The Battle of Iwo Jima took place from February 19th to March 25th, 1945 on an island only two miles wide and four miles long. The United States wanted to control this tiny island to shut down the airfields that launched the infamous Kamikaze planes and also to use it as an emergency landing strip for bombers that were taking off from the Mariana Islands to attack mainland Japan. What officers planned to be a week-long fight turned into one of the most deadly battles on the Pacific front. Although there were about 80,000 US Marines and 20,000 Japanese, most Marines never saw their enemy because they were concealed in an intricate underground tunnel and cave system below the volcanic sand. Iwo Jima was a very gruesome, vicious fight with machine guns, Sherman tanks, howitzers, flamethrowers (to kill the Japanese Soldiers underground), napalm, and hand grenades. Of the 80,000 U.S. Marines who fought, 1 in 3 were killed or wounded. Virtually all of the 20,000 Japanese perished or were imprisoned. 6,000 are considered to still be entombed underground. 27 Medals of Honor were awarded, more than any other single battle in US history. Although not included in this collection, Joe Rosenthal's famous photograph of six soldiers raising a flag atop Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima has become a symbol of American heroism and patriotism.
There were at least four photographers (including Joe Rosenthal, Eugene Jones, Robert R. Campbell and Louis Lowry) at the Battle of Iwo Jima. In the inventory the names of the photographers and the text in which their photos were found are noted next to their descriptions.
The William S. Wilson Iwo Jima Photograph collection consists of 48 5x7 black-and-white prints and 4x5 black and white negatives from the Battle of Iwo Jima. The photographs are a great resource in portraying the gritty reality of the Battle. They show the dead or injured U.S. Soldiers; dead or captured Japanese Soldiers; destroyed tanks, planes, and landing craft; and U.S. Soldiers with guns, flamethrowers, rocket launchers, tanks, and artillery. Also included in this collection is the famous photograph of soldiers cheering after the raising of the American Flag taken by Joe Rosenthal. The photographs are more carefully composed and executed than typical G.I. snapshots and were probably taken by Marine Corps or Associated Press photographers.
Works Cited in Inventory include:
Allen, Robert E. The First Battalion of the 28th Marines on Iwo Jima: A Day by Day History. Jefferson, NC: MacFarland & Company, Inc., 1999.
Bradely, James. Flags of Our Fathers. New York: Bantam Books, 2000.
Newcomb, Richard F. Iwo Jima. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1965.
Wheeler, Richard. Iwo. New York: Lippincott & Crowell, 1980.
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Permission to publish material from the William S. Wilson Iwo Jima photographs must be obtained from the Special Collections Photograph Curator and/or the Special Collections Department Head.
William S. Wilson Iwo Jima photographs, 1945. (P0342). Utah State University. Special Collections & Archives Department.
|1||1||1:01:01: Group photo of American soldiers holding Japanese flags|
|1||1||1:01:02: Soldiers walking through a field of destroyed planes, possibly remnants of an airfield|
|1||1||1:01:03: American soldiers attempting to dig into the beach, possibly for a foxhole. Anchored ships in background|
|1||1||1:01:04: Soldiers hiding behind a sandhill that is littered with debris and some dead or wounded cadets|
|1||1||1:01:05: American camp in a small trench dotted with soldiers, possibly the wing of a low-flying plane in the upper right corner|
|1||1||1:01:06: The beach cluttered with wrecked Marine boats just
over an hour after the first troops landed on
Official U.S. Marine Corps Photograph, taken by Eugene S. Jones. (See text by Allen, p. 29).
|19 February 1945.|
|1||1||1:01:07: Military mechanic working under a plane, looking back at the camera and smiling|
|1||1||1:01:08: A patrol advances up the slopes of Mt. Suribachi
among mangled wire and debris
Official U.S. Marine Corps Photograph, Photographer Unknown. (See text by Allen, p. 57).
|1||1||1:01:09: Soldier sitting in a dug-out foxhole, possibly writing letters to family. Note picture of woman and other keepsakes in the hole|
|1||1||1:01:10: Soldiers abandoning their tanks that are stuck in
Official U.S. Marine Corps Photograph, Photographer Unknown. (See text by Allen, p. 36).
|1||1||1:01:11: Bird's eye view of U.S. fighter plane with a broken wing|
|1||1||1:01:12: Pillars of smoke and fire rising from a destroyed Japanese military outpost|
|1||1||1:01:13: Posed shot of soldiers around the second flag
raised atop Mt. Surabachi, cheering, 23 February 1945. (l-r) Ira Hayes (seated),
unknown, Harold Schrier, Franklin Sousley (rifle in right hand), Mike Strank
(thumbs in pocket), Doc Bradley (in shadow, to Strank's left), Clarence Garrett,
Grady Dyce, Howard Snyder, Hank Hansen (in cap), Phil Ward, Fred Walscak, Harold
Schultz, Harold Keller, Tom Hermaneck, Gerry Smith (on knees with gun raised),
Mike Larson (with pistol on knee)
Photo by Joe Rosenthal (who also took the most famous photo of the Iwo Jima flag-raising), Associated Press Photographer. (See text by Bradley, photo before p. 185).
|1||1||1:01:14: Mangled bodies of three dead Japanese soldiers|
|1||1||1:01:15: Sherman tanks and amphibian tractors destroyed by
Japanese artillery after getting bogged down on beach
Official US Marine Corps Photograph, Photographer Unknown. (See text by Wheeler, p. 117 or Allen, p. 35).
|1||1||1:01:16: Soldier sweeping sand in the cemetery made for American soldiers who were killed at Iwo Jima. Note the hundreds of white crosses in the background|
|1||1||1:01:17: Group of wounded soldiers getting ready to be transported off the island|
|1||1||1:01:18: One soldier blasts a cave with a flame thrower as six others look on. The soldier in the middle is William S. Wilson|
|1||1||1:01:19: Soldiers walking off a boat carrying wounded soldiers, possibly upon returning to the U.S. Note the men wearing civilian dress|
|1||1||1:01:20: Medics attending to wounded soldiers|
|1||1||1:01:21: Naked remains of Japanese soldiers, blasted from
their underground pillbox
Photo by Joe Rosenthal, Associated Press and Wide World photographer. (See text by Newcomb, pg. 124)
|1||1||1:01:22: Close-up photo of a soldier holding a small kitten|
|1||1||1:01:23: Three soldiers kneeling to pray in their dug-out foxhole|
|1||1||1:01:24: US Navy Hospital Ship, the U.S.S. Samaritan, American flag waving in the upper right corner|
|1||2||1:02:01: Marines salvage needed parts from vehicles
destroyed on the beach
Official US Marine Corps Photograph, Photographer Unknown. (See text by Allen, p. 57).
|1||2||1:02:01: Soldiers exit their transport boat and begin
marching up the beaches
Official Marine Corps Photograph, taken by Robert R. Campbell. (See text by Allen, back cover)
|19 February 1945.|
|1||2||1:02:03: A military doctor holds a vile of human blood attached to a surgical tube|
|1||2||1:02:04: Armed marines march up the sandy beaches on D-Day
Mt. Surabachi can be seen faintly in the distance.
|19 February 1945.|
|1||2||1:02:05: Marines on Red Beach take heavy fire as enemy guns
from Mt. Surabachi hit the shore
Official US Marine Corps Photograph, Photographer Unknown. (See text by Allen, p. 28).
|19 February 1945.|
|1||2||1:02:06: Missile launchers release rockets from the beaches to attack Japanese bases|
|1||2||1:02:07: Japanese POW's are herded by U.S. Military Policemen|
|1||2||1:02:08: Marines pinned down on beach by enemy fire two
hours after their arrival
Note their ship, LSM 206, in the background. Official U.S. Marine Corps Photograph, taken by Robert R. Cambell. (See text by Allen, p. 33).
|19 February 1945.|
|1||2||1:02:09: Two flamethrowers spew fire into an enemy-occupied
Official U.S. Marine Corps Photograph, taken by Robert R. Campbell. (See text by Allen, p. 104).
|1||2||1:02:10: Marines aboard a wrecked vessel, some soldiers dead or wounded|
|1||2||1:02:11: Military doctors tend to a wounded soldier|
|1||2||1:02:12: A Sherman tank is serviced in the distance. Note
the destroyed enemy gun placement in the foreground
Official U.S. Marine Corps Photograph, Photographer Unknown. (See text by Allen, p. 80).
|1||2||1:02:13: Two soldiers carrying guns and equipment, walking through wreckage|
|1||2||1:02:14: Marines laying along the sandy banks of Iwo Jima, guns propped to fire. Probably taken on||19 February 1945.|
|1||2||1:02:15: Soldiers hide behind a hill of sand; eight are at the crest, firing at the enemy||19 February 1945.|
|1||2||1:02:16: A marine points his rifle at a dead Japanese soldier who is lying on his back|
|1||2||1:02:17: Six marines sitting behind a pile of sandbags repairing equipment|
|1||2||1:02:18: Three dead soldiers lying in a depression in the ground, most likely Japanese. Note bicycle in the background|
|1||2||1:02:19: Three marines carry away a wounded soldier on a stretcher|
|1||2||1:02:20: Bodies of marines killed in action awaiting
Official US Marine Corps Photograph, Photographer Unknown. (See text by Allen, p. 106).
|1||2||1:02:21: Sherman tanks comb the beaches of Iwo Jima|
|1||2||1:02:22: View of destroyed vegetation along the beach, soldiers digging holes and marching over hills. Note battleships and other military vessels anchored near the shoreline in the background|
|1||2||1:02:23: Posed photo of four soldiers at their machine gun post|
|1||2||1:02:24: Marines fire a 105mm howitzer gun to support the
troops attempting to take Mt. Suribachi, late afternoon
Official US Marine Corps Photograph, Photographer Unknown. (See text by Allen, p. 48).
|19 February 1945.|
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