Assault on Iwo Jima (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: Type of action: Amphibious assault in World War II. Result: U.S. capture of a Japanese island air base located southeast of Japan.
The eight square miles of Iwo Jima, defended by Tadamichi Kuribayashi, served as the most important Japanese base in the Bonin-Volcano chain because its defenders could provide Japan with a two-hour advance warning of impending U.S. air attacks from the Marianas, and fighters from its airfields could intercept oncoming U.S. planes. Following a heavy but ineffective naval bombardment, U.S. Marines landed on Iwo Jima on February 19, 1945. The U.S. advance was hampered by volcanic sand and enemy defenses including miles of underground tunnels and trenches.
Combat focal points were at Mount Suribachi (taken February 23), the airfields (taken February 24-28), and a central area of the island called “the Meatgrinder” (pacified in early March). Fighting ended with a futile nighttime Japanese banzai charge on March 26. The assault on the island, led by Admiral Raymond A. Spruance, killed 5,400 Americans and wounded 17,400 others, affecting 60 percent of the assault troops. Admiral Chester W. Nimitz summed up the fight...
(The entire section is 312 words.)
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