The Battle – Japan’s Iwo Jima Strategy

Japanese Strategy


General Kuribayashi, the Japanese Commander of Iwo Jima, was brilliant. An aristocrat, he was educated in Canada and toured the US. In Japan, he was one of the few soldiers ever granted an audience by Emperor Hirohito.

His preparations, fortifications and strategy were marvels in the history of warfare. The Japanese strategy was unique for three reasons: 1) The Japanese didn’t fight above ground. They fought the battle entirely from beneath the ground. They dug 1,500 rooms into the rock. These were connected with 16 miles of tunnels. 2) Japanese strategy called for “no Japanese survivors.” They planned not to survive. 3) Japanese strategy was for each soldier to kill 10 Americans before they themselves are killed.

Location


Both Japan and the US valued the sulfurous island Iwo Jima. Iwo Jima was Japanese home soil, part of Japan, only 650 miles from Tokyo. It was administered by the Tokyo metropolitan government. No foreign army in Japan’s 5000 year history had successfully trod on Japanese soil. To the US, Iwo Jima’s importance lay in its location, midway between Japan and American bomber bases in the Marianas. Since the summer of 1944, the Japanese home islands had been reeling from strikes by the new, long range B-29′s. The US, however, had no protective fighters with enough range to escort the big superfortresses. many bombers fell prey to Japanese fighter-interceptor attacks. Iwo, with its three airfields, was ideally located as a fighter-escort station. It was also an ideal sanctuary for crippled bombers returning from Japan.

No Japanese Survivors


In Tokyo months before the invasion, General Kuribayashi had been told “if America’s casualties are high enough, Washington will think twice before launching an another invasion against Japanese territory.” The Japanese strategy of “no Japanese survivors” is heroic Japanese stance is commonly glorified in Japanese historical novels, classic books, plays and movies. It touches at the heart of the Japanese sense of sacrifice of the individual for the greater good. “You must not expect my survival,” General Kuribayashi wrote to his wife long before the invasion came. General Kuribayashi’s command center had 5 ft. thick walls, a 10 ft. thick roof. This cement capsule was under 75 ft. of solid rock.

{ 171 comments… read them below or add one }

Mom May 20, 2014 at 6:55 pm

Oh my! This information was simply lovely! Thanks so much for providing it for my little boy, Timmy. (He has trouble in school so this is a HUGE help!)

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Jessie February 28, 2014 at 4:42 pm

when did u make this? I am doing a project and i have to cite stuff :)

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Jessie February 28, 2014 at 4:40 pm

U were a great help, thanks so much

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Lin East November 11, 2013 at 6:36 pm

Happy Veteran’s Day to everyone who served and those who care for them.

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Craig Brown September 14, 2013 at 3:51 pm

I am a volunteer for the Wichita Falls annual Iwo Jima reunion, we would love to hear from those veterans of the battle. Please contact me for more information. As for all you who choose to put garbage on this site shame on you for not understanding and appreciating the sacrifices these men gave for you to have the rights you have today.

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Lin East May 14, 2013 at 6:53 pm

Connecticut has a group called SOSIWOJIMA- which recignizes survivors from the battle on Iwo- do any other states have such a program or group?
The CT chapter is have a motorcycle ride May 19, 2013 to honor all WWII vets- God bless them all.

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Lin East April 29, 2013 at 12:12 pm

A World War II veteran who has been credited with supplying the American flag raised at Iwo Jima has died.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Alan Wood, who was a 20-something Navy officer during the war, died at his Sierra Madre, Calif., home on April 18. He was 90.

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Chase April 9, 2013 at 10:35 pm

Who is the Author, year of copyright who copyrighted it so i can use this as a source on a research paper

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CHARLES CURLEY March 22, 2013 at 7:12 pm

I was on Iwo with the 3rd Division. I am retired and now 87. I would like to speak to another Iwo survivor, Phone me @ 727-796-2621. Written , MARCH OF 2013. More distinct e- mail is
ccurls@tampabay.rr.com

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Westley January 2, 2013 at 12:28 am

if there is an iwo jima survivor that live in NC close to the kinston area email me at westman28572@yahoo.com

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Lin East December 13, 2012 at 3:48 pm

National Geographic was given some phenomenal photos taken during the landing- check them at http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/events/wwii-pac/iwojima/iwo-3w1.htm.

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Lin East November 21, 2012 at 12:28 pm

where are the moderators? who let some of this garbage on here?
This site should be for serious comments- not trash from people who have no clue what the service people went through over there.

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Iwo Jima December 1, 2012 at 10:56 pm

Some spammy inappropriate comments slip through the cracks of akismet (plugin supposed to detect spam), and have to be manually removed.

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JAMES A SMITH JR. November 3, 2012 at 4:07 pm

I AM A FORMER SURVIVOR OF IWO JIMA .EVEN THOUGH I AM A JR. I AM A SR. MARINE@92. FROM THE 3RD. DIV.WE WEREN’T SUPPOSED TO LAND ON IWO, AND YES I SURVIVED A ”KAMAKAZIE” ATTACK WHILE CRUSING OFF IWO. WE FINALLY WENT ASHORE ON THE 20TH OF FEB. I WAS ON LST 646. I WAS A MECHANIC , AND WAS PUTTING A TRACK ON WHEN THE FIRST FLAG WENT UP ON THE 23RD, BY MY FRIEND, CHARLES LINDBERG WAS ONE OF THE FIRST FLAG RAISERS. I WAS THERE WHEN IT WENT UP.NOT KNOWING HOW BAD IT WAS GOING TO BE, ”I SAID WE HAVE A WAR GOING ON DOWN HERE.”

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Colleen Kelly January 27, 2013 at 6:08 am

Hello Mr Smith,
I was online searching for a James A Smith JR , well looking to find his family. You see, I was onboard the USNS Comfort during Desert Sheild/Desert Storm. I was a part of the flight deck crew. We took on many injured yet to this day the sailors from the accident on the ship IWO JIMA in Oct 1990 still haunt me. I was talking with my mom and she said maybe I should try to find their families and let them know that there WAS someone there to hold their hand in those dying moments. I happened upon you and your story on this website. I cannot even begin to imagine what you went through. Maybe I found the James A Smith JR I was supposed to find. Thank you for your service. Sincerely Colleen Kelly.

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Westley January 2, 2013 at 12:20 am

hey if your really are a iwo jima survivor it would be nice for you to come visit my 12th grade history teacher at south lenoir high school in deep run NC because ive got ths project im doing on iwo jima itd be nice to get some true fact for a person that was actually there and learn what it was really like

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Ruben j. vega May 29, 2012 at 10:34 am

i think japan deserved to get what they got,Remember pearl harbour!

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Justin Williams Campagna May 23, 2012 at 6:02 pm

That’s kind of like how the Spartans received so much glory and yet they would usually only come in after battles. :)

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Justin Willams Campagna May 23, 2012 at 5:58 pm

Excuse me jake, but I do believe the term “Japs” is a politically incorrect, and may offend some people. Please anyone who reads this please refrain from using words such as these.

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charlie Monroe April 30, 2012 at 11:49 am

have i seen you at the reunion?

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John Doe March 1, 2012 at 10:55 pm

Nice thought, however, the term sleeping giant actually refers to America’s Industrial Strength and its ability to mass produce products and machinery. (Well back then, now we just pay 3rd world countries to do most of the work and illegal immigrants to farm for us)… god bless America

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blackman February 26, 2012 at 6:10 pm

i vist iwo jima every year for the reunion.i go to the beach were the marines landend dig up their skulls and kiss them. and pray to them and put it in my collection of skulls.

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tedford February 22, 2012 at 11:09 pm

this is a good place to find information when needing help of homework thank you for all the help that you giv us

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tiff January 23, 2012 at 8:56 pm

Thank you for the Iwo Jima article, it really helped with my ww2 project about the pacific theater.

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tunnel November 28, 2011 at 10:52 pm

what we did was no better even worse if you ask me how many babys did they kill how many kids did they kill not as many as we did we killed countless numbers of babys and kids more innocinte them anyone if you think other wise your wrong a life for a life yes but not when it is a 19 year olds life and a 3 year olds we both did bad things but both sides have a story listen to both or your are no better then slaverers cuase we were both WRONG it was a war that was need but it is in the PAST if we let it get in between us now we are as good as dead

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tunnel November 28, 2011 at 10:14 pm

i would have my teeth ripped out of my head you can not think that a god (someone we do not no is real) can solve a war we head to fight mr grandpap was in WW2 and is a minester now your god can’t solve all the worlds problems

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ashley farlin November 16, 2011 at 2:16 pm

this is for computer class work.

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Barry November 13, 2011 at 7:10 pm

The Army was on Iwo Jima very early on. My father was a Marine and mentioned that Black soldiers of the US Army were delivering supplies to the Marines. He stated many times those DUK drivers were among the bravest men he had ever met.

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