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Pearl Harbor & Iwo Jima

iwo jima

Pearl Harbor
On  the morning of December 7,1941 the Japanese launched an attack on the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, forcing the United States to enter World War ll.  2,402 troops were killed and 1,282 troops were wounded during the attack. 188 aircraft were destroyed.  Two aerial attack

pearl harbor

waves totaling 353 aircraft launched from six Japanese aircraft carriers.This bombing sank four U.S. navy
battleships, three cruisers, three destroyers, and one minelayer, while the Japanese lost only 29 aircraft and five midget submarines. 65 servicemen were killed or wounded and only one Japanese sailor was captured.
 
The Japanese planned the attack on Pearl Harbor to destroy the US naval fleet.  The Japanese hoped they could continue getting oil and other natural resources from Mayala and the East Dutch Indies without American interference.  President Franklin D. Roosevelt had recently moved the fleet to Pearl Harbor from San Diego.  He did this to discourage Japanese aggression in the far east.  The Japanese saw the move as a preparation for war.  
 
The attack on Pearl Harbor came in two waves. The first wave was to take the most important targets including battleships, destroyers and aircraft carriers. The Japanese wanted to disable the ships and the aircraft on them to keep the Americans from launching a counterattack. The second wave was intended to take care of anything that was left. The attack came at 7:48 in the morning. Most people were still sleeping. President Roosevelt told the nation in a radio broadcast, "December 7, 1941 is a day that will live in infamy."  To this day all Americans continue to remember the sacrifice of our brave men and women on that day.  
 
Iwo Jima - The United States took the war to the Japanese home island during the Battle of Iwo Jima on February 19 through March 26, 1945. Before the first marine landed on the beach the area was assaulted by guns from three American battleships. Then 30,000 American marines with the Amphibious Corps landed on the beach. Everything was quiet. The Marines thought that everyone was dead from the earlier bombing. However, the Japanese were hiding in a tunnel dug into Mount Suribachi. They waited for the Americans to fill the beach with Marines and equipment and then opened fire. Several fierce battles continued until the US forces gained control of the airfields at Iwo Jima. The American forces used grenades and flame throwers to fight the Japanese hidden in the bunkers. US soldiers brought in Sherman M4A3R3 tanks equipped with flame throwers and other weapons to take out the bunkers. The Marines also had air support at night to aid in seeing the Japanese who would use the advantage of darkness to attack. Of the more than 180,000 Japanese at Iwo Jima at the beginning of the attack only 216 were taken prisoners as most chose to fight to the death. The boats that aproched the island were the U.S.S. North Carolina, and the U.S.S. Washington.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               A famous photograph was taken on Iwo Jima on February 23,1945.  It shows American forces raising the American flag on top of Mount Suribachi. The picture was used throughout the United States during the war to raise money for the war effort. The six men shown in the photo became celebrities. Only three of the men survived the battle. The three survivors came back to the United States and went on a bond tour to raise money for the war effort. The tour was a huge success raising $26.3 billion for the war. A statue was made about the photo and it still stands in Arlington National Cemetary in Washington, D.C. today.  
 
The American and Allied forces had large casualities, more than any other battle, but no civilian casualities. The main objective was to gain control of the two airfields on Iwo Jima. Because of the strength and size of the American forces, winning the battle was never in doubt. The United States needed the airfields to launch closer to other Japanese targets.


 


















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