Iwo Jima 1945 One of the fiercest and bloodiest of the Pacific War

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Richard2020
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Iwo Jima 1945 One of the fiercest and bloodiest of the Pacific War

Post by Richard2020 » 14 Aug 2021 08:17

Iwo Jima 1945 One of the fiercest and bloodiest of the Pacific War. Fought between US Marines, Navy, Air force and IJA 109th Division, Naval guard and Kamikaze. Higher US than Japanese casualties, and the value of the airfields on the island is debated. Great images of this gruesome battle in this video: https://youtu.be/ZdIN1XoVlLw

EwenS
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Re: Iwo Jima 1945 One of the fiercest and bloodiest of the Pacific War

Post by EwenS » 14 Aug 2021 14:57

To give some context to the usefulness of Iwo Jima as a air base, the Twentieth Air Force (responsible fo rthe B-29s) Statistical Summary noted that of 26,005 sorties from the Marianas between March and 15 Aug 1945, 2,396, or 9.2%, carried out emergency landings on Iwo Jima. 524 of those required major maintenance, with the remainder classified as "minor landings". That latter classification would include aircraft with inadequate fuel to make it back to the Marianas.

As it was between Mar and Aug 1945 they lost 332 aircraft only 35% of which could be attributed to enemy action, with only some 22% of the aircrew rescued.

So the question is just how many additional American aircrew would have lost their lives but for having Iwo Jima to land on. Over 26,000 were potentially at risk on those figures. Even restricting it to the 500+ aircraft requiring major maintenance equates to over 5,000.

Greater questions can perhaps be asked about the usefulness of the fighters on the island. Between 7 April and 14 Aug 1945 4 fighter groups (300+ P51D and P-47N aircraft) were based on the island flew over 6,000 sorties, some 4,000 successful, in 51 missions. But contrary to popular belief only 13 of these were bomber escort. The remainder were fighter sweeps. They accounted for 440 Japanese aircraft, split 50/50 between air and ground claims for the loss of 91 aircrew and 157 aircraft (27 in one mission due to weather) plus another 190 damaged.

By way of comaprison from June 1945, 22 US and British carriers struck at Japan often covering the same areas as the fighters from Iwo Jima. They carried some 1,500+ aircraft of which about 1,100+ were fighters. They also had the ability to shift operational areas to avoid the typhoons blowing through the area.

Iwo also served as a forward base for an eventual 4 squadrons of USN PB4Y-2 Privateer aircraft reaching out to the Japanese coast on shipping strike and recce. Between the aircraft based there and on Okinawa they were able to cover most of the Japanese coast from Honshu to Kyushu.

So was having Iwo Jima useful? I suppose that at the end of the day it depends on your view of the B-29 operations carried out from the Marianas. For me it was useful in view of the numbers of aircrew lives potentially saved alone.

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Re: Iwo Jima 1945 One of the fiercest and bloodiest of the Pacific War

Post by OpanaPointer » 14 Aug 2021 16:20

We could ask the crews that didn't ditch in the Pacific?
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R Leonard
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Re: Iwo Jima 1945 One of the fiercest and bloodiest of the Pacific War

Post by R Leonard » 14 Aug 2021 18:24

Richard2020 wrote:
14 Aug 2021 08:17
Iwo Jima 1945 One of the fiercest and bloodiest of the Pacific War. Fought between US Marines, Navy, Air force and IJA 109th Division, Naval guard and Kamikaze. Higher US than Japanese casualties, and the value of the airfields on the island is debated. Great images of this gruesome battle in this video: https://youtu.be/ZdIN1XoVlLw
And some rather loose wording with regard to "casualties". Certainly true, the Americans had some 7000 killed and 20000 wounded, but it is just a little odd to trumpet that as a comparison to the Japanese casualties, some 19000 who were dead by the bitter end and about 200 POW. You know, apples to apples, oranges to oranges.

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Re: Iwo Jima 1945 One of the fiercest and bloodiest of the Pacific War

Post by Delta Tank » 17 Aug 2021 02:33

Richard2020 wrote:
14 Aug 2021 08:17
Iwo Jima 1945 One of the fiercest and bloodiest of the Pacific War. Fought between US Marines, Navy, Air force and IJA 109th Division, Naval guard and Kamikaze. Higher US than Japanese casualties, and the value of the airfields on the island is debated. Great images of this gruesome battle in this video: https://youtu.be/ZdIN1XoVlLw
You forgot the 147th Infantry Regiment, US Army!
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/147th_Reg ... rld_War_II

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Re: Iwo Jima 1945 One of the fiercest and bloodiest of the Pacific War

Post by rcocean » 22 Aug 2021 19:59

Iwo Jima also provided the following benefits to the US War Effort:

1) No more night bombing raids by JAF staging out of Iwo Jima. This allowed Le May to run his Air operations, repairs and maintenace on a 24 hour basis.
2) Iwo Jima was used as a staging base for B-29 hitting targets that were outside the B-29 range flying straight from Saipan.
3) Japanese no longer had Iwo Jima as an advance warning post nor could they harrass B-29s to or from Japan.
4) Air Sea rescue was based on Iwo Jima and used to pick up crews/pilots that ditched at sea.
5) B-29s could continue to fly at low altitude much longer because they no had to worry about Japanese fighters at Iwo Jima. This increased range, bombload, and peace of mind.
6) Fighter sweeps from Iwo Jima could be done without putting thousands in sailors on A/C Carriers in danger of sub/kamikaze attack.

I've always doubted that "more lives were saved then lost". But Nimitz and King didn't have a crystal ball showing exactly how many Marines would die and when the war would end. Had the JAF not 'Saved" its planes for the upcoming invasion in November 1945, and thrown them at the B-29s in July/August then those P-51s would've been doing more than Fighter Sweeps. And had the war lasted till November 45, the number of B-29 crews saved would've been much higher.

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Re: Iwo Jima 1945 One of the fiercest and bloodiest of the Pacific War

Post by rcocean » 22 Aug 2021 20:04

Further, if the planned invasion of the main island been done, Iwo Jima would've been essential for providing fighter coverage. IRC, Operation Olympic planners were planning on Iwo Jima also being used as supply/medical base.

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Re: Iwo Jima 1945 One of the fiercest and bloodiest of the Pacific War

Post by OpanaPointer » 22 Aug 2021 20:05

Don't tell me who won, I'm still reading.
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Re: Iwo Jima 1945 One of the fiercest and bloodiest of the Pacific War

Post by rcocean » 23 Aug 2021 03:54

Richard2020 wrote:
14 Aug 2021 08:17
Iwo Jima 1945 One of the fiercest and bloodiest of the Pacific War. Fought between US Marines, Navy, Air force and IJA 109th Division, Naval guard and Kamikaze. Higher US than Japanese casualties, and the value of the airfields on the island is debated. Great images of this gruesome battle in this video: https://youtu.be/ZdIN1XoVlLw
Iwo Jima was probably the only time in WW2 the USA could, and should have used poison gas. We could have easily bombarded the island with Lewisite and killed or disabled every Japanese before we even landed. Switching the shells to gas from HE would have been fairly easy. One of the Naval Planners suggested that, but it was nixed, supposedly by FDR.

Per a May 1, 1985 NYT article Marshall favored Posion Gas usage. It quotes from 'The Journal of David E. Lilienthal,'' Vol. II (1964), which states:

Marshall ''went into a discussion of the use of poison gas,'' he wrote. ''He had definitely favored the use of gas - he called it gas - not poison gas. 'We were all ready to use it on some of the islands.' After the terrible losses at Iwo Jima he was prepared to use gas at Okinawa; just sending in enough to force the inhabitants to move into a remote part of the island and to keep the troops in masks. . . . They would be so weakened that the invasion could have been accomplished with little loss of life . . . He described this technique in some particularity. No mention of the fact that international law forbade its use. He didn't argue that it was justified but only whether it would be effective in accomplishing the result without such terrible losses as the island invasions occasioned.''

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Re: Iwo Jima 1945 One of the fiercest and bloodiest of the Pacific War

Post by sandeepmukherjee196 » 23 Aug 2021 06:01

rcocean wrote:
23 Aug 2021 03:54
Richard2020 wrote:
14 Aug 2021 08:17
Iwo Jima 1945 One of the fiercest and bloodiest of the Pacific War. Fought between US Marines, Navy, Air force and IJA 109th Division, Naval guard and Kamikaze. Higher US than Japanese casualties, and the value of the airfields on the island is debated. Great images of this gruesome battle in this video: https://youtu.be/ZdIN1XoVlLw
Iwo Jima was probably the only time in WW2 the USA could, and should have used poison gas. We could have easily bombarded the island with Lewisite and killed or disabled every Japanese before we even landed. Switching the shells to gas from HE would have been fairly easy. One of the Naval Planners suggested that, but it was nixed, supposedly by FDR.

Per a May 1, 1985 NYT article Marshall favored Posion Gas usage. It quotes from 'The Journal of David E. Lilienthal,'' Vol. II (1964), which states:

Marshall ''went into a discussion of the use of poison gas,'' he wrote. ''He had definitely favored the use of gas - he called it gas - not poison gas. 'We were all ready to use it on some of the islands.' After the terrible losses at Iwo Jima he was prepared to use gas at Okinawa; just sending in enough to force the inhabitants to move into a remote part of the island and to keep the troops in masks. . . . They would be so weakened that the invasion could have been accomplished with little loss of life . . . He described this technique in some particularity. No mention of the fact that international law forbade its use. He didn't argue that it was justified but only whether it would be effective in accomplishing the result without such terrible losses as the island invasions occasioned.''
Interesting viewpoint.. Many have also wondered why Hitler -the monster- didn't use Sarin and Tabun agnst the Americans sitting on the Elbe! Americans considered using poison gas (civilians were of no consequence to them, ever) against the almost defeated Japanese..then why wouldn't Hitler use nerve gas to save Germany from being overrun?

Maybe it was a racial thing. He didn't want to use WMD against his racial cousins in England? And the US troops in the west were certified by Goebbels as "more like us" than the Volksdeutsche refugees coming in from the east.

It's a riddle really. Considering that the accepted narrative has Hitler wanting to destroy Germany in defeat, anyway. So why would he be reticent on grounds of allied retaliation on Germany if nerve gas was used!

Cheers
Sandeep

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Re: Iwo Jima 1945 One of the fiercest and bloodiest of the Pacific War

Post by rcocean » 24 Aug 2021 03:07

I think the Germans had a potential war winning weapon in nerve gas, but I don't know what the production numbers were. Maybe I'll do more reseach.

It could be they just hadn't produced enough Nerve Gas before the fall of 1944, when the war was lost no matter what. You also have to figure that while nerve gas was much more effective that mustard gas, the allied capacity to drop Mustard gas on Germay via airpower, was about 10x that of Germany's capacity to drop nerve gas on the allies in 1944-45.

Poison gas is a terrible thing but neither the USA nor Japan ratified the Geneva Treaty in the 20s outlawing it and it wasn't used in WW2 on a grand scale by Japan, USSR, or Germany due to any moral reasons. The Japanese actually TRIED to use bacterial weapons on the US forces on Saipan but the unit to carry it out was sunk on route. Finally, gas was used on a huge scale in WW 1, so you had a precedent.

There's also Antrax. Churchill, IRC, was so upset about the V-1 and V-2 attacks, he ordered his subordinates to look into dropping Antrax on Germay and killing millions of civilans. Nothing came of it, and Churchill calmed down. But, evidently the Western Allies had a huge amount of antrax ready to go.

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Re: Iwo Jima 1945 One of the fiercest and bloodiest of the Pacific War

Post by rcocean » 24 Aug 2021 03:20

As for why Marshall was willing to use Gas against japan and not Germany, the anwer is quite simple. First the Germans could retaliate and the Japanese really couldn't. Second, Gas is an ideal weapon against large numbers of troops sheltering in caves, and underground bunkers and tunnels. Third, Gas on Okinawa or Iwo Jima could have saved thousands of American lives and the 95% of the Japanese didn't surrender no matter what. Finally, Gas wasn't needed on the Western Front. We were able to smash into Germany in April 1945 and capture millions at the cost of 10-12 thousand men (April only). We lost almost 14,000 men on Iwo Jima and Okinawa, two small islands.

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Re: Iwo Jima 1945 One of the fiercest and bloodiest of the Pacific War

Post by EwenS » 24 Aug 2021 11:50

I first read about German nerve gas development over 30 years ago. This article sums up German development of nerve gases which they had productionised by early 1943 as I have always understood it. 12,000 tons of Tabun produced by the end of WW2. It came as a very nasty surprise to the Allies at the end of the war.
https://cen.acs.org/articles/94/i41/Naz ... gases.html

The thing about the Geneva Protocols of the 1920s, which was not signed by the US and Japan as someone noted, was that they banned the use of chemical and biological weapons. They did not ban their production. Nor did they ban research into such weapons which most countries then took as a green light to continue for “defensive purposes”. This on the basis that if we don’t develop these nasties then we can’t prepare our defences against others who are probably developing similar nasties.

All armies, including the Japanese, toted gas weapons around in their rear areas in great secrecy and sometimes with disasterous consequences as at Bari in 1943.
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/ ... 180975505/

In 1940 when Britain’s back was to the wall, there were extensive plans to produce and use gas against any invader. Aircraft were modified ready to deliver it from spray tanks and in bombs. Bulk stocks and filling stations were set up. And every member of the population as well as the services had to carry a gas mask. There were even gas masks for babies and horses. The threat of gas warfare carried over from WW1 and inter-war it was expected that it would be used against civilian populations.

The book “Hell to Pay” about the invasion of Japan contains references to US plans to be ready to use gas in the invasion of Japan. Supplies of several gases were being moved forward from Australia to the Philippines in July/Aug 1945 in readiness. The Japanese also had supplies but postwar said they had no intention of using it. I have no doubt that if the US used it then they would have replied in kind and vice versa.

As for biological weapons they have a long history going way back in history to days when diseased corpses would be hurled over castle walls to force their surrender. In WW2 Britain had an active biological weapons programme based around, amongst other things, anthrax and it was produced in quantity. Live tests with it were carried out on the uninhabited Gruinard Island off the west coast of Scotland in 1942. It wasn’t until the 1990s that it was finally cleaned up.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gruinard_Island

Churchill was all for using anthrax at one point, I can’t offhand remember exactly when, but was restrained from doing so by the British Chiefs of Staff, and in particular Alan Brooke.

The US considered waging biological warfare against crops in Japan prior to any invasion. Then they realised that if they did destroy local crops they would have to feed the population through their already strained logistics chain.

Why were these weapons not used in WW2 in most regions? A lot of higher ranking officers in many armies remembered the horrors of its use in WW1 and wanted to avoid a repeat. However use against different racial groups seems to have been less of an issue for some nations.

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Re: Iwo Jima 1945 One of the fiercest and bloodiest of the Pacific War

Post by OpanaPointer » 24 Aug 2021 16:09

Tear gas in buckets might have helped?
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Re: Iwo Jima 1945 One of the fiercest and bloodiest of the Pacific War

Post by rcocean » 25 Aug 2021 00:49

As someone mentioned, 12,000 tons of nerve gas was produced. I have no idea how much damage that could do or not do. Anyway, US forces on Iwo Jima or Okinawa didn't need Nerve Gas, Mustard Gas or Lewisite would've done just as well. The Japanese were dug in underground and in occupied fortified caves. Bad ventiliation and very vulernable to gas attacks since Mustard Gas and Lewisite is heavier than air and lays on the ground giving off fumes. During WW 1, Trenches and shell holes that had been hit with large concentrations of mustard gas were impassible for days.

Anyway, the Politiicans, FDR and perhaps Stimson, would never have approved our use of Gas warfare except as retaliation.

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