Tactical Defeat of US marines at Iwo Jima?

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Mil-tech Bard
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Re: Tactical Defeat of US marines at Iwo Jima?

Post by Mil-tech Bard » 27 Aug 2015 22:20

Carl,

This is from page 10 of:
SHIPBOARD AND GROUND TROOP CASUALTY RATES AMONG NAVY AND MARINE CORPS PERSONNEL DURING WORLD WAR II OPERATIONS
by C.G. Blood

Naval Health Research Center
Medical Decisions Support Department
P.O. Box 85122
San Diego, CA 92186-5122


The overall marine casualty (wounded plus killed) rates per 1000 strength per day for each operation were

Tarawa: 80.55;
Kwajalein: 23.84;
Eniwetok: 25.58;
Saipan: 15.12;
Tinian: 11.70;
Peleliu: 11.68;
Iwo Jima: 12.74;
Okinawa: 3.71; and
Guam: 8.57.


And from page 16

Among ground operations examined, again the highest casualty rates were those occurring earlier in time and of shoLt duration. The Tarawa
operation (Battle for Bettio) was the most devastating with a rate of over 80 men per 1000 per day; rates of killed and wounded were also at high levels at Northern Kwajelein (23.84) and the Eniwetok atoll (25.58).

These assaults lasted four days, three days, and seven days and took place between November 1943 and February 1944.

In comparison, the captures of Okinawa and Guam in mid-1945 had rates of 3.71 and 8.57, and had operational durations of 90 days and 26 days.

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Re: Tactical Defeat of US marines at Iwo Jima?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 28 Aug 2015 05:53

Mil-tech Bard wrote: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.
...
We had a similar problem in Desert Storm. Anyone who was expected to be sick or convalecent from any injury for more than a few hours was evacuated. The expectation of 15,000+ casualties and preparations included clearing all casualties as rapidly as possible. The result was a lot of people with minor aliments like a turned ankle spent DS idle in a hospital facility or ship.

On Iwo Jima (or most other battles) evacuation to a ship meant more than a few stitches. I personally ran across more than one Marine who never went further back than a battalion aid station or a onshore surgical station. Treated and recorded as casualties, but returned to their company. A portion of those were wounded a second time and recorded again. A old coworker & vetern of the US 102 ID Harold Oland described that happening to one of his squad mates. Stitched up from a shell fragment he returned to his company, and was severely wounded a day or so later by rifle or MG fire. The wounded on Guam were also being screened for 'recovered' & sent back to Iwo Jima. Somewhere on my shelves there is a account by one of those who returned for the last four or five days of combat.

Suposedly there was a comparative study of casualties done on the Army and Marine units on Okinawa, but I've never looked for it. Only seen a couple claims or refrences to it.

One of the cousins in my family, Robert Beutler, was wounded on Okinawa while in the 96 Division replacement pool. He had just set foot on the island that afternnon and was fragged by mortar fire around sunset. While he got a Purple Heart award a few days later he was not recorded as a member or casualty of the division. Another cousin Ted Sturm who was a clerk in the Division G1 later provided a affidavit that he saw Buetlers name on the roster of replacements landed that day, which allowed Bob membership in the 96 Division Association.

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Re: Tactical Defeat of US marines at Iwo Jima?

Post by clifford13 » 13 Jun 2016 08:14

The Japanese commanders intentions here were to prevent as many troops from being available for use against Japan itself, as seemed likely at the time, the A-bomb being a secret, as possible. And a marine missing a leg below the knee is NOT combat effective, given medical treatments of the day.

20 k troops [1 Division] not available for landings in Honshu...I'd score that as a tactical victory.

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Re: Tactical Defeat of US marines at Iwo Jima?

Post by Duncan_M » 14 Jun 2019 20:50

clifford13 wrote:
13 Jun 2016 08:14
The Japanese commanders intentions here were to prevent as many troops from being available for use against Japan itself
Do you have a source for written operational orders that specify this?

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Re: Tactical Defeat of US marines at Iwo Jima?

Post by Sberr002 » 09 Jul 2019 23:05

First, the military today suggests a 3 to 1 ratio of soldiers attacking vs. soldiers defending a fortified position. This fit the scope of the attack on Iwo Jima. Second, the purpose of fortifying Iwo Jima was to stall the Pacific Fleet, so that mainland Japan could have additional time to fortify, in preparation for the inevitable US invasion. What the US strategic planners thought would take 4-7 days, wound up taking 5 week. So in effect, both the US and Japanese accomplished their objectives.

Not the strategic staging base the US had hoped for, taking Iwo Jima denied the Japanese a radar station and 3 air fields, allowing for US bombers to move more freely in the area. Owning the Iwo Jima airfields later allowed 2,500 men a place to emergency land their US bombers.

Keep in mind that some historians estimate that the Japanese were only at 60% of their combat load. General Kuribayashi's plan of tying pillboxes into 11 miles of underground tunnel systems was nothing short of tactical genius. It protected his troops from the costal bombardment and allowed for his troops to keep "falling back" to the next position. For all intensive purposes, this was the "Japanese Alamo".

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Re: Tactical Defeat of US marines at Iwo Jima?

Post by paulrward » 10 Jul 2019 01:43

Hello All :

Mr. Sberr002 stated :
For all intensive (sic) purposes, this was the "Japanese Alamo".

OK, I'll bite. Exactly when was the " Japanese San Jacinto " ?

Respectfully ;

Paul R. Ward


Also, taking Iwo Jima moved the USAF P-51s and P 47s into range of the Japanese home islands, so that the B-29s could resume daylight bombing raids with fighter escort against heavily defended Japanese targets. In effect, it allowed the USAF to do to Japan what they had done to Germany once the USAF fighters had been equipped with long range drop tanks.
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Re: Tactical Defeat of US marines at Iwo Jima?

Post by mikegriffith1 » 29 Feb 2020 13:28

I think a much more important question is, Did we really even need to take Iwo Jima? I think the evidence shows that we could have bypassed Iwo Jima with minimal impact on our operations. The very limited military benefits we gained from taking Iwo Jima did not outweigh the terrible price we paid to do so. I think Robert Burrell, a former historian at the U.S. Naval Academy, makes a very good case that we should have bypassed Iwo Jima:

https://www.historynet.com/worth-the-co ... vasion.htm

Speaking of unwise expenditures of blood and treasure, I have been reading about the Battle of Okinawa recently and have become aware of the view that we did not need to attack the Shuri Line. I think there is considerable merit to that argument. We already controlled three-fourths of the island and all the key airfields. The Japanese force was cut off and running low on food and water. We had absolute control of the air and the sea. We could bomb and bombard the Shuri Line at will from the air and the sea. I would much rather have just continued to pin down the Japanese force with air and naval bombardment, and long-range artillery bombardment, than send thousands of our troops to their death in the meat grinder of the Shuri Line.

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Re: Tactical Defeat of US marines at Iwo Jima?

Post by Kingfish » 29 Feb 2020 21:37

mikegriffith1 wrote:
29 Feb 2020 13:28
Speaking of unwise expenditures of blood and treasure, I have been reading about the Battle of Okinawa recently and have become aware of the view that we did not need to attack the Shuri Line. I think there is considerable merit to that argument. We already controlled three-fourths of the island and all the key airfields. The Japanese force was cut off and running low on food and water. We had absolute control of the air and the sea. We could bomb and bombard the Shuri Line at will from the air and the sea. I would much rather have just continued to pin down the Japanese force with air and naval bombardment, and long-range artillery bombardment, than send thousands of our troops to their death in the meat grinder of the Shuri Line.
Interestingly enough that was the strategy proposed for Operation Olympic.
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Re: Tactical Defeat of US marines at Iwo Jima?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 01 Mar 2020 02:03

mikegriffith1 wrote:
29 Feb 2020 13:28
...

Speaking of unwise expenditures of blood and treasure, I have been reading about the Battle of Okinawa recently and have become aware of the view that we did not need to attack the Shuri Line. I think there is considerable merit to that argument. We already controlled three-fourths of the island and all the key airfields. The Japanese force was cut off and running low on food and water. We had absolute control of the air and the sea. We could bomb and bombard the Shuri Line at will from the air and the sea. I would much rather have just continued to pin down the Japanese force with air and naval bombardment, and long-range artillery bombardment, than send thousands of our troops to their death in the meat grinder of the Shuri Line.
A extended siege would have interfered with preparations for directly attacking Japan. A minimum of two veteran Army divisions committed, plus a supply consumption of 1200 to 1800 tons daily for the divisions, corps units, and tactical air support. Neither was it clear the Japanese would collapse from low supplies. The same had been expected on Luzon, but there was no sign of it several months later. The Japanese army was still intact in the hills and confining it was costing well over 3600 tons per day, plus casualties

Staff of the Marine Amphib Corps put together a plan to by pass the Shuri Line with a second landing. The Commander & staff of 10th Army briefly considered then rejected it. As with so manythings hind sight shows the Japanese preparations for such a action were inadequate & it may have cut weeks and losses off the campaign. There were also warnings the Shuri line existed. Buckner & his staff stuck to the belief 10th Army could swiftly break it with one corps & failed to plan a appropriate methodical assault.

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Re: Tactical Defeat of US marines at Iwo Jima?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 01 Mar 2020 04:09

clifford13 wrote:
13 Jun 2016 08:14
The Japanese commanders intentions here were to prevent as many troops from being available for use against Japan itself, as seemed likely at the time, the A-bomb being a secret, as possible. And a marine missing a leg below the knee is NOT combat effective, given medical treatments of the day.

20 k troops [1 Division] not available for landings in Honshu...I'd score that as a tactical victory.
The US expeditionary force for DETACHMENT was the V Amphibious Corps, made up (along with corps units) of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Marine divisions.

The III Amphibious Corps, made up (along with corps units) the USMC contingent assigned to 10th Army for ICEBERG; the III Corps included the 1st, 2nd, and 6th divisions.

The planned expeditionary force for OLYMPIC (Kyushu) included the V Corps, with the 2nd, 3rd, and 5th Marine divisions assigned; the planned force for CORONET (Honshu) included the III Corps, with the 1st, 4th, and 6th divisions.

So, bottom line, the casualties (dead, missing, wounded, sick) suffered by the 3rd, 4th, and 5th divisions on Iwo Jima did not, and were not, going to sideline any of the six Marine divisions for DOWNFALL.

Iwo Jima was not a Japanese victory, by any description.

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Re: Tactical Defeat of US marines at Iwo Jima?

Post by mikegriffith1 » 01 Mar 2020 14:25

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
01 Mar 2020 02:03
mikegriffith1 wrote:
29 Feb 2020 13:28
...

Speaking of unwise expenditures of blood and treasure, I have been reading about the Battle of Okinawa recently and have become aware of the view that we did not need to attack the Shuri Line. I think there is considerable merit to that argument. We already controlled three-fourths of the island and all the key airfields. The Japanese force was cut off and running low on food and water. We had absolute control of the air and the sea. We could bomb and bombard the Shuri Line at will from the air and the sea. I would much rather have just continued to pin down the Japanese force with air and naval bombardment, and long-range artillery bombardment, than send thousands of our troops to their death in the meat grinder of the Shuri Line.
A extended siege would have interfered with preparations for directly attacking Japan. A minimum of two veteran Army divisions committed, plus a supply consumption of 1200 to 1800 tons daily for the divisions, corps units, and tactical air support. Neither was it clear the Japanese would collapse from low supplies. The same had been expected on Luzon, but there was no sign of it several months later. The Japanese army was still intact in the hills and confining it was costing well over 3600 tons per day, plus casualties.
Better to expend shells than to needlessly lose lives. Air and naval bombardment would have incurred no casualties. Japan was near collapse anyway, and we knew it.
Carl Schwamberger wrote:
01 Mar 2020 02:03
Staff of the Marine Amphib Corps put together a plan to by pass the Shuri Line with a second landing. The Commander & staff of 10th Army briefly considered then rejected it. As with so manythings hind sight shows the Japanese preparations for such a action were inadequate & it may have cut weeks and losses off the campaign. There were also warnings the Shuri line existed. Buckner & his staff stuck to the belief 10th Army could swiftly break it with one corps & failed to plan a appropriate methodical assault.
I'm not talking about a landing south of the Shuri Line. I'm talking about not assaulting the line at all. If your enemy wants you to attack a fortified line, that's probably a very good clue that you should not do so. Again, we already controlled three-fourths of the island and all the key airfields. The Japanese force had no means of supply because we controlled the air and the sea. Instead of dropping tons and tons of bombs on Japanese cities, we could have dropped some of those bombs on the Shuri Line, which would have been a far more honorable use of those weapons.

If Truman and Byrnes et al had not been determined to test nukes on live targets, and if they had been willing to pursue a negotiated peace after they knew the emperor wanted to surrender, the war would have been over by July or August.

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Re: Tactical Defeat of US marines at Iwo Jima?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 01 Mar 2020 15:03

mikegriffith1 wrote:
01 Mar 2020 14:25
...
I'm not talking about a landing south of the Shuri Line. I'm talking about not assaulting the line at all. ...
Yes your point was clear. Evidently you did not catch any of mine.

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Re: Tactical Defeat of US marines at Iwo Jima?

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 01 Mar 2020 15:29

Mil-tech Bard wrote:
27 Aug 2015 22:20
Carl,

This is from page 10 of:
SHIPBOARD AND GROUND TROOP CASUALTY RATES AMONG NAVY AND MARINE CORPS PERSONNEL DURING WORLD WAR II OPERATIONS
by C.G. Blood

Naval Health Research Center
Medical Decisions Support Department
P.O. Box 85122
San Diego, CA 92186-5122


The overall marine casualty (wounded plus killed) rates per 1000 strength per day for each operation were

Tarawa: 80.55;
Kwajalein: 23.84;
Eniwetok: 25.58;
Saipan: 15.12;
Tinian: 11.70;
Peleliu: 11.68;
Iwo Jima: 12.74;
Okinawa: 3.71; and
Guam: 8.57.
...
Putting a bit more items to that for context. Tarawa or more properly Betio Island, had the lowest ratio of captured Japanese soldiers to defenders. This included the Koreans in the pioneer battalions. Conversely Okinawa had a significantly high ratio. The prisoners there were mostly men who surrendered unharmed, vs the captured SNLF men who were all wounded/concussed or sick. Col Yahara, the operations officer of the Japanese 10th Army & senior soldier captured on Okinawa, left a report describing relatively large scale desertion, shirking, and malingering among the Army and Navy personnel with 10th Army. He also describe the the local militia of ethnic Japanese residents as ineffective. His description indicate desertion when regular Army soldiers were not present to enforce discipline. What that says about later operations on the main Japanese islands I'll leave others to judge. Yaharas testimony aligns with 10th Army reports on PWs & Japanese resistance. What we are seeing here is the usual estimates of fanfic Japanese resistance & loss rates for US forces are not very well supported with the Okinawa campaign. The regular Army formations did well in resisting, better than the Italans or Germans soldier, but the undertrained militia seems to have had a discipline or motivation deficiency as well.

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Re: Tactical Defeat of US marines at Iwo Jima?

Post by ChristopherPerrien » 02 Mar 2020 19:25

mikegriffith1 wrote:
29 Feb 2020 13:28
I think a much more important question is, Did we really even need to take Iwo Jima? I think the evidence shows that we could have bypassed Iwo Jima with minimal impact on our operations. The very limited military benefits we gained from taking Iwo Jima did not outweigh the terrible price we paid to do so. I think Robert Burrell, a former historian at the U.S. Naval Academy, makes a very good case that we should have bypassed Iwo Jima:

https://www.historynet.com/worth-the-co ... vasion.htm

Speaking of unwise expenditures of blood and treasure, I have been reading about the Battle of Okinawa recently and have become aware of the view that we did not need to attack the Shuri Line. I think there is considerable merit to that argument. We already controlled three-fourths of the island and all the key airfields. The Japanese force was cut off and running low on food and water. We had absolute control of the air and the sea. We could bomb and bombard the Shuri Line at will from the air and the sea. I would much rather have just continued to pin down the Japanese force with air and naval bombardment, and long-range artillery bombardment, than send thousands of our troops to their death in the meat grinder of the Shuri Line..
If you go back and review, this topic you will find the answer IMO. As I put forth, Iwo was taken , as an emergency landing bomber strip for our (USA) B-29's , because the bombers were the most valuable(and LIMITED) asset we(USA) had . The cost of the B-29 program , and their losses over water before Iwo , were simply prohibitive. Only had x bombers, could not afford to lose them as things were going over water(from engine problems and also battle damage) with no emergency landing strip before them flying back to the Marianas. Read "Point of No Return" to understand B-29 issues.

And in the end , although the US lost alot of marines on Iwo,- it saved more B-29 crewman, but beyond that , it saved B-29 bomber aircraft(which was the most expensive program the USA has ever finance(up until the F-35 fraud). It was more than the Manhattan Project .

Saving B-29's was why Iwo was taken, the cost in lives while great, was not greater than what would have been lost in B-29 crewman without it.
But more important , B-29's were saved and that was more important than lives. Have to understand , economic/tactical/strategic reasons overrule the individual cost in human lives in war. Men die, leaders/commanders/government have to make decisions beyond that.

Please read the topic in its entirety.

As to your comments/postulations about 'Oki" (Okinawa), please start another topic. And ask the mods to transfer the following replies about Oki present here to that such topic. Oki was a needed supply point for Coronet , simple as that.

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Re: Tactical Defeat of US marines at Iwo Jima?

Post by hoot72 » 30 Mar 2020 10:38

Kim Sung wrote:
15 Dec 2006 12:35
Today I've read an interesting article in Bungeishunju (文芸春秋), according to which Japanese tactical victory over US marine at Iwojima can be explained from two points.

First, the Japanese commander Kuribayashi Tadamich forbade his men to commit gyokusai. They fought to the end instead, thus causing enormous loss to US marines.

Second, Kuribayashi didn't apply seashore combat (水際作戦) which usually resulted in slaughter of Japanese soldiers at beaches. Instead, the Japanese waited until Americans landed and take a backlash and constant guerilla warfare.

I know there are other reasons the Americans suffered a huge loss at Iwojima. But these two points are fresh. Any opinions will be welcomed.
How is it a tactical defeat of the US at Iwo Jima when they actually captured it?

Very strange logic you have.

Heavy losses in manpower does not equate to a "tactical defeat" if the objectives are met or achieved./
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