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Pacific World War II Book Review  
Order Book
by Cory Graff
Specialty Press  2006
160 pages
photos, index, endnotes
ISBN: 1580070922
Cover Price: $29.95
Language: English

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Strike And Return
American Air Power and the Fight for Iwo Jima

Prior to the Marine landing on Iwo Jima, a massive aerial assault against the island was conducted. Although unable to defeat the dug in Japanese, the campaign involved US Navy, Marine Corps and Army Air Force air power.

Isolated and off limits, Iwo Jima was a target that American planners knew little about. The book begins with the US Navy strikes on Iwo Jima in mid-June and July 1944. These strikes were the first attacks on the island, and were met with Japanese aerial resistance.

Next, 7th Air Force based at recently captured Saipan carried the aerial assault. Beginning with photo reconnaissance work for B-24 Liberator bombing strikes that began in August 1944 and eventually total 2,800 sorties until the Marines landed, with relatively light casualties, despite very frequent and intense Japanese defenses. 20th Air Force B-29 joined the softening up, attacking Iwo Jima to gain proficiency with their new Superfortresses.

An interesting chapter is deals with the role of American air power during the Marine landing, from Liaison planes doing spotting work, to the flying boats that transported away critically injured, and news reports, including the negative for Rosenthal's famous flag raising photograph.

Finally, the book deals with Iwo Jima's American base period, when it became an emergency landing strip for B-29 bombers, and base for fighters to range over Japan. Even, its possible role in delivering the atomic bomb. If the Saipan based B-29 "Enola Gay" 44-86292 was unable to reach the target due to mechanical troubles or weather, it was to divert to Iwo Jima, where the bomb would be loaded onto B-29 "Top Secret" instead.

This book is lavishly illustrated with three to four wartime photographs per page. Just as a photo book, this book is a worthy addition. The last section of the book includes Iwo color wartime photography. Many maps, charts and even historical documents related to missions are included.

Review by  Justin Taylan  

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Last Updated
September 21, 2023

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