Naval History and Heritage Command

National Museum of the U.S. Navy

Iwo Jima:  Pre-Landing Bombardment and Landing Preparations

Beginning on February 16, 1945, the pre-landing bombardments were conducted by Task Force 54, commanded by Rear Admiral Wiliam H.P. Blandy, USN.   The six battleships in the force were USS Arkansas (BB-33), USS New York (BB-34), USS Texas (BB-35), USS Nevada (BB-36), USS Idaho (BB-42) and USS Tennessee (BB-34).  The five cruisers were USS Pensacola (CA-24), USS Salt Lake City (CA-25), USS Chester (CA-27), USS Tuscaloosa (CA-37), and USS Vicksburg (CL-81).  Despite the lack of time for support, visibility, and bombardment effectiveness, the warships worked closer to shore to concentrate on the landing beaches and adjacent heights.   On D-Day, February 19, three more battleships were added.   The battleships were USS North Carolina (BB-55), USS Washington (BB-56), and USS West Virginia (BB-48), along with three additional cruisers USS Indianapolis (CA-35), USS Santa Fe (CL-60), and USS Biloxi (Cl-80).   With all the weapons materiel delivered, the naval-gunfire support greatly reduced the Japanese defeneses but many of the determined enemy survived and bitterly fought in the campaign which nearly lasted a month.  

Image:  80-G-K-3510 (Cropped):  USS Nevada (BB-36), bombarding Iwo Jima, February 19, 1945.   Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.