Iwo Jima in Facts and Photos – It Cost America Dearly

PHoM2/C Charles R. Roth, USCG, leads hymn singing and gives brief talk to his shipmates aboard a Coast Guard-manner LST the day before landing on Iwo Jima. Photographed February 18, 1945.

The Battle of Iwo Jima started on 19th February 1945 and lasted for 35 days by 26th March. However, that was not the real beginning. Japanese HQ was well aware of the importance of the island and preparations to defend it begun in mid-1944.

Even before Task Force 58 arrived near the Iwo Jima, a pre-bombardment from the air had been already conducting for 67 days. Then, to soften the defenders, a bombardment from the sea was supposed to last for at least 9 days, yet after only three the first landing wave came down on the beaches.

Aside from strategic importance, Iwo Jima was considered by IJA as a part of the Japanese homeland, so losing it would result in a great blow to the morale of all Japanese. All civilians were evacuated prior to the battle, leaving only 21,000 troops.

The navy of the Rising Sun had already lost most of its might and was unable to do a scratch to the invading forces. In addition, airpower was in a similar situation, as almost all aircraft that were left were redirected to Home Islands.

Assault craft streaming toward beach on Iwo Jima. Note smoke rising on beach from naval shelling and the battleship. Taken by plane from USS Saginaw Bay (CVE 82), February 19, 1945.
Assault craft streaming toward beach on Iwo Jima. Note smoke rising on beach from naval shelling and the battleship. Taken by plane from USS Saginaw Bay (CVE 82), February 19, 1945.

Given the above circumstances, US intelligence initially predicted that Iwo Jima will be taken in a week. To add more to their wrongdoing, they considered the shores as perfect to advance. Over 100,000 US troops, including about 60,000 elite U.S. Marines, supported by 450 ships were about to participate in one of the bloodiest battles on the Pacific.

A wave of Fourth Division Marines beginning an attack from the beach at Iwo Jima. Despite enemy shelling of the beachhead, Marines continue to land troops.
A wave of Fourth Division Marines beginning an attack from the beach at Iwo Jima. Despite enemy shelling of the beachhead, Marines continue to land troops.

On the shores

Since the very first day of landing, 19th of February 1945, not much went according to the plan or expectations. The sands were nothing but easy to storm. Heavy equipment carried by the Marines was only an obstacle, the first to be thrown away were gas masks. One soldier described the landing in volcanic ashes as walking in grains. In addition, the slopes on the beaches were 15ft high, disabling vehicles from advance further as well.

Amphibious assault on Iwo Jima, a DR-8 wire communications reel is at left-center.
Amphibious assault on Iwo Jima, a DR-8 wire communications reel is at left-center.

No counter-attack was faced, instead, constant mortar shells were falling onto American positions. The wounded were being transported back to the shores, where more enemy fire was shattering many into pieces. Still, no banzai charge was seen. The situation was dire and despite a lack of direct combat, the casualties were heavy. For instance, from one battalion consisting of initially 700 men, only 150 were able to stand at the end of the day. By dusk, almost 30,000 Marines managed to land.

Marines burrow in the volcanic sand on the beach of Iwo Jima, as their comrades unload supplies and equipment from landing vessels despite the heavy rain of artillery fire from enemy positions on Mount Suribachi in the background.
Marines burrow in the volcanic sand on the beach of Iwo Jima, as their comrades unload supplies and equipment from landing vessels despite the heavy rain of artillery fire from enemy positions on Mount Suribachi in the background.

Americans didn’t expect this face of IJA. The Japanese forces were not about to stop the enemy but to buy some time and inflict as much damage as possible. They were instructed to avoid open fields, and preferably fight a guerrilla fight during night, in the bushes, between the rocks, in the tunnels – literally anywhere where Americans couldn’t utility their superiority to the fullest. In a way, the battle had tons of similarities to those of the Vietnam War.

Stalled and wrecked vehicles of Marines bagged down in soft Volcanic ash on beach of Iwo Jima were targets for Japanese mortermen who fired down from mountain over-looking beach D-Day. First Aid stations (background) were set up among the debris. Photographed February 19, 1945.
Stalled and wrecked vehicles of Marines bagged down in soft Volcanic ash on beach of Iwo Jima were targets for Japanese mortermen who fired down from mountain over-looking beach D-Day. First Aid stations (background) were set up among the debris. Photographed February 19, 1945.

Mount Suribachi

After a hellish 5 days of fighting, and at the cost of 800 American lives, a United States flag was set on top of Mount Suribachi, an inactive volcano. Later, the flag was changed to a bigger one and photographed by Joe Rosenthal, becoming the most famous picture of the war in the Pacific.

Men of 28th Regiment, US 5th Marine Division putting up the first flag on Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima, Japan, at 1020 hours on 23 Feb 1945
Men of 28th Regiment, US 5th Marine Division putting up the first flag on Mount Suribachi, Iwo Jima, Japan, at 1020 hours on 23 Feb 1945

However, the main Japanese headquarters were not there but in the North-East part of the Island. Japanese survivors from the tunnels of Suribachi were ordered by a dying commander to swallow their pride and pass the intel about the defeat to the HQ. When arrived, they were met only with despise and detest from their own comrades for not fighting to the end, nor committing harakiri.

Sketch of Hill 362A, made by the 31st U.S. Naval Construction Battalion. Dotted lines show the Japanese tunnel system.
Sketch of Hill 362A, made by the 31st U.S. Naval Construction Battalion. Dotted lines show the Japanese tunnel system.

Unfortunately for the Allied cause, Mount Suribachi wasn’t the only fortress the Japanese prepared. Almost the entire island was transformed into a stronghold with a tunnel net consisting of more than 11 miles (18km). A total of 6 miles (9km) more were planned. It was warfare that Marines did not have to face in the next 30 years when Nam happened.

Two Privates throwing fire at the defenses which blocked the way to Mount Suribachi. Left to right: Private Richard Klatt and Private Wilfred Voageli. Photographed February 19, 1945
Two Privates throwing fire at the defenses which blocked the way to Mount Suribachi. Left to right: Private Richard Klatt and Private Wilfred Voageli. Photographed February 19, 1945

The tunnels were not only long but also complex like a labyrinth. Every corner was a life-threatening danger. Even the cleaned bunkers and parts of the tunnels were often soon replenished by reinforcements very quickly again, catching Americans by a complete surprise in a spot that they just cleared.

View looking northward over Mount Suribachi, circa late February 1945. Several LSTs are landing supplies and equipment on the beach in the right background. Photographed by a member of the Steichen unit.
View looking northward over Mount Suribachi, circa late February 1945. Several LSTs are landing supplies and equipment on the beach in the right background. Photographed by a member of the Steichen unit.

Another reason the shores were left defenseless was the same reason why Americans struggled so much in the beginning. The sand was difficult to dig in and any solid obstacles there would of no much use anyway, not to mention any proper foothold. Even foxholes weren’t as simple to create.

A regimental command post at Iwo Jima, Japan, 1945
A regimental command post at Iwo Jima, Japan, 1945

Tenacity

Lieutenant General Tadamichi Kuribayashi was the commander in chief over the Japanese forces stationing on Iwo Jima, personally picked for that position by Hirohito himself, a year before the battle started, thus having a lot of time for planning and preparations. He wasn’t a typical fanatic blindly following the will of the Emperor. On the contrary, he was more like a Yamamoto of the ground forces. With over 30 years of military service, Kuribayashi was well aware that the battle ultimately will be lost.

Lieutenant General Tadamichi Kuribayashi, commander of Iwo Jima.
Lieutenant General Tadamichi Kuribayashi, commander of Iwo Jima.

However, the objectives he has set were reasonable in the face of the might he was about to confront, and in the end, he accomplished his goals! That was due to his mindset, as he was far from using the typical Japanese tactics such as banzai charges, and committing seppuku were also off the table (with the only exception when killing at least ten American soldiers).

Harry Truman congratulates Marine Corporal Hershel Williams of the Third Marine Division on being awarded the Medal of Honor, 5 October 1945. He is the only surviving Marine to have received the Medal of Honor during World War II.
Harry Truman congratulates Marine Corporal Hershel Williams of the Third Marine Division on being awarded the Medal of Honor, 5 October 1945. He is the only surviving Marine to have received the Medal of Honor during World War II.

He was also enlightened enough not to underestimate the US by any means. With sane esteem toward the “sleeping giant”, Tadamichi was well aware that the war was already lost, the only thing that was not certain yet was the price for it. Similar to Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, the planner of the attack on Pearl Harbor, he also knew bits of the United States’ potential from the inside. as deputy military attaché to Washington, D.C. since 1928, he was able to travel across the states for three years, even studying in Harvard University for awhile.

Map of Iwo Jima detailing the invasion
Map of Iwo Jima detailing the invasion

Kuribayashi was prepared for the worst-case scenario and had no expectations of survival. He most likely was killed with a katana in his hand, during the last counter-attack he personally led on the 26th March. He took with himself 300 hundred Japanese, and the charge cost 100 American lives.

But before that, he took off all the insignia and distinction from his uniform, to fight as a common soldier, and as such was buried in a mass grave along with the rest of his subordinates. A glorious end to one of the most interesting generals of the Imperial Forces of Japan.

Navy Medical Corpsmen of the Fourth Marine Division arrive at the beach on Iwo Jima with their wounded after a long hazardous trip from the front lines. Three men carrying a stretcher case lead the way to the evacuation boat while others help the walking wounded. Photographed released, February 26 1945.
Navy Medical Corpsmen of the Fourth Marine Division arrive at the beach on Iwo Jima with their wounded after a long hazardous trip from the front lines. Three men carrying a stretcher case lead the way to the evacuation boat while others help the walking wounded. Photographed released, February 26 1945.

Brutality

USMC quickly realized that standard firearms were almost useless against the defenders who changed their usual way of fighting. Since the enemy dug in the underground, took cover wherever possible, and avoided a direct clash, more sophisticated ways of killing were presented.

The flamethrower was especially hated by the Japanese, knowing it can burn a body to a crisp in seconds and clear their bunkers and tunnels very efficiently.

Their operators were at greater risk as being easier to spot and being a priority target at the same time. One flamethrower was assigned to each platoon, plus one in the reserve. With further advance, the casualty rate of portable flame units reached up to 92%

A flamethrower operator of E Company, 2nd Battalion 9th Marines, 3rd Marine Division, runs under fire on Iwo Jima.
A flamethrower operator of E Company, 2nd Battalion 9th Marines, 3rd Marine Division, runs under fire on Iwo Jima.

Another useful weapon was the M4A4 Sherman. Not having any enemy armor as a threat, it played solely an infantry support role (some Japanese model 95 and 97 (1942) were present). And being supported by the infantry, it was difficult to destroy. It was essential to the point that some advances were being on hold until “Ronson” arrive (also knowns as “Zippos”). A popular opinion is that the Flamethrower Sherman was the best weapon the Marines had and the only thing the Japanese truly feared.

A Marine flame throwing tank, also known as a “Ronson”, scorches a Japanese strongpoint. The eight M4A3 Shermans equipped with the Navy Mark 1 flame-thrower proved to be the most valuable weapons systems on Iwo Jima.
A Marine flame throwing tank, also known as a “Ronson”, scorches a Japanese strongpoint. The eight M4A3 Shermans equipped with the Navy Mark 1 flame-thrower proved to be the most valuable weapons systems on Iwo Jima.

Both sides shared a tremendous distrust towards each other. Japanese soldiers were fighting to the bitter end, even on the verge of death, or heavily injured. Those who were able to speak English often taunted US Medics by shouting simply “Corpsman!”.

Some surrendering Japanese were killed on spot in fear they were holding a grenade with the hope to take one more enemy with them. And often, it was the case. Even a man in the same uniform wasn’t safe from suspicions, as the Japanese tended to use them, and any measure possible, to get closer to US outposts.

Americans weren’t free from brutality either. Cases of decapitating the bodies of fallen Japanese occurred. Their heads were then boiled and traded after the war.

US Marine M4 Sherman tank mired in soft volcanic sand, Iwo Jima, Japan, 21 February 1945
US Marine M4 Sherman tank mired in soft volcanic sand, Iwo Jima, Japan, 21 February 1945

Bloody volcanic sands

When talking about the Battle of Iwo Jima, pretty quickly one major fact stands out – the death toll. Of both sides. Not often a conventional battle was able to wipe out an entire army. However, in this case, the victorious forces not only lost a significant number of good men – the casualties were bigger than those of the enemy.

And all of that despite being prepared, better equipped, having a total superiority in the air and sea, and supported by the artillery and tanks of various kinds. Moreover, it was the only battle of the entire Pacific Campaign when Americans suffered more casualties than their Japanese opponents.

The sextet of US Army African-American soldiers who risked their lives to save a near-drowning US Marine at Iwo Jima, 11 March 1945
The sextet of US Army African-American soldiers who risked their lives to save a near-drowning US Marine at Iwo Jima, 11 March 1945

American forces suffered over 26,000 casualties, almost 7,000 killed and more than 19,000 wounded. USS Bismarck Sea was sunk on 19th February by two Kamikaze attacks, killing 318 on board. USS Saratoga (CV-3) was severely damaged by bombs, 123 of her crew was lost and an additional 192 wounded, plus 36 aircraft destroyed. Despite tanks being difficult to destroy, the Japanese managed to take 137 out of action.

Fire fighting on USS Saratoga (CV-3)
Fire fighting on USS Saratoga (CV-3)

Japanese forces were annihilated – 18,000 dead and missing, while 3,000 went into hiding.

Dedication of Fourth Marine Division Cemetery. Photographed March 15, 1945
Dedication of Fourth Marine Division Cemetery. Photographed March 15, 1945

Above and beyond the call of duty

Since its creation, the Medal of Honor was awarded more than 3,520 times. From that number, a total of 471  were presented during World War II. What’s astonishing here, the President of the United States awarded 27 brave souls for actions just during one battle – Iwo Jima.

That consists of 6% of the entire conflict that lasted for the American soldiers almost four long years. Imagine that, 6% just from one battle. Furthermore, 82 Marines were awarded MoH in WWII, while 22 of them for their actions on Iwo Jima, making almost 30% of all MoHs received by USMC during that single battle.

John Basilone, USMC, Medal of Honor, Navy Cross, and Purple Heart recipient for his bravery in WW II. KIA during the battle of Iwo Jima on 19th February 1945.
John Basilone, USMC, Medal of Honor, Navy Cross, and Purple Heart recipient for his bravery in WW II. KIA during the battle of Iwo Jima on 19th February 1945.

Moreover, no other piece of ground taken by the US military was as costly as the sands of Iwo Jima. Ever.

Prize of the Battle. 5th Division Marines grounded behind their light machine gun, display Japanese battle flags captured during the first few days of the fighting on Iwo Jima. Photographed by Farnum, February 1945.
Prize of the Battle. 5th Division Marines grounded behind their light machine gun, display Japanese battle flags captured during the first few days of the fighting on Iwo Jima. Photographed by Farnum, February 1945.

The prisoners of war

Of 21,000 Japanese soldiers stationing on Iwo Jima, only around 216 were taken as PoWs. Of those, two committed suicide. That was due to the fanatical discipline of the Japanese in a big part. First, they were indoctrinated that Americans are beasts and the nightmarish training they were suffering was nothing compared to being caught by the US forces.

Then, their codex imprinted in their minds heroism, forcing them to fight as long as they breathe. Those captured “unlucky” were typically wounded, stuck, or knocked out. Since the battlefields was an isolated island, there was no way to retreat.

A U.S. Marine approaches a Japanese soldier on Iwo Jima, Japan during World War II. The Japanese soldier was buried for 1 1/2 days in this shell hole playing dead and ready with a live grenade inches away from his hand. The Marines feared he might be further booby trapped underneath his body after knocking the grenade to the bottom of the shell hole. Promising no resistance, the prisoner is given a cigarette he asked for and was dragged free from the hole. 16 March 1945.
A U.S. Marine approaches a Japanese soldier on Iwo Jima, Japan during World War II. The Japanese soldier was buried for 1 1/2 days in this shell hole playing dead and ready with a live grenade inches away from his hand. The Marines feared he might be further booby trapped underneath his body after knocking the grenade to the bottom of the shell hole. Promising no resistance, the prisoner is given a cigarette he asked for and was dragged free from the hole. 16 March 1945.

Aftermath

The island was declared secure in the late afternoon on 16th March at 18:00, ending Operation Detachment as victorious. In a way, the battle was successful as well, accomplishing most of their goals. For three more months, occupying US Forces were tracking and killing 1,600 more Japanese soldiers hiding in well-supplied caves in smaller skirmishes in the northern parts of the territory.

Two US Marines in rocky terrain, Iwo Jima, Japan, February 1945
Two US Marines in rocky terrain, Iwo Jima, Japan, February 1945

Iwo Jima was occupied by the United States till 1968. Currently it is under Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force jurisdiction, and basically inaccessible to civilians. The Japanese government to this day continues the search and retrieval of the fallen soldiers of 1945.

Japanese troops being captured by Americans on Iwo Jima, Japan, 5 April 1945
Japanese troops being captured by Americans on Iwo Jima, Japan, 5 April 1945

The last Japanese soldiers surrendered almost 4 years after the battle ended. In January 1949, Yamakage Kufuku and Matsudo Linsoki were finally being captured, unaware the war has ended a long time ago…

The memorial on top of Suribachi
The memorial on top of Suribachi

More photos!

iring into cave on Mt. Suribachi by the 40 mm guns of USS Nevada (BB 36). Photographed by USS Nevada (BB 36), February 17, 1945.
iring into cave on Mt. Suribachi by the 40 mm guns of USS Nevada (BB 36). Photographed by USS Nevada (BB 36), February 17, 1945.

 

PHoM2/C Charles R. Roth, USCG, leads hymn singing and gives brief talk to his shipmates aboard a Coast Guard-manner LST the day before landing on Iwo Jima. Photographed February 18, 1945.
PHoM2/C Charles R. Roth, USCG, leads hymn singing and gives brief talk to his shipmates aboard a Coast Guard-manner LST the day before landing on Iwo Jima. Photographed February 18, 1945.

 

Iwo Jima covered with bomb craters from incessant attack by carrier-based planes. Smoke rising from burning installations. Northwest section. Taken by plane from USS Saginaw Bay (CVE 82), D-Day, February 19, 1945.
Iwo Jima covered with bomb craters from incessant attack by carrier-based planes. Smoke rising from burning installations. Northwest section. Taken by plane from USS Saginaw Bay (CVE 82), D-Day, February 19, 1945.

 

US Marines in a LCVP approaching Iwo Jima, Japan, 19 February 1945
US Marines in a LCVP approaching Iwo Jima, Japan, 19 February 1945

 

Private Kenneth R. Hoger, in Higgins boat with flame thrower on the way landing on D-Day. Photographed February 19, 1945.
Private Kenneth R. Hoger, in Higgins boat with flame thrower on the way landing on D-Day. Photographed February 19, 1945.

 

Wreckage of vehicles and ships on beach of Iwo Jima in Volcanic Islands on D-Day, from heavy fire by Japanese and U.S. Forces, February 19, 1945
Wreckage of vehicles and ships on beach of Iwo Jima in Volcanic Islands on D-Day, from heavy fire by Japanese and U.S. Forces, February 19, 1945

 

Smashed by Japanese mortar and shellfire, trapped by Iwo’s treacherous black-ash sands, Amtracs and other vehicles of war lay knocked out on the black sands of the volcanic fortress. c. February/March 1945
Smashed by Japanese mortar and shellfire, trapped by Iwo’s treacherous black-ash sands, Amtracs and other vehicles of war lay knocked out on the black sands of the volcanic fortress. c. February/March 1945

 

A US Navy Medical Corpsman dressed a wounded Marine while others ducked nearby for cover, Iwo Jima, Japan, 19 February 1945
A US Navy Medical Corpsman dressed a wounded Marine while others ducked nearby for cover, Iwo Jima, Japan, 19 February 1945

 

US Marine Corporal Virgil W. Burgess gave his dog Prince instructions on which foxhole to carry a message to, Iwo Jima, 19 February 1945
US Marine Corporal Virgil W. Burgess gave his dog Prince instructions on which foxhole to carry a message to, Iwo Jima, 19 February 1945

 

Men of US Marine Corps 4th Division shelling Japanese positions from the beach, Iwo Jima, Japan, February 1945
Men of US Marine Corps 4th Division shelling Japanese positions from the beach, Iwo Jima, Japan, February 1945

 

Two Marines in the First Battalion, 26th Marines move in front line past grave of Marine, marked by his rifle and helmet
Two Marines in the First Battalion, 26th Marines move in front line past grave of Marine, marked by his rifle and helmet

 

Pfc Reg P. Hester, 7th War Dog Platoon, 25th Regiment, United States Marine Corps took a nap while Dutch, his war dog, stood guard, Iwo Jima, February 1945
Pfc Reg P. Hester, 7th War Dog Platoon, 25th Regiment, United States Marine Corps took a nap while Dutch, his war dog, stood guard, Iwo Jima, February 1945

 

U.S. Marines lay steel matting over soft volcanic ash of beach on Iwo Jima to form firm road bed to supply dump, February 19, 1945
U.S. Marines lay steel matting over soft volcanic ash of beach on Iwo Jima to form firm road bed to supply dump, February 19, 1945

 

24th Marines prepare to attack Motoyama Airfield #1 at H-Hour, 0900, 500 yards inland from Yellow 2 Beach. Photographed by Ragus, February 20, 1945
24th Marines prepare to attack Motoyama Airfield #1 at H-Hour, 0900, 500 yards inland from Yellow 2 Beach. Photographed by Ragus, February 20, 1945

 

Marines Pinned Down. Because of heavy sniper fire, these Marines are pinned down momentarily. The Japanese front lines which are a few hundred feet to the left, were destroyed by these Marines. Empty stretchers can be seen, at the time this picture was taken but thirty minutes later these same stretchers had wounded Marines in them and were on their way back to the First Aid Station.
Marines Pinned Down. Because of heavy sniper fire, these Marines are pinned down momentarily. The Japanese front lines which are a few hundred feet to the left, were destroyed by these Marines. Empty stretchers can be seen, at the time this picture was taken but thirty minutes later these same stretchers had wounded Marines in them and were on their way back to the First Aid Station.

 

Marines from the 24th Marine Regiment during the Battle of Iwo Jima
Marines from the 24th Marine Regiment during the Battle of Iwo Jima

 

A wave of Fourth Division Marines beginning an attack from the beach at Iwo Jima. The rugged cliff above made this mighty Japanese emplacement at the foot of Mount Suribachi almost completely impregnable. This photograph of the wrecked gun was taken on the fifth day of the Iwo Jima struggle
A wave of Fourth Division Marines beginning an attack from the beach at Iwo Jima. The rugged cliff above made this mighty Japanese emplacement at the foot of Mount Suribachi almost completely impregnable. This photograph of the wrecked gun was taken on the fifth day of the Iwo Jima struggle

 

Sprawled in the grey volcanic ash on the beach of Iwo Jima two U.S. Navy Seabees and a Marine seek solace in a quick nap. All about them, empty shells cases testify to the fury which took place for possession of the beach. Photograph released March 2, 1945.
Sprawled in the grey volcanic ash on the beach of Iwo Jima two U.S. Navy Seabees and a Marine seek solace in a quick nap. All about them, empty shells cases testify to the fury which took place for possession of the beach. Photograph released March 2, 1945.

 

A tank dozer comes up, clearing the road as it comes. Photographed by Sgt. Dreyfuss, March 9, 1945.
A tank dozer comes up, clearing the road as it comes. Photographed by Sgt. Dreyfuss, March 9, 1945.

 

Four US Marines cleared out a cave with BAR, small arms, and grenades, Iwo Jima, circa February-March 1945
Four US Marines cleared out a cave with BAR, small arms, and grenades, Iwo Jima, circa February-March 1945

 

 

Supported by tanks and halftracks, battle-tried Marines of the Fourth Division inch forward over the Volcanic sand of Iwo Jima
Supported by tanks and halftracks, battle-tried Marines of the Fourth Division inch forward over the Volcanic sand of Iwo Jima

 

Our front lines – the ridges gave the Marines a lot of trouble. Photographed by Dreyfuss, February 27, 1945.
Our front lines – the ridges gave the Marines a lot of trouble. Photographed by Dreyfuss, February 27, 1945.

 

Iwo Jima flame throwers going into action, February 1945.
Iwo Jima flame throwers going into action, February 1945.

 

Iwo Jima February 1945. Riflemen lead the way as flame throwing Marines of the Fifth Division, crouched with the weight of their weapons, move up to work on a concentration of Japanese pillboxes.
Iwo Jima February 1945. Riflemen lead the way as flame throwing Marines of the Fifth Division, crouched with the weight of their weapons, move up to work on a concentration of Japanese pillboxes.

 

After their own gun was knocked out on Iwo Jima, Marines of the Fifth Division took over this captured Hotchkiss machine gun and gave the enemy back some of its down lead. Shown, (left to right): Corporal A.R. Cassavant and Corporal Thomas McLennon. Photograph released February 25, 1945.
After their own gun was knocked out on Iwo Jima, Marines of the Fifth Division took over this captured Hotchkiss machine gun and gave the enemy back some of its down lead. Shown, (left to right): Corporal A.R. Cassavant and Corporal Thomas McLennon. Photograph released February 25, 1945.

 

Hit and run rocket fire was the order when these Marines of the Fifth Division let loose a barrage on Iwo Jima. The Japanese lined up their own rockets and mortars on the Marine fire and returned a two-fold barrage. The Marines would fire a barrage and then climb aboard the recon trucks on which the rocket tracks were mounted and swiftly changed their position. Photograph released March 26, 1945.
Hit and run rocket fire was the order when these Marines of the Fifth Division let loose a barrage on Iwo Jima. The Japanese lined up their own rockets and mortars on the Marine fire and returned a two-fold barrage. The Marines would fire a barrage and then climb aboard the recon trucks on which the rocket tracks were mounted and swiftly changed their position. Photograph released March 26, 1945.

 

Corporal Edward Burckhardt with the kitten he said “captured him” at the base of Mount Suribachi Yama on the battle field, when he came ashore with the Fifth Marine Division. Photographed released March 2, 1945.
Corporal Edward Burckhardt with the kitten he said “captured him” at the base of Mount Suribachi Yama on the battle field, when he came ashore with the Fifth Marine Division. Photographed released March 2, 1945.

 

US Marine Private Francis Hall and his Doberman war dog, Iwo Jima, Japan, March 1945
US Marine Private Francis Hall and his Doberman war dog, Iwo Jima, Japan, March 1945

 

An LCM (Landing Craft Mechanized) loaded with troops shoves off from the troop transport and heads toward the shore at Iwo Jima, March 6, 1945.
An LCM (Landing Craft Mechanized) loaded with troops shoves off from the troop transport and heads toward the shore at Iwo Jima, March 6, 1945.

 

US Marine mortar team, Iwo Jima, Japan, 1945
US Marine mortar team, Iwo Jima, Japan, 1945

 

A wrecked M4 Sherman tank showing a shell hit on its outer wooden timbers, Iwo Jima, 15 March 1945.
A wrecked M4 Sherman tank showing a shell hit on its outer wooden timbers, Iwo Jima, 15 March 1945.

 

Japanese model 97 medium tank, Iwo Jima, 1945
Japanese model 97 medium tank, Iwo Jima, 1945

 

TBM aircraft flying over Mt. Suribachi shortly after Iwo Jima was secured. Photographed by the Steichen Photograph Unit, March 1945.
TBM aircraft flying over Mt. Suribachi shortly after Iwo Jima was secured. Photographed by the Steichen Photograph Unit, March 1945.