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The battle of Iwo Jima was extraordinary for its ferocity. US Marine Corps casualties exceeded by thousands the number of Japanese defenders, who fought almost to the last man over those five desperate weeks. The strategic justification for the mission has been challenged and the iconic photograph of the flag-raising was staged, but there is no questioning the courage displayed (winning the USMC 24 Medals of Honor) and the horrors endured by both sides. The Japanese were dug into a vast and complex defensive network of trenches, bunkers, caves and tunnels commanding every square foot of the island's volcanic rock and black sand. The Marines' task was to fight almost every step of the way from their landing beaches to the northern tip where victory was finally secured, developing new tactics to deal with this well-entrenched, determined and heavily-armed resistance as they progressed from objective to objective. This book details the composition, weaponry and leadership of the opposing forces and reviews their plans. It also closely examines the individual fighting men on each side, the USMC infantryman and the Imperial Japanese soldier, contrasting their training, equipment, culture and battlefield experiences. Having laid out the background, the authors then follow the battle through its several phases from the landings to General Kuribayashi's last banzai. Their clear narrative, supported by numerous maps, tactical diagrams and photographs, answers in detail the question which other accounts of this great battle only address at a more general level: how did the Marines do it?From the Hardcover edition.
One of the decisive battles of World War II (1939-1945) in the Pacific, Iwo Jima was described by Lieutenant-General Holland Smith, Commander Fleet Marine Forces Pacific, as "The most savage and most costly battle in the history of the Marine Corps" - a titanic struggle that eclipsed all that had gone before. Situated halfway along the B-29 Superfortress route to the Japanese mainland, the island was of major strategic importance to the US Air Force, but also to the Japanese, 20,000 of whom were deeply entrenched in the island. This book provides a definitive account of the battle, from its origins to its hard-fought conclusion.
Osprey's study of the conflict between Japan and the United States during World War II (1939-1945). The island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll was defended by the elite troops of the Special Naval Landing Force, whose commander, Admiral Shibasaki, boasted that "the Americans could not take Tarawa with a million men in a hundred years". In a pioneering amphibious invasion, the Marines of the 2nd Division set out to prove him wrong, overcoming serious planning errors to fight a 76-hour battle of unprecedented savagery. The cost would be more than 3000 Marine casualties at the hands of a garrison of some 3700. The lessons learned would dispel forever any illusions that Americans had about the fighting quality of the Japanese.
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