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"SECRET" Situation Map of Iwo Jima Detailing the Minutiae of the Japanese Defense of the Island.

A rare "Secret" situation map of Iwo Jima prepared in anticipation of the 19 February 1945 U.S. invasion of the island. The map shows the landing zones on the southeastern and southwestern beaches of the island, and, most importantly, the Japanese defensive installations throughout the island in minute detail. This large (1:10,000) map of Iwo Jima depicts the intense fortification of Japanese forces on the island as it was known to U.S. forces before the battle.

Production and Compilation of the Map

The map was compiled by the Intelligence Section, Amphibious Forces Pacific, which was in the overarching body in charge of supplying the U.S. forces in the Pacific with mapping and information. The installation information was overlayed by the Fleet Marine Force, Pacific, and IS, AFP, according to the aerial photos taken as of the 15th of October, four months before the invasion. The map was published on the 12th of November, three months before the invasion. This example bears the blue ink stamp of the 64th Eng. Top. Bn. USAFCPBC Map Reproduction Plant, and is numbered 1054, 1944.  The elevation contours were determined by the 1633rd Engr. Photomapping Platoon in September of 1944.  To determine the elevations they used multiplex aero-projectors from single-lens aerial photographs. The map further credits U.S. Navy reconnaissance sorties of 19 August and 1 September 1944.

The map cautions:

This map has been compiled from aerial photographs without advantage of ground control or reconnaissance; therefore azimuth and scale are not accurately determined. They are represented as accurately as possible from available sources of information. Corrections and other comments should be forwarded to CINPAC-CINCPOA, P.H.


No copies located in OCLC. These 1:10,000 situation maps were commonly used before the battle for planning and during the battle for tracking the progress of U.S. forces and making updates about remaining Japanese resistance, as with this copy at the MFA Houston.

Appendix: Defensive Installations

The Defense Symbol Key elaborates an impressive number of defensive installations.

  • Coastal Defense Gun
  • Dual Mount Dual Purpose Gun
  • Dual Purpose Gun Position (Empty)
  • Single Mount Heavy AA
  • Automatic AA
  • Covered Artillery Emplacement
  • Range Finder
  • Unidentified Installation
  • R.D.F.
  • Rifle Pit or Fox Hole
  • Mast or Tower
  • Underground Entrance
  • Air Raid Shelter
  • Anti-Tank Gun
  • Water Storage
  • Machine Gun
  • Blockhouse
  • Pillbox
  • Radar
  • Searchlight
  • Command Post
  • Observation Tower
  • Anti-Tank Barrier
  • Radio Station
  • Radio Tower
  • Anti-Boat Barrier
  • Open Artillery Emplacement
  • Anti-Tank Trench
  • Empty Revetment
  • Ammunition Storage
  • Fire Trench
  • Short Sections of Anti-Tank Trench
  • Barbed Wire
  • Earth Covered Structure
  • "Dotted Symbols Indicate Possible Installations".

The Battle of Iwo Jima

Iwo Jima, whose name translates as "Sulfur Island", was an important midway point between South Pacific bomber bases that were already in the hands of the Allies and the Japanese home islands. 700 miles from Tokyo and 350 from the nearest U.S. airbase, with a central plain suitable for building large runways, American planners viewed it as a valuable target. The battle for the island was among the bloodiest of the Pacific Theater of the Second World War. In total, 6,800 U.S. Marines lost their lives and 26,000 were wounded, while a staggering 18,000 Japanese defenders died.