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The current time is: 10/21/2018 9:37:25 AM
 (1939-1945) WWII Battles
AuthorMessage
John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 819

Iwo Jima
Posted on: 7/9/2018 8:27:17 AM
I had the TV on for noise while I did some housework in the kitchen and it was on a documentary of WWII in the Pacific. AS I was listening I was shocked to hear then claim that Iwo Jima was a wasted or needless operation. That the island was taken to run air bombing operations over Japan from but only a very few operations were ever done. Now its my understanding that it was taken as a landing base for damaged B-29's en-route to or returning from operations over Japan, as a base for P-51 fighters to escort bombing missions and as a staging area for the future invasion of Japan. Now I'm like 99% sure I'm right on this so my question is how does this mistake/distortion get on TV? I mean ok if its listed as a reason along with others for Iwo but as the only reason listed and therefore proving the battle needless. I mean I've read that there were well over 1,000 emergency landings of B-29's with 10 or 11 men on each plane not to mention the plane itself. Am I right on this?
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 4041

Re: Iwo Jima
Posted on: 7/9/2018 8:51:13 AM
Hi John,

Iwo Jima was a very costly island for the US to take, I imagine any island can be debated as to it's relevance to be taken with so many islands in the Pacific, & the so called "Island Hopping", strategy in effect! I agree that Iwo with it's large airfield was as necessary as any with regards to a successful Airwar against the Japnanese home islands!

[Read More]

IMHO A bit of a sketchy claim by the documentary you viewed!
What was it's title?

Regards,
MD
---------------
"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

Truckman
Conroe, TX, USA
top 30
E-5 Sergeant


Posts: 250
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Truckman/ http://1truckman.blogspot.com/
Re: Iwo Jima
Posted on: 7/9/2018 9:36:43 AM
Hindsight is a wonderful tool when judging historical events...But it can be used by those with varying viewpoints and different agendas also...The documentarians responsible for what you watched presented their opinion which doubtless will be sucked up as truth by some...Others, such as ourselves on this board, will examine history from other angles, and form our own views of what happened, and why...Ben
---------------
Blog: http://1truckman.blogspot.com/
Photos: http://photosfrom1truckman.blogspot.com/
Videos: https://www.youtube.com/user/1Truckman
Books: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Truckman

jahenders
Colorado Springs, CO, USA
top 25
E-6 Staff Sergeant


Posts: 444

Re: Iwo Jima
Posted on: 7/9/2018 9:42:54 AM

Quote:
I had the TV on for noise while I did some housework in the kitchen and it was on a documentary of WWII in the Pacific. AS I was listening I was shocked to hear then claim that Iwo Jima was a wasted or needless operation. That the island was taken to run air bombing operations over Japan from but only a very few operations were ever done. Now its my understanding that it was taken as a landing base for damaged B-29's en-route to or returning from operations over Japan, as a base for P-51 fighters to escort bombing missions and as a staging area for the future invasion of Japan. Now I'm like 99% sure I'm right on this so my question is how does this mistake/distortion get on TV? I mean ok if its listed as a reason along with others for Iwo but as the only reason listed and therefore proving the battle needless. I mean I've read that there were well over 1,000 emergency landings of B-29's with 10 or 11 men on each plane not to mention the plane itself. Am I right on this?
--John R. Price


I think it's one of those things that seemed vital at the time, but whose necessity looks uncertain in hindsight.

As early as April 1945, retired Chief of Naval Operations William V. Pratt stated in Newsweek magazine that considering the "expenditure of manpower to acquire a small, God-forsaken island, useless to the Army as a staging base and useless to the Navy as a fleet base ... [one] wonders if the same sort of airbase could not have been reached by acquiring other strategic localities at lower cost."

You're right that part of the justification for Iwo Jima's strategic importance was to provide a landing and refueling site for long-range fighter escorts. But these proved somewhat impractical and unnecessary, and only ten such missions were ever flown from Iwo Jima. Apparently the long round trip escort distance (about 1500 Mi) and the P-51's limited navigation gear made it hard for the P-51s. Some say that the B-29s wound up guiding the P-51s to Japan because the bombers had far better navigational capability.

Taking it out also eliminated a Japanese base for intercepting heavily laden US bombers and it did provide a potential recovery base for B-29s. However, the importance of those two justifications is also debatable.

On the whole, it doesn't seem like our best investment and may be an example of poor inter-service planning and prioritization.

That being said, had we actually been forced to go ahead with Operation Downfall (Olympic & Coronet), I suspect it would have seen more use such that we would have seen a better return on investment.

Here's an interesting article that talks to it fairly well:
http://www.historynet.com/worth-the-cost-justificaton-of-iwo-jima-invasion.htm




jahenders
Colorado Springs, CO, USA
top 25
E-6 Staff Sergeant


Posts: 444

Re: Iwo Jima
Posted on: 7/9/2018 9:47:43 AM

Quote:
Hindsight is a wonderful tool when judging historical events...But it can be used by those with varying viewpoints and different agendas also...The documentarians responsible for what you watched presented their opinion which doubtless will be sucked up as truth by some...Others, such as ourselves on this board, will examine history from other angles, and form our own views of what happened, and why...Ben
--Truckman


So true, Ben.

At times it seems that some history shows, and some historians, attempt to justify themselves by uncovering the 'true story' -- usually some alternate theory of what happened, often with conspiratorial undertones.

It's always interesting to see shows/historians take events out of context and look at them from the perspective of an air conditioned office in 2018. The discussion of the atomic bombings seems to be one of the most extreme examples of this. It doesn't look like something we would do today, but that ignores the realities of the time.

Truckman
Conroe, TX, USA
top 30
E-5 Sergeant


Posts: 250
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Truckman/ http://1truckman.blogspot.com/
Re: Iwo Jima
Posted on: 7/9/2018 9:52:57 AM
Saburo Sakai's book about his experiences as a Japanese fighter pilot pointed out that if the invasion had occurred the previous year, when the Japanese strength was at its lowest point, the island could have been easily overrun...The ensuing months gave the Japanese time to fortify the island with artillery, new aircraft and additional personnel...Sakai and his commanders were surprised that they were given all that additional time to prepare when the island could have been taken earlier at much less cost...Ben
---------------
Blog: http://1truckman.blogspot.com/
Photos: http://photosfrom1truckman.blogspot.com/
Videos: https://www.youtube.com/user/1Truckman
Books: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Truckman

jahenders
Colorado Springs, CO, USA
top 25
E-6 Staff Sergeant


Posts: 444

Re: Iwo Jima
Posted on: 7/9/2018 12:39:27 PM

Quote:
Saburo Sakai's book about his experiences as a Japanese fighter pilot pointed out that if the invasion had occurred the previous year, when the Japanese strength was at its lowest point, the island could have been easily overrun...The ensuing months gave the Japanese time to fortify the island with artillery, new aircraft and additional personnel...Sakai and his commanders were surprised that they were given all that additional time to prepare when the island could have been taken earlier at much less cost...Ben
--Truckman


Haven't read that one, but I believe some of that was discussed in "The Rising Sun: The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire 1936-45) by Toland. An excellent book for anyone interested in the Pacific War -- it tells virtually the whole thing from the Japanese perspective -- quite enlightening.

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 6974
http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: Iwo Jima
Posted on: 7/9/2018 1:02:05 PM
Though ultimately victorious, the American victory at Iwo Jima had come at a terrible price. According to the official Navy Department Library website, "The 36-day (Iwo Jima) assault resulted in more than 26,000 American casualties, including 6,800 dead."

Regards

Jim
---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

Truckman
Conroe, TX, USA
top 30
E-5 Sergeant


Posts: 250
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Truckman/ http://1truckman.blogspot.com/
Re: Iwo Jima
Posted on: 7/9/2018 2:10:30 PM

Quote:
Haven't read that one, but I believe some of that was discussed in "The Rising Sun: The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire 1936-45) by Toland. An excellent book for anyone interested in the Pacific War -- it tells virtually the whole thing from the Japanese perspective -- quite enlightening.
--jahenders

Saburo Sakai...[Read More]

And his book...[Read More]

I wrote of him extensively in my books, and wrote a review of his book in my blog...

And John Toland, whom you mentioned, is (was) one of my favorite historians...I just oredered a two-volume set on your recommendation...Thanks...Ben
---------------
Blog: http://1truckman.blogspot.com/
Photos: http://photosfrom1truckman.blogspot.com/
Videos: https://www.youtube.com/user/1Truckman
Books: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Truckman

jahenders
Colorado Springs, CO, USA
top 25
E-6 Staff Sergeant


Posts: 444

Re: Iwo Jima
Posted on: 7/9/2018 2:40:05 PM

Quote:

Quote:
Haven't read that one, but I believe some of that was discussed in "The Rising Sun: The Decline and Fall of the Japanese Empire 1936-45) by Toland. An excellent book for anyone interested in the Pacific War -- it tells virtually the whole thing from the Japanese perspective -- quite enlightening.
--jahenders

Saburo Sakai...[Read More]

And his book...[Read More]

I wrote of him extensively in my books, and wrote a review of his book in my blog...

And John Toland, whom you mentioned, is (was) one of my favorite historians...I just oredered a two-volume set on your recommmendation...Thanks...Ben
--Truckman


I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I found their political/military balance of power fascinating. Instead of "strategic corporals" the had "strategic Lts and Capts"

dt509er
Santa Rosa, CA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant


Posts: 603

Re: Iwo Jima
Posted on: 7/9/2018 7:29:05 PM

Quote:
As early as April 1945, retired Chief of Naval Operations William V. Pratt stated in Newsweek magazine that considering the "expenditure of manpower to acquire a small, God-forsaken island, useless to the Army as a staging base and useless to the Navy as a fleet base ... [one] wonders if the same sort of airbase could not have been reached by acquiring other strategic localities at lower cost."


What other "strategic localities" would have served the same proposed purpose that Iwo Jima was projected to provide?


Quote:
Taking it out also eliminated a Japanese base for intercepting heavily laden US bombers and it did provide a potential recovery base for B-29s. However, the importance of those two justifications is also debatable.


A much easier point of debate these day's but were the reason's easily viewable then in the context of time, space, manpower, equipment and in how the Japanese began to constrict their movement of troops to the main islands of Japan for the upcoming home island invasions?


--jahenders
---------------
"American parachutists-devils in baggy pants..."

I take offense to your perception of being offended!

“If your experiment needs statistics, you ought to have done a better experiment.” Lord Ernest Rutherford

John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 819

Re: Iwo Jima
Posted on: 7/9/2018 8:40:53 PM
Truckman and Jahenders,

Just did a quick search and came up with as many as 2,600 plus B-29 landings with over 27,000 crewmen onboard on Iwo from the first while the battle for the runway was still taking place until the end of the war. Also I seem to remember from previous reading that the engines in the early B-29 weren't the most dependable, that there was a high percentage of breakdowns. That it could have used more time in run ups but it being war.



---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


dt509er
Santa Rosa, CA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant


Posts: 603

Re: Iwo Jima
Posted on: 7/9/2018 11:34:14 PM

Quote:
Truckman and Jahenders,

Just did a quick search and came up with as many as 2,600 plus B-29 landings with over 27,000 crewmen onboard on Iwo from the first while the battle for the runway was still taking place until the end of the war. Also I seem to remember from previous reading that the engines in the early B-29 weren't the most dependable, that there was a high percentage of breakdowns. That it could have used more time in run ups but it being war.


--John R. Price



Hello John, that is an excellent observation regarding B-29 engines which were notorious for lighting up. From Walter Boyne article...

"The R-3350 was thus denied the extensive test and development programs necessary to discover and cure its many problems. These included inadequate cooling, insufficient lubrication to upper cylinders, failure-prone reduction-gear design, poor carburetion, and an inefficient mixture distribution. All of these conditions resulted in excessive heat and sometimes fire, which fed upon the engine’s extensive use of magnesium.".., The R-3350 got its real “test and development” in combat, where engine problems brought down more B-29s than the Japanese..,

and,

On the flight line, the R-3350-23 engines continued to overheat on takeoff. It was found that reducing the size of the cowl flaps slightly allowed more airflow without increasing drag. All of the aircraft were destined to receive a later model R-3350-3A engine which had some—but not all—of the cooling problems solved.

Surely this was a major factor why Iwo Jima was a sought after...airstrip.

[Read More]


---------------
"American parachutists-devils in baggy pants..."

I take offense to your perception of being offended!

“If your experiment needs statistics, you ought to have done a better experiment.” Lord Ernest Rutherford

OpanaPointer
St. Louis, MO, USA
top 10
E-9 Sergeant Major
Posts: 902

Re: Iwo Jima
Posted on: 7/10/2018 8:49:45 AM
I've seen people claim that Iwo was "just a rest stop and not necessary". They weren't in those planes, of course.

jahenders
Colorado Springs, CO, USA
top 25
E-6 Staff Sergeant


Posts: 444

Re: Iwo Jima
Posted on: 7/10/2018 10:10:07 AM

Quote:
Truckman and Jahenders,

Just did a quick search and came up with as many as 2,600 plus B-29 landings with over 27,000 crewmen onboard on Iwo from the first while the battle for the runway was still taking place until the end of the war. Also I seem to remember from previous reading that the engines in the early B-29 weren't the most dependable, that there was a high percentage of breakdowns. That it could have used more time in run ups but it being war.

--John R. Price


You're certainly right that it was used as a diversion base somewhat regularly after capture. This article discusses that pretty well.
http://www.andersen.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/415598/remembering-iwo-jima-and-its-importance-to-strategic-airpower/

The question are really whether it was worth the heavy price paid AND whether some other island might have provided similar benefit for lesser cost. Those are probably unanswerable questions. However, on the first question, note that there were 25K US casualties (7K dead) on Iwo (almost as many as that 27K) and certainly not all those planes would have been lost had they note been able to land at Iwo. Even if they were, some percentage of the crews would have been rescued.

As far as other targets, I'm not sure of the full range of islands that might suit. However, the article I previously cited (http://www.historynet.com/worth-the-cost-justificaton-of-iwo-jima-invasion.htm) notes that, "despite the benefits of having Iwo Jima in American hands, there were at least six other islands in the Nanpo-Shoto under consideration by the Joint Chiefs of Staff."

Ultimately, I think it was worth it, but there is a question of how clearly that is so, especially since the number #1 justification laid out by the war planners (fighter escort) didn't work out.

This, again is from that article:

"In the strategy approved by the Joint War Planners, the justifications for the Bonin Islands operation were.
a. Providing fighter cover for the application of our air effort against Japan.
b. Denying these strategic outposts to the enemy.
c. Furnishing air defense bases for our positions in the Marianas.
d. Providing fields for staging heavy bombers (B-24 Liberators) against Japan.
e. Precipitating a decisive naval engagement."

Jim


John R. Price
Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
top 15
E-8 Master Sergeant
Posts: 819

Re: Iwo Jima
Posted on: 7/10/2018 12:04:36 PM
Jim,

The way you lay it out I might have a lot less disagreement but basically only using your point D and claiming that as proof positive for the point of view is IMHO wrong in so many ways.
---------------
A battle long forgotten by our country in a war never understood by our country.
"to satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds, in the name of destiny and in the name of God"


Truckman
Conroe, TX, USA
top 30
E-5 Sergeant


Posts: 250
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Truckman/ http://1truckman.blogspot.com/
Re: Iwo Jima
Posted on: 7/14/2018 2:19:00 PM

Quote:
And John Toland, whom you mentioned, is (was) one of my favorite historians...I just oredered a two-volume set on your recommendation...Thanks...Ben
--Truckman

Arrived today...1970 book club edition in very good condition with both dust jackets...Thanks, Amazon!...Ben
---------------
Blog: http://1truckman.blogspot.com/
Photos: http://photosfrom1truckman.blogspot.com/
Videos: https://www.youtube.com/user/1Truckman
Books: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/Truckman

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