Japanese Defense Plan for Chichi Jima

Editor’s Note: These pages contain scans of an original document typed by Major Y. Horie, Japanese officer in charge at Chichi Jima, the central base of supply and communication between Japan and the Bonin Islands. The document was written by Major Horie on December 23, 1945 and kept by my uncle, a U. S. Navy radarman on LST 871. His vessel went to Chichi Jima with five wooden minesweepers to clear the minefields and channels. Major Horie reports that after Iwo Jima, the U. S. forces went to Okinawa and did not bother with the Bonin Islands. U. S. forces occupied those islands after the war. The meetings with Major Horie were held on the ship. Major Horie had the maps and offered to share his knowledge of the Japanese defense plan, a strategy based not on the possibility of victory, but on inflicting the maximum number of casualties on American fighting men (estimated at 150,000). Major Horie indicates that the decisive blow to Japan was the result of American “greatness of mass-production, superior technique, skillfull movement and especially pre-eminence of joint operation.” This document was given to my father by my uncle in 1992.

Note on Chichi Jima: Former President George Bush was rescued by a submarine when he was forced from the sky near Chichi Jima as a Navy flyer in 1944. The novelist Jack London (Call of the Wild, White Fang) wrote a monograph in 1895 while at Oakland High School (Bonin Islands: An Incident of the Sealing Fleet of ’93). The British established an outpost there in 1830. Commodore Perry arrived in 1853 and bought some land for $50 from an American. Chichi Jima was the first territory in the Eastern Pacific to come under the jurisdiction of the United States. Ironically, descendants of mutineers, adventurers and swashbucklers from the 19th century are gradually disappearing as Japanese culture dominates.

Here is the title page of the document, followed by links to the scanned pages of the original document, and references to Major Horie in other accounts:

References to Major Horie in World War II history books
Japanese Defense Plan documents

There are other similar documents with the defense plan for Iwo Jima and we have received copies from Jeff McReynolds, who contacted me in November 2009, Mike Skidmore, who contacted me in March 2010, and Gary Lum, who contacted me in July 2013. Mike sent this note on July 18, 2013:

“Mr Horie worked at Tachikawa Air Base for over 25 years and I met him when my dad was the tachi 6100th Support Wing historian in 1967-69. My dad found his copies in the archives that were in the HQ basement during a audit. As I found out when i contacted the marine HQ in Virginia they made several copies of the report at the time it was done at Tachikawa AB in 1946. I am attaching a link where i have them posted. I hope this is helpful to you and you are welcome to use the information as you see fit. Mr Horie was a small man, very quite and polite all the time. I don’t think he enjoyed talking about his WW2 military time, because he was working for the US government but he was nice the times i spoke to him, I wish I had him sign the copies i had, but I didn’t because my dad said not to ask.

The base where I lived at Tachikawa was given back to the Japanese in 1977 and is now a national park and they do have a small helicopter unit there which still uses part of the old base runway. Alot of the old us military warehouses are still being used but by the Japanese. One interesting thing is that the area that was used for the base housing is still wired off and restricted from any kind of building by the Japanese. the story about that is during the war the Japanese military had a windtunnel testing building on the base which was used to test most of the japanese airplanes.this building had underground tunnels that led from the west side of the building to the east side and other towns and was used to hide planes from the American bombings and the tunnels are still being used by the Japanese so they don’t want any building in the area that was base housing.”

Here is a link to Mike’s documents:

Iwo Jima Defense Plan

Here is a link to Jeff’s documents:

Iwo Jima Defense Plan (color)

Original copy obtained on Chi Chi Jima in early January, 1946 by James E. McReynolds, Corporal, 3rd Marine Division.

Iwo Jima Memoirs