Synopses & Reviews
Before the flag could be raised, before the invasion could be staged . . . there was the Iwo Jima recon. On February 17, 1945—two days before the invasion—four U.S. Navy Underwater Demolition Teams of about a hundred men each and twenty-two Marine observers scouted the waters around Iwo Jima and went ashore to determine if the soil would support vehicles. The swimmers wore nothing more than their trunks, swim fins, goggles, and knives, along with some camouflage paint and a coat of grease to protect against the 59 degree water.
Supported by battleships Tennessee and Nevada, a cruiser, several destroyers and aircraft, and twelve Landing Craft Infantry gunboats, they approached the shore as the Japanese opened fire. Nine of the thin-skinned gunboats suffered heavy damage, one sank, and the rest survived with moderate damage. Forty-three seamen were killed and almost two hundred wounded, 40 percent of the men engaged. Of the twelve gunboat captains, nine received the Navy Cross and one the Medal of Honor. Using eyewitness accounts, after-action reports, and over one hundred photographs, Iwo Jima Recon brings to life this little-known story of courage above and beyond the call of duty.
Leatherneck Magazine, April 2007
"Iwo Jima Recon tells the chilling account of our daring reconnaissance Marines and U.S. Navy frogmen, and the supporting gunboat flotilla, that cleared the way for Marines to land on that tiny sulfuric island just two days prior to D-day. Colonel Dick Camp, USMC (Ret), author of the recent works Leatherneck Legends and Battleship Arizona’s Marines at War, has produced another well-documented, -researched and -compiled must-read edition.
Replicating the winning formula used in these two volumes, he carefully pieced together Navy after-action reports and eyewitness accounts, all suitably supported by numerous never-before-published photos. The resulting combination brings the reader up close to the opening shots of the fiery fray that was the battle for Iwo Jima.Superbly written and studded with newly uncovered photos, Iwo Jima Recon beckons us to join the UDT Iwo Jima reconnaissance force. It truly can be said that the horrendous battle for Iwo commenced, with vigor, on Feb. 17, two days before the first Marine landed. During WW II, Underwater Demolition Teams, forerunners of today’s SEAL teams, proved to be a great assist to invasion planners and to the Marines who safely splashed ashore."
Leatherneck Magazine, April 2007
“Colonel Dick Camp, USMC (Ret), author of the recent works Leatherneck Legends and Battleship Arizona’s Marines at War, has produced another well-documented, -researched and -compiled must-read edition.
“Superbly written and studded with newly uncovered photos, Iwo Jima Recon beckons us to join the UDT Iwo Jima reconnaissance force. It truly can be said that the horrendous battle for Iwo commenced, with vigor, on Feb. 17, two days before the first Marine landed.”
Midwest Book Review, April 2007
"Iwo Jima Recon is packed with vintage photos and moment-by-moment details of the recon actions before the invasion, and is essential for any in-depth collection including coverage of Iwo Jima events."
Iwo Jima, February 17, 1945: The mission: to scout the beaches for underwater obstacles and mines and determine whether the soil would support vehicles. Four Navy Underwater Demolition Teams (predecessor to the SEALS) and twenty-two Marine observers-backed by battleships Tennessee and Nevada, a cruiser, several destroyers, and twelve Landing Craft Infantry ships configured as gunboats proceeded with the operation.
The story of what followed - the battle for Iwo Jima that no one knows - is fully told for the first time in this book, a heart-stopping account of ill-equipped but heroic forces under fire from an unexpected, overwhelming enemy.
Drawing on first-person accounts, deck logs, and after-action reports, Dick Camp brings the action to harrowing life: the thin-skinned reconfigured LCIs fighting it out with the Japanese in a valiant effort to protect the swimmers caught five hundred yards off the beach; the battleship Nevada ignoring orders to withdraw and moving in to knock out the enemys heavy caliber guns; the devastating action - casualities of 40 percent - that very likely saved the actual landing on the 19th.
The unknown story of the heroic fight by the reconnaissance forces who encountered heavy fire while clearing the way for the famous landing.
About the Author
Dick Camp is a retired Marine Corps full colonel and currently deputy of history at the Marine Corps University. Author of Leatherneck Legends and The Battleship Arizona’s Marines, Colonel Camp lives in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
Table of Contents
Chapter One: Banzai
Chapter Two: Expeditionary Force
Chapter Four: “Request Permission to Return to the Line”
Chapter Five: Half Fish and Half Nuts