Analysis of the Battle of Iwo Jima: Using Mission Command Principles

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Instructions: Write an analysis essay for the Battle of Iwo Jima(1945). Students will analyze a commander’s performance from a selected historical battle. This analysis will evaluate how effectively the commander executed the mission command warfighting function during the war. Specifically, students will examine how the commander utilized the mission command principles. Students must address at least four of the seven principles in their analysis and, through research, suggest how the commander’s good or bad utilization of those principles ultimately affected the battle’s outcome. The student must determine by their research if the selected commander executed the principles of mission command well or poorly during the battle.
The paper must be eight pages long, Turabian Style. Bibliography AND Endnotes are required. Minimum of 6 references .Title page, endnotes page, and bibliography page do not count towards the length of the paper. Title page, paper format, and references must be in Turabian Style (9th ed.). Substance and style will mirror the Army Writing Style.
Recommended outline (minimum):
a. Title Page
b. Introduction: includes thesis statement
c. Analysis of at least 5 of the 7 mission command principles
d. Conclusion: restate the mission command principles and impact on battle outcome
f. Endnotes
g. Bibliography


Analysis of the Battle of Iwo Jima: Using Mission Command Principles


The Battle of Iwo Jima, fought between the United States Marine Corps and the Imperial Japanese Army from February 19 to March 26, 1945, was a major World War II battle. The battle’s goal was to capture Iwo Jima, which was regarded as a strategic location for the Allies because it would serve as a landing base for the planned invasion of Japan. In this analysis essay, we will evaluate Lieutenant General Holland M. Smith’s performance as the commander of the landing forces during the Battle of Iwo Jima. We will evaluate how well he performed the mission command warfighting function during the battle and how his application of mission command principles affected the battle’s outcome.

Mission Command Principles Analysis:

Build Cohesive Teams Through Mutual Trust: The principle of building cohesive teams through mutual trust necessitates the commander establishing a trusting relationship with his subordinates, peers, and superiors. To foster a sense of mutual trust, it is critical to establish open communication channels and strong working relationships. Smith successfully built trust with his subordinates during the Battle of Iwo Jima, particularly with Major General Harry Schmidt, commander of the V Marine Amphibious Corps. Smith demonstrated trust in Schmidt by allowing him to lead the landing operations on his own initiative. This strategy allowed for effective coordination between the ground forces and the naval artillery, which contributed significantly to the battle’s success.

Create Shared Understanding:

The commander must ensure that everyone understands the mission, the purpose, and the desired end state. It is critical to establish clear communication channels and ensure that information is distributed accurately and effectively. Smith was successful in creating shared understanding during the Battle of Iwo Jima by providing his subordinates with detailed information about the mission, the terrain, and the enemy. Smith’s attention to detail and meticulous planning enabled his subordinates to understand their roles and responsibilities and effectively carry out their tasks.

Clear Commander’s Intent:

The principle of clear commander’s intent requires the commander to articulate the mission’s purpose and the desired end state. It is critical to provide subordinates with clear guidance and direction and to ensure that they understand the commander’s intent. During the Battle of Iwo Jima, Smith provided clear guidance and direction to his subordinates by articulating the mission objectives and the desired end state. Smith’s clear commander’s intent allowed his subordinates to focus their efforts on achieving mission objectives, which contributed to the battle’s success.

Disciplined Initiative:

The principle of exercising disciplined initiative requires the commander to delegate authority and responsibility to subordinates while maintaining overall mission responsibility. It is critical to encourage subordinates to take initiative within the context of the commander’s intent and to give them the freedom to act. During the Battle of Iwo Jima, Smith demonstrated disciplined initiative by delegating authority to Schmidt and allowing him to take the lead in the landing operations. This strategy allowed for effective coordination between the ground forces and the naval artillery, which contributed to the battle’s success.

Use Mission Orders:

The use of mission orders requires the commander to provide clear and concise orders to subordinates so that they understand their roles and responsibilities. It is critical to give subordinates the freedom to act in accordance with the commander’s intent while also ensuring that they understand the mission objectives. Smith used mission orders effectively during the Battle of Iwo Jima by providing his subordinates with clear and concise orders that allowed them to understand their roles and responsibilities.

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