Iwo Jima, Battle of
Mt. Suribachi, at 556 feet, is the most prominent landmark of the seven‐mile long, pork chop–shaped island, where Lt. Gen. Tadamichi Kuribayashi had 21,000 men and 1,000 guns. Forsaking the Japan doctrine of defending at the water's edge, he decided instead to defend from an elaborate system of caves and tunnels.
On the American side, Vice Adm. Richmond K. Turner commanded the Joint Expeditionary Force with Lt. Gen. Holland M. Smith as commander of the Joint Expeditionary Troops, while Maj. Gen. Harry Schmidt commanded the Marine V Amphibious Corps, consisting of the 3rd ( Maj. Gen. Graves B. Erskine), 4th ( Maj. Gen. Clifton B. Cates), and 5th ( Maj. Gen. Keller E. Rockey) Marine Divisions. At 0930 on 19 February 1945, the first wave of armored amphibian tractors touched down, 5th Division on the left and 4th Division on the right. On the left, the 28th Marines, an infantry regiment, turned south toward Suribachi, and after four days of fighting gained the top of the mountain. A patrol reached the crest and tied a small American flag to a piece of pipe. Three hours later, a larger flag was brought up—one that could be seen from all over the island. Joe Rosenthal, an Associated Press photographer, took a picture of its raising that was published around the world.
The main effort was a slow advance to the north, with the 5th Division on the left and the 4th Division on the right. The 3rd Division was fed into the center of the line and the attack shouldered forward. After days of heavy fighting, the island was secured on 26 March. Altogether, 71,245 Marines had been put ashore; of these, 5,931 were killed in action, and 17,372 wounded. Twenty‐two Marines, four navy hospital corpsmen, and one navy landing craft commander were awarded the Medal of Honor, half of them posthumous awards. The number of Japanese killed has never been determined exactly, but only 216 prisoners were taken, most of them Korean conscript laborers. The terrible cost to Americans was somewhat balanced by another statistic: by war's end, 2,251 heavy bombers, with crews totaling 24,761, had made emergency landings on Iwo.
[See also Awards, Decorations, and Honors; World War II, U.S. Air Operations in: The Air War Against Japan; World War II, U.S. Naval Operations in: The Pacific.]
Joseph H. Alexander , Closing In: Marines in the Seizure of Iwo Jima, 1995.
George C. Garand and and Truman R. Strobridge , History of U.S. Marine Corps Operations in World War II: Vol. IV, Western Pacific Operations, 1971.
Benis M. Frank
"Iwo Jima, Battle of." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Encyclopedia.com. (July 16, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/iwo-jima-battle
"Iwo Jima, Battle of." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Retrieved July 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/iwo-jima-battle
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.