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Osprey - Campaign 081 - Iwo Jima 1945 - The Marines Raise the Flag on Mount Suribachi

'Osprey - Campaign 081 - Iwo Jima 1945 - The Marines Raise the Flag on Mount Suribachi'
CONSULTANT EDITOR DAVID G. CHANDLER IWO JIMA 1945 THE MARINES RAISE THE FLAG ON MOUNT SURIBACHI DERRICK WRIGHT is the author of Campaign 77: Tarawa 1943, Tarawa: A Hell of a Way to Die (Windrow and by January, 1945, the chiefs in Washington had decided that Hansell had to go. His replacement was Curtis LeMay, a brilliant technician who had previously been in command of the 3rd Division of the 8th Air Force in England. LeMay was to introduce a new term to the aircrews of the 20th Air Force - “area bombing.“ Widely used by the RAF throughout the war, he proposed to firebomb the main cities of Japan at low level and by night in a dramatic reversal of Hansell's earlier tactics. LeMay was aware that his career was on the line. He had not informed Gen Henry “Hap“ Arnold, Commanding General of the Air Force, of this first low altitude raid: “If we go in low, at night, not in formation, I think we'll surprise the Japs, at least for a short period. If it's a failure and I don't produce any results then he can fire me,“ he said. The only obstacle on the flight path was Iwo Jima. It housed two airfields with a third under construction, and a radar station that could ABOVE The B29 Superfortress bomber was the most advanced aircraft of its day. With pressurized crew compartments, remote control gun turrets, a huge range and bomb load, it was able to reach the Japanese mainland with ease. Here, rows of brand new aircraft stand outside of the plant specially constructed for the B29 program at Wichita, Kansas. (Boeing Company Archives) 9 Once their airfields became operational in the Mariana Islands, the B29 bombers began a relentless campaign against the Japanese mainland. Here, a group of B29s passes over one of Japan's most famous landmarks, Mount Fujiyama, on their way to Tokyo. (National Archives) give two hours warning of an impending raid. The Air Force desperately needed to eliminate the threat of fighter attacks from the Iwo airfields and to neutralize the radar station there. With the island under American control there would be the added bonuses of a refuge for crippled bombers, facilities for air-sea rescue flying boats, and more importantly, a base from which P51 Mustang long range fighters could escort the Superfortresses on the second leg of their long haul to Japan. At Iwo Jima the amphibious techniques which had been developed over the previous three years were to receive the supreme test as three Marine divisions pitted themselves against more than 21,000 deeply entrenched Japanese troops led by a brilliant and determined commander, LtGen Tadamichi Kuribayashi. “Do not plan for my return,“ he was to inform his wife from Iwo Jima. Sadly his words would also be the epitaph for nearly 6,000 US Marines. Lieutenant-General “Howlin' Mad“ Smith, Commander Fleet Marine Forces Pacific, called the battle: “The most savage and most costly battle in the history of the Marine Corps.“ Smith had fronted every amphibious landing in the Central Pacific from Tar
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