+5 votes
44 views
in News & Informations ⌨ by

Threescore and fifteen years ago,

On Iwo Jima's scoriac stones

Many a young man bled and died

For country, God or emperor.

   

Now looking at this desolate isle

Today, but little more remains

Than mostly unkempt monuments

And dreadful artifacts of war,

Rusting where they fell, so long ago.


5 Answers

+5 votes
by

I have never heard of this battle.

by
+2

I have a sad feeling that most Americans under the age of 30 haven't heard of it either. :'(

by
+2

I have a feeling that you're right Tink!

+4 votes
by

Well I have heard of it Tink...being in my 75th year now, I was a few months old when all this was going on.

On Quora just a few days ago, I answered a question about whether the American population ever feared the Allies might lose WWII...and my post describing my memories from my parents was met with amazement. That you did not bake cakes because they used sugar; sugar was rationed, and people tried to use as little as possible so there could be more for the soldiers. Everyone grew Victory Gardens for personal use, so more food could go to the soldiers.

My youngest auntie was a WAC nurse in the South Pacific, I recall she was on Wake Island but I am not sure about Iwo Jima. When she and other soldiers came home on leave, the whole community got together to make sure the families had enough gas ration coupons and adequate tires, as rubber was rationed, to go pick up the soldiers and then give them a good time.

My father worked long overtime shifts as a logger, and then drove forty miles to the ocean to patrol against possible invasion. And, if someone was really fearful, they picked up and moved east of the Rocky Mountains because it was generally understood that if Japan invaded the mainland, the West Coast would not be defended. The US military would take its stand at the Rocky Mountains.

And then forever after with that generation, just a bit of disdain for those who abandoned the Pacific States for safety.

Your clip showed a re-enactment of the famous flag-raising, and the monument there...yes in my generation, no one forgets Iwo Jima.

by
+3

Yes, I remember reading of the fears of a Japanese invasion of the west coat, but I never heard of a supposed strategic withdrawal to the Rockies. :O

In hindsight, how could a country with Japan's population and limited resources have conducted two immense offensive land wars (China and America) at the same time? I'm pretty sure our military planners at the time didn't take such a possibility too seriously, although I do remember seeing the concrete remains of shore battery emplacements at points along the California coast years ago.

by
+2

Yes to the shore battery placements, Tink...I just double-checked and Fort Stevens is actually at the NW tip of Oregon, I thought it might be SW point of Washington. But as a child in the 1950's, we visited there frequently and my little brother and I  ran through the of network underground concrete bunkers, still in fine condition then just vacant. Perhaps still in fine condition, idk...but lots of them.

I don't know where that idea of letting the West Coast go, and withdrawing to the Rockies came from. If I had those years to do over, I would ask more questions of the generation before mine...

But what seems obvious now, at the time was a series of unknowns, a sense of vulnerability on the Pacific Coast after Pearl Harbor...and great fortitude/courage of the people living on that ocean coast.

Oh and Tink this is a late edit...the fort on the Washington State coast, across the Columbia River from Fort Stevens, is Fort Columbia. It was renovated for use in WWII, and then decommissioned in 1947; still a day park, I see when I Googled. We spent many childhood days exploring both forts, which guarded not only the ocean coast but the entrance to the Columbia River.  We picked bushels of salal berries (which grow wild and resemble blueberries), freeze them for muffins in wintertime!

https://parks.state.wa.us/506/Fort-Columbia


image

by
+1

For a minute there, I thought the picture might be of Evergreen State (JK!)... :D

by
+1

Nah not jk I believed you! I have seen some videos of the campus just about this deserted...maybe I will check in on them again and see how they are doing...meanwhile my first good laugh of the day, here!

+4 votes
by

First time the Marines landed on an island with a really competent Commander. General Kuribayashi threw away the "banzai" charges and built a brilliant defence of interlocking fields of fire that virtually decimated the three Marine divisions that landed there.

Between Iwo and then Okinawa, we knew that the atomic bomb was going to be needed.

imageimage

by
+3

Yes, I have read that Kuribayashi (along with Yamamoto) is among the most highly regarded WW2 Japanese generals. He came from a Samurai family and shared the hardships of his men. His body was never identified on Iwo Jima... one story has it that he put on a private's uniform and led a group of Japanese soldiers in a last attack near the very end of the battle. 

He is also said to have had grave prior misgivings (like Yamamoto) about getting into a war with the US.

by
+3

How did the US know the bomb was needed from these two battles then, Rooster? Was it because the US saw how hard the Japanese would fight if their homeland was invaded?

by
+3

A hero is a hero, Tink...and I just shed a tear for this one, Kuribayashi. And, it appears your knowledge of the Pacific theatre may be as extensive as WWI and WWII in Europe...impressive.

by
+3

Exactly! First Iwo and then the bloodbath on Okinawa really gave us no choice or lose a million men.

by
+2

Yes he did have prior misgivings and he was in the U.S. and also saw our industrial might.

Another one like Kuribayashi was Ushijima at Okinawa. He too knew that they could never win but his brilliant defence scheme took heavy casualties on all U.S. forces. He committed Seppuku to honor the Emperor.

image

by
+3

Yes, Ushijima was another hero. I remember reading somewhere that before he committed Seppuku, he contemplated the beauty of the almost full waxing moon, perhaps reciting a poem on the subject, all in perfect calmness.

What a contrast to that coward Tojo, who sent millions of soldiers out to fight and die under a code that he himself proved unwilling to follow.

by
+2
Well, no, Virginia... I know more about Europe, because I have a great-grandfather who fought for Germany in WW1 and a distant cousin who survived Stalingrad by fortunately catching typhoid and being airlifted out while it was still possible.

Another relative came to the US in the 1850s, just in time to be drafted into the Union army 11th Corps, which took terrible beatings at both Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. One of his descendants was a lieutenant in the Rainbow Division in WW1.


by
+3

Tink I am glad to read a bit more about you...I was just thinking, I know a significant amount about Rooster's life, partly I'm sure because he and I have been online friends since 2011 and the old days of Ask.com where he was "Mr. John Wayne" ...but not as much about you...

And, I don't really like to inquire much about online friends because posting online is notorious for the negative blowback. And I do recall that you do (or did, anyway) take on some adversarial folks on another site, armed with your deadly limericks! 

So I am glad to read about your diverse family. I myself am more cautious now than I was at first about posting personal stuff, and probably should be even more careful still.

*  *  *

Oh and this from Google: 'The 42ID came to be known as the "Rainbow Division". When the United States declared war on Germany in 1917, it federalized National Guard divisions to quickly build up an Army. In addition, Douglas MacArthur, then a major, suggested to William A. Mann, the head of the Militia Bureau, that he form another division from the non-divisional units of several states. Secretary of War Newton D. Bakerapproved the proposal, and recalled Douglas MacArthur saying that such an organization would "stretch over the whole country like a rainbow." '

by
+2

Yes, that's true. When the Americans were getting close to his last cave redoubt, he came out to the edge to die in the moonlight. Two days later, they declared Okinawa secure.

by
+2

We even made a special scenario for Iwo Jima and it's really hard!

image

by
+2

Holy mackerelAre all those red dots Japanese pill boxes and cave redoubts? :O

by
+1

They sure are! Bunkers and pill boxes everywhere! That scenario alone has 70 turns!

+4 votes
by

The best of the best!

image

by
+3

Semper Fi.

by
+1

It's a very poignant photo, Hitman...I knew some of these old soldiers of WWII in the senior apts. where I lived in Iowa. Veteran's Day was always a celebration there, we would all gather and they would tell some of their experiences. 

I remember Hank, he had painful open sores on his head; they were skin cancer from overexposure to the intense sunlight of the South Pacific. He was in the support staff for an air base on one of the islands, and when the klaxon sounded you did not wait to grab your hat, you just ran.

Another one, Kenny, was in the Navy. And what I learned from him which not many people know, is that before the Marines invaded an island, the Navy would go in and try to prepare so the landing would be safer...removing land mines and such, I am not sure...but the sailors went unarmed, and their casualties were higher than the landing forces.

Several of them had been in two wars, WWII and Korea. Joe I remember served in three wars; WWII, Korea, and as he put it, 'a taste of Vietnam' ...by which I think he meant he did not see action in Vietnam, he was in a support role.

They have all died now, but I will never forget them.

+2 votes
by

Iwo Jima was a very costly battle for my fellow Marines....and part of a systematic dismembering of a much larger enterprise being executed against the Japanese Empire.  How unfortunate that the war office believed that the ETO took precedence. The Pacific campaign was brutal and yet one I feel that was even more brutal of course, (and one of our most needless battles in the Pacific) was the horrific battle of Tarawa.  We simply could have waited and starved them out.  We lost a lot of good Marines needlessly.

If anyone cares to look at the much larger picture, which includes the internal struggles of the Empire they should take a look at this book;

https://www.google.com/books/edition/Japan_s_War/QQq_AAAAQBAJ?hl=en&gbpv=1&printsec=frontcover

It was my beach book a couple of years ago while working down at my Summer job along the ocean front.  I loved it.  However, I warn you, it is a very in depth book.....almost like eating condensed soup out of a can, but you come away with a much more complete understanding at it's internal war between it's army, adherent to the bushido code, and it's more liberal navy, and then those loyal to the emperor.  Truly a superior read.  Edwin P. Hoyt is a master craftsman with his pen, truly 

...