Saturday, March 24, 2007

Did You Know There Was A Cave System on Iwo Jima?

Did You Know There Was A Cave System on Iwo Jima? I am in the middle of reading Flags of Our Fathers and I learned about the cave system that the Japanese troops had created on the small island of Iwo Jima.

When the American forces were getting ready to invade Iwo Jima in WWII, the Japanese general knew that this small island would be a hotbed of fighting and that it would be imperative to his country to maintain this small island as part of their own territory.

When the Americans were brought to the shores of Iwo Jima, they may have thought it would not take long to overtake this extremely small plot of land. It is only about 5 miles by 2 miles!

Little did they know what the Japanese knew at that time. First of all, the volcanic ash would make it very difficult for the Americans to make their way very quickly onto and across the island.

Secondly, the Americans were seemingly unaware of the cave system the Japanese had dug under the terrain. This cave system allowed the Japanese to use the element of surprise against the American forces. They were able to shoot at the American troops while staying out of sight. Another factor that the Americans took for granted was that while they may have cleared out an area, it was able to be reinforced from the underground, no longer making it a cleared area. The Americans were surrounded and had a very difficult time fighting this enemy that lurked below.

No comments: