Tactical Defeat of US marines at Iwo Jima?

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Scott_J
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Re: Tactical Defeat of US marines at Iwo Jima?

Post by Scott_J » 31 Jul 2012 06:22

While a great deal has been written here about the casualties of men and material lost in taking Iwo Jima, the loss of time has been discussed very little. As has already been stated a couple times (in 14 pages), the Japanese commander was fighting to inflict casualties and loss of time.

What I didn't know for too many years was that the Japanese leadership had definite ideas on how long they needed to delay the Americans so that their preparations for fortifying the Home Islands would have time to complete before the US invasions.

Anyone interested in whether Iwo (and Okinawa) were victories of whatever type for one side or the other has to read D. M. Giangreco's "Hell to Pay: Operation Downfall and the Invasion of Japan, 1945-1947" published in 2009. The domino effects of delays in the US timetable wrt Kyushu and Honshu are terrifying from an American perspective, and even worse from a long term Japanese one when events like the post war famine are factored to take place during the extended war instead of afterwards with American relief efforts. This doesn't account for other ripple effects, such as whether the invasion of south Korea would have been contested by the US in the late 40s, or the effect on the Cold War if Korea and Japan could not be held up as obvious successes for the US model vs the Soviet one.

Giangreco's book is on the level of Parshall's and Tully's "Shattered Sword" as must reads of the Pacific theater. Your understanding of the Pacific War will be forever expanded and improved.

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Re: Tactical Defeat of US marines at Iwo Jima?

Post by Peter K » 12 Sep 2012 22:23

Anyone has got a breakdown of US casualties on Iwo for individual divisions (and non-divisional units)?

I am interested in data like this (in this case from 4th Marine Division):

http://www.4thmarinedivision.com/history.html
The Division paid a heavy price. Casualties numbered 9,098, which was almost half the division strength. An estimated 22,000 Japanese had been killed by the three Divisions (Third, Fourth, and Fifth, 8,982 having been counted in the Fourths zone. Only 44 prisoners were taken by the Division.
But maybe with a breakdown for KIA and WIA, etc., when it comes to US casualties.

Data on how many Japanese bodies were counted in zones of other US divisions is also welcomed.

Here also some similar estimations:

http://www.mca-marines.org/leatherneck/ ... d-division

For example:
In the meantime relief of the Third Marines by the Ninth Marines and the assignment of the Third to a less active sub-sector had begun. By the end of the day an additional 896 enemy dead had been counted, making a total of 1196 in the six-day fight known as the "Battle of the Piva Forks." It was estimated that 680 were killed by the Third Marines, 66 by the 1st Battalion, 9th Marines, and 455 by artillery fire. Marine Corps casualties during the same period were approximately 333.
There are words which carry the presage of defeat. Defence is such a word. What is the result of an even victorious defence? The next attempt of imposing it to that weaker, defender. The attacker, despite temporary setback, feels the master of situation.

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LWD
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Re: Tactical Defeat of US marines at Iwo Jima?

Post by LWD » 17 Sep 2012 15:57

This seems to have some detailed info:
http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USMC/US ... a-III.html

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clifford13
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Re: Tactical Defeat of US marines at Iwo Jima?

Post by clifford13 » 04 Oct 2013 19:48

The saving of air crews falls more into a strategic long term area, rather than the immiedate short term tactical view. The fact remains that the casualties incurred raised a public out cry back stateside, similar to the losses suffered at Tarawa, which was a Japanese goal all along. The intent was to "win" via causing large losses causing a negotiated settlement, from which Japan never wavered untill the Atomics were dropped. Bear in mind, casualies needed to be replaced before these regiments could be used again, and the invasion of Japan was being planned..Yeah . big tactical victory given nobody knew how many troops would actually be needed to take Tokyo.

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LWD
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Re: Tactical Defeat of US marines at Iwo Jima?

Post by LWD » 05 Oct 2013 04:50

It's not clear to me who you are saying won a tactical victory.

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clifford13
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Re: Tactical Defeat of US marines at Iwo Jima?

Post by clifford13 » 05 Oct 2013 19:24

To clairify: Japan.
In the overall strategic plan , the Japanese were aiming to cause a diplomatic settlement engendered by huge casualty lists rather than a full out military victory. The politicos of Japan considered the Allies weak and not determined from the beginning, and under valued the determination of the US in general, a notable exception being the General at Iwo Jima..

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LWD
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Re: Tactical Defeat of US marines at Iwo Jima?

Post by LWD » 07 Oct 2013 14:31

I'm not sure how it can be considered such. The Marines achieved thier goal in the battle i.e. the conquest of Iwo Jima. While the Japanese did inflict more casulaties than expected it didn't push the allies toward a diplomatic settlement, indeed between Iwo and Okinawa the US was considering exbanding it's military options even more. The Japanese strategy on Iwo Jima was essentially incapable of inflicting a tactical defeat on the US. It's only hope was in the strategic arena and it clearly failed there as well.

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Re: Tactical Defeat of US marines at Iwo Jima?

Post by ChristopherPerrien » 21 Nov 2014 16:40

Re: Tactical Defeat of US marines at Iwo Jima?
Postby Scott_J » Tue Jul 31, 2012 6:22 am

While a great deal has been written here about the casualties of men and material lost in taking Iwo Jima, the loss of time has been discussed very little. As has already been stated a couple times (in 14 pages), the Japanese commander was fighting to inflict casualties and loss of time.
Somewhere back in the early pages (1-7) of this topic. I noted this. The defense of Iwo was/took 2 weeks longer than forecasted/planned. i.e. 4 weeks instead of 2. The difference was of no importance.

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Re: Tactical Defeat of US marines at Iwo Jima?

Post by Mil-tech Bard » 24 Nov 2014 23:55

>>The difference was of no importance.

The difference was of extreme importance to the execution of the Okinawa campaign as planned.

The Marine units gutted at Iwo Jima were unavailable for the Phase IIIc invasion of Miyako.

From the following document:

PARTICIPATION IN THE OKINAWA OPERATION
BY
THE UNITED STATES ARMY FORCES
PACIFIC OCEAN AREAS
APRIL - JUNE 1945

VOLUME 1

Page 40

Part 1 - USAFPOA
SECTION V -- LONG RANGE PLANNING AND LOGISTICS FOR OKINAWA OPERATION

A. PLANNING

2.

d. Phase III or the campaign was sub-divided into five separate operations:

(1) The first operation (IIIa) called for the occupation of Okina Daito. This small island to the east or Okinawa was to be established as a LORAN station.

(2) The objective of the second operation (IIIb) was the capture Kume, which was to be established as an airfield for two (VLR) bomber wings.

(3) The third operation (IIIc) had for its objective the capture of Miyako and its development as an additional air base and southern outpost of Okinawa. A Marine Corps or three divisions was designated as the assault force for this operation. One Marine division was to remain garrison until relieved by a redeployed Army division. The balance or the garrison force was to consist of four AAA gun battalions , four AAA AW battalions, and three 155mm coast artillery gun battalions. The air force garrison was to include two Marine fighter groups, one night tighter squadron (Marine), one navy torpedo bomber squadron, and two very heavy bomber wings (Army).

(4) In operation (IIId) forces were to seize Kikai Jima which was necessary as an additional air base and northern outpost for Okinawa.
The assault force was to consist of one reinforced Army division; the garrison force: one division, two AAA gun battalions, three AAA AW battalions, and two l55mm coast artillery gun battalions. The air force garrison was to comprise four fighter groups, two night fighter squadrons, and one Navy torpedo bomber squadron.

(5) The fifth and final operation (IIIe) called for the capture or Tokuno with an assault force of one reinforced infantry division. The purpose of this operation was to establish additional airfields to the north or Okinawa for Naval air units.


Pages 42 - 42

d. During the month of January 1945, phases IIIa (Okino Daito) and IIIb . (KUME) were postponed indefinitely. Phase III c (Miyako Jima) was postponed indefinitely in April 1945, Phase IIIe (Tokuno Shima) in May 1945, and Phase IIId (Kikai Jima) in June 1945. Troop resources previously allotted to phases IIIc and IIId of the operation were made available tor employment at Okinawa. CinCPOA screened these troop resources and indicated which units could be diverted to Okinawa. The Tenth Army had requested that all units available for the operation be moved to Okinawa as soon as practicable.

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Re: Tactical Defeat of US marines at Iwo Jima?

Post by steverodgers801 » 25 Nov 2014 03:36

The only result of the fanatic resistance was to convince Truman to use the bomb. There was a very serious belief in calling off the invasion and simply let Japan starve its self out

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Re: Tactical Defeat of US marines at Iwo Jima?

Post by PF » 23 Jun 2015 18:21


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Re: Tactical Defeat of US marines at Iwo Jima?

Post by PF » 07 Jul 2015 12:41

https://www.flickr.com/photos/31486821@ ... 266877385/
Yes---to the question...
The IJN forces won the tactical Battle-at a 99% loss rate
THE Marines won the Phyiscal battle-but it was a Pyrrhic Victory
Both USMC and US Navy et all had a total of 26,040 casualites Killed and wounded
The three Marine Disisions totaled 30,000-even minus the US Navy losses I'd estimate that the equivilent of 2 Marine Divisions out of action at least-and there were only about 6 USMC Divsions IN the Second World War total!
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U ... _divisions

Likewise the 3 month Battle of Okinawa it was involved 7 US Army and USMC Divisions and was even worse
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Okinawa

Lastly Iwo Jima {8 square miles} and Okinawa {463.72 Square miles} are part of Japan....no wonder President Truman decided not to invade Japan

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Re: Tactical Defeat of US marines at Iwo Jima?

Post by PF » 27 Aug 2015 17:19


Carl Schwamberger
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Re: Tactical Defeat of US marines at Iwo Jima?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 27 Aug 2015 17:36

PF wrote:https://www.flickr.com/photos/31486821@ ... 266877385/
Yes---to the question...
The IJN forces won the tactical Battle-at a 99% loss rate
THE Marines won the Phyiscal battle-but it was a Pyrrhic Victory
Both USMC and US Navy et all had a total of 26,040 casualites Killed and wounded
The three Marine Disisions totaled 30,000-even minus the US Navy losses I'd estimate that the equivilent of 2 Marine Divisions out of action at least-and there were only about 6 USMC Divsions IN the Second World War total!
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U ... _divisions

Likewise the 3 month Battle of Okinawa it was involved 7 US Army and USMC Divisions and was even worse
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Okinawa

Lastly Iwo Jima {8 square miles} and Okinawa {463.72 Square miles} are part of Japan....no wonder President Truman decided not to invade Japan
One trick with casualty comparisons is the USMC followed the USN practice of including all men treated at a casualty station in the casualty reports, even if they remained in the unit & returned to combat in 24 hours or less. Many sources use these gross numbers. US Army reports usually included only those evacuated and lost to the battalion or regiment.

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Re: Tactical Defeat of US marines at Iwo Jima?

Post by Mil-tech Bard » 27 Aug 2015 22:09

Carl,

One of the USMC replacement problems at Iwo Jima was that many of the "24 hour and return lightly wounded" were on AH hospital ships that were regularly cycling to Guam.

IOW, these lightly wounded were lost to USMC units for the campaign when the AH left the area immediately after reaching capacity.

Since there 1000(+) casualties a day for 21 straight days -- and Kamikaze were no respecters of Geneva Convention hospital ship markings -- this happened pretty regularly until the senior personnel staff officers tracked it down.

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