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


This is from page 10 of:
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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