Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Iwo Jima in the Middle East

Other than my interests in Christian theology and philosophy, I am also an avid military historian and wargamer. So while I'm very interested in this current little eruption of war between Israel and Lebanon for spiritual and religious reasons, I'm also interested in it from the perspective of military history and strategy.

One thing that has really struck me, which I haven't seen mention of in the media or on the net (until now) is how much Hezbollah's tactics and strategy seem very similar to Japan's during the battle of Iwo Jima. In both instances, the defending forces make significant use of tunnels, bunkers, deception and difficult terrain to inflict maximum causalties on the attacking force.

I've seen more than one commentator wonder why the Israeli Army doesn't have all of little Lebanon in it's hip pocket already, rather than having gone no further than maybe just three miles into Lebanon! Well, if Hezbollah is following the Iwo Jima playbook, then the Israeli army is going to measure it's progress in yards and inches, not miles. That does NOT mean that the Israeli army is losing the battle, as I've seen some commentators indicatate, rather they are fighting in terrain that does not allow for blitzkrieg tactics.

I've just found an excellent commentary about Israeli strategy on the American Thinker website that deals with this very issue: "Hezbollah's Iwo Jima Delusion" (Thanks to GDS_Starfury from the Wargamer.com web forum for posting the article.)

<>< TM


The Puddle Pirate said...

I'm surprised more people haven't noticed the similarities.

theodicy said...

I think the reason why the Iwo Jima parallel hasn't received more notice is that the battle of Iwo Jima is all but unknown anymore, accept by military historians and wargamers. Most of the battles of WW2 are being forgotten by our collective American society, especially as the last of the WW2 generation dies off. Only D-Day, Pearl Harbor, and the Battle of the Bulge mean something to most people, if anything.

Surprisingly, one of those odd things that is keeping many of the battles of WW2 alive for future generations is Nintendo, X-Box and PS2. The "Medal of Honor" games do a fairly good job of re-enacting the great battles for future generations, even if it's in the odd form of electronic entertainment.

However, I do expect a revival of interest in Iwo Jima to come about when Clint Eastwood releases his "Flag of our Fathers" movie later this fall. It is based no the book by the same name, which is a biography of the men who helped raise the American flag on top of Mt. Surabichi, thus creating the most memorable photo of all of WW2.

<>< TM