This presentation in this series deals with one of the hardest confrontations the Marines had in WWII, the Battle of Iwo Jima. At one time there were more Marines involved in this confrontation than any prior historical point. Even so, this was one of the toughest fights of the war. The Japanese were in numbers on the island, and they had catacombs throughout the island, and would rather die than surrender. This made for a very difficult opponent.
However the island of Iwo Jima was key in saving lives later in the war. Although Iwo Jima never became a regular base in the attacks on Tokyo, it was an emergency landing site, and was often used. It is said this saved the lives of over 20,000 airmen.
This is the only battle where the U.S. Marines sufferred more casualties than their enemy. Over 26,000 total casualties and over 6000 dead. On the other hand the Japanese had a force of 20,000 on the island, and only a bit more than 1000 survived the battle.
The raising of the flag on Mount Suribachi is engrained in our minds by the photo taken by Joe Rosenthal.