The Island of Uncommon Valor - the Battle of Iwo Jima - 1945
The war in the Pacific had decidedly turned in favor of the Allies by the fall of 1944. The Battle of Leyte Gulf had effectively destroyed the fighting power of the Japanese Navy and had forced Japan into an impossible tight defensive stance. As the Allied bombing of the Japanese home islands became more and more intense more and more airfields needed to be taken and held. The Allied High Command knew that the desolate lunar Volcano Islands would be a tough nut to crack, but the location would put the mighty B-29 even closer to the enemy. If Iwo Jima were taken the Allies would have a secure base to land damaged bombers on the return run from Japan, launch bombers at half the distance, and swarm the enemy air forces with fighters. Iwo Jima would give the Allies an excellent base to prepare the planned final act of the war, Operation Downfall. It would also be a preview of the horrors to come with Downfall, the invasion of the Japanese home islands.