The Battle – The Land Battle

D-Day February 19, 1945 – Shortly before 2am on Feb. 19, 1945, the Navy’s big guns opened up on Iwo Jima again, signaling the beginning of D-Day. After an hour of punishment, the fire was lifted, leaving Iwo smoking as if the entire island were on fire.

Both Americans aboard their transports and the Japanese in their caves looked to the skies now. One-hundred-ten bombers screamed out of the sky to drop more bombs. After the planes left, the big guns of the Navy opened up again.

At 8:30am, the order, “Land the Landing Force,” sent the first wave of Marines towards the deadly shores. Once ashore, the Marines were bedeviled by the loose volcanic ash. Unable to dig foxholes, they were sitting ducks for the hidden Japanese gunners.

Heavy fire made it impossible to land men in an orderly manner. Confusion reigned on the beaches.

The battle was unique in its setting. One hundred thousand men fighting on a tiny island one-third the size of Manhattan. For 36 days Iwo Jima was one of the most populated 7.5 miles on earth.

Mt. Suribachi, the 550-foot volcanic cone at the islands southern tip, dominates both possible landing beaches. From here, Japanese gunners zeroed in on every inch of the landing beach. Blockhouses and pillboxes flanked the landing areas. Within, more heavy weapons stood ready to blast the attacking Marines. Machine guns criss-crossed the beaches with deadly interlocking fire. Rockets, anti-boat and anti-tank guns were also trained on the beaches.Every Marine, everywhere on the island was always in range of Japanese guns.

The Japanese were ready.

The invading US Marines fought above ground. The defending Japanese fought from below ground. The US Marines on Iwo rarely saw a Japanese soldier.

Historians described U.S. forces’ attack against the Japanese defense as “throwing human flesh against reinforced concrete.”

There were no front lines. The Marines were above ground and the Japanese were below them underground. The Marines rarely saw an alive Japanese soldier. The Japanese could see the Marines perfectly.

“Easy Company started with 310 men. We suffered 75% casualties. Only 50 men boarded the ship after the battle. Seven officers went into the battle with me. Only one–me–walked off Iwo.” . . . Captain Dave Severance, Easy Company Commander (the Flag Raising Company)

The battle was won by the inch-by-inch tenacity of the foot soldier.

Liquid gas, napalm and hand grenades were more useful against the underground Japanese.

{ 226 comments… read them below or add one }

Jake Wyss November 12, 2009 at 12:41 pm

this is awesome. i am doing my prodject on this. mabey i will some day be in the marines


burtonrobson November 12, 2009 at 5:53 pm

Not cool, sickening, may they all R.I.P.


leslie trout November 13, 2009 at 2:40 pm

i love the movie flags of our fathers


martin November 17, 2009 at 5:00 pm

Guys if you watch both movies you should feel for every solider who had to endure this horrivic event in history
lets hope we in our time do not have to experence what they did !!


Marissa McIntyre November 19, 2009 at 7:49 pm

Wow this is a lot of useful information! very helpful for my term paper. RIP all our lost soldiers


Jake Fenn November 23, 2009 at 12:38 pm

If You spell like that you sure won’t


Robert Bousfield December 1, 2009 at 4:41 am

I can still recall the storys my Bro told me.I know he is in Heaven as he and his comrades went thu hell on that Island


Jeremiah O'Steen December 1, 2009 at 5:18 am

This site has proven to be very useful indeed. I also am working on a term paper that the person I am writing about served here. His name was Jack Jaquet and he was wounded in battle at Iwo Jima. Had a grenade go off under his legs. He was able to walk afterwards, luckily, but was done after recovery. He was in the 3rd division USMC. May he as all those who he fought with rest in peace. God Bless are troops of old and present.


mason manning December 3, 2009 at 10:07 am

this helped me so much military is awsome


Jake Mattson December 8, 2009 at 2:54 pm

If you really spell like that then you will never get into the marines!


Benjamin Penniman December 10, 2009 at 1:48 pm

Hi Tim


Sarah Bryan December 10, 2009 at 2:45 pm

I would like to say thanks to whom ever put all this together, my great uncle was one of the flag raisers. His name was Ira Hayes. Im writing a research project on him, and from what i know personaly from my granddad, your information is true. thanks for all the help.


Beth February 15, 2015 at 12:50 am

I did a story of local Iwo Jima veterans twenty years ago. Think there were eight of them at that time in Dawes County. One told about being in the same unit and knowing Ira Hayes. The Marine said Ira played and sang in his tent for hours at a time. He said he was a remarkable man. All those who fought and survived to tell about the battle of Iwo Jima had to be brave heroes. I was humbled to get them together to visit one another. They’d met but did not know they had Iwo Jima in common. They hesitated to come to our little restraurant but they did. My brother-in-law was hit on the head by his ear but when he lined up for the purple heart he saw so many others hurt worse that he dropped out and went back to take out his revenge on the enemy. Few remain. Current history books have very little about the horrific battle of Iwo Jima. It’s 70 years now and time to remember our Iwo heroes.


S. J. Nihart December 13, 2009 at 7:09 pm

This is one the most famous in American history. It is incredible how many human beings could be terminated in such a short period of time. The rise of the American Flag was my favorite stage in this mission. This date will always be remembered in American History. R.I.P. To all the lives that were lost during WWII.


Katie Bershinsky December 13, 2009 at 8:50 pm

ma’am…you’re uncle and all those other men were amazing! should be SO proud to be related to Ira Hayes. Ever since i was little girl i have listened to the song about him by Johnny Cash…and the movie Iwo Jima is my absolute favorite…i feel that it’s even an honor to be saying this to you!


Vincent Paduano December 19, 2009 at 12:42 pm

I am so proud of all the men that fought on Iwo Jima. I knew a man who was on that Island. He said there wasn’t a day that went by where he didn’t think about the battle on Iwo Jima. It was probably the worst the U.S. Marines had ever been into, and they have been in alot of bloody battles throughout the history of the Corp. I will never forget what they did for out FREEDOM! God Bless America!


Rodgers Wright December 30, 2009 at 10:16 am

As we approach the 65th anniversary, remember those who gave all. To the young Americans who survived this ultimate act of bravery and heroism are now in their twilight years. Thank you and God bless.


simpleokie December 30, 2009 at 10:03 pm

Im glad there are young people still interested in the greatest battle of WW II. Im thankful there are still young people that want to be Marines.
Jake Fenn and Jake Mattson, dont worry about their spelling, its easyer to teach a monkey to spell than to make a Marine.


Jack January 3, 2010 at 12:15 pm

A prayer to all the patriots of Iwo Jima, both American and Japanese, who died for their countries.


jeff hourcade January 6, 2010 at 1:13 am

hi any one know Lt Aime john hourcade he was in the 3rd divsion 9th battalion 28 replacements my father past march 9 2007 just trying find out thank you jeff hourcade


Mo January 8, 2010 at 11:38 am

You guys need to pay more respect for everybody that died for our freedom that day


Cerulean Summer January 11, 2010 at 4:20 pm

God bless all the soldiers who died in the war. My grandfather, John Bradley Minnick (what a coincidence to the famous John Bradley) fought in this battle and recieved a purple heart when a piece of shrapnel stripped him of his left hand. He’s still alive and well (95 now, I believe), and now has a published book of his diary during the war. RIP to all who were lost, and thank God for our military :)


Joe January 20, 2010 at 11:02 pm

My father fought on Iwo Jima,he died in 2007 at the age of 83.Like many veterans,he rarely spoke of his experiences in combat.I am sure that not a day went by that he didn’t think about the horror that he saw on that island.God bless all who serve there country!


Charles pignataro December 24, 2014 at 5:51 am

Hi Joe,
My Dad, Achilles Genaro Pignataro, also fought and was in the 5th Marine division. He survived but had a bayonet stuck on his back during battle. His buddy killed the assailant. My dad survived until age 54. I was just 19 then.
I have his knife, french cortege (spelling) and 5th Marine division book plus dog tags. I am proud to be his son.


Rachel Ferranti January 21, 2010 at 4:20 pm

this really helps with my social studies paper on the battle of Iwo Jima (: thank you


ali January 22, 2010 at 11:10 pm

Hi , i am from singapore. i would say that the japanease soldiers were very brave in the battle. The US had 110,000 men and the japs had only a mere 26,000 and no navel support or reinforcement during the battle. I assumed the japs were cruel as they had lost their comrades or friends in their invasion hence took it out on the captured soldiers


Laura--A Marine's Mom January 25, 2010 at 1:30 pm

Jake, You would be among the luckiest, the proudest, the smartest! Ronald Reagan said “Some people wonder all their lives if they’ve made a difference. The Marines don’t have that problem.” God bless our US Marines! God bless America! Semper fi!


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