The Battle for Iwo Jima, February-March, 1945
Following the capture of the Marianas Islands, the United States begins a strategic bombing campaign of the Japanese mainland. But, halfway between the US airbases in the Marianas and the Japanese mainland, sits a tiny volcanic island named Iwo Jima. Japanese fighters based on Iwo Jima threaten the bombing campaign, provide warning of incoming US bombing raids, and provide a base for kamikaze attacks on the US fleet. The United States decides that Iwo Jima must be taken. The Japanese make Iwo Jima a massive underground defensive bastion. All of the 20,000+ Japanese soldiers on Iwo Jima know they will die, but are determined to exact a terrible cost on the invaders. By inflicting terrible losses on the Americans, the Japanese hope to dissuade the Americans from an invasion of their home islands. Fully one quarter of the Medal of Honor recipients of the Pacific War will earn their medals taking this tiny island.
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