18 more photos from the hellish campaign that was Iwo Jima

Seventy-two years ago Marines raised the American flag over Mount Suribachi on the island of Iwo Jima on Feb. 23, 1945. Joe Rosenthal’s photo of the second flag-raising became one of the most famous photos of World War II, but the battle actually raged from Feb. 19 to Mar. 26. Here are 18 other photos from the battle where almost 7,000 Marines, sailors, Coast Guardsmen, and soldiers lost their lives:

1. The Marines landed on Iwo Jima in waves on tracked boats.

Tracked_landing_vehicles_(LVTs)_approach_Iwo_Jima-american-marines-invasion

Photo: US Marine Corps

2. The water was thick with the Marines, sailors, and Coast Guardsmen of the landing force.

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Photo: National Archives and Records

3. At the beaches, the Marines poured onto the black, volcanic sand under Japanese fire.

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Photo: US Marine Corps

4. Japanese artillery and mortars took out a lot of the heavy equipment as it got bogged down in the sand.

Iwo_Jima_amtracs-Marines

Photo: US Navy Photographer’s Mate 3rd Class Robert M. Warren

5. The Navy used its big guns to destroy the lethal Japanese artillery where possible and to break open bunkers firing on U.S. troops.

USS_New_York-11-Iwo-Jima-bombardment

Photo: US Navy

6. This duel between the heavy guns played out on the island as constant explosions.

Iwo-Jima-1945-Japanese-positions-explosion

Photo: US Marine Corps Archives and Special Collections

7. The Marines would advance when the fire was relatively light, trying to take Japanese positions before another artillery barrage.

Carbine-iwo-jima-1945-Marine-corps

Photo: US Marine Corps

8. When the fire was particularly heavy, they’d burrow into the sand for cover.

Marines_burrow_in_the_volcanic_sand_on_the_beach_of_Iwo_Jima

Photo: National Park Service

9. Additional forces surged onto the beach as the first waves made their way inland. The reinforcements were made necessary by the stunning Marine losses. One 900-man regiment lost 750 Marines in just 5 hours.

4th-marines-surge-iwo-jima-1945

Photo: US Marine Corps Archives and Special Collections

10. Throughout the fighting up the beaches, Mount Suribachi dominated the landscape. The Marines knew it would be a tough fortress to capture.

37mm_Gun_fires_against_cave_positions_at_Iwo_Jima

Photo: US Marine Corps

11. Sailors and Coast Guardsmen continued to land materials at the secure beachheads, giving the Marines more ammunition and other supplies.

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Photo: US Coast Guard Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Paul Queenan

12. Moving up the mountain, the Marines had to use heavy firepower to stop Japanese counterattacks.

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Photo: US Marine Corps

13. The Marines busted bunker after bunker and cleared trench after trench, but the march up Mount Suribachi was dangerous and long.

23rd-regiment-marines-bunker-iwo-jima-1945

Photo: US Government

14. Flamethrower tanks helped clear out the defending Japanese.

1137px-Ronson_flame_tank_Iwo_Jima

Photo: US Marine Corps Mark Kaufman

15. The Marines moved into the Japanese trenches that they had just knocked the enemy out of.

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Photo: US Marine Corps

16. The Japanese bunkers had protected both the Japanese infantry and the big guns that were firing on the Marines.

Captured_Japanese_flag_on_Iwo_Jima

Photo: National Park Service

17. When the Marines first took the summit, they flew an American flag they had carried up. When it was spotted by Secretary of the Navy James V. Forrestal, Forrestal asked to keep it.

First_Iwo_Jima_Flag_Raising-mt-suribachi

Photo: US Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Louis R. Lowery

18. However, the Marines were set on keeping the symbol of their brothers’ sacrifice. Lt. Col. Chandler Johnson ordered a group of Marines to raise a second, larger flag and recover the original for the Corps.

Celebrating_the_flag_raising_on_Iwo_Jima

Photo: US Navy

The photo by Joe Rosenthal of the second flag raising became an icon of the Pacific campaign. The Marine Corps selected the image for the Marine Corps War Memorial.

USMC-War-Memorial-DC

Photo: US Navy Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Daniel J. McLain

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