On This Day in 1945, the Battle of Iwo Jima Began

On this day in 1945, the Battle of Iwo Jima, an island located 750 miles off the coast of Japan, began in what would become some the bloodiest fighting of World War II.

On February 19, 1945, U.S. Marines made an amphibious landing on the beaches of Iwo Jima to be met with hostile terrain that made it difficult to get firm footing for the troops and vehicles. As the Marines tried to make their way forward, Japanese forces that had been laying in wait opened fire inflicting significant casualties.

Over the course of five weeks, some 70,000 Marines landed on Iwo Jima and, though they outnumbered the Japanese by more than three-to-one, perhaps more than 25,000 casualties occurred including nearly 7,000 deaths. As for the Japanese, of the 21,000, all that remained were 200 of the fighting forces.

On March 16, 1945, the U.S. declared Iwo Jima secured following the weeks of intense fighting. The last attack on the island occurred on March 26th when Japanese troops killed about 100 Americans before being killed themselves.

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