U.S. Military units with long-range bombing missions. This gave U.S. forces the advantage to get into mainland Japan quickly. The capture was deemed necessary.
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