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Iwo Jima 1945: The Marines raise the flag on Mount Suribachi (Campaign Book 81) Kindle Edition
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From the Publisher
About the Author
DERRICK WRIGHT is the author of 'Tarawa: A Hell of a Way to Die' and 'The Battle for Iwo Jima'.--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- ASIN : B01DPPXDLO
- Publisher : Osprey Publishing; 1st edition (August 20, 2012)
- Publication date : August 20, 2012
- Language : English
- File size : 51328 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 96 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #849,130 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The author describes the battle in chronological order. Each day is separately marked by its paragraph header of D+5, D+6, etc. This style makes it easy for the reader to follow the course of action. At appropriate points in the text, the author inserts relevant stories. These stories are particularly interesting when describing individual Medal of Honor winners. In total, twenty seven individuals won the Medal of Honor for their actions at Iwo Jima. That is an extraordinarily large number.
As with all Osprey books, this one contains several tactical maps and three 3D bird's eye view maps. The maps are uncluttered and easy to read. The author also included numerous black and white photos which add to the narrative. Some photos are particularly interesting. The book opens with an aerial photograph of four Grumman Avengers dropping their bombs. The book also contains some Japanese photos of General Kuribayashi.
Finally, the book has five appendices. Each one adds significant information. The first two cover the Order of Battle and Japanese Command staff. Appendix three describes the controversy over the flag raising on Mount Suribachi. Some people claimed that the photo was staged. The author gives the explanation provided by the photographer, Joe Rosenthal. Appendix four gives the back story to the US Marine Corps memorial in Arlington, Virginia and number five describes the stories of all the Medal of Honor winners.
Bottom line: this book does a great job of describing the battle. The writing style is relaxed and easy to read. This is different than the other Pacific Campaign books where the writers used a cumbersome sentence structure that was broken up with the nomenclature of various weapon. Also, the full color battle scenes and photos bring this campaign to life. The reader will certainly find this book both informative and entertaining.
In the first chapter on the origins of the campaign, Wright fails to note that although Iwo Jima had been under Japanese control since the late 19th Century that the first airfield on the island was not constructed until 1943. As late as February 1944, the island was virtually undefended, with only 1,500 naval personnel stationed there. In this section, Wright makes critical omissions in failing to note the first major American air strikes on the island in June 1944, followed by intermittent naval bombardments and B-24 attacks in November-December 1944. The Japanese Army only started a major effort to reinforce and fortify the island in July 1944 and the underground cave network was only about 15% completed when the invasion began. US submarines were partly successful in interdicting the flow of Japanese reinforcements to the island, with 1,500 Japanese troops lost enroute. All these facts are very pertinent to the pre-invasion phase, but go unmentioned by Wright.
The second chapter, on opposing commanders, covers the US commanders effectively, but mentions only Lieutenant General Kuribayashi on the Japanese side. Wright takes time to tell the reader about Kuribayashi's height and "pot belly," but not the more relevant facts about his recent service in China in 1940-1943. Kuribayashi was a cavalry officer, not a samurai (which was a state of mind by 1945, not a branch of service). The third chapter, on opposing forces, is so short at only four paragraphs as to seem obnoxious. Wright offers only generic comments about the opposing forces, with no detail about tactical organization, doctrine, equipment or strengths and weaknesses. The US 3rd and 4th Marine Divisions were veteran units but the 5th was an untried division. While noting that the total Japanese garrison was 21,000, Wright fails to break this down properly; 15,500 were army and 5,500 were navy. Information is widely available about this garrison but unmentioned in this account. For example, the fact that the Japanese had 120 guns larger than 75mm with 100,000 rounds, 130 howitzers, 60 anti-tank guns and 27 tanks is rather important in assessing the defense. The Japanese garrison had plenty of food but were chronically short of water. Nor does the order of battle information provided in the appendices clear this up; the appendices fail to even list any American tank, artillery, engineer or aviation units that supported the invasion.
The heart of this volume is the day-by-day summary, which Wright pulls off fairly well. The artwork battlescenes that accompany the text are excellent. However, the lack of sufficient 2-D maps makes it particularly difficult to track the first week of the battle. A good sketch or diagram of a typical Japanese defensive position (readily available from sketches made by US Seabees) would have been worthwhile in the campaign summary. Also, Wright makes the three-day naval preliminary bombardment seem like the only effort to suppress the defenders, which it was not.
Finally, the aftermath section fails to address casualties. While Wright gives US casualties at interim points of the battle, he fails to mention the final total: over 6,800 dead and 18,000 wounded. The fact that 212 Japanese were captured out of 21,000 troops is also omitted. Finally, it was on April 7, 1945 that P-51 fighters flew from Iwo Jima to provide the first escort for B-29s to raid Japan. Wright missed that fact, too. In sum, the plethora of omitted data greatly reduces the value and reliability of this account.