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The Sea and the Second World WarMaritime Aspects of a Global Conflict$
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Marcus Faulkner and Alessio Patalano

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781949668049

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9781949668049.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM KENTUCKY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.kentucky.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The University Press of Kentucky, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in KSO for personal use.date: 24 September 2021

Naval Gunfire Support at Iwo Jima

Naval Gunfire Support at Iwo Jima

The Perils of Doctrinal Myopia

(p.202) 8 Naval Gunfire Support at Iwo Jima
The Sea and the Second World War

Donald K. Mitchener

University Press of Kentucky

One component of the American amphibious warfare doctrine developed by the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps during the interwar period concerned the use of naval gunfire in the softening up of enemy defenses prior to the landing of troops ashore. Historians of the war in the Pacific have traditionally argued that the Americans made mistakes, but that they learned valuable lessons along the way and applied those lessons fairly consistently. This chapter by Donald K. Mitchener asserts that this argument needs modification in the case of pre-assault naval gunfire support at Iwo Jima. It describes how the need to maintain strategic momentum against Japan resulted in a gunfire plan that was not adequate to the task. The chapter also shows how General Kuribayashi, the Japanese commander at Iwo, inadvertently created a defensive scheme that caused the Americans to waste much of the ammunition they expended on their last day of naval gunfire preparation.

Keywords:   Casualties, Doctrine, naval gunfire support, operations, Pacific War, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy

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