Iwo Jima Part II

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Air Spotting During the Bombardment of Iwo Jima

Air Spotting During the Bombardment of Iwo Jima

“When spotting, the pilot directed all firing orders to the ship via voice radio. Our orders went directly to CIC and Plot. I flew maybe 35-40 hours over Iwo and we were very well prepared beforehand. We had aerial pictures and an excellent chart of the island…this was extremely useful to identify assigned targets and record where shells actually hit.

We flew at or below 1000 feet. There were frantic calls for assistance to locate the actual area of the fire [on the beach.] During this time [2/21/45] I flew down to about 300 feet to try and locate the guns. [I went very low and I think I see the gun position now, Oliver reported back to the Ship.] It was later learned that the heavy fire came from mortars in caves….

When a salvo is fired we are alerted then on splash down we are told “splash,” therefore we know when a salvo is fired and when it is due to land, thus enabling us to maneuver to be in position to observe the splashdown and [radio back] corrections.

We launched at pre-dawn and finished up for recovery about dusk. This meant for a long day and since we didn’t return to the ship for refueling, we didn’t have an opportunity to change pilots.

Commander Al Oliver, USN (Ret.)

“We had a map with the target on it and it was in quadrants and you would radio back to the Ship, up 50 or left 50 and you try to locate the gunfire onto the target just by voice communication.

Lieutenant Paul Wogan, USN (Ret.)

Lieutenant Paul Wogan, USN (Ret.)

Lieutenant Paul Wogan, USN (Ret.)

“The new booklets of sectional gridded maps with equivalent photographs opposite were of great assistance to air spotters during the pre-firing preparations and later during the actual bombardment. The accuracy and value of the relief map, reported the pilots, looked like much more like the island than the actual photographs.”

Action Report, U.S.S. NORTH CAROLINA

Flight Log

Flight Log

“[On February 19, 1945] I got too close to a target and I got hit by anti-aircraft fire on the wing. I ran into a burst of flack. I was unable to observe that shot,” he radioed back to the Ship.

LT Paul Wogan