What did the General commanding Japanese troops on Iwo Jima do differently that cost so many American lives ? As compared to other island battles?

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4 Answers

Mountain  Man Profile
Mountain Man answered

I know they were heavily dug into Mt.Suribachi with tunnels that allowed them to shift positions. I think they also had clear sights of the landing zone.

Ray Dart Profile
Ray Dart answered

The Japanese chose not to oppose the landings themselves but instead took on the American invaders from heavily fortified and defended positions inland. (They were still always going to lose though, they just hoped that inflicting heavy losses on the US might prevent an attack on the "home islands" by the Allies.) As it happened, the war took an altogether different course anyway.

Tom  Jackson Profile
Tom Jackson answered

Winning was impossible, but his goal was otherwise: 

From Wikipedia:

By June 1944, Lieutenant General Tadamichi Kuribayashi was assigned to command the defense of Iwo Jima. Kuribayashi knew that Japan could not win the battle, but he hoped to inflict massive casualties on the American forces, so that the United States and its Australian and British allies would reconsider carrying out the invasion of Japan Home Islands.

(Bold letters are mine.)

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