Many questions that Operation Detachment poses are, “Why capture an island that is full of volcanoes and is isolated in the Pacific?” Was it just an island that we wanted to claim in our Island hopping campaign? Through Lieutenant Colonel Bartley’s documents, the purpose of Iwo Jima was to maintain a military pressure against Japan, extend our control in the Pacific, and establish a base.
Operation Detachment, which was estimated to only take a mere four days, ended up taking a one month toll on the armed forces. On February 19, 1945, the fight for Iwo Jima began. The island’s strong point was having Mt. Suribachi, 550 feet high, right near the coast line of the beach. Mt. Suribachi provided the Japanese the ability to have a fortified command and control center. Not only was it extremely fortified by earth itself, but the high grounds provided an advantage for their lethal mortar strikes.
A mere 8000 Marines attacked Iwo Jima. By the end of O...
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...e Pacific was pointless because as soon as the bombardment started, the airfields began to be destroyed from the shells. This then required Navy Seabees to work on repairing the airfields. The sole purpose of gaining air fields for the air force was not worth the sacrifice. The public’s view along with senior military personnel questioned this idea as well.
At the same time Iwo Jima was just an economy problem for America because the navy viewed that not shooting many shells is more important than a casualty. A shell can always be resupplied or replaced, but a soldier can never be. General Smith said it best when he says, “Warships should carry two types of ammunition: high explosive for land bombardment and armor-piercing for action with an enemy fleet.” This indecisive thinking from the navy to decide which type of battle to fight lead to bad results at Tarawa.
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