Iwo Jima. A tiny, barren island only 5 miles long that looks like a pork chop. An island only 660 miles south of Tokyo, Japan. An island whose name translates as Sulphur Island because of the many vents that give out rotten egg smelling sulphur fumes. An island described by the soldiers as "Pure Hell"ÃÂ. An island where one of the most fiercest and bloodiest fighting the Marines have ever been in took place. The Battle of Iwo Jima.
American bomber and fighter planes were flying missions over Japan. It was necessary to establish a base for the fighters to land somewhere for refueling, repairs, etc. The island of Iwo Jima would be the best site for a base. The only problem was that it was a Japanese island. The U.S. would have to fight to gain control of it.
Iwo Jima was an important link in the Japanese air defense.
This would give the U.S two major advantages if they gained control of it.
The task of invading Iwo Jima was given to the Fifth Marine Amphibious Corps of Nimitz's Fifth Fleet. It was divided into 3 divisions. The 3rd, 4th, and 5th.
* * * * * At the beginning of November 1944, American combat vessels and aircraft began to bombard Iwo Jima in an attempt to destroy the heavy Japanese artillery and make the Japanese defenses disorganized and confused.
By February of 1945, the Navy and Air Corps claimed that at least 80 percent of the Japanese defenses on Iwo Jima were destroyed and that the marines would have an easy time with the invasion.
On February 17th, American frogmen landed on the island to test the area that the marines would invade. They also did a check to see on the defenses that they would...