On the night of March 25, 1945, some 300 Japanese soldiers launched a surprise attack on Airfield Number 2 on Iwo Jima. They were among the last of the 21,000-strong garrison that had fought tooth and nail for every inch of the island over the previous 35 days.

U.S. troops had captured the airfield early in the fighting, but an extensive tunnel network and nighttime maneuvers allowed the Japanese to carry out one final attack before their defeat.

A brutal 90-minute fight erupted as the Japanese charged into tents full of Army pilots, Marines, and Navy Seabees, stabbing or shooting them. U.S. reinforcements arrived and wiped out the attackers, but more than 100 Americans were killed and 200 wounded.

It was the end of the Battle for Iwo Jima, but the experience and massive casualties, along with those suffered at the following Battle of Okinawa, forced the U.S. to think twice about invading the Japanese mainland.