Incredible footage shows US Marines storming beaches at Iwo Jima and raiding bunkers with flamethrowers before hoisting the Stars and Stripes

Incredible footage shows US Marines storming the beaches at Iwo Jima and raiding bunkers with flamethrowers before hoisting the Stars and Stripes for the iconic photograph that came to symbolise the brutal battle.

Iwo Jima was one of the most savage conflicts of the Second World War with 6,500 US servicemen sacrificing their lives to take the tiny island, 660 miles south of Tokyo, Japan. 

The invasion began on February 19, 1945 and now, 73 years on, rare video has brought the bloodthirsty fighting to life.

Captured by a crew embedded with the US Marines over a month-long period, the footage begins by showing a fleet of landing craft heading towards the coast with troops waiting nervously onboard.

It then cuts to Marines storming the beaches under heavy fire and an aerial view of Allied aircraft dropping bombs on Japanese bases, as tanks manoeuvre inland.

We later see troops with flame throwers torching bunkers and the corpses of Japanese soldiers piled up in their wake.

Mortar crews bombing positions are also captured in the film, before we see the soldiers erect the Stars and Stripes in a picture that would go on to be one of the most recognizable pictures of the Second World War.

Though they eventually took the island, Iwo Jima was the only battle in the war which saw American casualties outnumber those of their Japanese counterparts.

Besides those killed, about 20,000 Americans were wounded. Only about 200 Japanese soldiers were captured, with the others killed in the fighting. 

The colourised image of the marines placing the flag in the ground, which features in author Michael Carroll's new book 'Retrographic; History in Colour', came to symbolise the ultimate moment of victory for the United States in World War 2, with the picture still regarded as one of the most iconic in American history.

Read more on dailymail.co.uk.

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