The Battle of Iwo Jima

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The Battle of Iwo Jima In the early morning of 19 February 1945, United States Marines assigned to the 3rd, 4th and 5th Marine Division led the initial assault on the Japanese controlled island of Iwo Jima, with the objective of capturing and securing the island. This was the beginning of one of the fiercest and bloodiest; and more decisively, the most strategically important battles fought during World War II. After the dust had settled, and the smoke had cleared, the causalities and losses were astounding. 6,821 U.S. Marines along with 18,844 members of the Imperial Japanese Army had paid the ultimate sacrifice. A decisive US victory on the island of Iwo Jima later played a pivotal role in the overarching defeat of the Japanese Empire and its Armed Forces (Morison, 1945). On 9 July 1944, 2nd Marine Division, 4th Marine Division, and 27th Infantry Division, commanded by Lieutenant General Holland Smith, defeated the 43rd Division of the Imperial Japanese Army, commanded by Lieutenant General Yoshitsugu Saito, capturing the Saipan (Moore, 2002), a 44.55 sq. mile island located Northern Mariana Islands, approximately 1,465 miles south of Tokyo, Japan. The capture of Saipan was strategically important for U.S. and Allied Forces, as it was logistically relevant, due to its location from Tokyo. "It was the decisive battle of the Pacific offensive [...] it opened the way to the Japanese home islands (Nalty, Shaw, & Turnbladh, 1966)." By November 1944, U.S. B29 bombers had commenced bombing operations on the Japanese capital city, Tokyo, from airfields located on the U.S. control island of Saipan. After the fall of Saipan, Imperial Japanese Army and Naval forces were deployed to the island of Iwo Jima; a very small island, approxim... ... middle of paper ... ...these intelligence failures, more emphasis is now placed on the creation of intelligence products used on the battlefield. All possible enemy courses of actions are now red teamed in an attempt to produce a much accurate analytical product. 19 February 1945 marked the beginning of one of the fiercest and bloodiest; and more decisively, the most strategically important battles fought during World War II. A total of 6,821 U.S. Marines had lost their lives, along with 19,217 wounded over the five-week span of the battle for Iwo Jima. Of the 22,000 Japanese soldiers on the island, only 212 were taken prisoners. “Iwo Jima was the only battle by the U.S. Marine Corps in which the overall American casualties (killed and wounded) exceeded those of the Japanese, although Japanese combat deaths were thrice those of the Americans throughout the battle (O'Brien, 1987).”

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