Battle of Iwo Jima Facts

Battle of Iwo Jima Facts
The Battle of Iwo Jima took place from February 19 to March 26, 1945 on the small volcanic island of Iwo Jima in the middle of the Pacific. The Japanese had heavily fortified the island because it was viewed by both sides as the last stop before Japan, so because of that they fought nearly to the last man. The Americans used an overwhelming force of over 100,000 men against just over 20,000 Japanese soldiers defending the island. Nearly 7,000 Americans died in the battle and nearly 20,000 were wounded. For the Japanese, though, it was a battle until the very end - only 216 were taken alive and close to another 3,000 hid in caves throughout the island. Besides being an important victory for the Americans in the Pacific Theater of World War II, the Battle of Iwo Jima was important culturally for the United States. When the battle was over, six American Marines - Rene Gagon, Ira Hayes, Harold Schultz, Michael Strank, Harlon Block, and Franklin Sousley - were photographed by Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal hoisting the American flag atop Mount Suribachi. The photograph become won Rosenthal the 1945 Pulitzer Prize for Photography and became a symbol of American culture.
Interesting Battle of Iwo Jima Facts:
A ten day naval bombardment proceeded the amphibious invasion of the island.
Almost all of the ground fighting was done by the Marines.
The Japanese prepared for the invasion buy setting landmines and other lethal traps throughout the island. Because they were inadequately supplied, the Japanese had to make every shot count so they built sniper nests all over the island.
Thousands of Navy construction battalion sailors, known as Seabees, play a vital role in the battle.
The Japanese had constructed two airfields on the island and were in the process of building a third.
The Marines landed in thirteen detachments on the southern end of the island and then worked their way north.
The Marines brought six Navajo code talker with them, one of which was Ira Hayes.
The Marines used flamethrowers to clear the many caves on the island of snipers.
Mount Suribachi is located on the far southern end of the island.
The Japanese tactic of using human waves to overwhelm American lines, which the Americans called "banzai attacks," were used extensively during the first few days of the attack.
Kamikaze pilots killed more than 300 Americans during the battles.
All of the Japanese commanders died during the battle.
Two Japanese soldiers held out until 1949.
The photo of the flag raising on Mount Suribachi was actually the second raising of the flag that day. The photo was taken on February 28, well before the battle was over.
Ira Hayes died in 1955 on an Indian reservation from alcohol poisoning. His tragic life has been the subject of movies, books, and at least one song by Johnny Cash.
Marine corporal Hershel Williams (1923-) received the Congressional Medal of Honor for clearing out several Japanese gun nests with a flamethrower. He is one of only four living Medal of Honor recipients from World War II.

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