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World War 1 Hero Offers Surrender to General Senda

iwo jima marines wwii

Iwo Jima, Monday, 12 March 1945

Eight days after the first B-29 landing, Iwo Jima’s main airstrip was so much improved it was handling heavy traffic, not just emergency landings.

This picture is from the base of Mount Suribachi, earlier in the battle, but it shows a sound system which was used to try to talk the Japanese out of their caves.

Northeast of that airstrip, General Cates, the commander of the Fourth Division, paused RCT 25’s attack on the pocket thought to be Senda’s final headquarters and tried to reach Senda by loudspeaker. In his statement, he complimented Senda on his heroic fight, warned that there was no further benefit in resistance or death, guaranteed good treatment for the staff as well as Senda, and assured him that he could honorably surren­der, living to serve Japan in the future.


If Senda considered the source, the statement was highly complimentary. Cates understood heroic fighting. As a lieuten­ant at Belleau Wood in World War I, Cates had become famous for reporting that with most of his men gone, lacking support, and under constant fire, he would hold. Senda’s thoughts, however, cannot be known; the loudspeaker malfunctioned, and whether or not the Japanese heard, they kept shooting. After two hours, one casualty, and some damage, the Marines restarted the attack.

Excerpts are from Fighting the Unbeatable Foe: Iwo Jima and Los Alamos, now republished as a 75th anniversary edition in paperback and Kindle.

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