An audio recording taken live during the Battle for Motoyama Airfield on Iwo Jima as it was recorded by Sergeant Mawson of the 4th Marine Division. If you have ever wondered what combat sounded like during World War Two, this is about as good of a recording as you will ever find. The sounds of chaos are ever-present as Sergeant Mawson narrates the carnage and chaos of advancing Marines directly in front of him.
110,000 United States Marines, Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen, along with 500 U.S. Naval Vessels attacked Iwo Jima against 21,000 Japanese Soldiers on February 19, 1945. The operation to take the island away from the Japanese Military was called Operation Detachment, and included the three airfields on Iwo Jima as primary objective points for capture. The five week battle, which would be drawn out even further by Japanese Soldiers who refuses to surrender even after their commander had, would be known as one the bloodiest and fiercest battles in all of World War 2, with casualties reaching in the tens of thousands for both the Japanese and American forces.
Due to the scale of the battle, and the ferocity of the warfare there, Iwo Jima would go down in infamy as one of the most iconic locations and battles of the second World War. A nine month long bombardment campaign, complete with airstrikes and naval artillery, did very little to damage Japanese forces on the island. Before landing forces hit the beach, a ten day long preparatory bombardment was requested by Marine ground commanders, and was denied. As a compromise, the landing force was given a three day long preparatory bombardment campaign that did very little to diminish Japanese forces on the southern end of the Island where the Marines and Soldiers would be landing to begin their assault.
While much of the Battle for Iwo Jima was documented through still images, there are some videos from the battle that exist. On top of those videos however, there is also a lot of audio that was recorded by Marine reporters who embedded with several of the divisions as they advanced against the Japanese force’s defense-in-depth. A lot of this audio has been lost to time, but every now and again some pieces of it are found and released into the public domain for us to listen to today. While much of the history of World War Two is beginning to deteriorate, it is more important today than ever before that we do our best to preserve the legacy and memories of the men who fought and died during those desperate times.
The audio you are about to hear was recorded by Sergeant Mawson, a Marine combat correspondent who was embedded with the 4th Marine Division for the duration of the campaign on Iwo Jima. The language he uses may be brash, even offensive at times, but it is important to remember the time period this was recorded in and the situation that the man holding the microphone is currently in. As he talks, you can hear the raging gun battles, airstrikes, and artillery hits all around him, some of which are not from friendly forces and are surely impacting near his position. This is the kind of audio that reminds you of the bravery these men showed on a daily basis while conducting warfare in the 20th century.