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Battle Ord

Japanese Army in World War I1

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Key to military symbols


,, , , , , , , , , ,
x x
1 1

















Atr Force



I n < $<&rger


Infantry gun

Lizht machrne gun

Mfllmry Pollce



. . a \





Motorned Pansporr

@ Seaplane bare
Veterinary Weapons




" h ; t;


G m i d e discharger

The genesis of the Imperial JapaneseArmy The outbreak of the PacificWar. 194 I

Combat mission
Southern Operations forces

Oflensh operations * kishin-srrength
of will Amphibious operations

Unit organization
Unit designatton practicer *Task organization for combat *The 1940 standard 0 infanuy division The square Infantry division * Independent brigades *Tank regimens

Enntapmertt and en~irclement .Tank and artillery coordination Small-unit tactics in the Philippines

Weapons and equipment

Platoon weapons CornpamyEbamlion weapons Regimental weapons * Arrillery Tanks

Command, control, communications, and intelligence

Command Commwnicationa Intelligence

Com b a t operations
The Philippines Netherlands East Indies South Seas

New Guinea

Lessons learned


5i bliography
Abbreviations and linear measurements Index

1%'~. Ijy the gracc of Hravcn, Emperor nf Japan, reatcd on the Throne of a line r~nbroLenfnr age5 eternal, enjoin upon !.c. O u r loyal and brave
su blects:

It'e hereby declare rvar on the United States of America and tlrc British Empire. The men and officers of Our : \ m y and N a ~ y shall do their utmost in prnwn~tin~, the war, Our puhlic scr\.nnts of various departrncnts glrall psfnrrn taithfull!. and diligently thcir appointed tasks, and all nthcr subject5 o f Ours shall pursue heir rcspcctivc d u t i s;hc ~ cntirc nation with n united will rhall mobilize thcir total stret~athro that nothing will misoilr~ in the attainment of Our war aims.

Japan (Sipport) viewed IVorld IVar I[, ~rhichit called the Grcntcr Fast .4$a War (Dni 700 Sr~r~srl Srrlkrr~lr). as a seric5 ot intcrrelntecl ttTars. It had occupied part$ of Sofill China in 1931, and the w a r in China [ S l r i r ~ r lIEli~rr) hegan in earnest in 1837. i n which Japan continued its crc~ping expansion. Conflict wit11 the S(1~tc.t Uniorl Iiad occurred on the Siherian harder in 19.38-39 in hlantl~uria, or hlanchuko, whcrc a pupl>et state had hecn cstablilled by Japan in 1932. In July 19.11. jnpnn occupied French Indochina in Southeast Asia. The Pacific 1% ( X ~ i l ~ S ~ ii ~ l~ o ~ began q o l at 02.15, Dcccmt~er 8 , 2601 Tokyo ~ i m e ' ( " X-Day") \Y hen thc 2rl Southern E x p c d i t i u n a ~ I:lc-ct bornbardeci British forces a t Kota Hliaru, ma lay;^ Fnllowcd t ~ y nmpllfbious landings. The first bomb dctnnnicd on Ford Island, Pmrf Harbor. Flarvaii at 113.45 Tokyo ~irnr'. The urnc day, Japanese land, sen, and air forces alw struck the northern Pliilippine5, elsetrvl~~rc i n MaIn~n,Sillgapr>re, Ilong Kong, Guam, IVa'aRe, and r>tlirr I'atific island<. Thc goal of the Greater Eart :t?ia War war tn drivc the armed forces of the We~lrrn colonial powcrP from the re%st~rce-rich Ketherlnnds East lndirs (NEI), t hc US-cont rnllerl Philippinc~,the Commonwealth porrcqrions in thc South Pacific, ant1 Rritish-controlled Malaya and Burma. :\ military operation of ~ r e ta niagni tudc ~zvuldinflict a decisive defeat. resulting irz the IVestcrn natinns suing h ~ peace, r and allowing Japan to establish the Greater Iiart Aria Co-pmrl>cri t). S~,hcre(llni Trlrf Kw)ri-Kr?;l.O~tensil,ly this M'JC aimed a t the mutual hcl-tcfit 2nd liheratlnt~of all :\rians; in reality. it5 poaI was Sippon's enrichment. Japan would ctlloniz~and maintain total contmf over k i s t Asia exploiting itr resources and crtnblishing a ren~rip zonc tn pro:cct it from tllc threat of \2'estern influcncc. Thi5 hook covers tl~c period from the beginning of thc G - 3 r e r Eii5t Asia War in December 1931 to t11c war's turning point in lune "v Rattle of Miriway. It covers o~~crationr in the Philippines, YE], an.' b . r '" '~lcitic, hut not nhose i n China or Southcart Asia. Future planncd v-'.---..-i :he Battle Clrdcr series w ~ l lcover Japancsc operation5 in S o u t h t ; ~ ' ' - - .:1-45, the

Y >h M
8% mdsr~red for m m p l e 03 t 5 . z a p p % c d t o 0345 Dates m r r d the l n r e m a r r m Z the e z t Japan hnd adoprcd the Wertem rolar, ar Gr@gor~am, rakndar ~n 1873 to e x : being admnccd t h m re s>x w e b m brmg d v md months lnto common a l t g m - n bean l a thc W s r c r n year of bba BC (the laundlng of theYamaro State,prcdwcsr-- :

zone. r -01c to
c dJ:tJ
I &r


, - "94t

be~ng ~

C I ~ ~ M I C 260 ~ E

South Pacific and New Gz~incalrnm 1942 l o 1 W-!, the 19.1445 defensc of tllu Philippine%.and Central and \Vest Pacific npcrations from 19-13 to 1945.

The genesis of t h e Imperial Japanese Army

over 1211) rcnilPrior to Iiic 18711s, japan wa? a trucli~lrclclcty n~rnl)ri.rlng autonomuus domains ruled by warlortl\ crC tlir \nr~irrrtriclar%.'Slicy onycd ltrcir alIc~ianccta tllc S ~ I O ~ ~ th ~eI Itnili I , tar? ntler: t h e Ernperor had hccn a mcrc figurchcad sincc t h c Intc- 1 Zth tentury. Ibr centlrrivh Fiippnrl cuI\tccl in the form ot a Wcstcrn medieval state, and was subject t o almost continltrmr civil

war dnd rebellion. Japan was opened to \llestern influence in t h e rcakc of US Commodore Matt hew Parry's 1853 visit. I t s esptwre to n ~ c ~ d e rtcchnnlogicr, n c~pcciall!. with regard t o wnpnn5, rc5i11ted in a %cric% u f tradc trcatier wilh thc US, Britain, Russia, France, and I-lotland. h pnpular Jogan of t h e time ~ v a "l.:artern ~, ethics, Western science,"' hut others such a5 "llcrerc the Ernpcror, c s l ~ c lthe barbarians" demonstrated the tcnrionq that ri~nmcred t~cnealhtlie rurfacc. ~\lthou~ Japan h had been introduced to firearms in the mid- 1 6th century, its . r E i c ~ ~ ~ ~ . l rarm r i i ~ tics r ~ rt ill largely compriwd rrvclrd-, spear-, anrl bow-and-arrn~varmed ~trrrrrrrnihacked by pea3anl l e ~ i c 5 that owed allegiance tn their partici~lar clan. Ry IHSIF rnurketx and cantrons had come Into wider use. I n 1861 rlflc unit3 tSlrr>tiri) rvcre formed with a mix of traditional and modcrn \\.capot1?, and the lirst distinctions were made bctwccn i n f a n t p , cavalry, and artillery branches. In 1866 the modern Sllutlri, manned with nationalist strr~~rlnli !tvIlo sought t h e restoration of the Emperor, d e f e a t ~ dthe s / r t ~ . f r i t t i rarmy l~ in battle. The Emperor war restored in 1868. Japan also seized control of Okinatva and the Ry~k!.u Islands in 1867. The*iji (Enlightened Rule) Era c 1868-1 812 1 saw ilrajor cffortx to cstablirh Japan's rightful, place in the world and huild a modern society. Not onIy wcrc government and mciev considerably It'estcrnizcd and modern indurtrializat ion efforts begun, but military ad\Ssor? wetc alco cngagcd, nrostlv from France Z~ut with others from Germany, Rritnin, and Arncrlcn. Officer train in^ rcIiools wcrc etablished, althougt~trainina was restricted to company level. The Imperial Guards rKu~ive) were ertnhlishrd in 1871 tram t h e exi\ting Imperial Bodyguard ft;o~lriripi~i) n t ~ darmed arrd trained along 1frstt.m lines. In Fel~ruarv I S ; : ! a rcparatc army and navy !\-ere formally rstahl~shed.The army wa5 called the Silrnrtf~rt~ or Kukr~,~iirr-lnpan'cor the Nation'$ army Conscription was imtituteti in I X J.{, with rererw senlice requlred after three years' active duty, Japan strovc to establish a moriern national arm! and followed the hert European nlndcl\, adapting tlicm to i t s own reqriircmonts. In the wnkc of Prusria'r defeat uf France it1 l 8 i 0 , Japan adopted German general 5taft arld organizational principals, implcmmtinl: its own <;enera! 5taH in 1879. The General Staff College rr\'as npened in 18X3. The Llilitav l'olice Ket11p~it17il rvas ra~sedIn 1X 8 1 and a n Intendance Corps (acimini\tratiot~and services) in 1888. Tactically, Japan retaincd the concept of inasscd troop format ions, nmch ar per the nld hand-to-hand battles. rather than t h e dispersed formnt~ons adopted in Europe. l'he day of the wt711iriri. rvhn liired on government stipends, was cornina tn an cnd though. Thev were offered a final lump rum, which was made compulsory in 18Yh: tI-~o~c who rejected i t were forbidder1 to rwar ~word5. rn 3885 the Emperor was given two means of directing militan' authorit?: pprlrrrei and pr~lsei: it war a move that rcould have a major impact on ho\zUJapan madc war in the fittlire. I;rr~rrr,i covered command, strategy, training, troop deploynrent, and dircipline. l'lr~swas executed through thc ;lrrny Chief o f Staff, and impacted on foreign affairs, h).-passing t h e Prime blinistcr and Cabinet. Grrrlrei dictated military adminirtratirm, the .Army's size, arrnamctlt, wpptics, and conscriptinn, ant? r z w executed through tlie War Mlnirtcr.

In August 1894 Japan declard war on China to achieve its goal of gaining control o f Korca, a longtime enemy. The stage had been set for such a move long before this in 1881, when Japan's security needs were defined to include the possihitity o f territoriat expansion. In October 1894 the Japanese Army entered Manchuria in pursuit of a battered Chinese army driven from Korea. Japan" first modem nvar,and its first overseas expedition in centuries, won the Empire Korea, Formesa (Taiwan),the Pecadores Islands, and Liaotung Peninsula. In less than two decades Japan had progressed from a collection of clan armies led by feudal warlords wearing lacquerd bamboo armor and kimonos and armed with swords and spears, to a unified, sixdivision, combined-arms force led by professional officers and armed with bolt-action repeating rifles and breech-loading artillery. The Chinese army defeated In the Sino-Japanese War was admittedly a poorly armed and led rabble, but Japan would prove her military prowess again soon after. Six more combined-arms divisions were authorized in 1896. Pl~e construction of the Trans-Siberia Railroad increased Japanese Fears of Russian expansion in Siberia. In 1900 the Roxer Rebellion broke out in China, and Japan provided almost a third of the troops for the eight-nation Peking: relief expedition. As a result, Japan gained the right to station troops in China's internationaf settlementr, Peking and Tinsein, and the China Garrison Army was instituted. The 1904-05 Russo-Japanese War astounded the world with Japan soundly defeating Russia on both land and sea in a conflict over control of Manchuria, Although the Russians dld not posses the most professional of armies, and the Japanese had their own shortcomings, the war saw the defeat of a lonpestabllshed European power by a n Oriental armv still emerging from the medieval era. In the Russo-JapaneseWar, the Japanese employed corps-level commands, designated "armies." It began the war with 13 divisions and ended with 17. Six tnore divisions were raised between 1905 and 1908 working toward the goal of 25 standing uobi) and 25 smaller reserve [Kohi) divisions to s e m as i m e the N a w adopted replacements for the standing divisions. At the same t i t s "eight-eight fleet" plan, comprising eight battleships and eight cruisers. Bp 1907 there were 19 active divisions. 'The war left Japan in control of Russia's Guandong (Kwantun~) Peninsula leased territory2, the Russian-built South Manchuria Railroad, and in a strong enough position to annex Korea outright in 1910. The Manchuria Garrison Force was established to secure the newly acquired temtory. Japan was now in a perfect position to expand further Into China in 1931. 171e victory over Russia achieved far more than merely gaining territory and economic advantaw for Japan; it gained the world's grudging respect. It also gave Japan a new self-confidence, increased its industrial capabilities, and placed the armed forces in a position of esteem. All of these factors tuould contribute tn the Empire's increasing aspirations in acquiring territory and resources. The Tnirlio (Great Rigllteousnessl Era began with the accession of Emperor Yoshihito in 1912. With the armed forces still basking In the glories of the Russo-Japanese War, this era would soon see further expansion of the Army to garrison its territorial gains as well as the acquisition of new territories. It would end, however, with a reduction of its divisions by one fifth, With the opening shots of World \Var I in 1914 Japan promptly took over the German colony in Tsingtao (Qingdao), China and the Kaiser3 possessions In the Central Pacific, the Mariana, Carollne, and Marshail Islands, which would become springboards forJapan's future Pacific conquests. During World War I an additional two divisions were raised specifically to garrison Korea as the Chosen (Korea) Armv, and a brigade was established on Formosa. In 1919 the Manchuria Garrison Force was redesignated the Kwantung Army. Japan hegan occupying
I Kwanwng h a small whlch P o n M u r k s ~ u a r dlurtlng , mio therenwr ka beween K o ma dT m m Chrna Whle bearing the der~gmuorr ofth~s small rma,rhe K m n t u q Ammy was c*rcnrually m p n n M e for all ol Manchuria
and p a n o f Inner Mongol~a

fhc Koh[,qrrn, or na tional arm!; was rederignated S7oi S i p p t ~ r r 7i.iknkrr Kibu~un(or 5imply Ko,q\~rt)--the Itnperiat Japanese .lrrny (FJ.4I. 'I'his, along w i t h changing IegirIatic~n,had t\.irle-ranging effects o n tlic prychological and legal authnrity of ihr .-\rrny, and its mle. I\-tratever it did now, it did It fnr the F.rnpernr. TIlc acccrrion of Empernr I-lirohitc) in 1926 sarc thc dnw11 of rhc enlightened Peace! Era and tvould rocln see rcncwcd efforts to d o ~ n i n a t ~ CIhina. [$?tween 1926 and 1939 well over a dozen new n~odelr of individual and in fan try crew-srrt'cd tvcapcsns, from pirtds through machine R1lnS to mortars and infantry guns, wcre adopted. Scr\. artillerv, antiaircraft guns, and t a n k were also fielded, hut rccrc inferior tu crmternpurar?' IYcstcrn rlcsignr end too few. Motfern antitank rvcaponr wcrr c3~cntiallynon-es~stent. Thc 18305 saw Japan pursuing an aggressive policy in China initiating a scriw of " i n c i d c n t ~ , "cumulating in t h e I'I:J7 CllIna Inciclcrlt. (.A Japnnrsc "incident" could be any political-militan cvcnt ranging frnni n nlinor skirrnid~ to large-scalc conflict, hut short nf dcclarcd war.) I'hc .Zrrny incited much of this ol itr own accord. w e n i ~ n o r i t ~ordcrr y: to cease. CSfficcrr of t h e Kwantut~g-\rlny initiated a plot to incite Chinew force3 hy d v n a ~ n i t i n ~ ~ c c t i n n 5o f tlic Snuth Slanchrlria Rallrond. Using thir ar an excure, the Jspanew rrcc~xpicrl\Iukden. IThiie prtitili~ingt h e I,eajiuc a f Natfanr it wnuld ~vithdrarv,anritlicr incident was initiatccl resulting in the invasion of the xouttlcrn Mi~nchuriaprovinccr still in Chincrc harlds, ending in the rapid dcfuat of thc clcfentirrs. In carry-10.42 t h e Firrt \hanghni Incident w a s brnvght about, and the Japanese occupicrl t h e city tci "protect" Jnpariese nationals. Further attackr wcrc latinchcd, more n l Xlancliuria war occupied, and tllc puppet rtatc of Mnnchukuo was e~tablishetl. Large numhcn nf Cliine.;~~ u c r r i l l a s continued tcl fight 111 k l a n c h u t ~ a ,although thc Japarlese "anti-handit" campaign5 Ilad been mostly successftsl hy late-1934. Japan was condcmncd hy the League of Nations In carly-1932 for its aggrersion in China. which i t ignored. This rumlted in Japan tendering its two-year notification o f its rvithdrawal from the League, which war FinaIized in 1935. On [ h e hcels of the condcnlnntion, Japan occupied more of Inner Mongolia, incorporating it into Mandiukuo. The Japanere position in China wa$ now m strong that it forced the withdrarval of Chinere forces from Peking and Tienrin. :I process of divisional t r i a n g u l a r ~ r a t ~ obegan n in 1936, wit11 thc e l ~ r n ~ n a t i oof n a brigade hendquartcrr and the withdrawal of an infantry regiment. Thi5 allowcd the f o r n ~ a t i o n a f additional rlivisions. The Kwantung Army cnntinued <mall-~cnlc operation5 throughout northern China into 1937. C3n July 7 , 1937 the Japanese engineered the h1arc.o Polo Bridge lncideilt outsidc of Peking, leading to all-out war with China known as thc China fncidcnt. Thiq was seen as a chance to neutraEize thc Chincsc as a threat to the Japanese southern flank. It would then aIlowolapan t u face the "real" enemy, t h e Soviets threatening Manchuria. 7 h c policy overall was knorvn as the "Strike North." Ores 180,000 Japancsc troops died in China and over 41)0,000 werv taLcn sick o r ~.uuntlett--unJy n ferv ycan prior to tllc hcginning of the Pacific it'dr, \2'i th 23 divisions fighting the Chincsc, ninr were prepared to fight t h c Sovicts. 1:ighrin~broke out on t h e Siberiatr border with the USSR in 1938 and 1939 reruIting in ernharrarsing japar~cscdcfeats in t h e long arvaited confrontation. Frenrli Indochina was nlrcupieti in 1941 through "agreement" with t h e colonial govemmcnt aftcr lhc fall of France. I\ mil lion tmops werc lnobilized during 10-10. Tllc feasibility nf invarling tlic south n*a< stuciied and what wcrc termed "Strike South" conlnlnnd excrrises were conducted. 'Thrt>ugIr all this Japan signiticantly incrca~cdits divisions, air service,and other unit\ tn bring t h e Ilh t o 51 divisions. 59 brigade cquivalents, and 151 air hattaliilns on Ihc cve of t h e Greater I l a ~ Asin t \I7a'ilr((7t these divi~ions nine had hecn orgnnizcd in 19-10 and (me ~n 1941.

Table I :disposition of Imperial japarwse Army forces. December 1,194 1 I (exclusive of Southern Opefitions Forces)
Home Islands
General Defense Command
Eastern District A m y

52d Division
2d, 3d, 5 1 st, 57th Depot divisions


Central District Army

53d, 54th divisions

4th- 5th. 55th Depot divisions

Western Distrlcr Army

6th. 56th Depot divisions

Norchern Distrrcc Army

7th D~vision

Karafuto M i d Br~gade
1st Air

Group (nine alr battalions)

4th Division (IGHQ Reserve)

Kwanrung Army

t&h, 28th. 29th divisions

23d Tank Regmenr



9th. 12th drv~sians

I st Tank


4th Army
I st, 14th, 57th divisions


I Ith, 24th divisions 2d Tank Gmup


23d Division

20th Army
8th. 25th divisions Four brigades

Manchuria Defense Command

Flw brigades
Manchuria Air Brigade (21 air bamlions) 2dAir

Group (35 air battalions)

North China

China ExpeditionaryArmy
North Ch~na Area Army

27th.35th. I 10th divisions

I s t 7th, 8th lMBs

(coniinued on page 101

t dlvisions


:h. 32d divis

5th. 6th IMBs

Mongolia Garrison Anny

26th Division


dry Group

I lth Army

15rfr,22d. 116th d
I Ith, 12th. 13th, I >tn,sum

23d Army
3&th,5 ls~ 104th dlvisions

l s t Air Brigade ( 16 air bamllons)

Korea Chosen Arrrry
I%. 20th divisions

Formosa Army (combat units detached to Southern Army]

f he outbreak of t h e Pacific War, 194 I

A detailed expore of Japan's reasons for going to rvar with America, Great ~ritain', and the N~tlierlandr i s beyond the scope of this book. In brief, the League of Nations condemned Japan's increasingly brutaI, but bogged down, war of aggression in China. Economic embargo$ were implemented hy the Pacific colonial powers as a resuIt, especially forbidding the exportation of oil and other rerources to Japan, resources it did not posses%.Verging on a colIapre of i t s war effort and national economy, Japan war forced to secure a vast region of Southeast Asia and the South Pacific in order to control the natural tesources it required for its survival. At the same time it wou!d establish a security zone in which to expioit and transport these resources to the Home Islands and between the areas it controlled. Japan realized an extended war was possible. It was essential

that the "Southern Resource Area" be secured and exploited as quickly as possible in order to wage a protracted war. She possessed liquid fuel stockpiles adequate for less than two years of war. A National Defense Zone would be established through Burma down though the NEI (Sumafra, Java, Timor), Western New Guinea, the Caroline and Marshall tslands Uapanese Mandated Territory), anchored on the remote Wake Island i n the north.
m7 ? n ! B n A Cwnmorrweakh 1 Jnpmmade Ilrdc dlnrndnn b@wem Bdcrln,Aurmllhmd New Zealad and seldom In lapa& e p s B n e ~ n was a colennal power and rhe Commonwikh members mere cobm d a V m - m Iwn slmplr
wed' Bna~n'or'lhe B r l t ~ d i AS ' COIIUU terms ~

The SouthernArmy's pre-Invasion depl~ymens December 194 1. Only units d g n e d to SolnhemAmy are indicated.

japanese oficers, both Army and Navy, lead the vicrory march through Hong Kong after i t s fall on December 27. 194 1 .

Enstcrn Scrv Guinca lvnuld be recured as !7,ell a3 the C;ilhert and Solomon lrlanils as a huffvr mne. The cnnili~esedSoutheast Asia arcas of the NET, Rritisli Rnrnen, and tlic I'hilippinrs zz.ould he defended by t h e IJA, and naval arid air force5 of the Cnn~l>ined Fleet ~vauld rngagc an)' attacking flcch in rchat war c n v i r ~ o n e das a Jutland-Iikc decisive engagement. Thc !IN n7as alro respot~sililc f o r 1I1e dcfenre of mo<t of Sew Liuinea, t h e SoIomons, Carolineq, Mulanhalk, and Gilberts. I t wa? hoped that thc .Allies, after rcpcatcd hl~miliatin defeats, ~ wouIil sue for peace and leave the Ernpirc uf t h c Sttn to itself within its Greater Kart ;\~ia Co-prctrperity Sphere. With no dipiomatic solution believed obtainable, Japan mmmittcrl itsclf to war ~vilttlithe Ilkstern colonial powers on Sovt.mbcr 5, 1'441. Initial prcpardtions for " Z Operation" had l o n ~ heetl unclenvay; the Pcarl Harbor acnck had k e n propored in January 1941 and 11A zlnits had b c p n m i n i n g in Aug~st, but it was in Ihc car!? days ol Novcmbcr that the linal ordcrs were issucti. Intclligcncc coltcction had t ~ e r n undewav for ycars. The objectives wcre the dc5truction o f thc major US and Con~mon~vealth flect units and thc seizurc o f the Philippines, NEI, Malapa, Thailand, Southcnl Burma, Hung K o n ~Singapr)re. . and Cum ti~on~vealth yorser~io~lr in the South Pacific. l'hc A~nrricant e r r i t o ~of Guai~i, within the Japanere Malldated Territory, war alrn a kc? objective. Since the mid-1 970s thc IJA had allotted three dlvirton~ to scizc I.uzan and onc for Gliam. America though was not considered thc main enemy. That di~tinction fpTI to the USSR. Bogged down in a ce~mingly endlers war in China, Japan hoped to secure thc Southern I<c\oture Zone withill five monthr and then rodeploy half of the forces to bianchuria. They would he prepared by the 5pring of 1043 for t h c USSK to cnllapre i ~ n d e the r Iierrnan invasion or pull mo%t of it5 20 diuisinnr out of Siberia ro face the Germanr. The fact that France and tlic Xcthttrlandr hat1 heen occupied hy C;crnma nv, and that Rr~tain looked likely tc3 follow Toon, t purred t h e J a p a n e ~ e on. America war vietzled as weak hecause its lndir-idualirrn and lit>eralism ~ \ ~ u prevent ld ir from fighting a lengthy war. !\ugust 1941 ,lapan had tcmpnrarily abandoned t h e idea of attacking the LrSCR and began tu fc~c~rlr attcntion to t h e "Strike South" concept. Tlic order arsignirtg forces to the Smthern Army was issued nn Kovcmber 6 and objectives as<igned to specific unitr on the 20th. The Gnnrhincd Fleet issued itr fint order5 and assignments o n Novernher 5 and "X-Day," thc start of ho\tilitier, was riesignatetl a? 13ccemher 8.111s %\+as fixed on Dcccnlber 2, as tlle I'earl Harhor Task Force was en route to its target, to commence at approximately 05.30 nrl Uccembrr X (li~kyoTitncr. A Iiigh depw of cooperation wo~ild be rcili~irccl I ~ t w e e r ithc []A and inlpcrial Japanmu N ~ F 4 IlNi. TIC Arnly-Nay Central .\greenlent was sign~d on Not+embcr 1 0 by thc commanders-inthief of thc Southern , \ m y and Combined f.'lcct.

Combat mission
'The Southern Army (nftcn incc~rrectlyider~tifiedas "Southern Area Army") was crtablished o n Nnvcmhcr h, 1941 t o control alE IJA m i l s assigned t o thc S(ntt11crn Operations. The cntnmand was Iieadrlnartered in Saigon, Frcnch lndocliina under Gen. Cnunt l'crallchi Misaichi (alro lictrd as Juichil. Thc plan was certainly ambitious. Thc schzurc of all of Southeast ;i%ia,the NEI, t h r I'hilippines, and rcgirms of t h c South Pacific ~ ~ o u bc l da c c o m p l i ~ h c d Ilv only 1 1 infantry divisions, four hrigadc-ri7c force%,and 70(3 11:2 aircraft--400,OOfl troops in total. This area stretched ncrms five time rnner aiid tvas larger than t h e Continental United Stater. lapan rvas countiny: on surpriw, and tlir reFativel~ unprepared and rveak force5 ficldcd hp thc colonial powcrs. I t s own resource5 ~vouldIle stretcheri t c ~t h e limit with tranrpr)rt q t ~ i l ~ p i n~ g~ u l l i n g douhlc duty tn tilove troops. She unit5 In~tiaIlyar.rignccl. tn thc Philippines,
a n d then wn7ear occi~patinntroops or conduct I~rrther conrhai opcrationr. Almost half of t h e lJ.4'~1.500 combat aircraft c could be required and the Iwst air units werc taken from other cornmaridr for a\rianrncnt t o thc 3d and 5th ,Air Groupr. In December 1941 Japan possesred 51 divisions s~tpplemrntedt>y 59 brigade-equhalentf, but many of thew were nr~n-deployableIwir~g garrifon and line-of-communications ~ccuri h forces in China. 'I'wen ty-cighl div~rlclnr rvcrc i l l China with most c i ~ g a g d in combat or occupation duty. Another 13 were in Manchuria and Korea ta protect the Empire's northern frontier with thc LrSSR. Two o f the five divisions rcmaininy: in thc Home Islands were nwlu raked and partly trained. Tirc cxccptinns were thc 7d conimitted to the Soutl~crn Clperationr, the 4th as the IGHQ Resen~c, and the 7th tied tdo~cnprotecting narther~i Japan f r o m the USSR. There wew alro 10 brigades in Japan and nine d e p t divirionr training replacements. The 11 clivisionr and othcr forces asri~ncd to thc Southcrn Arm!. ~t-ere dm~vn frorn a number of sourcc~and scattered throughout the Empire when the Sol~thern Army was nrganizcd. Fivc division^ caint. from the I l o ~ n Islands, e five from China, a n d nne from Formosa. The 1-lth .Army t v a s designated the Philippines Attack Force with its headquarters and army troops, 4stt1 Di\+ision,and ci5rll Brigade on Formosa r'hilc the 16th Dn-isic~n was on .Arnnrni Shima In the R I I ~ ~ I ZIslands. ~ Other sn~all cleincnts were in tlie I'alauc and I'cscadorcs. Thc 5th .\ir C;rotip (20 aa battalions, from Mai~churia izuas deployed to Forrno5a for Ihc PliiIippines operation with two fighter, hvo light-hc~rntrer, and one heai?.-bon~herrrgirncnts plus a reconnaiswnce unit. It was crtin~ated the operation would reqlrirc spprosimntely 50 da!.5. At the end c ~ this f phaw p i t ? trF 14th ;\rrlly forces wnr~ld hc rcas5ipncd to cnmplctc thc more critical NEI opcration. -The 4th Division, the IGHQ Re<rn.cin lapan, tcould he committed to the I'hilippincs later. The Rurrna .Attack Force, whicli r\.ould Rnt rccurr Thailand, rrar ht~ilt around t h e 15th Army in tndnchii~awith the headquarnrs and a detachtncnt of the 55th D i v i s i ~ n in the south along tzqith the Guard$ Division (temporarily . 55th Division (lcgq clcmc!itsl was In thp north detached from 35th A r r n ~ l The and the fnlln~,-on 33d [liririon MI in <:en tml I:hina. Hurma nperetions tvould suhrcquen tly be reinforced Fmm units relearcd from other areal;. Its cclmplet inn w a s forecast to be within 100 da!'s.

The Jcl~hern Operations plan.

65th Brigade

This b r p b e was raised at Hiroshima.Japan in ear+-1941 from the

lr w

65th Independent Inbntry Group. &m hddan Luran in December 194 I , 2t hughr them and remained on the Wand until December 1942 when one regiment and the HQ were sent to Rabaul and the
~ ~p_~lr. s M 5 m t z and

other regimenu elsewhere.The brigade was dissolved in late-1943 aker b unlts were absorbed lnto arhen. Commander: HajGen Naka d k i a
Guards Division ( k n o t Shidan)

Activated in 1867 In Tokyo. ir grew in size wer the years. lu 2d Guards Brigade and two regiments were sent to China in I940 to experience their fim combat In 194 1 h e l st Guards Bripde and its units were detached and reorganized as the Guards Mixed Brigade.The I d Brlgade units in China became the new Guards Division with augmenration by the 5th Guards Infantry. In mid-1941 the division went to lndochina then Thailand and Malaya. In March 1942 is was deoloyed to Sumatra. and s Brigade ir in June 1943 was -designated the 2d Guards Division when the M became the 1st Guards Divislon. Commander: LcGen Muto A k i n

336 Division

Organized in March 1939 at Sendai.japan and sent to China the folrowFng month where i t compMedl mining. It fought in Cenval China until departingfor Thailand in December 194 I. By Man was fighting in Burma.where it remained. Commander: LtGen Sakuni Shorn. Amivated in August 1940 a t Zentsuji.Japan.The Division (less elements) arrived in Indochl,,, ,,. December 1941 and wem lnto Burma. Its 55th Idantry Group and 1 4 t h Infan- formed the South Seas Detachmen&which secured Guam and Rabaul.Tumed Lack from Port Moresby durlng the Battee o f the Coral Sea. i t was later landed at Bun& and was demroyed. It was rebuilt and rejoined the divis~on In Burma in 1943 where it ended the war. Commander: S e n Takeuehi Yiroshl. Raised In 1870.8 fought in the Sino-japanese and Russo-Japanesewars. It deployed to Manchuria In
the 1930s and was soon engaged in North China: it then fought the Soviets in Manchuria in 1939. It

55th Division

2d Division

returned to japan In 1940, and again departed in January 1942 w arrive on jaw in March. where it helped complete the operation. I t rms sent to Rabaul, later destroyed on Guadaleanal, rebullr at Rabaul. and spent the rest of rhe war in Sowhast Asia. Commander: LtGen Marupma Masao.

th Division


r 1873, it xemalned a square division at the beginningof the war and was partly s well as amphibious trained. It fought in the Sino-Japaneseand Russo-Japanesew a n . Ir

rteptoyea to China in 1937, fighting there until September 1940 when it went ta Indochina. It onducted brief operations in China and then mwed to Hainan Island off South China betore landing ~Thailand. From late-1942 It =cupled and garrisoned various small islands in the NEl.The 4 1 st nfanrry was detached and bught on Panay and Mindanao in the Philippines and then on New Guinea.where it was pa* destroyed. I t was reassigned ro the 30th Division. Commander: LtGen

18th Division

Activated in 1905 at Kurume. Japan. it was deactimted In 1925 as part o f the I]& reduction. Ir was eactivated iIn September 1937 as a square division. It moved co China in November to complete its r e it s a w much a d o n tmtil late-194 I. It landed in Malap in December and subsequently raining, whi: . ought In Bunna where it remained. Its 35th infantry Brigade and 124th Infantry were demched and ewed on Borneo,then Mindanao. and finally Guadalcan; 11 where it was largely deswoyd. It ws ted to the 3 1st Division. Commander: LrCen ebuilt onTruk and sent to Burma. where it vvas reassign 4mguchi Renyk

38th DIvisla

taised at N; agga. l a wI in February 1939. it deployed w China in Ckcember. It soon seized Hmg Bng. From there ir sera regiment5 to Java, Sumatm,Tirn o r ,and otha?rNEI Islands. It assembled on a m in late- l1 942 and moved to Rabaul, Much of the division was 10s ,ton Guadalcanal. I t m s rebunt a t .nmander re it remair =no Tadayushi.

1870. it fcwght in t h e

n I r3f and fought in Cnlna urn11 NOVemwr I74 I. lt banded on


.. .

ese and Ru sso-lapanes,e wars. It dleplged to Manchurta Lunon in Februlary 1942 and

concluded the operation. Ic m m e d to Japan in June where it remained until September 1343 when In 6urrn~'l"he division mwed t o Thailand in April 1945. Commander: LzCen Kitano Kenzo.
it was sent to garrison Sumata Some detached battalions fought

Thc u:2 rlevelnpcd its tactical doctrine over the 40-year period prior to the outhreak of \\.orld \.Va:ar 11 L y studying and adopting ay~ectr of Western armies that hest rr~itedits necdr. S o one nmiy \cn+eda t a pure mndel though, and arpects of doctrine would he modified to t i t their traditional concepts. Japanesc combat esperience during the 40-?car period in question crTas more di~~erst? than often thought. Thcv fought Chincsc force<of vaning quality, rangin): frnm warlord-led gangs, through guerrirlas, to prokssionally led, 1%-ell-organized forces of sub5tantial size and qualitv. They also f o u ~ h well-trained, t skill fir lly led, and better-equipped SorSet forcer. The !:TI also gaincd vast experience of fighting in different terrain, climate, and operational contfitions. Thcxe included the barren plams of SiF~cria against amlored and mechanized forcer: the forerts, plain?, rugged hills and mntttltain~ of northern and central China; and in cities and r~ilIilges. T h e climate extrcnier ranged frnm biting cold to derert heat, from torrential rain to dust stonm. hIany i)f the area$ fought ~nlacked detpelopcdroad sFtems and railrmdr. Contrary tn popular early-war perception, the japaneqe were not trained f o x jungle n'arfare Iinr wcre they "natural" jungle fighters. Japan had no place in ~chichtn conduct such training and most troops were fanners, fishernlatl, and urban worken. Mort units that fought in the kciffc and Southeast Asia dcploved dirrctl!. From the chilly fall climatcs of China, Slanchuria, or Japan. What their pre\.ious espcrience d ~ d pmvide w a 'the ~ ability to operate in varied terrain and climate condition% against enemy forces of cqually varied q11aliQ' and mpidlilitier. 'I'lieir orvn sell-inff lcted aurtere field conditions were a major factor and prepared thvrn wcl!. With srlch experience behind them thelapancsc tvcre able to study the condition5 of the expcctcrl areas of operation and adapt their taalcs, equipn~ent IeveFr, tark organization, and logi5tics accordingly. Ihey were not always SI~~CCSFF~II in this, for example on Net\. Guinea, \vlrcrc they ~ c n t l t~nderertjmated y the conditions. Their equipment tvas already comparatively light and much of it rIesi~ned to t ~ e man- or animaI-packed. TI~cirlogistics tail was less burdenromp than any ihrcqtern amiy's, although this meitnt it rvas fragile and easily disrupted.

SNLF rroops shine flashlighu on an Amer~can flag to lnd~cate KO aircraft that they have captured Agafia, Guam,Thrs drawing from rhe 50th Annivermry booklet shows the rroops wearing rising sun armbands, a detail wh~ch has n o t been verified.

Offensive operations
japnnc~ctactical doctrine foc~lseti on attack, surpriqe, rapid movement, commarlderr aperating wcll for%\*arrl, and rclati~ely rimple plan?. Offensive actions were the rlom. In thc 1928 edition o f Rmri Konw I Prir~cipie~ nf Smtc,cic f i m n r r ~ ~ l r f thc i, wq2.nrdrdefenre, rctreat, and stirrcnder were cxp~~ngcd, as they wcrc considered

The Japanese forces were fairly well equipped with light bridging and brldge-repalr rnoteriebTfiey recogn~ted the necessity of malntamng rhe speed of offensive aperarrons thmugh difficult remin.

detrimental to morale and the militaw ~piri t. - f i ~ c lapanese found rlefenslve act ions to I x ial~horretlt. I I s lapancrr. nFlccr werc mnfmn ted wit11 an unexpected, tlnurual, or cornplimtetf rihlat~onin lunli., h c rvould find a way to attack, :$II attack wt~uldbe executed at unmpacd timcs and place3, long unanticipated routes and often with force ratio5 that ~ Z ' C F ~ armies C ~ r~ouid not havc uwii, all of m~hich tvould increase thc elt-ment o f surprise. Rapid movement, hcridrs benefiting tactical and aperational rnanem'er, alw irrcrearcd thix, and tz'as achieved by forced marchcr. Thc Spartan ccluipnient and awtcrc logirtic~ allorvcd troops to move at comparatively high cipced twet terrain that ll'crtcrn ar~nies would con~idcr diffictdt for large fnrc~5.

ttrntt;ritll superiority

of will

'I he !!A also placed complctc faith in sei~hin, its strength o f

and spirit ovcr the of it3 t.nemic\. N'hile hkstem thought tcrldcd to d i m i n stlch intan~iblc a5pcct\, often pointing to several l a ~ ~ n etli*iartcrs re I~ro~~ ahout ~ f i tI I ~ mirpli~ccdfaith in this, it war nonetl~c.lcssat1 influct~cir~): Ihctc~r,with cei-ta!n limitatiot~r.Belief In this rms so rtron): and t hc lapanere ~ l t i i t r T l o harticned 'to ficld conditions that svirlrirl certain!!. cnnrributcd to man?' of the teatr of endurance that astounded Wc~tern opponents. of thy clals system and thr separation batwccn officcrr and nlcn, japancsc officcrs ~itlingty shared thc pcrifr ob combat wit11 their troops. Oftiucrs led fronl the front, and a t much highcr eclielonr than war common arnong thcir \\$?tern coiln terpartr. Command ports wcre clften Itxated h~rther forrvard than IX'v5tern pmctice. Officers were required to br as physicallv and mentally tough nr, their men. The Japane~e cnunteratlacL in the first dayr c l f the 19-14 Guam landing i$ a htting cxnmplc of thi5. :\haul '1.5 percent of thr attacking unit5*officers were killed inclt~ding mwt company and hattalion coommmandcrr, a l o n ~ with the coinn~ander\of the attacking I~rigadc and two rcgiinent5. The fint crpcricnccr that US troopr encountered of Jayanew troops fighting to the death. on 'I'uIagi and C;armtu-Tanabogo Islands on Atrgurt 7 , 1942, came as a hock. S o m ~ 900 SNLF, canrtruction, and air service troop5 d c f ~ n d dthese thrw tiny islands acrnrr The Slnt frnm Guadalcanal. .4bout 70 r m p e d hy qt\'imrning t'n larger Flnridn Island, 2.7 priqoners were taken, and the rest died fighting. Thc three Marine assault Iwttalionq Ion 145 dcnd and 194 wounded. It nraF a rohcring experience and rtiouId prove to he the norm. An cnrlicr instance o f this, rrlien a Japanese battalion landcd bchind US-FiIipinn lines on Rataan in Januay 1942. was not commonly knmm of by .r\rncricnn trnops reconquering the Pacific. The trapped battalion of 900 mcu fought to the death without a sir~glc man surrcnderitm. Tlie Japanese often violared certain fundamental principlcr of drxtrinc. Their biggest failurc war to undercrtirnatr the enemy, especially foIIorving an initial succesc. Thip was a combination o f overconfidence, arrogance, ant! over-reliance on the strength of spirit. The expectation was that the encrny would do arlapancsr plans had prcdicted: the lapanese themseltes wcrc often tor, inflcsihlc to adapt to unanticipated enemy reactions. Often, another serious tlalv rvm the lack of reconnaisFancc.. Zl'hile detailed reconnaissance was estal~lisl~cd doctrine, in ~rrrictice, with the nlsh to attack, it was often neglcctd or based on i~nsealistic e%timare5, rvith dire consequencer. :\nnthcr arca in whicll thcrr rvere revere ~hortf;lll\war log~stics. Sfany staff officcss fclt Ivgirtical concerns wcre Iwneat h 1hem an J fncrned on tlffensive planning. Thc early operatinns against unprepared cnemy torccq tvilrp successfi~l In spite of marginal logrrtics support, reinforcing t h i s belief. Complete ar111ihilatinn nf the cncmy war the goal sought in moqt opcratian5. :lllowinl: thc enemy to eqcnpe to fight again was unar;ccl)tablc. This of course rcwltcd m t t ~ e surrender of large nrln~herr of :Illid priqnncn, wlin did nnt light to t % ~death c as the Japanere ciid and rvl~o ct~ld not hc cnsilv di5porrd of, a%the Chincw wrrc. The concluenng of cok)nial tcrri toricr a l w meant that large tluml~crr af 12krtrrri civilian< neereinterned, for which the Japanese were totally unprepared. 'I'he treatment of prisoners anti inten~cer laricd ~ e a t l depending y on

A well-known photo of vrctorlous blsc Infantry tmaps on Corregrdor-Tenno Herho! Eunzoi! (Long Live rhe Emperor?Hurrah!')

local commanders. There was little guidance on such matters. T h i sw a s also often the case wfth matters such as the disposition of captured equipment and installations, the aeatment of local populations, local s e d y arrangements, and the establishment of effectivedefensesm occupied temtorie..

Amphibious operations
The JJA#samphibious doctrine was well developed long before the start of the Greater East Asia War, a pmess that had begun in the 1920s.Japan was one of the first countdes to recognize its importance, and a great deal of expenence had been gained during the conflict in Uuna where joint-landing operations were commonly conducted by the UA and UN. Doctdnal development did not progress much after the mid-1930s though. It remained focused on China and the USSR, and was not as advanced as is often stated: operations were generally conducted on a smaller scale and were less robust than later Allied operations. However, the IJA did posses adequate landing craft and specialized shipping engineer units to supportsuch operations. While the 1IA took the l&d in am~hibious doctrine and l a n m craft desiRn, the latter i&encing early Allied designs, the IJN also develGed doctrine. Regardless of the IJA's and I J N s ' much touted rivalry, a joint dochine was created and the early-war landings were successfully accomplished. This joint doctrine called for thorough planning; reconnaissance of the landing areas; a sequence of assault unit, reserve and suppon landings; rehearsals; naval gunfirr and air support; and deception procedures. The cross-loadingof transports was aitical, f o ~ example, so that the loss of any one ship would not mean the loss of an entire unit. Supplies and equipment were loaded to allow their debarkation -a c c o k g to the prior it^ of need. The naval force conducting the landing operation, usually designated the "occupahon force," was responsible for the overall operation. The escort force

Mlhuru I d SNLF landingsits: he, Huon Gulf, northeast N o w Gulnea, March 8.1942


commander, superior to the convoy commander, provided fire and air support. The convoy commander was respnsihle for the embarkation, movement, and debarkation of the landing force. The Army transport officer commanded the shipping engineers and other mops supporting the debarkation. To maintain surprise, reconnaissance elements were seldom landed. Reconnaissancewas usually conducted by sutveillance&om the sea and air. Often only general landing sites were selected in advance and precise sites designated after recomaissance andassessment of the enemy s i W o n . Transport anchorages and landing sites were often selected by running fast patrol boats through the inshore area. Every effort was made to land unopposed. Then were instances when the Japanese encountered fire from the shore, and as a result the landing forces simply shifted to another site; after landmg, they thenattempted to endrde the defenders from the rear. The Japanese conducted very few opposed landings and nothing comparable to those undertaken by the US, such as Tarawa, Saipan, and Pel&u. In most instances the only resistance encountered famefrom d e r y fire and air attack. However, a major goal of Japanese landing operations w a s to gam Local sea and air superiority. The actual landing was almost always conducted in darkness, just before dawn or even eailler (most Allied landings were conducted well after dawn). This led to conkol problems and confusion on the beach, factan outweighed by increased surprise and protection of the landing force from d e r y and air attack. There were several examples of the defenders expecting daylight landings, only to k d themselves ovemm before dawn. If a daylight landing were required, ship generated smoke would blind defenden and sueen the approaching landingaaft. Another significant difference between Japanese and Allied landings was that the Japanese would not land u n i t s on adjoining beaches; instead, they would land on sites often widely separated from each other. For example, four forces were landed on Guam with anything from five to 20 miles separating them. On some

The PortMorerbl inmion plan, Mv9, 1941 Even in an amphib,our IS*^ dorrrine of flanking and enveloping the enemy can be seen.


! J MUifanlWlW

44 CDBStStillSlY
@ ssspla~ w


v?5 *?&
2 -

--- *-'

-. = :

aften conducted hy landing two o r tlirrib unit< n!ircast, tIlc distancr rc~l;lr:~ting them depending nn -.-P p % ' witahle landing 3im. t~rrain,e n m y iieplt~yn~rnl. = * == d -- =E I-, _ _ I road networks, ancl the Iocatiorl of Inland nhjectivcr. -* y ? ,*; I _-- r This would position the u n i r ~to advance. inland . . " f ;5g . . - . in h \ r or thrce columnr, ar was standard practice * fur off~nrileoper~tiuns.*pain. thi\ differed lrnrn ---7 .r ? ? I --.--: the \Ilierl ~~rdc-ticc c~t fint e5t:jblirhing a beach heail, -born r\rliicli to advance inland and to provide a hare I -of o ~ " l t i O n s ..\nothcr major dillcrrnre hrbven - -Japaneqe and .\llied landirrgr war that only rhort prepamtor!. naval gunfire barrages were Bred, crffen only after the landing trnopq The 49ft Type A landrng barge, or Da~sutsu. was the mosr commonly wcrc crnh;rrkctl, in contra3t tn prolonged .Illid hnn117ardrnents. used model by the IjA. It was Otlcn an SYLI', its size tailorcd for the specific operation, rvo~ild serve a> powered by a 6-cylinder gasoline or thc first-tvavc assault troop< to establish thc ~iiitinllanding rite or reize a Ley d~esel engine, giving ~ta top speed rrhicctivc. : \ m y troop5 would follow it ashore or land sirn~lltnncorrslyetrewherc of 8-10 knots. Ir rnqghr be armed tn complete the operatlnn. I a t ~ d i n craft ~ rvould arsemble in a colismn fortnation wlth two LMGs. and could carry tor their run ashore tn pro\-idc Inore protectirln boin fire. Stem iightr nidcd 700-120 men.or I 0 horse5,or an arcrllery piece, or a light tank, or a t>rientation.lurt qhnrt of 5horc the craft moved Into a 11neformatlnn. I f oppo5ition I1gh1rruck.There was also a longercspectctl they would olicn ltrc rvi tli machine plnc during the approach. 'The ranged IjN version of theType A. asrnult trtmpr n*ottldadvance ar quickly as possible across the beach to the ncarest a\*ailahlc cover. i \ ~ ~ ~c~mpanirs ult and hattaliofis d ~ d not maintain a rc~rvc, nlI wI,l~nit?r w r c i t 1 t h e Iinc. Machine-gun. infantry-pn, and mortar unitr wo~tld acc-nmpnny the assault units rincc artillen- could 11clt hc landeti until later. The anaul t trnclps w o ~ ~ move l d as ql~ickl!. a5 p m ~hle i to wize the initial obiecthes sudl a5 a ~ m r t airfield, , town, garrison, or roads leading to objectiiTer further inland. l t l f a ~ ~ trcscrvcr, rv artillen; and endneers rvould follow ashore, transported by the fint wave'% returning landing craft. Oncc thc senior .4r1ny cc~mrnandcr asharc was cestairl he could Ilold the bcauhc%, he anumcd command o f oprratiuns ashore, relieving thc 5m-y occupation force commander of rcspnnsihilitl;. U u r i n ~ claylight morc tmops, scnricc r~nits.and et Icxt 10-dal;~' supplies would he landetl, l'hc transports would typically dcpart the area as roclrl a\ rleharkation w a s cc~rnplctcd for fear o f air attack. In t h e late-19205 the Sth, I l th, and 12th divlslnns were dc5ignntccl for arnphillious training. Therc divisio~~s were stationed near Uiina, Hiro~hirna'~ prt, home of thc JJ:\'s Shipping Engincer Command and the port horn which Japanese landlng openrions cxpedirionarl; forccr wcrc Inunchccl. Thew cli~'isionswere con~niittcdtn China relred hcav~ly on manpower for aftvr ~ E I C h c ~ i n n i n g of thc China Incident. In 1937 the xpactit'ated 18th Divi5ion oflload~ng supplies and equipment replaced thc 11th as an amphiliious divirinn. lVhFle t h e ~ e diuisiilns collducterl Motorizat~on was Ilrnited Here iiniphiRinus uperiitionr in China, mort ended up in Manchuria. Only the 5th shipprng engineers drag a ruck u+nuld scc action in the Pacific LVar, Other divirionr though were t o conduct ashore from a Type A landrng barge. landings In China, rush ar bhe Sd, hth. lhth, and 114th. ---- . - . . . - . . . . . tallon .. to . .... Hctrveen 1y.5/ and I Y+ I rlxteen lnul tip~e-t~at alvlslondzr landings w r e executed in China. The 11~1developed trvn type5 of landing craft in the latc--..4 3 P 19205, t h e ramped Ilc~iartsrrr49ft, 10(F-120 troops) and the .' 1 I ramplesl KoEmtrrr (30ft, 40 troops). More advanced than any period landing cmft, the 15.4 conducted no further d~\~c!npment. 9 b . t . ant1 ured thew craft tl~rough the war. In contrast, :\llied landing : / :*,L -. . .? craff dcvelnprnrllt cnnri~lued tl~roughout rhc war, 5Shipping ; 2 -= -1 t I erlginecr reglmcntr operated these and othcr landing craft, cach with 150-2CX) craft and up ttl 1,200 troops orpnizcd into threc companicr. Debarkation units consisted of some I,(hY) troops. 1 assisting thc loading and llnloading of tranrports.


of the larger I'hilippine irIands three or four forccs rwrc lnndcd scpmtcci by even greater distanccr. Re~imcntnland divisional landings were

& &





' ! ? r

U n i t organization
MTliile the Japanese basically adhcrcd t o a triangular organization concept. there were many cxccptionr found in all cchclons. There were still sipare llnitr with suhunit5 organized in rn~rltiplcs of four. Most infantry battalions had four companies, hut some had only three and others had firc. German, Frcnch, and Rritisli unit organizational concepts may have infltrenced Japanesc unir qtructure, hut they ver)l much adjusted unit organization to suit their netdr, ln regards to "standard" tal~les of organitat~on,thc lapancsc could have two or more for any given unit as w e l l a5 variaticlnt of thcsc. Ir depended on what the unit's mission was and available resources \\,hen it war activated. The number of crew-s~rved weapons assigned to a g k c n unit might bc lesr or niore than the standard ertablisliment.

Unit designation practices

The translatic~nor Jalarrcse unit designations wa5 often curnipted eiirl?' In tlie war as t h e interprctcrr, mostly Japancsc-Amcricanr (Sircir \zoithlittle r n i I i t a ~ expcrienuc, nFouldtranslate unit dcsignntions without reference to any comrncln ~tandard. This rcs~ilted i n the sanlc types af units somctimt.5 he in^ identified hy two o r fhrec conflicting titles. -\nototP~crpral>lem war that qnmc inteIli~cnce a n a l p t r attempted to assign Japanesc ttnits cqt~ivalcntUS deri~nation5 ~iving them mislrading functional titles. [!A brancl~cts,of sen'ice were divided into tlie L i n e -1trns ( H ~ i k t ~ infantry, ): artillcr!~ {.l~eld,rncrunta~n, medmm, heavy, coa5t, A:\), cavalry (horse, reconnaissance, tank). infantry mortar. engineer, chemica1, transport ~ h o r ~ e , motor), railway, nletearoIogical,and air wruicc. 'l'lie Sert+ices I Kitk~rt)rr~ included the following: intendance, technical rortlnance,, medical, veterinary, judiciat. and militarv band.

4rmy level "Gmups of armies" were derignaied by names usually defining their area of nperationr (for example, the Snutliern, Kwaotung, and China Expeditionan anniex). Thc group of armies wax roughIy equir.alent to an :\llicd theater of operation as it would cover forces re~ponsiblefor a broad arca. The MnrtI? China Area Army existed prior to the war. It tcas not until thc rLlrnnlcr of 1942 that numbered area armies began, to be activated. The "arca army" 'IHor?1rr~~rirt3 roughly corresponded to an ;\IIicd field army, but rr7as ~ t s ~ t a l ltied y to its assigned area, in effect a sub-command of a group of armies. It consisted ot one or more armicr, air ilnits, and tvould hare rome dl\-isions and brigade5 under its direct control. l'htt "army" ~ G ~ r r wia ) s cqui\*alent to an :\Ilied corps consistizlg of two to four dit4isions (some may have had only one or up tn six) p l ~ ~ army s troops (combat support and senice 11nits1. Any number of independent mixed brigades might be assigned. .+rmic.s were num hcrtbd, but there were aIw named ;trmjes tied t o their area of rcspnnsibilitv (ruch as the Chosen and Formosa armies, for example); these should ntlt he confused with Hrnr~r~xrrrr area armies. "Distrir? armies" were purely at! tninirtrative comnlandr c o n t m l l ~ n g u n ~ t sin the Home Island< and serponsible for md~ilizatinn, training, and forming nctr units.

Di\.isional level a n d h c l o w Infantrv ditrisions (Srritltr~tI sverr numhered and did not include "infantry" within their designations. [Jit'irinns wcrc not r~eccrgarilyn i~nlt~ered in the

IJA parachure mops sleeve insignia. This Insignia was seldom worn in combat

Special Naval Landing Force pnchuw mops insignia.

sequence in which they were activated and some numbers were skipped. Depot divisions (Rusu Saidan) were found beaxing the same numbers as infantry divisions. Divisions were sometimes known by their home district, such as the 2d or Sendai Division. Infantry regiments were originally assigned to divisions in numeric sequence, but over the years this changed as divisions were triangularized from 1936, with units deactivated, reactivated and reorganized. Divisions raised in the iate-1930s and during the war were often assigned infantry regiments in numeric sequence. Infantry groups assigned to divisions and most divisional units bore the parent division's numbec For the most part, divlsionai artillery resments d ~ not d coincide with the division's number. Regiments and independent battalions were numbered in sequence by branch or functional designation. The term "independent" ( D o W u ) defined brigades, regiments, battalions, and smaller units not organic to divisions. "Mixed" (Konsd) referred to a composite or combined arms unit rather than a unit compris@ organic subunits of the same branch. Infantry brigades organic to a square division, usually numbered in sequence, consisted of two'infantry regunents. An independent mixed brigade (IMB) usually consisted of several independent infantry battalions (IIB) and organic artillery, w e e r , and signal units. Infantry and artillery regiments consisted of three organic battalions designated by Roman numbers (I-III). Abed intelligence usuaIly identified them with Arabic numbers. Rifle and andlery companies were Arabic-numbered in sequence through the regiment or independent battalion. The Japanese did not use the term "battery" but rather "company." Allied intelligence usually designated artjllery and AA companies as batteries though. Battallon machinegun companies were designated, for example, Machine Gun Company, I Battalion, 16th Infantry. The same applied to companies organic to a regiment for example, AT Company, 16th Infantry. Antiaimaft and some other types of regiments often had two battalions. In this book infantry, cavalry, reconnaissance, field artillery, mountain artillery, heavy adlery, tank, and engineer regimental designations do not include the word "regiment" (for example, 144th Infantry). Tank, reconnaissance, cavalry, engineer, shipping engineer, signal, and many transport regiments were actually battalion-sLze, being composed of three to five companies and with no battalion structure. The nondescript term "unit' (Taior Butai) is often encountered. A "unit" could range in size from a platoon to a battalion or larger support unit. They might be organic to a division, or an IMB, or be independent.

The Imperial Guards D~vis~on displayed this insignia on that caps, as opposed to the simple scar worn by other uniu.

Swthem Army, Deeembar laP l




s m m


s . p a

Task organization for combat

The 1JA maintained a flexible capability to t d o r units for specific missions. There were no resewations with regard to attaching units from one formation to another in order to facilitate deployment and accomplish a given mssion, even between divisions and regiments. With hmited mathiel resources, the Japanese pooled weapons in independent units that were assigned to area armies and armies. These units or detached subunits would be attached to divisions and smaller units as required by the mission. A deployed division could have well over a dozen smaller supporting units attached. There was no set standard, nor "habitual attachments." Early in the war most triangular divisions still possessed an infantry group headquarters. This was often detached along with a single infantry regiment, artillery battalion, engineer company, and other supporting units to conduct an independent mission. It might be identiiied by its group designahon or as a "detachment" preceded by the group commander's name; for example, Kimura Detachment. Reinforced regiments and battalions could also be detached for similar independent operations. Such special detachments (Shitai) were essentially task forces ranging in size from battalion to division. The Allies usually called them 'forces" or "detachments." A number of such detachments were formed tom detached regiments and battalions for use in the Southern Operations. During prolonged operations their attached units could change. Platoons and sections from regimental A T , infanay-gun, and battalion machine-gun companies w m attached to battalions and rine companies as required. Support units tom higher echelons were seldom allocated to i t h i n an army or to a subordinate units on an equal basis to the divisions w division's regiments. The attachment of supporting units from m y level and

divisional lcvcl to a division's infantry regiments, for example, clcpcndcd on cach segimcnt'r mi wion. 'l'hc rli~iriondid habihlally attach an engineer rncrtical unit (Eittcr company, zrmrmmt and ambulance plator'lns!, and radio and t ~ l c p h ~ ~cctio~i\ nc lo rcgi~nentr. -I'lic nrganizntion r ~ divirionc t varied greatly and depended not nnl y nn the ti tne and place a c t i v ~ tcd. hut the divis~on 'r torecart niisrlnn. lapan" resources were ruch that it did not haye [lie lusury nf nrganirlng all ot its divilcms a5 fully equipped. gcneral purpose formations capal~lc of ~~erforrning al! rnis5ionr. Some "security rlivisionq" .tCllinrr Slrirk??l~ ~ \ ~ e organized rc rvit ti tewer heavy tveaponr and lack in^ certain support components, as they were intended fc~r garrrron (occupationt, an ti-bandit, or line-of-communication securiv. \l:liile on the one hand conserving resources, nn the other i t rneant that less than capable di~~isionr rverc deployed to combat roncs tvlien rcinforcen~ent war necermry. It also caused rome difficult!. in tactical planning and rnirsion mrignments a% some of rheqe divi~ions were not trian~ularIyorganized and were differently a m c d from the "standard" division. The 1st-2(lth Ic..tcept 13th. 1 jth, 17th, 18th) divisions and t t ~ e 2d Guards Division were considered permanent division5 ( $ o - ~ t , t s l tSliidrrtf). Others were classified as temporary divisions i f i r k r r s ~ t r r tS l l i J ~ ~ l . J'hrec infantry divisions were motorized to some degrec In January 1041. L n adriiticm to hcing trained for arnphihinus clpcrationr, thc square 5th and 18th diricions and the triangillar Guards Divirion rcccivcd vaning quantitics of additional motor transport. The 5th had 860 trucks, making it the most heavily motorized, hut it xtill had far fewer trucks than many Furopcan divisionr. The 1Stti t ~ a deven fctws and still telied heavily on horse-drawn artillery and transport. The Guards Division, rrnallcr in strength, lrad 660 trucks. Due to this motnri7atior1, it was no accidctit that tllese divisions were committed to Malava. The 4Kth had a slightly higher percentage of trucks as wcll. ;\ standard triangular di~isian at fill1 complement hart only 200 trticks; mnnv posscrrcd far less. Triangular cIiuisions (Slrrr-tm-i Sltilliltr F wcrc first psoposcd in 1921 and called for thc elimination of the two brigade hcadquartcrf, deactivation nf one regimcnt and t tic reduction of tlie battalions' four cornpatlie5 to three-a nci v a v i n ~ o f approximately six divisions of troops. Cnnriilered ton drastic a reduction, only one cnnlpany *.a? cut from each infantry Ilattalir~nand one companv from tach cavalrv rcginicnt. reducing thc Arm)' is? 60,nOOO men. The coqt ~avings allowed a rnachinc-gun compnny tn he added to each infantry regiment and cavalry brigade raircd. The deactivation o r flve divi~ions in 1925 resulted in serious morale problems for officers. rvho itherea35igned tn a rcgirnent far life. Only s~nallnumbers of officers acllieved general officer rank ant! higher staff arrignrnents. Unit officers were seconded to training and rchool arriprnent5, but usually returned to their parent regiment. Officcr~ of Ihc deactivatcrrl redments were reassigned to others, ht~talwa!.~ felt li kc ou tsfdrrs. This problem was encountered again d l ~ r i n ~ the war when units were split from the parent segisncnts and divisions as cxpeditinnar>lunits, or used to form ntrv unitr.

The 1940 standard B infantry division

I)n paper, the 1940 standard I<, or Ot?rr, trinrig~tlari n f a n t y division consisted of 20,000 troops, although this could he anyttiing from 18,000-21,001) troops. This depended tm the rpccific assigned uni tr, as there werc severaI alternatives. The division 1 1 9 coi~sistcd of the gc.neral staff and administrative staff sections plus small guard, signal, ordnanctl, and veterinary cletachments along with a small I.IQ train for transport and baggagc. The infantry group ( H ~ ~ l ~ i , i i l [ ~ r t ) HQ in clirect charge of thc thrce infantry rcglmcnts, had an administrative staff, @lard detachment, and small H(> train. Some infantry groups had a tankettc. cornpan!. (Ki~isukml~n CErirtni) with 10-17 r n a c h i l ~ gun-armed tan kettes.

Table 4: standard B infantry dCvision Standard unit

D~vis~on HQ Smngth (oficerfEMltotal) 50R501300

Alternate unit

Strength (oficerlEMltotal)

Infantry p u p HQ'
Tankette company

c.80- I ZO tom1

Moy have k e n deleted

Moy h o w been deleted
Infantry regimenr ( ~ 3 ) ' Artillery group H Q '

Infantry regment ( ~ 3 ) ~

1 1313.73213.845

10 113,17413.235
c. 160 total

FA regiment
Recon regiment

80~02012.lOO 2015801600

Mountain artillery rep

9 113,40913,500

Cavalry regiment Tanke~e company5


c.86120 total

Eng~neer regiment Transport regiment Slgnal unit

Ordnance d q unit

2519251950 S O 11.76011.8 I 0


Division medical service

Medical unit

401E,0701S.I I 0

Field hospital (x4)

Water supply unit

1 112241235
10110511 15

Veterinary hospltal


Notes Guards. 2d, 2 ISS


3 8 t h .48th.and 56th divismnn only.

nfle companies.

'BottoI~onswith thm rifle mmponrw.

Assigned on!y to Guards and 2d divisions. "ormolly ossigned to the infunny group

5uttuImns with four

Standard B triangular infantry division



k 3



p5-Q; hIl .... ..

*.. : I I

Infantry dMsion headquarters

m m IdmMb.thl

m I k 4

w " + m Y


The infantry regiment The infantry regiment (Hohei Rentai), comprising roughly 3,800 troops and over 700 horses, was a well-balanced unit requiring few attachments to be effective in combat. Its basic organization remained constant throughout the war, but many variations of subunit internal organization and the types and allocation of crew-served weapons can be found. Organic medical support was light, with two surgeons and two orderlies in the regimental administrative section, three surgeons and four orderlies in each battahon, and four orderlies in each company. Additional medical support was attached from the division. It must be noted that the following strength figuw represent typical une strength; the actual strength in the field varied greatly and few intelligence documents agree w i t h each other on this matter. Note also that when numbers are provided the flrst number refers to officers and the second to NCOs and enlisted men. Where only one number is shown, it refers to NCOs and enlisted men.

standard B l n h t r y agir.9em


= I :

p 5 J

mrn & : m.:. m,t, 5




m m 1 -

Wf=mm rn.iBWslald

R e c m HQ ~ ~ The regimental HQ consisted of the staff, administrative (2/16), code and

inkU@nce (1110). ordnance (118). intendance (114). and LMG sections (5)plus a color guard (115). The staff, such that it was, consisted only o f the commander, opeations officer, adjutant, and gas offim.It also indudeda 121-man regimental tpain w i t h field and ammmMon sections. The 40-man 5eld section had 30 onehorse we-wheel carts or 40 packhorsss. It carrieda day'srations for the regimental companies along with headquarters supplies and equipment. A field kitchen from the division might be attached. The 81-man ammunition section W e d a days supply af ammunition for the entire regiment in some 60 we-wheel h o w carts or on 1 2 0packhmes.

THEW ~ mY n.4~0~ The three, roughly 1,lWman infantry ba'ttalio~ (HoheiDaitaiJ had a 30-man HQ with a commander and adjutant, administrative (4114). code and intelligence (3), o~dnance and intendance ( 2 / 3 ) ,liaison (4), and LMG sections (5). The 110-man battalion train had a 50-man fieldsection and a 60-man ammunition &on with horse carts or packhorses. Thebanalion trainswere sometimescombinedwiththe regimental train A labor unit of 1W-200men organized into s i x sections plus an equipment section augmented some regiments, This was by no means a standard fixture. More often than not, labor - details wwe drawn &omthe infanuybattalions or from external labor units.

Inhaw bett?Jfnn

- . .




w=mfoum -

-- .-


l<bll I < O\Il1\YY

'The four, 180-man rifle comp;1nic5 hail a 1 ~ - m a nHQ with the cninri~n~~dcr, a pcrfonnel warrant officer (equivalent to an csccrttil'e o r i~drn~r~ishative cifl~ccr), a Tcrgennt malor In c l ~ a r ~ of c 1~crwmncIr r c o r t i ~crr~ughly e t l u a t i n ~tn n firft-

Rifle company

Enl. $J

L p z & :


Imt M u d e d In totals)
2 x 2cm ATriffm

OH =Onrcws
Ent = EnllSted mm
1 x LMG

3 x grenade d~shchaqers

Rifle platoon
Platwn heaaadqttarlm

a Platwn commander (piston b h a m serqeanl tr~llel c Section leader (r~fle) d LMG crew leader lplstol)

f Second machrne gunner (pjsfoll a Thrrd m ~ h m gunner e IplsfolI h Affleman

~ l ~ ~ c o ~ a r r n e + pslok usualh meld rrllH hhchlne g ~ m n m WFW amd


wltn L M G ~

i Grenad~er (grenadedischarger)

Mach~ne gunner lplstol)

Second grenadter (riRe1

1st lIgM machlna gun seem

Zd llgM machime gun d o n

36 light machine gun section

41h grenade discharger sactlon

sergeant), a rupply sergeant. a n arms and equipment sergeant, four medical ordcrlics, a n officcr'r ordcrl!; b ~ ~ g l e and r , eight rneuengers. The three, 54-man rifle platoons had a two-man H Q witti a platoon cornmantler and a liaison sergeant. Rnughly equating to a US platoon srrprant, the latter's mail1 duty rrras to cnsure orders wcre relayed to the sections through arm signals and mcsscngcn. Thc threc, 13-man light nlachine-gun sections ivcrCI t r l hy c o r p c ~ n l F ~ .~ c h cnngi~tcd of eight iflemen and a four-man rnachrne-fl~ncrew: the latlcr r+onsistcdof a crcw [cadcr, machine hwnner. and ~econd and third gunners (ammunition bearerr). All four of the crew were armed with p i ~ t o l a hut in practice often carricd rifles. One rifleman usually carrier1 a rifle-gwnadc launci~er. Ircctinnx awignccl to rtrengthez'ted units had the addition of a two-man 5cm grenade-discharger crew Designating the section "light machine-gin" rather than "rifle" cmplia~izcdthe fr>nrr on the machine Run as the firc hart for the section, and ihc role of the ritlc~nrnin protect in^ it. T h c grc'nade-disct~ar~cr ~ c c t i o nn r a ~ Icd hy a coq~nraland had three, two-man gwnsdc-discharger c r r . ~ plus six riflemen, w t ~ o also carried ammunition. The grenadicrr rverc armed on\!. ~vitti ttie disctiarger and a Iwyonet, hut .innle may havc carried rifler. Ten- lo h\,ulve-nlan qertions were common. In combat, wticn rtrength dwindled the grenadc-discharger sechon w a ~ usually ahsnrhed into the LMG sections. Some ba ttalic~nslrad only three rifle ct)~-tipilnim, though most still had four early in the \I-~r. Though not a normal fixture. sume strenflhened companies had a 46-man weapons platoon. This would Iiave two HMGs and 2cm .AT rifles. each manned hy an 1 1-man section. 15 ruch a platoon wcrc arrigned, the !r;capons were reallocated from the I>attalion m a c h i n e - n ~ ncompany and infantry-gun platoon, as oppowd tn having the allocation increased.
0 I HFR 14.\l-te\l 103- 4YE1 RFr;l\ff \T\I -1 FYF1

The standard 174-man hattalion machine-pn company had a 1 4 m a n HQ and three machine-gun platoons. 'The platoon^ had n hvo-man FIQ and foils 11-nian sec-tions, each rvith an HMG for a total of 17. hut some had only eight HMGr. There was also a 2 Z m a n ammunition platoon. Complete platoons migilt he attached to thc forward companies nr pain o f gun$ [night be attached. Some HMGs were retained rlnder battalion contml. Rattalior~s featuring company weapons platoons, with nvtl H5IC;s assigned to cach, wcrc organized intcl ttw, 74-manHbILil; platonllr of trrro sections mch pEw a 15-man arnnli~nition platoon. Thc 55-man battalion gun platuon had a 10-man HQ, a 15-man ammilnitinn rectian, and ttvn 2 5-man s i n scaions, each with a Jcm infdnty gun. I\ fvw units possesred a 122-man battalion gun company a 27-man ammunition platoon, and two 31-man gun platoons, each t ~ i t hhvo i c ~ n infantry gun5. Units fomlnatc ennugh to be provided I c m :IT rifles ~ ~ o ualso l d have tnur :IT rifle plntonn? addcd to the gun company along with an enlarged 39-man ammunition platoon. Fach 21-man platnnr~ had a two-man H Q and nra 11-man scctlonr, each manning an AT rifle. TIlerc platoons did not cxist if tllc :IT rifles rwrc assigned to riff c company w c a p n r platoon$. Several cornpan!--size unitr t.crc directly under re~irnental control, enhancing itr combat capabilitier. The 122-man rcdnicntal company had a 25-man HQ an oh~crvationwctinn, a 3 3 -man ammunition platcx~n.and tllrerr 33-inan gun platotoon~. Gun platnanr had try0 15-man n l n sectinnr, each 1 ~ 1 ta h 7 . 5 ~ ~ infantry 11 pyn. A few regiment< Ilad 364-man regimental k%n battalion5 nlith two. 1 70-man. four-,qun companies and a 2-1-man t-lQ. The regimental Xf company had 122 men in a 20-man FIQ a 21-man ammunition platoon, and three 25-man :IT gun platm>ns,each with hzro.+.7cn1 AT' gunr manned hy I I -man sections. Some low-priority unitr had tM.0 3.7cni :YI' p ~ n in r the regimental gun cornpany along rcitti only huo 7.5cm regimental ~ J I I S . Tile 132-man regimental sig!lal conlpany rvar orga~iizcdinto a 3n-man MQ, a telephone platoon with four t o sis sectinrrr each with three tclepironcs and a sn~itchhoard,and a radio platoon with five to eight scctions. cach operating

one radio, The telephone and mdlo seetiom were. attached to battalions .and reghmmtal cornpanis.

Field and mountain artillery regiments The Z,X&man fi@daWery (FA) 'regbent(rahuheiRenkrF)had a v q dHQ, an obmmtion group, a regimental t r a i n with a fleld and three ammunition sections, and Mree Wman W e r y baW011~.These had a small flQ, tio on group, battalion wain, and thzee azWmy mmpaniw. A m p a n y had an HQ, ebssmtion group, fompany train, a n d iwo, pii~tbons,&ch with two 7 . 5 guns ~ ~ mannedby 19 men, givlag a Qtal of 3FjhoMtzetS. ThW w&e about 2,OM) horses assigned to the regiment fot ,towing,guns, and ammunition and baggage carts. The regmental, battalian, and company obawti~n group had obsenqtioi~ and arepd plsudons, WMch became progresSavely smaller at each echelon. S o m e regiments may have had one 7.&i bampn replacqd by a lOnn h o w i i W o n . ?he &-man mountaixi artUlerp WUIem (Smnpoho'

A mountain artillery unit tnnrporting a 7.ScrnType 94 (1 934) gun could cover up to 10-15 miles a day.While much slower than motorized ransport. packhorse units could rraveT across terrain impassable to trucks, such as swamps, jungles. and mountains.A packhorse could carry a little under 300 Ibs.The drawback w a s that packhotse unit.$r e q u i d more m a n p w r and large quant~ties of fodder, resul~ing in supply problems.

Rmtfli) war organized much the same way as the FA regiment. It was equippd with thirty-six 7.5cm mountain guns, which were transported by 1,400 draft and packhorses. A crew o f 24 manned each mountain gun.

Reconnaissance and cavaEry regiments The 730-man reconnaissance regiment (Subnbr Rottni) was a cavalv-branch unit, which gradually replaced the cavalry regirnmt as the war progresrcd, It consisted of a 130-man HQ and train, a mot~ntedcompany, two truck-borne companies, a tankett~ or armored car company, and a truck transport company. The 130-man mounted company had four 30-man platoons. Few regiments actually possessed the tankette or armored car company. A regimental company had either seven tankettes or armored cars. The I hl)-man truckborne companies had two S&rnan platoons organized and armed essentially the same as a rifle ptatoon, a 24-man machine-gun platoon with huo HMGs, and a 24-man AT platoon with rwe 3.7cm ATguns-which many units lacked. The 100-man truck transport company had kwo platoons, at least on paper, with one to transport eac-h truc k-borne company, The 950-man divisional cavalry regiment (Killpi R n i t ~ Ohad an 82-man HQ and train, a machine-gun, and three rifle and saber companies. The companies had three platoons each amcd with three CMGr and nuo grenade dischargers plus a machine-gun platoon with two MMGs. The rnachlne-gun company had two platoons each with two HMGs and two Zcm AT rifles plus a platoon of two 3.7m AT guns and an ammunition platoon. Although supplied with some 1 , 1 0 horses, it was not uncommon for these units to be dismounted later in the war.
Engineer, ttanspott, and signals units Thc 900-1,000-man engineer regiment (Kohd Rentni) had a 100-man H Q and train and a matiriel platoon of 56100 troops. The three engineer companies had approximately 2.50 men in four SO-man platoons plus a 25-man nlnteri~E section with trucks and some powered engineer equipment. The platoons had four sections each. A company was habituallv attached to each infantry regiment to provide basic obstacle dearing, light road repairr, footbridge construction, and other minor tasks. Non-divisional engineer regiments were attached to divisions from army level far more specialized engineering tasks. Tranrport regiment (Shic!loltei Rmtni) organization varied greatly depending an the number of trucks available. IdeaIly it consisted of a truck transport battalion and a draft transport battalion. The truck battalion had two or three companies, each with up to 50 truck of 1.5-ton capacity. Many had fewer and some virtually none other than comrnandccred vehicles. 'l'hc draft hattalion had three or four cornpanier, each with wme 240, two-wheel, single-horsedram carts and 350

The @Afielded a wide m r i q of specialized engineer units. Hand tools were used for much of che
work, bur some pclwered equipment was available. like this German-built. F 32&model, diesel-powered, 8-wn mad roller.The scarc~ty of equipment forced rhe Japanese to limit the extent of therr construcrion projem.

.lC;CIVL Truck cranspon was In short supply, and In Japanere d~visions was on a much lower scale than m heir European counrerpam.A commonly used 1.5-ton cargo mck was the lsmu Type 94 (1 934).The rear wheels were powered,but nor the front ones.which hm~ted ~ts cross-counry mobility

o1lZUT blst lnfanrry trcups cwer an

engineer as he sprap a Corregidor

bunker wrh aType 93 (1934) flamedrower. Slnce the Japanese did nor use th~ckened fuel. ~ t s range w a s

only 25-30 ydr.

trorrps. \.Ian!. regiments did nnt poam5 a bnttaZion smlcturc, but liad up to eight draft companicr plus a smaH r-eterinavvunit. Such an cight-company regiment nnrrnalls aIlooatrd four companies for rations and torage, hvo for artillcry ammunition, anti one for small-arnw an1m~r!-rition.In snme units packhosrc. cnrnpanies substituted draft cnn~paiiies on the har~s of hvn packliorse cornpanic5 tor one draft. 'l'hcy had :{/I11 packhorws and 431 trnnl~s. Ahout one-third nf tlte tmops wexr armed. 'rlic large company-\izr \ign.nal anit (Ilcv~rlarrtr~il lrad two telephone, one radin. and a nrrit?rir~l platrlon plul a 20-inan H Q and mcrrenger section. Thc SO-man telcl?hnnc platclc'ln~each had lour ~rctiansoperating two telephones and s srvitchhoard. Thc TOO-man radio (~Iatoon had betrt-cen eight and twelve sc.ctbiis, each operating a radio. The wire and radio srctionr were detailed to regiments and other divisional unit\. hrtiltery unitr pnsscs~cdorganic signal elernentr thouxh. The company-ri7e crt~fnatlce duty unit provided weapnn rcpalr and technical services.
Medical and veterinary services The rlivi~ionnredical wryice, headed by a coloncl, nTassizeablc I n ortier to treat casualties in f o n ~ a r tareas. l This allott-cd the ri.oirndcd an earlier rcturn t o rlut!' ant! rcd~iccdc\racuation req~~irements. I t included a medical staff qection in the divirion staff. T n c dit~isionalmedical unit lS/?i[Lrr~Eireitni), commanded I>v a

The primary means of ~crtwl rransporr found a t all levels was the
one-horse, two-wheel cart. which could carry 400-500 Ibs of cargo. Hew additlcnal mules have been hitched to the cart to drag ~tthrough mud. In occupied areas. every moronzed vehicle w a s confiscated for military use.

colonel or licutcnant-coloncl, Ilad a 265-man licadcli~arrcr~ providing v a r i o ~ ~ r specialized medical, dental, and pharmawutical r c n l c c ~ pin7 three treatment platoon%, threc litter companies i20 litter tcanlr), and an amb~~lance company 1.45 amhulancesj. tl litter company, treatment platoon. and a~nht~lance platoon Iorineti a regimental medical unit for attachment to cacli infantry regiment.

Table 6: Southern Operations triangular divisions

Reconlcavalry r e g
Guards Recon
Engtneer regt


Infantry reg*

Artillery r e g
Guards FA

Transport regt


3.4.5 Guards 4, 16.29

2 FA
4 FA

2 Recon
4 Cavalry


8,37,6 1





22 FA
5 I Mountain

16 Recon
Tankecte Co





218,229,230 1,2 Formosa. 47

33 Mountain 38 Mounmin
47 Mountain

Tankene Co 47 Cavalry





112, 143.144

55 Mountain

55 Cavalry



113. 146.148 56 F A 56 ~econ.~anke&e CO' Notes: Desijpoted, for example,Tankette Cornpony. 56th Enfonvy Gmvp


They prnvidcil collectinn, initial treatment, arid cvaruntion to t tic field hospitals Tor rvounded 5old1crr.Thc three clr f o t ~ r ,500-patient , fielrl t~ospitalr I li7cor R~~uirr, dcsignatcd lxt-4th in each dici%ion,cach had a nlrdical company to operate thc hospital, perform surgvry, and trpat thc .rick and wounded. It also hacl a tranrporr cnmpnny to haul etluipmc.rrt, supplier. and pcrsonncl. It provided manpower to crtahlish the lio~ljital facilities in rpnts. Thc large t4~atr.r-supply and purificntic~nunit Incated, purilieci, ancl di~tributedwater aq,plies a\ i\+cll ar ~rrforming marly pre\,rntivc mcdicnl and field hyglcnc tadis. The con~pany-size\.ctcrinary Ilt>~pital trcatcd ~ i c k in , jurcd, and wounded h o r ~ c r .It \$+;is also r c ~ p o n ~ i l ~ for l e advising on the care and fcetling of t h e division's 7.5130 horses, ar even a hew I~untIred i l l horres could redlice ;I di\,i5ion'r effectiveness. I.crv medical and vetennary troops were armcd.

The square infantry division

7 he few wn~aining squarc divisiuns ( fisr-hrr~-l S I ~ l r i ~ rwcrc r ; ~ cplite large, coinprising some 25,0013 troopr. Tliqmt\+erc holclwcrs aftcr tlir 1q.3h reorganizalion whcn the proccsr of trianplarimtion ~ c r underway t for most r l i ~ i ~ i o i'l'hcy ~ r . had twr, infantry brigade (1blrr.i I*liln~l, I IQs, each with two infantn rcginrrnt~ (nnt to be ronfured with the "brigaded division" clF trr-otvigndcs witit fo11r FltZli apiccc, rvhicl~ will he divmsrcd in a subsequent lafumel. Shc 5th Pivision's 5111 1.A Regiment had bvo 7.5ctn battalions and a 10cm howit~erhattalion, rvliich were truckdrarvn. The 18th L>i\.ision's 18th 1Iountain "-1rtillen' hart thrcc hattnlirmr c ~ f pack-tranqparted 7.5an mountain Duns. Con~ponerltunit5 rverr rinlilar tn the triangular dir+iqrens, I,ut d i ~ h t l yhigher in strenhqti and p$sesretl more truck transport. Tlie motorized 22d c:aualn Rattalion 122 Killri IJnihri, was sn~nller than a cavalry regilncnt with 600 troop. The 5th DitVi\ionw a s triann1lati7ed in earl!-1942 with the dctnchrncrlt of the 4tst I n f i i r r t ~ 'The 18th war r~r)rgarlitcd in April 1 Y43 with the 124th jnfantr??detached and thc 27iI C a ~ a l v Rattalion diqbanded. Hnth diii5ions droppcti the hrigadr HQF.
ibte 7: Southern Operations square divisions


Infantry regts








11.41 21.42

5 FA

5 Recon Regr




18 Mountain

22 Cavalrj Bn.




Square infantry division

1 1

L a

6 1

E l


* .



lndependent brigades
The concept of the independent mixed brigade W,Dokurimr h'onret Ryodan) stretched back to 1894, when the deployment of troops to Korea was considered to force a confr~tatlon with China. A sufficiently strong force was deemed necessary in order to i a c t enough damage on the Chinese, with the aim of provoking them into sending more troops. Fearing the Prime Minister would reject the deployment of a strong force, an Army general suggested to the Foreign Mimter that only a "brigade" be sent, typically comprising 2,000 menbut this would be a "mixed brigade" reinforced with additional infantry, cavalry, artillery, and service tmops, totaling 74.000 men. IMBs were mainly intended for occupation duty and lineof-communication security. Most had from three to six 1,000-man independent infantry battalions OLB, Dokwitnr Hohei Daitaf), with five being typical, g v m g the IMB 6,150 men. Q , 600-man battalion-size FA unit, 250-man engineer It also had a 160-man H unit, and 140-man signal unit. Other infantry brigade-sized units included independent huktry brigades (Dokuritsu Hohei Ryodm) with four IIBs and no support units; independknt infantry groups (Dokuritru Hoheidan) with three divisional-type infantry regiments and no support units (which later pmvided core troops for new divisions); independent mixed regiments (Dolarritsu Konset Rentai); and independent W t r y regiments (DokuritruHohei Rentai). The two brigades employed in the Southern Operations featured a different organization though. The 5,000-man 21st IMB, instead of IIBs, w a s assigned the 3,360-man 170th Infantry Regiment; a 140-man HQ 360-man artillery unit; engineer and signal units as other IMBs; a 130man tank unit with 11 light tanks; a 110-manZanAA unit; a 260man transport unit; and a 250-man field hospitaa The 6,659-man 65th Brigade (65 Ryodan, no other desdptive designation in its title) was a unique unit consisting of the 1,920-man 122d, 141st, and 142d infantry regiments. They initially had only two battalions and a gun company apiece and lacked an AT company. The 65th was assigned company-size engineer and medical units, and a platoon-size signal unit.
Southern Operations Independent brigades

nst Independent Mixed Brigade


. I

Tank regiments
Battalion-size tank regiments (Solsha Rema0 varied in internal organization. They could consist of 700450 troops and 30-plus to 50-plus tanks. The three or four tank companies might have been light, medium, or mixed. A standard regiment had one medium and two light tank in the HQ; the 1st or 4th Company had one light tank in the H Q and four platoons of three light tanks each; and the other companies had three platoons with three medium tanks plus one medium and two light tanks in the HQ. This gave it 21 light and 31 medium tanks. Some regiments elimhated the light company assigning a light platoon to each medium company. Light tanks were used for scouting and


Standard towcompany tank regiment

flank recurit?. Some cornpan!? [ I Q h may lin%~r had I)HC o r two tankctte~ irl lieu n l light t a n k 7'here wcrc imtances of p,latclons h a v ~ n g four or five tanks. while 1)tht.r reeitncnt% were undcr~tren@h...I tcrtv rcgirncnts had only thrcr light ctlmpanicr \\.it h tl~rcc platoonr apiece. Thc. re~iinetltpossr5sed a truck-bornc maintenance ctlrnpanv rind rach tank compnnv hacl a inotorized amtnuninion
land h a g ~ n c ctrain. l 'Fhc rc,qimcl~tsi r l Xlnlny were zlt~dcr Ihe ,311 Tank Group 13 S ~ ' ~ l ~ ~ l r l ~ ! l f l l incorrectly cnlIed a "brigade*' 1. (;ruup~ were adminirtra tive licadrl~iarten irrard~quatefor tactical c o n t r t ~ land were cl[nrinatcd in 19-12. The tank rcgimcntr emplo>'ed i l l the Soutliern Opmtic>nsvarier! grca tly in tenm of theit cnmplimcnt and internal org;rniration, a\ rhnr\.n in Tal~le 3.

Table 8 Southern Operations tank regiments


20 x Type 95 light tanks

6th Tank

37 xType 97 medium tanks 20 x Type 95 light tanks

Col Kawamura Col Kim


45 x Type 95 l~ght tanks


38 x Type 95 light tanks

LtCol Kumagaya
Col Sonoda


34 xType 94 medium tanks 2 xType 97 medium tanks 1 4 x Type 95 lighr canks

Netherlands East lndies2

2d Tank (-)

3 1 x Type 97 medium nnks

Col Mon

5 x M3 light e n b (captured)


I 2 x Type 95 light tank Isr Company, 2dTank Notes: Some cotured US M3 Iight conks were abo employed, 4th Tank Regiment orrived later fmm the Philippines. 1st ond 4fh Tank regiments orrived in April 1942.



A 7th Tank Reg~ment Type 94 ( 1934) medium tank crosses a hast~ly repalred bridge en route ro Manila.
Thc white five-po~nredstar ident~fied rhc I s t Cornpany.The 3d Company used a srar with round "points" and the 4th Company (L~ght) used the below ins~gnia.

The close-combat traditions of the rce~~lrrrri efsentially lived 011 as Japan c~itcred the modern age. The arrird of repeating riflrs, machine Run?,and brecch-loading artillery did littlc to ciimini3h t h i ~ Whcn . new field rna~~uars rvcrc pr~hlisheili r l t909, the infantry manual emplia5ized thr infantry attack preceded a barrage nt rifle fire follo~vcd b ! . a bayonet charge. Ilrgartllers of the lersons learned at Port Arthur, rz~here Japanese troops were mown down try machinr guns and nrtiller?' it1 World War I fashion, combined arms rrarfarc rccondary. The clthcr hrancli rnanualr f o ~ ~ l s e solcly d nn >upporting the infantry attach. 34achine gun5 were locaterl only a t rcgimcntal l r l ~until l 1924 when the liglit machinc gun war AcIded, m u c h Inter Lhan i ~ a i c dat ?quad level i n We~ternannirrr. The principle< o f closc combat wit11 t h e b a ? ~ > n c tadvancing , in skirmish lincr;, and direct-firc artillery rwre adhcrcd tu iong after Itley rvere abandoned in the Il'cst. F l u ~ e r ~ e s it. must he raid that Japanese quickly embraced the IigF~t machine grin as a principai infantry tveapon and dcvelaped all their small-unit tactits nrolind it. Thi5 rvar especially apparcnt in thc I'acific when, r.ouplcd with the grenade discharger anif protected by riflemen, there weapon5 crcnlcd havoc among :\!lied troop$ in close-rangc jungle firefightr. Even in open terrain thc Japancse empharired closing rapidly with the enemy arrd cngaging him in closc combat, to exploit their wpcrior rr,i\'lli~l, !+'hen facing Allied forces this "httgfiing"tactic had the added benefit of lesrenirtg any artillrr). and clow air s~rpport irdvarrta~c f o r fear of causing fricndly casual ties. Tlre rugged terrain and denre vegetation encountered in much of the Pacific and Southcart Ada prc,r-idcrt an ideal, i f hanh and untorgiring, environment for clow-cambat tacticx. While moxt annics might ranrtion night attackr, the [I:\ war onc of tlic fcrzo that pract~uedthen1 ag~rc.\<irely and accompli~hcdthem succeatully on a regular baris.

Envelopment and encirclement

'1 he 1 1 . 4 placed

great trust i n the enrrclcloping attack, rvlrich might takc rmc i ~ se\+eral f fnrrnr: single envelopment t o une Bank, douhlc cnvelopinent to 110th Ranks, and

encirclement. Envelopments attacked ~thcenemy's flank(^), nhilc encirclement drove deeper to cut the enemy off from the rear lsornerirncs from only one flank). At the rarne time pressure was applied to the enernv's front and flanks.

A paratrooper of ine I s t Raidlng Force mans a 7.7nm Type 99 (1939) LMG.This wo-reg~ment1 1 . 4 unlt execured lumps a t Palembang. Sumatra and Koepang.T~mor In February 1942


Encirclement required a division-sued orlargerforce. Divisions and regiments could conduct single and double envelopments. The size of the Japanese force and its exaa deployment obviously depended on the strength, deployment, and composition of the enemy as well as the terrain. The Japanese would often execute envelopments with forces numerically smaller than the Allies would have used though. The most common method of conducting an envelopment was to advance in two or three parallel columns. When contact was made with the enemy, one or two columns would move to attack the flanks or rear. This was the common means of an advance to engagement by a division. A brigade or regiment might advance in one or t w ocolumns until making contact. The lead elements would place pressure on the enemy's front, a holding atta* while following units would endrcle to one or both flanks. Another, though more complex method, was to engage the enemy and move units through concealing terrain or under the cover of darkness to attack the flanks. Even a rlfle platoon, when meeting an enemy force, was to conduct a holding attack while one seaion attacked from the flank. In Southeast Asia, the NU, and Philippines the Japanese would conduct enveloping movements 2 3 miles to the flanks of the Allied force and several miles deep. They would establish battalion- and larger-sized roadblocks on the line-of-wmmunicatio~~~, and Allied units, finding such a large force in their rear and lacking sufficient tesetves, were forced to withdraw frontline units to deal with the new threat. The Japanese to the front would then conduct direct t @ & on the weakened force. Infiltrating platoons, when or infiltration a counterattacked, would simply go to ground in the dense wgmtion, allow the attack to pass through, and engage the enemy from behind. Frontal attack The UA cautioned against the fiontal attack, but in practice the Japanese kquently executed it. This was often due to the overzealous desire to annihilate the enemy, but terraln and enemy dispositions might also prevent an enveloping attack. Infiltration and probes to locate weak sectors would precede the main assault, and the main attack would st&e here. The goal was to penetrate deep into the enemy's rear and attack command posts, artillery, and services. Tanks would be employed if available. Artillery support was usually inadequate and maximum use would be made of heavy machine guns, infantry guns, and mortars. The division would normally advance in two columns, with a reinforced regiment in each. The reserve regiment would move behind one of the lead columns, depending on which flank the commander had antiapated would be the most effective to envelop fmm. I moving In three columns the third column, situated on either flankas a screen or security force, usually consisted of a reinforced battalion, which may have been detached from one of the lead regiments or the reserve. These column6 might have been designated the left,

This diagnm shom a div~sion advancing in rwo columns. In this situadon.the division cmrnander has asserred that it will be beneficial to envelop the e n e m y ' s left flank using his rlght cdumn.The unit derignadons shown are nodonal, and do nor represent a particular division.

I Division advancing in three columns

I F lC O L M
R l G MW M I I







m m l 1
8~ en


ccntcr, and right wing^ or units. :\n advance guard of up to battalion ~ t r e n a h precedetf cach columtl, fmm ~'hi~ it hT V ~ Sdetached. The column mort likelv to engdge the main enemy force might he more hcavlly reintorced than the othcrcs,. The rccnnnai5sancc or cavalry regiment \rUould provide a rpconnaisrance iletachmrnt, advancing c r m furthcr ahead. It ~v~could also provide flank-screen in^ detachmmtr. TIP divirion cnnlinander raould maintain d i t r ~ tcontrol over the column nlmt likely to engage the enemy, itr advance guard, the reronnaiwance dclachrnent, ant1 the diririon main body following that column. This included the infantry grt~ttp headquarters, rercne regiment, and ren-Ice unit>. TI?c r~ther column and it3 advance guard tvcre undcr the control of the reginimcntill mmmandcr. L~cll column tva5 reinforced by artillery, engineer. ancl mcdical units and, depet~dingnn the threat, ! L A and 5uhunits. Once thr mirrny had bccn located and contact was inrrninent, t h e c*olumn~ would deploy their subunits forwarrl in phases, ~n a coorclinatcd deployment:



Break from march coFumn inro smaller

columns while out

of anlllerv ' ranae " and


continue to advance.



Dephy on a

line of depanum for a


coordinated attack.


Advance fmm the line of deparcwe in sections and platoons.

Final deployment with units arranged ta


attack by close assault

Regardless of the benrfits of such coordinated attacks, the Japanese tended to execute piecemeal attacks in both exercises and mmbat. Llorr rrrnier a & ~ n 1s r discourage picccrncal attacks hecause nf the low chance of succen owing tn local athcks being conducted at different times. a lack of critical mas$, and little coordination benvcen nnacUng units. They should o n ] ! . be conducted i f ( 1 ) the d ~ j ~ c t i vis e limited: r2, , I insufficient time is availahlc: andlor 13) the attacker is I vastly srtpetior to tile dcfcnder. The lapanere, in contraht, llrc~crilsed the piecemeal attack in doctrine. 'I hey adhered to the first This diagram shows a division advancrng In three columns. two points above, but frequently attacked superior, well-prepared rrlernv forces. The unit designations shown are While thir war frequently successful in China and again5t ill-prepared :lIlicd notional, and do inor represent a forces in l941-42, it Inter tcd to clisastcr.


Tank and artillery coordination

l'hr lapanere vierred tanks rnalnIy as infantry support weapons. Likc artillery they were most effective if dcplo?rotl in tlip tront alongside the infantry. Thcre war n o i n ~ t t u t t i o n for them to Ilc rnaswtl o r to cngagt' in battlm with pncmy arnror. L4;ljor efforts n~ouldbc nlade to prlsition tanks w i t h the attacking infantry in secrecy. ' h n k cvtnl~anier anrl ~rlatnons werc usually a1 taclretl dircctly to irlfantrv bnitnlinnl; and 5cldoni tmploved in laager formations.

The phases of n regimental attack

The tanks' nlission? ttncrcto breach wire ahstatles and clcstroy vrcrz--served 1%-cnpnn positions. 'Ihnk5 rvere not ncce~sari3ytmier\-cd ar dcci?;iw zvraprm5, hut strictly as aids to thc tnfantry. ,As a restilt, the intantry Wac talrl to contltluc it$ advance if the tanks rvcre krlc~cke~l nut. 0nc d Japan3 Xreatmt arras of deficicncl; was in itr artill~ry.'l'hir allplied nnt only to the litnited capabilities of ]apat~ccc artillrv. h l t alro to i t 5 q~tantity and its method5 of crnplo)ment. Divirions I I F U R I I ~ h i l ~ Ionly three light or mountain artillery battalions, which were hnbitlrally attachcd lo each infantry rcgimrnt. an cxtcnsion of the old concept of poritirrnin~artillery dircctly in t h c frontline alongside infantry .4 medium battalion, it attachcd, nrigl~tllc kept under direision contrul fur conntertlattcry l'irc. Tliiz rncanr of art ~llerv employment iienied the diviqion corntnandrr the ahitity to attect combat power by rnarrtng lrir artillcry ar proividing general support. .Artillcr!.

preparations prior to an attack rvcrc IISIE;III~ dlnrt, no nwre than one or t1~t.1 hours. ' r h i ~ inclttdccl adiust~nent and ranging, limited coun tcrhattery fire. breech in^ obstacles (which war of only lin~iterl c.t tcctireners tvith 7.5cm pieces) tvhich meant only ahout n half-hour's firc on t h e dcfendets' frontline positions. A great dcal of crnpha~iswas placed ntr thc einplo).n~cntof infantn. crewrervctl weapons. The LMG formed the core of section and pIatnon firepower alongside the grcnadc ciircharger. Thc HSIC; rvns considered pivotal to thc ;ttt?rb by prosirlit~g q~tppressir~e fire through gaps benrecn advancing w b u n i t ~ an81 to the franks. I t xvir also ergcntial tu defense. IVhilc riflemen protected LLIGs. LLIGs pro~cctcdIl\l(;r. I n f~rltry prns Icere exlrcmel!' light, compact, and simple, and were intended to supplement dif-isional artlller!., liuch weaponr .rv.crcfnund in other armkc5 at regirnerltal level, btlt the lapanere aEru allr~ttcdthem to battalion level in lieu of mortars. UnIike 1Vertcrn armies, in which mortars were organic to companies ant1 battalions, the Japanese emplnvcd mortars in non-diuiqional units for altar-hment as required. The state afJa!,ancrr: AT weapon5 was dismal. The 2cm .XI' rifle wa5 heavy, cumbersornr. ant1 ineffective apinrt all but tile lightert .Allied tank-,. ?hc-v were few in numbcr too, not all unit? pclssersed them. 'The :3.?crn AT gun way a t - t ~ a l l !J ~ mpid-fire infantry derigned to knock wt pillboxes. With the nntal~lr. exception of machine guns, the lapanese allocatcrl infi~r~try rcenpnns on a smaller scale than IVestcm armlcs.

Small-unit tactics in the Philippines

A number of characteristics of Japanese small-unit tactics were noted in the Philippmes. Aim& would often begin at dusk with infiltration through gaps between units and flank attacks. After senuing as much ground as possible

before complete darkness, they consolidated and prepared defenses for an enemy dawn counterattack. Even though many Japanese battalions had e e d heavy losses during the Bataan assaults, they would strive to keep up pressure on USFilipino positions, constantly seeking out gaps and weak points. When these were found, they would immediately infiltrate them, to be followed by supporting mops in the hope of establishing a foothold within the US-Fillpino position. Harasunent of frontline positions was constant with infiltration by individuals and small groups, sniper fire, probes from unexpected directions, and sections frequently opening fire intermittently--all to cause confusion and uncertainty. This was also an effort to draw fire to locate US-Filipino positions. On several occasions the Japanese rapidly occupied abandoned villages and brought in troops by truck, with the result that they received heavy enemy artillery fire. From this they learned to bring troops in through the jungle on foot, and to remain dispersed and concealed. Japanese artillery tactics were initially ineffective, as they had Uttle experience a s poor and against an aflllery-armed enemy. The camouflage of gun positions w companies were positioned too dose together, making them vulnerable to counterbattery fire. Tney learned quickly though, concealing their guns better and dispersing Firing units more widely They would sometimes employ a single artillery piece to range a target, and then move in a company to accomplish the fire mission; meanwhile the sfngle gun moved to another position, repeated its m g i n g task for another target, with the company following on quickly to accomplish the next mission. One American officer commented, "The Japanese are crafty, shrewd, given to deception. They are amazingly patient and wait for hours, even days, for and work well in small groups their chance. They are tough indlvidual sold~ers of two or three men."
RMe platoon attack-preferrea

; n ZmZC

t Fmmm,,


Weapons and equipment

Japanese individual and infanm; crew-served weapons were adequate (with the notable exception of AT weapons), even though they had k e n developed in the 1920s and 1930s,and sornehmes even earher. They were rugged and fairly reliable, but were comparatively short ranged and did not match the capabilities of contemporary Western weapons In most cases. The short range of infantry weapons was not much of a hindrance in the Pacific though, and the Japanese became adept at employing them offensively and defensively to exploit this characteristic. Their lack of sufficiently heavy and long-range artillery prov;d to be more of an issue though. This,coupled with outdated fire-control measures, caused them significant problems. Ammunition packaging proved to be inadequate for the extremes of the tropics and was more troublesome than the weapons themselves.

Platoon weapons
Rifles and pistols The Arisaka 6.5mm Type 38 (1905) and 7.7rnm Type 99 (1939) rifles, while heavy and not as finely finished as Western counterparts, were as reliable and rugged as any five-shot bolt-action in service. These rifles had a Mauser-type action stronger than the US MI903 Springfield's. Other versions of the 6.5rnrn Type 38 included the Types 38 (1905) and 4 4 (19111carbines, the latter with a permanently attached folding spike bayonet; Type 38 (1905) shott rifle; and Type 97 (1937) sniper rifle with a 2 . 5 ~ scope. The 7.7rnrn Type 99 w a s provided in two Lengths, the long rifle for infantry and the short rifle for cavalry, engineers, and other specialty troops (rest 7.7mrn carbines had too hard a recoil). The long rifle was 5Qin. in length while the short's was 6in. shorter. Various units within a division carried spare rifles, totaling almost 2,000, Japanese automatic pistois were of poor quality and lacked knockdown power. The Nambu Type 14 (19253and the even more poorly designed Type 94 (1934) had eight and six-round magazines, respectively. Both fired an underpowered Smm cartridge. Rather rhan being issued as an improvement over the Type 14, the Type 94 was produced only as a Sower-cost alternative. Pistols were issued to officers and crew-served weapons' crewmen.

In the mid- 1920s. the 1JAadopted the bicycle c o improve infantry mobility. One battalion in some regimenn was equrpped wch them. Some regiments deployed co SourheascAsla were entirely equipped wirh bicycles.A bicyclemounted infantry battalion could average 1 C- 1 5 mph ~fnecessary,and coutd carry ations for up to five dayr.Tmps would walk beside thew bicycles for a short time each hour to exercise different leg muscles ta prolong their endurance.

The core weapon of rhe Japanese seaion (squad) was the hghr machine gun.This 6.5mm Type 96 ( 1 936) LMG IS shown wirh a spare 30-round rnagazlne and a magazlne loader1orler.The 7.7mm Type 99 ( 1939) w a s similar in appearance. bur had a cone-shaped flash suppressor and a foldrng monopod butt support 60th were based on the Czechoslowkian Brno design, b e same weapon from which the British Bren gun w a s derived.

lapanme weaponry and

equipment designation characters



A note on japnese designations: the terms "type" and "model" were h r h used r o translare the JapaneseKonji ideogaph Shrk. which IS aaually "type:'The japanese ideograph for "model" i s Kuta. Contemporary rntelligence documenrs often used both terms in che same docurnent"Type" is used throughout this book and "Model" is used for sub-variants.

Machine g u n 5 The Namhu Cr.5mrn Typc VA I 10361 and 7.7rilrn Tyl~e99 (13.79) LMGs !%,ere hi pod-mounted and fcd t?y 31-rnuncl top-fittecl magaziner. Thc rd>soletcNarnbu (i.Smm Type 1 1 ( 19221 LXFC; rvar issueti nr a rub~titutc to romc unitr anti e \ ' ~ n for~ntl alongricle the l'!.pe 96. It l ~ a d a ziniquP fee(! ht~pper in which b five-mund riftc charging clips were stacked. 'fliis tended to collect dirt and vc.cgctatlon dchris, causing i t to jam. Besir1t.r i t s hil~od, a tripod was available for thc 'I'!,pc 1 1 . The Japancsc had mnrc ~ ~ r t ~ l > l rvitl't c m r their I,hfGs. Thcir rapid extraction rometimes caurcd stsppagc5. To ovcrcame this the Type 1 1 had a complcs oil resen-oir, which tlail to hc kcpt full to oil tlie cartridges as they tserc fcd. The T y c 96 requircd its cartridge5 Ile oiled before loarling in the magazine, which was accomplishcd by an oilcr hr~iltinto the magazine loadcr. il special rcducedcharge round was issued. Standard-load 6.5mm riffc round? could he u ~ c dl,~ u t with an increased cl~ancc of stoppage. T l ~ c 7.Jmm Typc 09 was an impro~ped Type 96. It wnz tlerignrd to clilz~inatc the necd for lubricaied arnni~lnition, Both the types uh ant1 WJ hnrl 2.5s lelctcnpic sights, quick-change barrel?, carryirlg hantilcs, and littlc used rhicld plate>. To empllasi~c the japanese propenrit!. for close combnt, there 2n Ib weapons could hc fitted wit ti a rifle haynnet. Fapan adopted the 7.7rnm round fur rifles and LMGq on the eve of the Greater East Asia Milt. field in^ the f i n t lscaporr\ in mid-1939. 'The 6.5mm had pcrforni~dpoorly in China where a longcr range, greater power, and more peiictration were needed, llivirions and brigadcr in lapan rvcre the firrt to I>e armed rvith 7.7111m wrapons, follnrverl by ini its in China. then Xfanchtrria and lower priority units in all arcar. By the time n F the invasiorl of thc south fame units dcplo!*ing from 5lanchnria still harl h 5 m m weapons. It was not \lncomrnon for unit5 dcploycd to a givcs~area to he arrnetl with d~ffcrcnt caliber weapons, cawing ammunition fupply prohlernr.

Grenade dirchargers
'The 5cm T!*pe 89 11929) heal?' grenade dircl>argerwas not only an important close-combat Iveapon, but war; nl?o provided with a Full range d mlorrd ? i ~ n a l ~moke and flares. Bezides riflcd high explosive (HE) and whitc phosplinrus mortar rounds, tl~c Type 80 could fire Iiat~d grenades with a propellant charge fitted. 'l'hc Type 1 0 (10211 grenade discharger war still irsucd ar a %ut)~tilute. PopuiarFp called '%knee mnrtars" by ,Allied trOOpF due to their cun~cd base plate. thcrc compact weapnnz could not he fired f r o n ~ the thigh, as war rumored.

This Nambu 6.5mrn Type 3 ( 1 9 14) HMG equipped barcalion machinegun cornpanres. Ir war partly replaced by the 7.7rnrn T y p e 92 1 1 932).The two weapons w e n rim~lar in appearance.TheType 3 had vert~calspade grips with large coollng fins on the rear half of the barral.TheType 92 had two hor~zontal plstol grips and large cooling fins on only a quarter of the length of the barrel with smaller ones on the resr. Both were based on the French Horchkrss.

tholit breaking a leg. Another thcorv for the source r ~ their f nicknanlc ic, that :v were carried in a canvas bag strapped to the thigh-whereas it1 fact they were carried in a canyar carc slung from the shnuldcr. t'Iie 'I'ype 100 ( 1940) rifle grenade launcher was of thc cup-type fitting on 6.Smm and 7.7mni rifles. It l ired the Type Q7 11 937) FIE grenade, also the standard hand grenade.

Companylbattalion weapons
'I'he battillinn machine-gun company &,as ,irrncd with either Nanrht~h.5mm Type 3 ( 101.11 or 7.7mm Type 92 r 19331 Hlr4(;\. Even tliotq$~ there tripodinounted weapons werc frti hy 30-round metallic strip\, a high rate of fire could he maintained. A:\ adapters cottld he fitted tn both weapons' tripods and there was a special :\A triparl for thc Type 3. I ' h e 7.7mm 1-1Ftl(; used a semi-rimmed cartridge, which could not be tired In rifles and I.Xf(h. The remi-rimmpd round had been adnptcd sewn years before t h e new rifle and LhIG round. Another weapon war tlie I m T y v 97 (1937) .\Trifle. Capahle of rcmi- and h~Hy-automaticfire with a re~e11-rr~utid rna~azinr,it war rurprisingly effccti1.e apin~t light tanks and ptkrsr>nnel. Itc AP-tracer anti HF.-tracer roundr tvcrc not intercliangeahlr. with the 2cm machine cannon'\. I t was heal?, at 150 lbs, and cxpnsive to produce resulting In its limited IFFUP. Units poxressing then] normally i=-~rul them t c j the l~attalion gun company, alongside the 7cm infantry gun.


" q

. + 7m

. _ $7 + ,, . .- -

A * .--.-,.*.', - .s

w S m q

The 7cm Type 92 (1932) banalion infantry gun w a s issued on rhe basis of having cwo in the battalion gun pla~oon A few mlrs had a baml~on gun company with four p1eces.A complex weapon. ~tnonetheless provided effecrive dlrecr and indirec~ fire support All Japanese ~nfantrymen were issued a Type 30 ( 1897) bayonec w ~ r h a 15.75in.-Tong blade, whether they were armed with a r~fle o r prstol, or even if rhey were unarmed.

The 3.fcrnType 94 (1934) apid-fire infantry gun was originally des~gned

as an infantry support weapon for

knclcking o m machinegun nests. However, it served as h e main JapaneseAT gun-a role for which

in which Ir remained until the war's end.

it was 111 surted, but

The Jcm Type 92 (19321battalion gun was a comparatively compact weapon weighing 468 Ibs, and it could be broken down into a half-dozen man- or animal-pack loads. It had a range of 3,060 yds with HE, AT shaped-charge, and illumination rounds. Normally there were no crew-served weapons assigned at company level, but some units did possess company weapons platoons, which may have had a few HMGs and AT rifles. Otherwise, these weapons could be attached to companies from the battalien.

Regimental weapons
The regimental gun company was equipped with the 7.5cm Type 41 (1908)

infantry gun (a.k.a. the regimental gun) to provide direct and indirect fire. Cornparativety compact and light (1,lRO Ibsj, it could be broken down into six packhorse loads. This weapon was originally adopted as a mountain artillery piece, but when replaced by a new J . 5 m gun in 1934 it was relegated to the infantry-gun role. I t was provided HE, shrapnel, armor-piercing high explosive (APHE), AT shaped-charge, and white phosphorus rounds and had a 7,W)yd range. The ammunition was not interchangeable with 7.5cm artillery rounds. The principal Japanese 'antitank' gun was the 3 . 7 m Type 94 11934) infantry rapid-fire gun. Orifinally intended to deliver direct fire t o knock out machine guns, it was provided with HE ammunition. Even though an APHE round was issued, it performed poorly as an AT gun owing to i t s low velocity and poor penetration. It could knock out a US light tank with multiple hits though. Some units deploying horn China wcse armed with more effective 3.7cm Type 97 (1937) AT guns. These were German-made Pak.35/36 guns captured from China.

While Japanese artillery pieces were upgraded or replaced by new models between 1925 and 1936, n a new designs were fielded after that point. The earlier Japanese artillery pieces were based on German Krupp designs, while the new models were based on the French Schneider. The newer guns had longer barrels, improved velocity, increased elevation and traverse, and split trails rather than box trails; they could he towed by vehicle too, though most were still horsedrawn as towing by vehicle proved to be impractical on Pacific islands and in Southeast Asia jungles. Most still had wooden-spoked wheels,

The 7.ScmType 94 1 !934) mountain gun weighed 1.200 Ibs. It equipped half of the T I d~v~sional art~llery regimeno cornm~rced to the Southern Operarions The meml ammunlrlon contamers each held sqx rounds and we~ghed1 18 Ibs when ful1.A packhorse could carry two conrainen.

The standart! d ~ i ~ ~ r ~ artillery nnal piece was the 7.5cm Type 3% ll'11151 improved gun. 'l'his weapon was an improved version of the originid -Type J X in 1915, with Imrrel tnlnnions further to t h e rear for increased eicvation, improved rquIlibrdtorr tn countpr the heavy barrel, a var~ablr.t!qw reroil sy5tcn1, ancl an upen hou trail to further Increase clcvariun. F ~ e n rv~tt thew ~ irnpro~*cmcnts i t war \till an oh~olercrnt ~ceaponbarelv atlequatc lor i t s rolc. I t had a 10,400yd range alld cot~ld Fire 1 0 - 1 2 round5 a n ~ lutc for shnrt periods .lrnmunition inclutlcd Hk, APHE, rlirapnel, wl~ite phocphorus, chcmical. 'ind illurninat~onrour~il\. Thc 7.Fcm prre 9.5 1Q351gun w a g intendcd to ruplnce the Typc 38, Zlllt %a\\' wry lirnifed issue. It ofrered a nurnbcr of dcr~gn irnprove~nents and a ~ p l i trail, t h t t only a I,220yd range advantage. .\n cren les5 cc~rnrnan u'eapon rvar thc 7.5crn Type YO rI9.30). It war a more modern dc3ign than tile T!pc 0 5 and intended for tntcGtow~ng, heiny: pro\-idcd with ~~nctlrnatlc t~rer.It war mainly isn~cd to indrpendc~t art~llene regi tncnts anif tank unit r. A <poked-wheelverrion did ree l~rnited i~xue to cZ~\+tsional artillery regiment?. 1t had a h n ~ c r barrel than other models and was fitted with a rnt~zzle break and Inng $it tmilr. I'll15gave it a h~gher tnuzzlc rclociQ' and Its wider traver5e ~ i i a d c !t an effective AT Weapon. Roth the types 95 and C?n used thc same anlmunltiot~a s tlie Type .<8.Irlany

Most Japanese field ar~lllery was This 7,Scm field (left) held 60 howlner rounds,and the limber 40 rounds, and was drawn by 5 1 horses ~

The diminutive Type 92 (I932) mnkerce was armed with a single 7.7mrn Type 97 (1937) machine gun {removed here). based on the Czechoslovakian Brno design. tr had replaced rhe 6.5mm Type 9 1 (193 I]. Fed by a 30-round magazine, it was the principal tank machine yn.The Type 94 ( 1934) sankette was identical in design to the Type 92. but had a much larger rear miling idler whet. and featuwd other suspension improvements.

Japanere tanh, with most designs dating horn the mid-1930s, were inferior to Western models encountered at the beginning of the war. They were very lightly annored, although the armor was of good quality. ?-heir top speed was in the region al ZSrnph, but the ohsolete Type 94 could only manage 2Ornph.

Alt used diesel engines, but their mobility across rough terrain was somewhat limited. Accommodation was cramped for the medium tank's four-man crew and even more so T o r the light tank's three-man crew. No periscopes or bulletproof vision blocks were prnvided, only vision slits, making them vulnerable to small-arms fire. The 3.7cm gun on light tanks was suitable for knocking out pillboxes, as was the 5.7cm on medium tanks. Both were lowvelocity weapons and ill suited for engaging enemy tanks. 7.7mm Type 97 (1937)machine @ns were mounted in the hull bow and rear of the turret. The types 92 (1932) and 94 I1934) tankettes were used for reconnaissance, screening, liaison, and hauling supplies to forward positions. They were tittle use in direct cornhat. Both had a two-man crew and were sornetimcs provided with a small 0.75-toncapacity Full-tracked trailer For the supplv roIc. Japanese tanks employed in the Southern Operations included the following:

A Type 94 ( 1934) medium tank emerges from a strearnbed.This obsolete tank was sull In use by the 7th Tank Reglrnent in the Philippines.The white insignra on the bow identified the regiment's 2d Company.TheType 94 was similar in appeaance w r h e T p %'A and 6, but the driver's and bow gunnerk positions were reversed.

Armament tank

rm MGs
irn MGs

rpe 94 (193

,7) medium
rpe 95 (1935) light tan
rpe 92194 I1932 1 934)

RS I u mns

~ . / c r ngun, L x /./mm MGs

im MG

3.4 tons

Tjpe 94 (1934) @nks of the Sonoda Detachment chum forward as USF~l~pin forces o w i t h d m onto the Bataan PeninsulkThe detachment consisted of both of the I4cb A n y & tank regiments re~nforcad by a bamlion of the I d Formosa 1nfantry.A IFghr machine gunner can be seen in the foreground.

Command, control, communications, and intelligence

High cornrnanck The Emperor wa5 the Supreme Commander of all ,Armed Forces. Hc reIicd on the Imperial General Neadquartea tlGHQ) to execute h i r will. The Suprcmc hlilitnry Courlcil and the Board of Marshallr and ;\drnitals sewed as advisor5 to thc Emperor. The IGHQ overraw the Llinixtry of War, Army General Staff, \lini?tq- nf the Sat?', and Sat?. General Staff pIus thc Inspector General 05 Llilitary Training and Inrpcctor Ckncral o f Army ..lviation. General Tojo Hcdeki sewed a5 tlir IVar Minister and Prime Xlinirtcr. Admiral Shirnada Shigetarn wax thc Navy Minktcr. I'he IGHQ was divided into the ,.\rmy and NatTysecrions cncompa~dnpthc ministrjer of each services and the general staff. General Sugiyarna Hajima war the Chief of the Army General Staff. 'I'heJapaneceCkneral Staff s?-stemwaq borrmved from the Germans. Graduates of tlie Army Staff College ( I I i k r ~ ~ ~U~i$okko rir or Rikifilai for short) considered thcmselvcr to Ile el~te. Unlike in most armicz. the command of a diviriorl t%+z'ar not cnf-tsidcred thc pinnacle of a general nfficet's career in thc Ild. Young general staff ollicers, idcntificd by a 5pcciai tlreart badge, dewlc~lwdtactical plans with
which commanders were required to comply #Germanyand the USSR similar 5ytc1nsl. Djrir~oncommanders !\?ere more coordinators than true commanders. Thc key echelon for tactical planning was at army levcl. Regulations required general staff officcrr to serve cntnlnand tinte, but it not desirahlc on their part. (;enera1 Staff afficecr;were callccl 7;?l/)mrrr Girrri rTcnpvscn Group) after the special hadge they wore. tvl~ich r\.ar similar to a large cnin of the f i ~ k l ~ , q period. o ~ ~ ~ L1nit nfficerr (Ti~izltki SF~oko), who had not artcnded the Army Staff C:ollegc, rverc called

MalGen Edward P: King. Commandtng General. Lmon Force, flanked by h ~ s smfffl discusses
surrender terms with Col Nakayama Motoo. 14ch A m y Operations Officer ar the Experimental Farm Stanon near Lamaon on Bataank l m r south coast.

hf~rtrrt C;rlrli Inon-badge group) and cvrri~ld proercsr unlv a lin~itcd amoutlt in their careers, outside of good fortune In scartrmc. l'he arilrptlon of the tierman General Staff syqtem impacted at the highest Icvels oi cornmand. In 187s the operat~onal and administrative functions of the ~lrrny were separated with I hu fnnncr being a r s i q e d t r ~ the Chicf of the Ciencm! Staff and thc latter to tllr \Ihr klinister. 'I hi< rcsultcd in a uni? of cornm;~nd only a t thc very highest levcl-the Emperor, as Supreme Comlnanrler of botI1 the Army and Nary. T h i ~ ?!.stern allorvcd the Chiefs of the Army and Na\?

Generat Stafh dircct accecs tt) the Fmpcror (iirkrr rro jmo), a privilcgc granted only later to the War and Navy mini5tcrq. What this meant was that the :+myatld Navy were allowed indtlpendcnce of command i t n ~ ~ l i k i I>I~ ~; Jrlr~k~~ril\rrl from civilian control, namely the LVar and K a y ministers. For all practical 1lurposc.s the operating forces of tlic 1J.A werc under thc direct control nf the IGHQ. This includeri the General Dcfcnrc (:ornma!lct in thc Home Islnnds, the Krvantun~ Army in Manch~zrta, the China Expeditionary :2rmy, anti the Solatllert? :lmy. 'l'he Southern Am1y escrtired direct contrc>l nvtrr ttte I-lth, 15ttr, ldth, and 25th armies plus a reserve of tlz'o divirion~and an IXIB. A division frotn the 23d Army ~youldtemporarily bc under its control tu seize I-long Kong.The Guards Uivisiun would he detached frnm tho 25th .Army to the 15th for initial operations in Tl~ailand then retnrned to tllr 25th .Army. 'The 48th Division would hc transferred from the 14th .Army after the fall of Manila to the 16th Ammy for ure on Jam.
Command and staffs Japancsc r i l l i t conllnandcrx rvcrP not awirtcd b!+ a deputy uomrnandrr, rccondin-cornmanti, or cxccutivc officer. Only in divisions lmssessin~ an infantry group FIQ comrnilnded by a rnaiur-general ror~ld a second-in-mmmand be said to csisr. Thc infantry group commander rcmcd a\ a tactical cornrnander o f the collcctcd infantry regiments, but wa3 often detached ~ vth i a reinforced re~imcnto n independent mininns. The formation'% chief d staff scas the c l ( ~ r c thing ~t tcl a dcputy commander, hut there were only fr~und at divi3ion anti h~pher echelons. A t regimental le\.rl the operatian< nff~cer or one nf the hattalion cornmanden would I,e clssijit~atedto arrume command if the cornrnantler bccamc a carunlty. At hattalion Icvel either the adjutant or a company comn~nndcrrvould bc so designated.

Table 9 :unit commanders





Battalion Reg~menr


colonel1 malor-general I~eutenant-general lieutenant-general general


Area Army


Tank, ctrvairy, reconnamance. engmeer, wnsport repmen&. which were of bmal~on see.
/ I F U ~ ~ ~ O ~ F < O / D ~ ~ ~

were cornrnonded by o colonel or

lapanese rtaffr were extremel!. austere by \ITr<tern standarch. Only the divi~ion staff pw3cned Frjrmal, pecialized staff refiicrnr wl~ilc regiments and battalions hail a ~ninin~al statf. :Idditional junior officers secondcd fmm suhorrlinatc units or

LrGen Hornma Masaharu.

Commander* l4ch Army,arrives in the !'hilippines in December 194 1 . Held respons~ble for the Banan Dearh March, he w a s shot a t Lo3 Baios,Luzoo on Aprit 3. 1946 while h~r subordinates were hung.

overage officers would sometimes augment staffs tho~rgh. Regimental and battal~onstaffs have been described already in the Unit Oqfft~izfltif~i~ sertion. 'I'he dividnn staff conrixted of the commander (lieutenant-general), chief af staff (colonel). and adjutant (lieutenant-colonel assisted hv a captain and lieutmant) plus a general ~taff \ m i o n and an administrative staff section. The ~eneral staff section, ewntially planners and coordinators, consisted of:
G-1 (lieutenant-cntonel) Operations, training, and communications. .Assisted by signal, code, ordnance, and gas

G-3 (captain)

officers. Inr~lligence, maps, censorship, and mobilization. Rear senices, logistics, and lines-ofcommunication.

Thc administrative staff section was headed bv a lieutenant-coionel, who dealt with reports (except those dealing with operational matten) and oversaw administration. A captain or lieutenant responsible for prornationr, appointments, officer and NCO personal records, personnel and mobilization administration; a captain or lieutenant for departments! services and adminirtrativc orders; and a captain or lieutenant responsible for documents and secretarial duties assisted him. A small staff of officers, NCOs, and enlisted men assirtcd all of these officers. There were also five departments in the administrative staff section:
lntendance Ordnance
Medical Veterinary

A colonel assisted by three lietdenants-colonel or majors,

anrl seven or more captains and lieutenants. A lieutenant-calonel or major with one or two captains or lieutenants. : I colonel with huo or three medical officers. A lieutenant-colonel and one or two veterinary officers. A lieutenant-colonel with two or three officers,


The lapanese fled heavily on 8.- We$hmes, p M g them to radios. Telephones were more reliable, lessexpensrxe, Wer to produce, requkdfewer techdeal resources, d could be easilyissued j n large numbers ta a31 & e l m . Theyxquimllittle o p t o r ttaWng and were more s e m from b-pt than radios.J a field teleghones W&Q oi W gr$und Mum that is, they used a Singledtrandwire and had a,mr*aIsmWWt was ddPM into the &round and attached tcrthe telephone short M g t h ofwfLe US t&?@wnes r e q w a two-sUand whe. The Thendad teiephone was the m e 9Z (183Z)fitted with w m ' t e mouth- and eiupteces. Fred wee pmvided at battallon and hi&x echelons to stabHsh patry line * t a n s . A lightweight assault field WYM War W d at Iegimatal and Iowa lwels while a header, WBm-resWant wire was availablefor semi-pennimentsgsmms. Both were C I ) w&h ~ @IOW braid. At disfsion level and higher, a green, braid-cowmd, hvy&ty wire w9s a & . A manwied 64JDgdwire ml was pro~cied, wMch could he carded on the baek far diiming W e and on the chest tbr orw. Badiw wwe used i n fast-momg offeneiw $ituituatl~n~ and when commmicatlons had t o be estabWd ragidlp. Bela telephone6 asmgned the primarp role dutlng mu?ine actlbn and tadio b e m e -4i"p" fastandby c~mmunicatibtls. J~patleaer&o sets were &soleseent by WWeStem stanrtards. Thqr h d wide frequencyrang= with plwin mils to mver the dBc?Entbrands. T W fieldradio% wed - d v e dehmrs without fmqueneyam@Eatlon. WMe eapyfo main-, it was dffe*11tto kei3p them M the frequencpinuss and lletred wYUl Mher sets.Thejapan= used amplitude madulilW 0mdim and no f@?qllencymodalated (FM) sets. The c o n t r o l s were un4sually c q 1 e z . t h e sets o f margin& m a n and po011~ w i l ~ o o f e d The . o p ~ who J were highly tmined, had@ be wellvased in & I and anamthew. Tacli& sets were wsuaJly 1-50 W t s and the trsnunittets, receivers, baW% h a d


TheType R (1932) field ?elairphone weighed I2 ibaThe ground mum s @ k u a n bemenin&ntdths s & open frmtAType 95 (193s) r e i d set ntiuld be aasched ro a tetepho~ and ~ us& b r Mme bde-qpadminVw&tlu* M t . tWlllram Howard Qdnance T&iM Imcll@nisnR Museum, Lago. Rorida)

A radr~ section in Ch~na poses beside its Type 94 I 1 934) Model

3C radlo. a regiment- and dlv~sion*

level rer Radio secrions were sizable m order to function 24 hours a day, ta be able to man-pack the carnponenrs ~f necessary,and to handle the sect~on's three packhomes.

gencratrlrq, anrl nccrrsorIc\ r\,crc carricd in scparatc caws, requiring them la t?c packcd b?' scvcral nrcn. Slort could not t ~ opctatcd c ~vhilc m;~rcIiiii~, and inrtcarl had to hc rct up. \I~)stco~rtdbe uprrateti usin): voice or kfcw~c C:ode. TIlc m c ~ s ti-ornn~nntactical <et\ canre from tlie Type <11 ( 19.341 seri~r.A t di\'isirin and re~irncntal level the T!+pe 94 >lode1 3 wa\ u+cd:tlie -Type 91 Mode51 5 and 6 wrre uwd at t>attalicii~ and conip;tny Tlic \lode1 tl war a ''tz+alkic- 'Thew ratlios mt~ld alw he tran~portcd by packhorse. .4nnther means nf commtinicatiun~ was b he 32-candlepi>svcr51gnaFlanip. I h i 5 xei could hc man-packcd thrcc mrrl and con~isted of a lamp, hand-pcnv~rerl clrc-tric generator, and acceswricr. Tlie light war flashed ~ n i a n Morse ~ Code-likc 5vztwn and white, green, red, and ambcr Ctltcrr. ll'llite ant1 other color rectangular and tria~ijiular ground-tmir panel\ uverc. 11~cdtti <i)~nai aircraft and mark poritions. Red and white rernaphorc flags rcerc i i ~ e r l h , e~ng replaced by blue and yvllnrc fl;l~c, rcrpccticefv, in mkt. i\'liilc tlie Japnt~ccc ure tliclu%andc o f ryrnbob in tlicir rvritten language, the Kt~rrrt~lpli;~hcr with 1% ?yrnbol$. each r~prcscnting n \OLIH~ in the Japnne\e l a n ~ ~ l a grzva\ e , ~rrctIfor thcir Jlarsc Oodc, remaphow, and light rignalr. .\t 1,attnlion Pc\,cl and bclorv, extrnrivc tire made of mcs?wgrrs. I imitrtl w e uva7 made o f rnerseilgcr dog5 arid carrier pigconr. :'it company and I t nver IPITIF, hi~glec, ~vhisllcs,tlasllli~h ts. arlil arm rignalr were used C X ~ C I I S ~ W I ~ . Colored-sinokc prt~jcctilc\ and rctl, a.hiti-, anti grctn ilarer rrerc prt~\~idcd for 5crn penarlc dfrctiar~cr\. One. anrl tliscc-barrel I'ype 9 7 ( 193?) J..5crn flarc pistols wcrc ?IIW u ~ c dTank . cornmandcrs anplocrl an elallorate system of rcd, red ancl whitc, and l~ltic and white trianqtlar pcnnnn ts for si~naling canl~nandr and direcTinnr. Cnlotctl lipfitr tverc urcrf at n l ~ l r t .

The 2d RIIIC'AII 02 t h e .\rm!+ Gcncral Staff wax rcsponsihlt. lor intctligence collcctinn. analyrir, nnil dirsernination. It rrar ruhdividcd i n t o thc 5th Section I,\rnerican and Eumpcan\, 6th Scctinn I.\s~aticl,and the unnumbercil Srcrct Service Scction r f i r l l r r r a r Kiknrrl. Tlrc 5th and 6th Sections p r i n ~ a r i l yroc~tsedurl collecting intcll~genccnn ~\mericnnand European 4 including Xustralian and YCIP Zealandl ti)rtnecin the Pacific and not so mnch on the home co~tiitrier. Thcsr utFafalro a separate 18th Iirnup I Radio lntclFigcriccl in tlie Iicncral Staff. Intclligencc nTn5 aI\o cnllecre~ltit. the Xal? General Staff's 3d Hurrau and kiinistr? nf Farcijin :\%fain.SIilili~ry and naval attaul1i.u in l a l ~ a n c ~ cmbas.~ic~ c were also instrurnctitd in ctrllccting intelligence. I~vcrall,Japancw intelligence at the strategic Icvcl wax inadcquatc with many I~igI~er conltnandcrs jrttctli~cncematters little regard. The .lapancrc

tradition to attack quickly and not ccm5i(lcr rhc situation further unclermincd thc uttcrltiorr given to ititeIligencr by the IIA. Ht~~ccvcr. Iw5ic inforlnation on the areas of future operationr wa!, roltected. Thc order nf battlc dispcl~ition\and arnlamcnt of militar!. and naval fnrccr r\-a5 tairIv accurate, and a grcat tical of e f f ~ l r was t gi~cn to obtaining maps and acrinl phcltograph\. Tllcrc werc invnrinblc ~hortfalls of cnurse: for example, only about n third of ntlrtllern l.uzon in the I'l~ilippincshad bcen photographed, but thc covcragc included the possi blu 1-1IId'Ing nrcag, many of thc main highway routcs, 1,f.lnnila thy arcn, and othcr kc! ;frcas.Thew flights Iwrc made in late-1 940, s o were nut entirely up to date. Thc Bntaan I'cninfula lrnd not been photographed. 140st airfields t h m u g h o ~ ~ !Ilr r Southern Area had been It~atccl rvitli \'pry few mirscd. .-\rnlyintelligence axcnts toured Fomc arcas bcfore t h e war, c~pccially iri Serf Guinea and t h r NEI. It i? known that some of t h r ~ c officer$ rvcrc later arrijined to units taskcd to rcize the areas they had cxamincd. I'assiblr landi~rgarea.;, approach cllnnncls. Iocations of coaTt defenw pin%.and military and naval imtallation., were of priman' interest during thcsc tours. Much in telligencc war glcancd from signal intercept5 of :\llicd sadin traffic, chiefly collected hy the ]IN. :\ Unit 82 \pa\ crtablisherl on Forinrlsa hcfrjre the Jvar ta ztl~rIyttol~icalrcarbrc and dietarc prcrren!ic~n, hut its finditla3 appcar tn have had I~ttleeffect o n npcmtions. I I A Ic>rrnation% had fctv tactical intcIligcnce cnlIection assets, lntcllipncc staftr were small and gi\.en low priority. There ryere o r ~ l v a small nurnl~er nf radio intercept and direction finding units, and these Irere ot modest capability. Thcre were no tledicatcd ground rcconnnissnnce unit5 abolFc divi'iion level. The divisional rcconnai~ranr-e or racalr~. re~irnerlt was more of an advar~ce guarcl and screening unit. Unit patrols siperetlie primary rncans of collecting l)attleficlri inforn~ation, but dis~eminat inn war rlow and I~rnited. Aerial rcconnair.r;nncercar tlie most unprrrtant source of ground force intelllgcncc. Information gnincd from local nativcr and sympathizers also proved valuahlc. In t h c initial phase of the Pacific lt'ar, though, t h e tempo was fxt-paced ~ \ - i t hthe enemy cjften in disarray a n d retreating. 'l'hcJapnncse simply steamrollered thclr rvny through t h e county3ide arrd were only concerned with what rcas itnmediately in tront nf thcm. This no doubt cost the Japanese time and cawalties, but they completed mort initial operations well ~vithin~ci~cdule. In hct, t h i r "\*~ctnry diwafc" Icd many officcrs to hclieve that staff ~ n t e l l i ~ c n c scctions c ntl Ionger had a purpo~c. The Southern .L\rrnycvnl rlialinated i t s intclligencc scction, absorbing part ot i t into thc operation? section. This disdain tnr inlclligcncc cffnrt\ nss rcinf<*rcetl b ! ' the a ~ c r a l contcnlpt l t h r lapnnese harl tor their cncmicr.

Combat operations
The December 10 air amck on Nan1Ammunition Depot Cav~te soutkwesc of Manila created a column of smoke almost I .M)Oft high. (Chose1 Miwa)

The Commander-in-Chief, Southern Army, shall, in cooperation with the Navy, concentrate his main forces in Indochina, South China, Formosa, and the Ryukpu Islands and shall cany out preparations for the invasion of the strategic southern areas. Strategic areas to be occupied are the Philippines, British Malaya, the Netherlands East Indies, and a part of southern Burma.


IGHQ High C r n &


L i m i t e d space only allows a cursory study of the many campatgns and operations in the period and theater under dis~ssion. Many of these operations were complex and involved the commitment of additional forces in later phases. The focus will be on detailing the order of battle of the committed Japanese forces and their b@c movements. Sources, even the Japanese ones, m often in conflict, or incomplete, with regard to the order of battle for specjflc operations. It was frequent for the designations of mlnor units not to be included, only their type. Headquarters, SouthernArmy remained in Saigon, Indochina through World War Il. From there it directed operations across a vast area of operations and coordinated the emensive logistics and shipping efforts. Besides the 14th, lSth, 16th, and 25th armies, the Southern Army was assigned the following units:




L -

@uthiin -~ &my ~ $ 6
Japanese infantrymen In the Philippines make way for their units pack train. Draft and packh~rrer w e n uoentlal in an army with hale motor m n r p o n The machine gunner Is armed with the obsalemnt 6.5mmType i i (1922) LMG. (Ryohet Koiira)

2Isf56th (-) divisions

-}.c,gFGT;. . , , .

4th %is lj;l~K, IMB ~

~ :: ~ ~:: ~ ~





= - :

- . fj$2d,.pi?$G - - *meno) . ; -~ -~. . --~-. . -~ :tsr.~liBV~fJf6e -~ - : - -. . - ~~. -~ . l a : . =


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6thi@&:,%3f@l.~:.~n~r .- A .~ regiments

INI' m$bi@ingfwer re@@nw; - . ~ ~~.~ ~~$ i. , @ @ ~ $ : M ~ & ,~~ ~ & ~ ~. ~


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The Philippines
Air attacks on the Philippines were piecemeal and not an overwhelming Pearl Harbor-like attack. The Pearl Harbor attack occurred at 0225, December 8 Philippine time. Nobflcation of the attack was received at 0650.The first JJN air attack struck a seaplane tender in Davao G u l f ,Mindanao in the extteme south at 0715, and the first air attacks hit Tuguegarao and Baguio, northem Luton. Further IJA and IJN attacks on Luzon from Formosa occurred throqgh the day. Themajor attack on Clark Field arrived at 1130.Devastating attacks on Cavite Navy Yard and Nichols Field were delivered on December 10.Air attacks 6 ' North and the JJN responsible continued, with UA aircraft limited north of 1 south of that latitude, a line passing aaoss the south end of Luzon's Lingayen

Gulf.The 14th Army w a s support& by elements of the 3d Fleet, reinforced by 1st and 2d Fleet elements under Vice A@iraI Takanishl Ibo, and the 11th Air Fleet under Vice Admiral TsdaharB Nishizo.



The main Philippine landings, December 10.1941-May 3.1942.

14thArny, Philippines Attack Forre Deaapber 8,194i


14th Am-Phlllppines Attack Force

16th Division ( 14,674)

48th Division ( 15,663)

65th Brigade (Army Reserw, 6.659)

4th. 7th Tank

14th S~gnal Regiment

6th Railway Rqirnent
I s t ( 15cm howiaer). 8th Independent ( I Otm gun) Heavy Artillery


Ah lndependenr HeavyArtillery Battalion (15crn gun)


15th Independent Momr Bartalion {32cm spigot)

40th. 45th. 47th. 48th Field AA Battalions

30th, 3 1st Independent Field AA Companies
1 I

3d. 2lst Independent Engineer

3d lndependent Engineer Company



26th, 28th Bridge Muteriel Companies

1 3th. 28th River Crossing Mnt4riel Companies

I st Field Military Police Unit

I ~t Sea Operation Unit Shipping engineer units Line-of-communications units

38th, 62d. 63d MotorTmsport regiments

5th Air Group

I11 atidition to the tror7ps of

it\ tiircct

the divisionr and brigade, the 14th Amly employed

1,021 men

in itr FFQ 28,447 in artillery and 5wpport units undcr

command, 2r),35fi l i ~ ~ e - o f - c o m n r ~ ~ ~ ~ troops, i ~ a t i oand n 9.331) 5hippirlg rnginccr trcmpr .-\linn?t 13.01W .Air Senlice peannnel ~>articipated. There were 10,500 U S Army (inclttding .Air Force), 12.WK) T7hilippineScouts (component of tile LIT rlrm!',, 1.71X) Xiarines, and t 20,IX)O Philippine Arm!. trmps, rnoqtlp undcr U S leadcnhip, Four Advance Attack Fnrces would land a t I\-idcly reparated sites on Luton ~ + i t most h launching from Fnrmo~a. On Dcccrnbcr X a 490-man Sasehn 2d SN1.E Batan Attack Force, seclircd tir~y Ratan Island roughlv halfway hetrveen Fnrinosa nnrl 1.uzon. Elemcnts of the I I A 24th :tidieid Rattalion jmprovcd the iiirrtrip and two figIrter regimclits arrivcd. An SSLF element then i~ccupictl Camiguin Irland on the 10th. The same night tlie lhnka nctacIirnent landed at Apzrti oil L~tzon'r north end alongwith ari element a t Gonpaga. The Kanno Detactlment, Icd by thc llS2 Fnrmora Itrfnntrl, commander, landcrl at Vigan on northwest [.tzzon. The ~tnopposerllandings ~ c ~ i ~ airfield5, red which wcrc xoan nperationn!.


Tanaka DePchrnent Col Tanah Tor" (1000)

2d Formosa Infantry (- k n o Detachment)
I Bamlton

I-). 48th MountainArtillery



40ch Field M b r l i o n

Aifield service elernentr

Kanno Detachment LKot Kanno (2.000)

Ill Battalion, 2d Formosa Infantry

Two companies. I Barnton. 2d Formosa Infantv

Company. 48th Mountain Art~llery

Company. 40th Field AA Battalion

company, 45th Field N tBattalion

,irfield service elements

On December 12 the Ki~nura Detachment, detached from 16th r)ivision, from tllc Palalls landed unnpposetl at Legasp on I.uznn1? $ouihcast Picol Peninsula to seciirc an airfield for thc IIN. 'this torcc pu.ihed up the peninsula toward Manila while thr 'T'anaka 13ctachrnen2, with the Kanno Detachment merged into it aftcs linking up on the 12t h, moved snuttr toward Lingaye11 Gulf leaving small security farics behind.
Kimua Detachment MajGen Kirnura Naoki (2.500)

HQ. 16th Infantry Group

33d Infantry (- I Battalion) Company. l 2 d FA

Company. 16th Engineer Kvre 1st SNLF 575
lstAirfield Construction Unit (IJN)

%!c)F~ oh the :\dvance Force \~nuld land on Luton as the Forthern Force, but the Mindanao Invation Force Ianded near 1Sarao City on southern Mindanao on L k e mbcr 20 against light resistance. Thc Sa kaguchi Detachment, launched from the I'alaw. was actuallv under 16th ,Arm!. control, which was rc~ponsihle for tlie M I . The ltfiura Detachment landed an the north side of Uar-ao and part of the Snkaguchi Detachmcnt to the southrrcst. The town wa5 wizcri and the airfield piaccd in operation. The lfiui-a Dctachrncnt, detached from ltith Division and arrigned to 14th .Army, remained as an occupation force. T11c bulk or the Sakaguchi Detachment prcparcd for thc Rritixh Uornco operation. It quickly diq~atchedthe Matsurnoto Detachnient to sccurc Joln Island halfway hcttveen bfindanao and Rornco.

Sakaguchi DetaEhment MajGen Sakaguchi Shizuo (5,000) HQ, 56th lnfanrry Group
Tankecre Unit. 56th Infantry Group

Med~cal Unit
I st F~eld Hospital 146th lnbntry I Battalion,56th FA I s t Company, 56th Engineer


2d Company, 5 bth Transporn

Miura Detachment Lr Cot M~ura Toshio

l Battalion. 33d Infantry

2d Kure SNCF 2d Airfield Construction Unit (FIN)

The Ungayen Bay landlng.and the drive muth to Cabanatuan.

Thc Main Forcr for thv I.uznn landings included thc 16th Ditirinn assemblcit at Amarni Shinla i n Ihc Ryltk?-t~s and the 48th Division ( - Tanaka and tianno Dctachmcntsl war on Eormora and thc Rscadvrcs snutl~t~~rst of I-nrnmo~a. 'FIre tran5pnrts wlcrc Fcladed amid fears of .Irner~canR- 17 hirmhcr a tzach and dcparrrd on Uccernher 17-1 8. The 84 transports with the 48th Division landed on the east ride of L~ngayct~ Gulf lurt before dawn in a rainstorm on Deccrnbcr 21 experimcing light resistance. The 48th Divirinn had ?ornewhat morc truck transport than most other divisions and one battalion in each regiment war equipped with hipcles. Rie rn~zch-reinforced rlivi~innlatlded i11 three .cchrlon~.

On December 23 thc Tanaka Detachment moving from the north linked up with t h e 48th Division, rlftcr fighting a delaying adion US-Filipino forcer rrcrc routed and hegan a fiahting ~vithdratz-al toward Bataan Pcninruh. The 48th Division drtwe down the .AgndTampanga Rivcr Valley south to kIanila, which was declared an open riv on Zt~c 27th. The Uejln~anetachrncnt lllq Infantry) ~votectrdthe right flank under 14t h Arm). control. 'The Lamon Ibrcc consist~d of 7,000 troop3 o f the 16th l>ivirion (- 9th nrld 33d Jnfantrpj. I.anlon Bay is Fncated at the northeast side of the ncck ot the Picol Peninsula whcrc it joins thc main irland srntthrart of Manila. The 21 transports departcd :Irnami Shlrna on Dercn~brr1 7 and arrived t ~ v o rlily? after the [.ingapen Force. I>ecr.mhcr14.I.anding in the dark, I1120 Infantry and an artillcr!. cornpatly la1idt.d at \laut>an to cecurc thc right flank and 1/20 and the tcgitnental Run company <ecurcdthe left flank at Siain. Thc Sascbo Zd

SNLF secured try17 SF -.-' withdrawing 21efnw - were not prcpared tn -* and began niovinc to:. linked up t\.ith the 16'


---i- h m o n Bay. US-Filip~no forces were


*, .

.-mcnt p u ~ h i n gup the peninruln and . "'?v main hod? landed near Atimtman !kernher 25 the Kjmura Lletachrncilt its control.

?-!I rcl-cned to

After the US-Fitipino forccs slippt~i tlim~lghSan Fernnt~rioto Ralaan the 'fanaka Detachment to the east ant1 tEic Takahash Detachment to the wert continued the pursuit. TIlc 'hkahashi Detachment rvas tlie rcnanlcd and reorganized Karniiima Detachment, after its commander had bccn killed on ncccmbcr 30,:I C'SFilipino rear guard continued to fight a holding action to allo~vdefenses to be estabtishetl and the Japanere relieved the battered Tanaka Dctachnlent rvittr the lmai Iletachmcnt. TRc US-Filipino ivithdra~val into Bataan was completed on J a n l ~ 6. n~ To tllir point the Iapancsrt had loqt only 627 tfcad and 1.281 wounded. US-Filipitlo forcer llad l o ~ Pt.<,lK)O m combat, to illnen~, or
to desertion.

Tanaka Detachment ColTanakdTom

2d Formosa Infantry


Bataan operations. Phase I. early-January f o late-February 1942 The UEFillprno positions shown (ln ouve green) are based on Japanese assessments of thew deployment and are not necessarily the same as reported by the Luzon Force.

1st Formosa Infantry Two battalions.48th FA Battalion, lot Independent HzavyAAky Company,7th Tank

As the 14th Army was preparing to assault Bataan, it rkeived orders to release le 48th Division and 5th Air Group to Java and Thailand, respectively, along ith many support units. The 65th Brigade relieved the 48th on January 7-8. onsidered a marginal unit with only one month's company-level training, it ad landed at Lingayen Gulf on the 1st. Most of the 16th Division has been assembled, but its 9th Infantrp was attached to the 65th Brigade. Some 80,000 poorly armed, under-supplied USRlipino mqs were now ntatned on Bataan. The 14th Army attacked on January 9, but after two weeks le attack stalled, even though the enemy suffered heavy loses. The 16th Division



Bataan operations, Phase 2, IataFebrusry w early-May 1942 The UYfilipino pidons shown are bared on Japanese asseameno of thelr deploymenr and are not nec@ssarlly the m e as reported by the luzon Force.

14th Army-Baraan
16th Division (-)


65th Brigade (+)


1 st ( 15cm howitzer). 8th Independent ( I Ocm gun) Heavy FA 111 Barnlion, 5 1 s t Mountain Anillery

10th Independent Air Unit


14th Army, Bataan Force January8,1942

Manila war declared an open city on December 27. 194 1 In an effort t o halt Japanese bombing.and Japanese internees were released.The advance guards of <he 48th Division from the north and 16th Div~sion from the south enrered the city on january 2. 1942 e s restore order. as widespread loot~ng and arson had broken our.

and Kimura Detachment cnncl~ictcda holrling actinn on the east coast tvhilc t h e 65th Rrigadc la~~nchcd the main attack nn the west coast. The IlllZO and 9th Infant? conducted anackt in thc center. 11/20 Infantfl landed scattered along Rataan'~~outh~vcst cowt on lanuary 23 and was wiped out by Fcbruq* 1. Next 1 Rattalinil landed 10 the north on the nighh of januay 26/27 and Fehrttary 1/2 and was destroyed by Fv'chmary 13. The 9th Infantn: attachcrl to the 65th ljrigacle, reverted ti1 16th fii!*irinn-c-on trot o r 1l a n u a ~ 31. . Exhausted, thclapanere furpended offenrivc opentinnr on tht. 8th after lming 7,000 dcari and ~r.ounrIed

plur 113,000 ~ i c k .


Kirnura Detachment MajGen Kimvra Naoki (5.000)

HQ. t 6th Infantry Group

ZOrh Infantry (- I Battalion)

122d Infantry,65th Br~gade (- two companies)*

Half mn company, 33d Infantry


AT company. 33d Infantry


1 22d Infantry reverted to 65th Brigadesantml on 1 9 February.

Tllc IGI-IQ rsn5 jubilant orneti t 5 other successes and rvnr not a ~ e r l y concerned behind schedule. The IGHQ Reserve, tlie 4th Ilirisinn, war dispatched fmm Shanghai. Jt was poorly equipped and undermanned with only 10,957 ttoopr. Its hattalion5 hart only tlrree companies, no :\T Runs, and ~t lacked two of 1 t 7 fnur Ilnspitals. Thscc rcinforccd repi~ncntr detached f o m othcr d~v~qin along n ~ with mimcsous artillen. units from lrlalaya and Hong Kong wcrr sent. Somc 7,rlnrI rcplaeen~ent~ fnr the battered 16th nivirinn and 65th Rrigaric a l w arrived. 'She rcinfnrcemcnks arrivcd lletwetln ~nid-Fehrunryand cnrl?l-;\priI. 'The rcncwecl nffensivc began with prrlirninay operations on March 12. Cln April 3 thc nrnin asrault began ~ i t the h 16th Divi~ionin the \vest conducting n diversionnr!' attack whifc thc 4th Division antf ihc Nagano 1)rtachmcnt broke thrcwgh in the cast. The 65th Rrigadc pcnetratcd tlie center resu!tin~ in n ~cncrnl Cr.SFilipino rctrcat. l l c 10th Independent Garrison Unit (10 lIr~k~rrit.qrr Slt!fhiti~i)
that Hataan tva5



IjN Type 97 [ 1937) Model 2b "Salty" bombers approach Corregidor. The white strip on the island's rail is Kindley Landing F~eld.The 6 l s t Infantry's planned landrng site
was ro the right of Cavalry Point. buc the actual landing was between Cavalry and lnfantry polnu.

Nagano Detachment (2lst Division) (3.939)

HQ. 2 1 s t Infantry Group. MaiGen Nagano Kameichiro

62d Inhnrry
Barnlion, 5 1 st Mountain Artillery
Company. 2 1 sr Engineer

Kawaguchi Detachment (I8th Division) (3.622)

HQ. 35th lnfantry Brigade. MajGen Kawaychi Kiptake

1 24th lnfantry

Knwamura Detachment (5th Division) (2.667)

HQ, 9th Infantry Brigade. Kwvamum Sburo

41 s t Infantry

lkug Detachment
10th Independent Garrison Unit. Col lkum Torao

3 1st-35th Garrison battalions

-- ~-

6 1st Inhnrry troops are shown here disembarking from landrng boats on Corregidor's norch coast, e n what is a scaged photograph probably e~cher or one show~ng late-arriving troops. SO many landrng craft were lost during che first assault that the 37rh Infantry's follow-on assault could nor be del~vered to the ~sland's west end, denying the Japanese their typical doubteenvelopment landrng.

The asuult on Corregidor, May 5 4 . 1 9 4 2

A unit pack train p e s through a Filipino village. It wss common far hone-handlers m make Sraw"sUn bonnau" w pmtecr their chase from the hear (Yoshinobu hkakun)

T W a p s Qf rhe 61% InfanUy t3@t

their way up what they nicknamed "Gun Smob bad," located on Corregdor's "tail," headingOdWvd l%llnm Hifl and rha utnei complex houalng the hhdk eomrnand pwt The fiwwept mad w lhrered with w m d d vehicles ahsr month3 of bombprdment (Gmlchlm InoW?.)

rellewd the 16th W o n as it shifted to the east and fobwed the 4th Mvision around the south end to mop up the east coast. After a hlrd figbt and existing on siaavation ration$ some 7 5 , W U ~ ~ o p o mmndered p s on April 9. Now 1 0 , 2 6 4 7USBpino W o p held out on Comgidor and othm Mmik Bay foItified islands. The 4th Wain& mas responsible far rIhe Rock'5" lmch d e h m . Cortegdor wm m d e d by bombars,fzmDecember 29,1941 untilJanumy 6. Occasional raids were Iawchd and m e r p bombatdrnent commenoeti on Februmy 5 foUowed by renewed air am& on March 24. More heavy m a y foined in a f t a Bataan fell to total 116 p i (7.5, 10, 15, 2 b ) . The Nagano Detachment had been asiped the assault, but it was Mfgned to the Qth DivSion and ser for May 5. The assault Earn depaaed Bataan in darkness and w a 8 heavily battered 9 Comgidor's coast defense guns. I and I 1 1 6 1 Mantfy landed on the north shw o f the island's eastem tail and t q h t toward the Lvger west end. The 37th Infantry wss urc&ie to wnduct the fonow-on Ianon the w e s t end, a8 so many landing barges wMe lost in the &st landings. The $arrison m d e r e d thenext morning.The other three f d e d islandsmmndered to the 336 Infamry the next day. Japanese losse were heavy, net only on Corregidw

LtGen Jonadun M.Wainwrigh2 CommandingGeneral. U S Forces h ha Philipplnc~, diacuaet @ma of w m d e r with LcGen Homma Meaakm, Cornman&, i14dr Amry on BPtePn.oo May 6,1941Waimwighr could only r u m l t e r hose b r a on Corragldar and the aher Manila Bay forr(fid islands. and n a those In the sourKern Philppiner Homma left the meeting andwttnwrishc returned .to Com&tlor,whsre he wn~ndered w 6 1 Sam Gempachi, Gommander, 61% l ~ . ~ Hiyamom) r o

hut on Rataan ar rl~cll.The 5th and 16th Di\isinnc and 65th Rrigade rsere no l~mgcr cfkctive Fighting trni ts. The 2.6KIO-man ?nth I r ~ f a n E had ccared to exist.

il'hile the battles for Rataan and Corrcgitbr raged, routhem Luzon war clccupied by only Col Stvulii Tatrunoshkc'r 33d InFantry (- t and 11 Rattnlions! and the 18th Keconnais5ance I- one company). Ttc primar!. rnis~iailwar to pwvent Filipinor sending b o d t o Corrcgidor from \.Ianila Bay'q south shore. new Suzuk~DetacIlrnent I III/.33 infant^; company. 23rl F:l) was organi7cd ancl 1 1 1 1 I:elsruar). 26 it lar~dedunopposerl on the north end nf Mindoro s o u t h ~ r e s t o f l.u7on. Thcrc were only 50 defendcn in Ihe south, t:~~rther opcrationr t r l O C C U P ~the f ' i ~ a y a ~ the . many islands in the central Philippines, and thc wuth began i n .April. 'The 65 th Brigade moved to north I.uzon tclr occupation duty. 'I'he Kawoguchi Detachment on Rnrnco (detacherl from the 18th Division in hlalaya) landcd on Cebu on April 10. Thc main landing waq 011 the rvest-central coast and at five other points to includc the eatt coart. The 6,5110 defenders w r c pushed into t h e hilIs and the Japanese declared the irland secure o n t h r 19th. Panay, crIefendcd hy 7,I)OO US-Filipine troops, ivar next. The 5th Divirion had sent the Kawamura Detachment from Thailand. It landcd cln the north and rout11 ends on April 16. tl smallcr element landed on the west coast on the 1Xth. The dcfenclcrs quickly tvithdrew into the liillr and t h e island was tleclared secure on the 20tl1. IVhilc the stluth cmart ot Mincianao had been secured in Iate Dcccrnh~r, significant USFilipinn fnrces were stilI at large on t h e Phjllppinc5' sel-onJ largest irland. The Kalsagl~chiIktachrnent, after securing Cebu, landed on the r w s t ccntral coart of M ~ n d a n a n on April 29. The ?viiura Detachment, frotn the original invasion fort?, moved wcrt f r o m L>avaoBav. The 32d Kaval Base Force tanriecl o t ~ the north mast on klarcl? 2 whilc the Kawamura Detachment from Panay also lar~dcvl in the north the next day. After sharp engagements the US-1:iiipino force surrendered nn May 10. The N a ~ a n oDetacIlmcnt. after fighting on Rataan, occupic~l Ncgrun, Rr~hof,Leyte, and Samar between .May 21) and 25. Only small UsFilipino forcer defended there iflands. After t h e rurrrnder o f C:orregidor thcre was c ~ n f ~ i ~ as i o tn o the surrcndcr of US-Filipino forcer in the ccntral and southern I'hifippizres. hIac;\rth~~r attempted to coun tcr W n i n w r i ~ h torder '~ for t h o w force5 S o ~urrender, Fearing
A .\

thc captives held o n turr~n ~ - . ~ 7 ~ t ' r !k mmssttcred. t h e v ~ u t h c r n h r c c \ formally rlrrrendcrcd hctrve.c.1.n\I.:\ !(! a!?<! Zh with the last elcrncnts 3~1rrrndcring un June 9. OnIy t'rry m a ? l n u m b < {In thew Islarid5 itctualjy silrrcntleretd w ~ t h mo\t witlidraw~nr:Into t h e Ilr'lr and organizing plcrrilla operation<. R i e Japanese only occupied the citics and a few Enrgcr town?,seltlr~rn venturing into ~ hc cn u n t v r i d c except in large Ixxjit.r in uncnthuria3tic efforts t o engage the gucrrilla~.Son~cI O,O(HF Japanere died in thc 19iilippi ncs. S o t crippl~ngfor a forcc nf 142,000 Icxclurivc of thc 11x1, hut tly far tlic t i i ~ h e r t lnrwr siihfcred in t h e Southcrn C)peraltions anti t l ~ c cornhat unit.; had tn t ~ c rc.hiiilt, u)nlv twice. On J u n e 19 t h e 14th .Irlny Ical relieved from So~ltller~i :Irtny ctlntrcll anrl placed directly under the I(iH(2. wa? rrcallerl t o Japan nrld gi\+cn a V~C?(IT'F ! ! l ~ I ~ ~ but n i ~ war , nnt allorcctl t o dclircr llic repclrt directly to tile I:mperor. Con~idcrcddisgraced for hiling to continue thc attack on Batann without rcinfnrcemcnt and fur not meeting t h e ti111c schcd~~lc. hc war rdievcd hy t.tGcn 'I'aoakn Shizuichi a n d placcd on thc rescrtJc li>t in .\ugust 194.3.

Netherlands East lndies

'l'hc cnntlueqt elf the NEI was a c u m l ~ l e sand Icngthl; opcratinrz. M'idcly rcaktcrcd I<cq.itl NethrrEands East Indlc5 Arm!; Btitirh and :Iu?tralian unit%,and even a single US artiIlcry I~attnlion dcfcndcd the \.ax! chain of idirnd?. Chly on 1m.a were significant :\Iliccl ft~rccs conccntmtcd. 'I'hc :lmcrica~l-Rritisfl-Uutcll, ~Iustmlia Commnr~cl (.\RIIACC>UI was c~tahli$hcd tcl defend tRc "lrlalny Barrier, " but thc forces tvcrc. too divcrrc, scaktt.rt.d, weak, anit t~ncr~cjr~lina ted to be effective. Ii'hen tlrc Sctlicrlancl\ tell to (;crn~an\OH 1.3 \lay IWI tllc XF.1 remained autonomnur. Vichy Yrancc agrcctl tcl piarc t h c NFI under ,layranp$c anrl I'rcnch "protectinn," rv1iic)l ot courxc wa\ rcjcctccl 1)y the NEI gnvcrrlrrlctlt. Thc NEI sltspcndcd alI export$ tn Japan, rvllich rzas dernantling tnore o i l in light of thc US anti Conrmnnwcalth rn~llargo. 'Thc l'ir~t t J ~ ~ t ct~rritory h rcizcti by Japan ryere thr tiny I h m r I a n hlnndc hctwccn Rornco and Singapore. ..\ navaI la~lding party carlie ashore on [kcernher ?7. 'Tlic. five-prong campsign wax launched on January 1 1 , 19-12 rmw npcration5 were wrll u n t l e m ~ ~ Iny kl,ilava, Thailand, and Htr rma. I b c YE1 opcrat ion tvrr~ild be mnducted in wveral pliart.%. Irlitially thc 16th i r n ~ v conlm~tterl only the 2d IIlv~~in and n 35th and 56th Infantry C;roup~(aka 56th blised Infantr?? Group) detachrd from the 56th Divi~ion.7bc .IXth and 48th Uivirionr would be committed later. The 2d I.leet supported the Wi! operations. The firrt operations were actually aimed a t Rritiqli Borneo, thc northern and d i~icludedSort)? Rornm and two Hritirh Ilroteclorater, third nf the ~ r l ~ n Saratvak and Hrunci, p1us I.alt>~tan Idand at t h e rnuuth of Hrur~eiRay flne of ihc British Straitr Settlcmcnts. Rath Britirti and Dutch R~lrnenwere coveted for their oil and mhhcr. The Kawapichi Detachment, dctai Ied from the 18th Division in China (now in Malaya), {\,as assigned to scizr Rritisl~ Rornco. It departed Cam Ilanh Uay, Indochina a n December 12. In darkness un thc 16th thc Right Flank U n i t f1211h I r ~ h n 1-11 t ~landed unopposed a t Miri and the Left Flank L'tlit tII1/1211 a t Seria. Brunei. The oilfields and airfields ~vcrc to bc capturcd ant! plrlccd in opcrntiol~ its
16th Army-East
Zd Division lndies Attack Fume

A heavy rnachine.gun crew mover forward. In the East lndies the few roads were often obstructed by Allled roadblock and prone to air anacks.The lungle was dense and trails few.The ~nfanrry would simply use srreams as cra~ls, rnak~ng faster headway than cutting through the jungle would achieve.

35rh Inhnrry Brigade

56th Infantry Group 17th Independent FA I s t Independent Engineer

39th. 109th Motor Transport Regiments

16thArmy, East IndiesAttack Force



Borneo apenrionr, December 12. 1941Sebruary 13,1942.

i r Despite AUied a at Ktiching, Sarawakon losses and was fad eo : ? o w n progressively occupied losses and the Indian

most fadlities though. IU/124 , North Bomeo on the 19th. e k e d their transports and landed bilttalion suffered heavy &#e.-west Dutch Borneo. The Japanese on British Bomeo. They suffered few folrrd to stmender on April 1.

Tlmor opentiom, Februay 1942. The lw demchment octuuied

between October and December 1942.

Kawaguchf Detachment MaiGen Kawnguchi Kiyotake

HQ, 35th t h n t r y Brigade
124ch Infantry (3,275)

Company (- two platoons). 26th lndependent Engineer

Platoon. 12th Engineer Elements. 18rh Division Signal Unit Elemena, l8rh Division Medical Unit


4th Field Hospital

Element. I Irh Water Supply Unit

33d Field AA Battallon


2d Independent Engineer Company

80th independent Radio Platoon


37th Fixed Radio Unir

Element, Oil Dritllng Section. 2 1 s t Field Ordnance Depot

lstslrh Field Well Drilling Companies

HQ.48th Anchorage
1 18th Llnd Duty Company
ElernentYokosuka Zd

SNLF 746

4th Naval Consrructfon U n ~260 t


-The Sakagmchi Detachment scized Tarakan tslanrf an tho lipper eaTt coast d 17utuh Borneo on 11Innuan. 'The unit rcar sent from hfindanan i n the Philippinc~ to land on thc small islarld's east coast. .-\ftcr stout resistance the 1,300 Dutch a~rrendercd the next day. thc day o n wliicli Japan finally cieclared war on the KEP.
Sakaguchi Detachment MajGen Sakaguchi Shizuo (5,500}

HQ, 56th Infantry Group

~mkette ~orn~a;, 56th Infintry ~ m u p
Group Medical Unit (with Ist Field Hospital)

146th Infantry

I Barnlion. 56th FA
Ist Company, 56th Englneer

2d Company. 56th Transport

Element. Kure I d SNLF

2d Oilfield Construction Unit (IJN)


5th Alrfreld Construction Unit (IjN)

Following Tarakan, the Sakaguchi Detachment reorganized to assault Ralikpapan and 1t5 important ojlfjcldr, C l l l 2 1 3 January the convoy departerd Tarakan and arri~rcd at Ilallkpapnn on the night o f the 24th. .4mcricar1 destroyers sank \ix transports, but the troops had a'lrcady loadcd aboard their landing craft. Thc main bod!: t l i r Attack Unit, landcd north of RaIlkpapan reaching the outrkirts on thc 25th. :\ dctachal battalion, the Surprisc :Ittack LTl~it,infiltrated up a river south of thc town anrl thcn moved nurtl-r to Ralikpapan. The two ~znitr nccupierl the town on the 26th after rnorleratc fighting. Thc Kwne Dctaclimct~twith Ill46 Infantry (- trvo companies1 w r then formcd to securc the major sirficlds. : I detachment of the 146th Infantry tvas ~hippcd rt~tth and moved ovrrlancl to w-ire Ikindjermasin on Borneo's 5011th

Sakaguchi Detachment

HQ, 56th Infantry Group

Assault Unic. Col Yarnarnoto I Battalion,56th FA 1st Company,56th Engineer (- ptarwn)

146th Infantry (- II Battalion. rwo companies)

Armored Car Company. f 6th Reconnaissance Surprise Artack Unit Maj Kaneuii
II Battalion, 146th Infantry


Platoon, I st Company. 56th Engineer

Independent engineer platoon

Salvage Unit Maj Takagi

Field AA bamfion

Two companies, 146th Infantry

Independenr:engineer company (- platoon)
Transport company

Two radio platoons

Group Medical Unit Company. Kwre 2d SNLF

m i d Gmup

Sakaguchi Detachment, 56th Infantry Group

end. which accamplishcd i t s mission on rchniary 13. :E l~attalinn of ttw 124th Infantry, ddispatchcd from Sararuak. occupied Pemangkat nn l>utch Bnrneo's i~ppcr wert const on 27 Januay and then Puntianal;, clefendcd by 500 Dutch, to the south, on the 29th. Celches war garrisoned by 3,100 Dutch troopr in thrcc rcmorc Incation<.The IJNscized this rpra~vlingisland with thc :3,.5On-mai1Sasebo I:omhined SKI.!: tSasebo 1st and 2d SN1.I:r) landing on thc north pcninrtila on January 11. T l ~ c lbkosuka 1st SNLF, staging from nayan, Xlindanau, parachuted onto Menado .Airfield o n the same pcninrula. Elements of tllc Kurc 1st SNLF landed on the rolltheart peninwla on the 24th. On Fehninry 9 troops of the Sarcho Corn hined SSLF landed at hfakassar to ozeen\-helmthe dcfrnder5, all nf whom atrrenderrd hy the month'r end. :\mbon is a ma11 island off the south coast of Ceraln. Itr occupatiun necessary c o secure airbase5 to cover thc Randa Sea gap hct~vccn Timor. This ?\*as

a main approach into the NEI from Australia. The Ito Detachment was dispatched from the 38th Division after having seized Hong Kong.The SNLFwas sent from Davao. 2,800 N E T troops and a reinforced Australian battalion of 1,170 defended the island. The defenders were on the lailknor Peninsula jutting from the south coast. On the ~ e hof t lanuarv 30131 the SNLFlanded at the isthmus joining the peninsula to lthe main isiand and the Ito Detachment on the southeast end. The Dutch forces surrendered on January 31 and the Australians on February 1. Timor was divided in half between Dutch (west) and Portuguese (east) Timo~. Dutch Timor was defended by MK) Dutch and 1,320 Australian troops. Neutral

. .HQ, 3% -.

i er$e,%

-~ -~

. - ,
d .

~ ~

228th lnfaniry Cot Doi 3,800

I bmiion, 38th .~o&din &llerf

. . =,, I

Company, 38rh Engineer

~. j J & g j @ 1 . ~ ~-


iBs$&JJ ~ 2 -~ ~ ~

-=, < : ~- ---

; : +

. -.= .? :-

=- . j = ~ > YE:-A~~L:+:~L=
y k = + ? : * z =



2 8 ,

Sumam operaions February 78



Portuguese TImm was @uiswm~lbg 400 colomal troops when 320 Australian floops occupied the wlony's capital, Dili. The commandos and 260 thdd~ Portuguese governor potestea a s he had the option of requesting assistance from the Australians and Drttrtr if attacked by Japan, but this had not yet occurred. A Portuguese battabbn was en mute from Mozambique, Africa, but it landed at Dili. The It0 DetXhment and would turn back when * & p s e

Java operations, March 1-9, 1942

3 0 0 mcn of the YoLmuka :Id S5L.T lantlcd cln Fel~rt~ar\20 nn Putuh Timor'r wtrth cinrf hehil~tttllc d c f e n d t r ~ .5o1nr ,350 I T ~ ~ ~ ~ T O ( > tti ~C the T FI c ~and 2d Raidin?: Kegimenir parachuteti ontrr airileld5 tci tIi 700 morp rlrnpl7ed ovcr the next tnw day\, O n F c b r u a ~20 Inpanew troops d ~ t a c h e dt r ~ mthc 229th Infnntr!, p,c<iRiy a battalion. latrdcd near Ctili d i r r t ~ n r d i n g Portu~af's r~eutrality. TIlc \u~tralian< withdrew into I'ortupcw I'irnnr or1 tjic 24th. tIir 250 ~urvivorr latcr lin h i n t11) ~ \\-itE~ t hc cnmmat~dn corn p a w Thcy hcgaii a <tlccershtl guerrilla war nitlcd the Uutch. P r i r t ~ ~ ~ ~ and ~ r rTimnrc.;~ c, on E a ~ tTinlor firrl Vrng down the I!r> Detachment and lntcr the entire ~ ~ ' l i c v i n 4Rth g Divicion. The 25th .Army \\-as rcrlionrihlc for Malaya and t ~ i also r awi~ned Sumatra even Zhuugh the 1htI1 .-\mi)' war rcrpnn<ihlc fur tl-~e rest of t h c S E I , d u e to Surnatra'3 pmuimi t?' t o \Inlay. The tccnnd largest concrnt ration nf SEl troop5 dcfendcd f u m a t m tvith -1,5(H) men pl115a fcrc thousanrl: .lu3tralFan and British perronncl rccrc on thc island, mainly aircrerz'r and rervicc pcrwnnc.1. SIorc (:irininonivcalth tronpr; r ~ n u l d arrive after Singapr~re fell rm Fehn~ar!. 15. A t thc same time 4urtraliat1 and Hriti5tl flc~iindcnrnhat unitr arrived. Thc omgtlcst nf Sumatra ~ r o u l d hc c u n d ~ ~ ed r t in trcn pliaw5 al t lrnugli air battler rvcrc being f o ~ ~ over ~ht thc islai~rl a% tlie hlalayan campnixn intendlicd. On 14 Fchr~lary260 paratmopcr< of tlic 1st Raiding Reginrent. rtnging

froin kfalaya, drnpped nntc? an airficld , ~ n dnil refincries a t Palernhang on routhcn%tSir matm. Thry \\.ere rcinforced hy tnnre rwer the next cuupIe of days. The irlaiid capital, Palernhang, soon fclE (In t h e 15th. Thc 38th Divirinn at Cant Runh Ray. Incfochina. was arrigncd quznatra having hccn rclicved from 23d :\rniv, l~rlrterwhich it seizcd Hnng Knng. .A battalion o r tlir 229th Infantry sccurcd Kanhn Island o f f tI~c coast lrom I'alernl,an~ an the 14th. O n ttlc 15th tlie re51 of t h e 22c~tlr Infanrr!: rcinforced hy 111l?.<O Infantry. and under the colnniant! of Col 'Ihnakn, rnovcd u p the kluri R i ~ * chy r landing barge to aesnuI1 l~alcmbang. 'This forcc w o n entered tliu capital. t ) n the 17th ~ome 3,I)O(E Ccm~monr\.calth and P t ~ t c htroops rcerc e l acuatrti acrnsr the Sunda Strait tn J n r ~ after ah and on in^ much equipment. On the 23rd t h e Japancsc incitctl a native upri5ing on northern Si~matm.SInst of routhern Siimnlra rca< wutrred hy the 24th ~vitlts i x ~ ~ ~ f ~nunlbrr< c a n t of dcrcndcrs a n d cvnc~icr< from Singapore surrcndcring. 1h c srcontl phaw of fecurin): Sumatra began on March 11 r\*ticn the Guards IJirisinn arrivcd Irozn Sin~aporc. [Slrrnents of t h c Division landcrl at Madan o n the upper northea5t toazt a ~ r c lKoetaradia o n Sumntra'r nort heart end as i+-elI as ~ t h p \ite> r ~'xperiencinglittle rcrirtance. ;\ force from the 38th 13iviqion in the wrtth later linked u p wit tl thr (;uard$ D i ~ i r i o n .Fort de Koch war secured on the !;rli and nn the 28th tlir rcmailiing 2,000 Diltrrh troopc ~urrendered. I h r SIII'F. rnain anrl m i l s t pc~l~ilated rrland mr Ja\a with 4.3 million. Rata~ia, near rtir n o n h end. was, the capital of both thc S K I and Java. l'hrcc IS~~tcti "divirionr," Iargc bngadca dcfcnrld the island with 9.(HH) Dt~tch repilarr, 14,m) 13uti-h \moluntcers, and IZrj,lMKI nativv troops. 3,5(H1 Iiritirh anif J.mW) Australinn trnnpr plus n US attill? hnttatinrl backed tt~ese.T l ~ c r c were alw snnlc 12,OIX) Rriti~h nnd Dutch air fotiv perwnncl. 7hc maill naval hme in the S E I wa5 F.ocstcul at Smra'l~aja on thc castcrrl north cnart. li'ith C~~nralra to thr r?olthr\-e~2 mortlv secured h y the Jnpancsc. l h e snrnll island of Rali off Java'r east end rcas tllcn wised tn hegin the larger islat~d's itoldtion. Thc ?,Om-man Kanemura 17ekarhrncnl from t11? 48th Tlivisiori, with III Ilatralion, 1xt 1:ormnra E n fantry, landtd unnppnsed on Bali'r 5outt1 coast on I:rbruary 1 '? rccuring thc island t h c next day. -\IIied naval forcrs i~ttemptedto inrcrccpt thc inva5ion forcc cft~ringthc Rattlc of hadoen): Strajt off Ilali'~ east end, hut the lapanew prcvailetl. \I1fth Sumatra in Japanese handr ant1 tlic :\llicf unrertai 11 that lava could Iw held, .\2%1).11:O'il was d~s~olvcrl on I:~llruan.7.5. Tt\w Japancrr cnnvctyr wcrc appmachit~gJnl.n and most remaining :\llicd rhips attc'rnpt~rl to rntcrccpt thc ra>tcrn forcc. 'l'he rewlting Battle of t l ~ c j a r a Sca on thc 27th <a\c tlic wn'iving ,\Elicd drip%f2ecing aro~lild Javn'r wcrt end where

^ r ' S*.:nda Strait on the 2Rth. Allied sea and air more were Fost durinr power in the area W._T ---.-- . nrrn-existent. A two-prong attack, west and east, would b e d re..-+ z- *:- ?. - i c e the Allied counterattacks and delaying While the landin- me* r;actions inflicted some 62-7 iz *5e Id Ilivirion as the three detachments pushed south and easf trnrn: n':rrd F,andceng with the Naru Detachment in the lead. R v the 5th all Allied t l P . - ~ i t 2 ~wthtfmwn to Randneng.



U i -

hment HatGe- N a u Yumio

H (2.2d


16th Infantry (- l Batgllon\

I Battalion. 2d FA (- I s t Cwnpany)
I st Company,2d Engineer
Two m c k transport companies

2d Reconnaissance (attached after landing)

Fukushima Detachment Col h r k

II I 5tl

4th lnfanvy (- I 1 1 Battallon)

2d Company. 2d Engin-i

rment Col Sato Hans

Engineer (

With the 2d Division landing on Java's northwest end, a force war needed to land to the east to secure the flank and cut off Allied forces From the eastern portion of the aland. The Shoji Detachmen! was detached from the 38th IXvision, which had taken Hong Kong and was preparing for Sumatra, and attached to 16th Army on January 16, The Detachment itself was a t Hong Kong, moved to Formosa, then Cam Ranh Ray. It had departed the same time as !he 2d Division, but took a separate route to land well east of Batavia at Eretanwetan and seized an inland airfield. After inflicting hcavy casualties on the Rritish it moved west tnwasd Bandoeng. At one point though a 1st Dutch Division counterattack forced it to withdraw fromSoebang, but it soon

regained the lost ground.

hment Cu

Barnlion,38th MountainArtillery (- one comp;

(continued on poge 82)

Thc 2d Di\*ision cootinucd to cIore in on Bandoeng from the Icest and north ar tlie Shoji netact~ment approached from the east. The Sakaguchi Petachrncnt also rnnr'tng in fmm the east trnuld cut off escape to the south rrce beloruj. NET native t m o p were demorallzcd anrl desert~ng,Allied aircraft had Ilccn dcrtraved or cvacuatcd, and tl~crc rva~ no hope of reinforcenrcnr or evacuation. The Dutch commander currcndcrcci 66.250 ~ r o o p on ~ S March and the Japanese claimed victor!. in rve.crtcrn 1ar.a the next day. It 1rra5 dctcrmincd that a guerrilla war M-nuldhe impractical considering thc animosity of many Indonesians towarrls l\*estrrns. On the 12th 5,600 British, 2,800 .Australians, and 900 .Americans ntrrcndcrcd. The 48th Division had been rclthdn~vnfrom the Philippine$ a t the end of January and concentrated on Jnlo in ttlc Sulu .-Irchipelaga tr, prepare for eastern Java operations. In conr'ny dcpnrtcd on f:ehruarl; 1') calling at Rali kpapan, Rornetr to c m h a k the Saknpuchi L>ctachment from thr: 56th IJiivi<inn! ICM t hr detachincnt rvhich had captlrrcd Bandjerrnasin~. Tlle convc~y dcpnrtcd nn the 23rc1, but rcns iittdcked h!' .4lliecl aircraft en route. This dclnycd the landit~g h ! ' 24 hnrrrs anrl the ctlnvryr arrived nff eartcm Java nn 1 March. The 48th Division landed at liragan west of Sneral~ajathat morning. The I n ~ aUnit i landed west of Kmgan to qccure t h e right flank and provide artillery a up port. The .4he Unit laf~dctl to thc cast of the town to protccn t h c 'hnaka Unit a5 i t seized the Tjepoe Clilticld.'l'he Tanaka U t ~ i woi~ld t tf~cn rccltrc Hodjnnegoro inland along with the Kitamura Unit raiia Rndjancgorcl Itaiding Linit, under LtCol Kitamura Kum, consisting of t h e -18th Ilecnnnai~wncc.All uilit5, aftrr moving ~ v e t inland, l then advanced nn Soerahaid from the south. The Sa kaguclli Detachment separated from the main forre a n d mwed rcert to occupy l'j~latjapon the south coast htocking the evacuation of .l\llied force$ concentrated at Randaeng. A s elrcwhcre tlie P i ~ t c hfought a delay~nga r t ~ o nfall in^ hack o n Socrabnia. They were 5ucccwfitl in hold in^: hack the lapanese until thc 8th when the invaders finally cntcrcd the city. Mort 4lliccT forces had withdrawn to Madocra Island just off o f Soerahaia, twt wrrrndered nn t h e 9th. The area was declared sccure on the 12th.

12'ith Java secured. the Sakaguchi L>ct;~chrnen t returned tcl Burma rrrioining the .ihth Divisicm. Thc Kancrnt~ra I3rtachine1lt 011 Hali rejoined the 48th Division (In lava rrhilc. t l ~ r I1N toc~l, OI'CT rcsponsihiliv fns HnIi and the L e ~ ~ e r Sunda lglandr cast c ~ jara. f l'lir 3t'tnii P c " t a ~ I ~ i ~ on i t ~Java i f war mnved to Sumatra

rejoin the JXth Division and the units on Tinlor also dcployed t o Sumatra with t l ~ 48th c r)i\.icinn taking over occupation du tier on Timor. Tile 2d nivhion garriruned Java.

South Seas
TIIP Japancrc had controlled tlw hiandated Tcsrltnry sincr 1920 ha\.ing taken it from (;crrnany in le1-I. This vast area of thc Central I'acific encvmpasscd the Marshall, Czaroline, and hlariana Islands. Thc Mandatc, granted by the Lcaguc of Nationr, had given Japan f r ~ l lcontrol of olvcr 2,000 \mall islands. Only Guam nn thc 5011th end of the hIariiinas. an American possesrion since 18'17, wa? outride their span of control. To dcfcnd the Mandates the 4th Fleet \%'.as crtahllshcd in 1939 from the South Sca Dcfcnsc Fnrcc. .After rewing a two-yeas notice Japan wfithdte~' from the 1,eaguc of Yatlon5 in 19.75 and tile blandatc w a 3 clased to Westerners. Japan estal~lislied a ~clf-contained dcf~nsc FyFtcm in each of the three island groups ccntcrcd on Inluit, 'Truk. and Saipnn. respectively. Truk was dcvcloped as lapan's cquiva!cnt of P ~ a r lHarbor. \s tat? as 1939 Japan denied it rvas fnrtifving the islands. The 4th Fleer rvnr not an operational fleet in t l ~ cnrrrmal rense, t ~ l t contained amphibiour, light forces, and air forccs t o defeild thc Afalldatc. It waq a s r i ~ n c d a limited offcnsire mission to support the I'atific War t h r ) ~ l g t It ~. war ~ i v c n thc task dc;igntltion of the Snuth Seac Force and cIlargctl "Tn r)ccupy l17a';tkc 1 ~ l a n ddefend : and patrol t h e inner South Scar area and protcct rutface tmtfic: mopcratc with tlic .4riny in the ruccessivc occupation of Guam and Rabaul." It rcould also seize British posqer\ions i r l the ( ~ i l l ~ e r Islands t to the ~outh and thcn cspand into the Snlnrrlons. Rrrthcr nffenrivr operatinrls ~muId he launched from There t o cut off thc <outhcrn I-ifclinc tsctwerrl the CS and .-Iustralia ant1 Yew Zealand, InitiaIIy onlv a single I).-\ tunit rt-nuld participate i l l these cll)eratlons. The Z Clpcration !\+a<planned to commencc nn Dccernl~er8. The Cii~anlinvnriotl

force was the South Seas Detachment (Nankai Shitai), built around the 55th Infantry Group and 144th Infantry drawn from the 55th Division. It was assembled in Korea in November, sent briefly to Japan and then departed for Chichi Jhna in late November. The 5th Company, Maizuri 2d SNLF, based on Saipan, was to be the only unit to engage in combat during the invasion. The 4th Fleet would provide air support with the 22d Air Flotilla. The South Seas Detachment departed Chichi Jima on November 27 and put in at Haha Jima the next day. It was held there until departing for Guam on December 5.

-"-* ~-.D .~


~ ~

HQ,55th Infantry Gmup

144th Infantry Col Kusonos~.(2$253


I Batts]ion,.55th Mounrah Artillery ~. ~. -. 3d Comp~ny,~55d, W p y .(a++~~&g;~la~i?bf-

~ ~



1st Company, 55th G n e e r

Company, 47th meld AA Battalion

.. .
~ ~



-~ ~

~. - -. -~ Detachmenr la Field Hospital.SSth DMSIO& -?I ~.

Detachment, Medical Unit,55th Division :.

.- . -.

~ ~

DetachrnemWater Suppiy Unit. 55th Vision .~ 5th C b m p. ~ ;! ( ~ i f i z u r2 i d : W 370-~ ~ ~



-~ .. .~. ~- . .~
~ ~ ~ ~ ~



. . -. - ~. : . . ~ ~ ~


~ ~

~ ~

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--~ ~-

Only 153 Marines, 270 mostly unarmed Navy personnel, and a lightly armed militia of 300 defended Guam. There were no fortifications, heavy weapons, or aircraft. Air attacks struck Guam on 8 December immediately 'after the Pearl Harbor attack. In the early morning hours the SNLF company landed north of Aga&, the island's capital, with 144th Infantry battalions landing at points on the west, southwest, and east coats with all units converging on Agafia. After token resistance the defenders surrendered with for Guam. lieht losses on both sides. The 4th Fleet was assinned res~onsibilitv renamed Omiya Jlma (Great Shrine Island), an: elemeits of t h e ~ a i m 2d SNLF took over occupation duties. The South Seas Detachment departed Guam on January 14 to occupy Rabaul, New Britain, the R Operation. W a u l and Kavieng, New lreland and other towns on the idands and on New Guinea were first bombed on January 20. Some
Swch Seas Derwhment, 55th Infantry Gmup December 10,1941




I ,400 \~~straliat-i trJops wit t~otit bcnctit of fnrtificationc, or coni bar aircraft ddende~l Rahat~l.So effort war made to rcinfnrcc or evacuate thp ~ a r r i r o n The . Srrutll Sear D~tachrnentlarrdcd attcr midnixht on the I,4rtl and muted the dcfc~~iicrs hv dawn, Xfust ~urvi\-r~r< hcadctl for thc nnrth coast rr.hcrc ahout U 3 0 were eventually e~acllntcd. 'Trvn co~npatlies of Ihc llairum 3 1 \SLF departed Tn~k cln lanuary Zfl t c ~ rlcaip!. undcfenderl Lavicng nn the 2.3rd. 5NLr elerncrit~ clccupicd 5mall trm71irr l r l Xcw Hr~tnii~T rkiuth cnart nn Fchntarv nntl ttic north on .\pril X. 'lhc .-lrlrniralt!. IqlantIs wcrc occupied oil thc same date bv SNi,I; troops froill Rahaut. Tlie 5 1~t -fran<poh Regiment wrl-ed a% a n nil ltra occupation fnrr-c. Raharll w a s dc~c1opc.d,ir a rndjar naval and air hase on the island's northeart end and it\ ncutmlization hecame the locus nf :Illicd operritians in thc South Pacific once a fmthold lvns gained in t h e SoI(11noiif. .Airfield% anti light dctelirer !t7ere ertablishcd n r l Srrv Irelatril trs protect thc tartcrti approaches to Nvw Rritiiin. Rahaul t>ccnlne the Ileatiquarterr for thc nerrl!' csrgaiiitcd St11 Flcct. which took nver opcrat~clnP in the area, refievirl): t h e 4th rlcet. The 23d .\ir on Roi at111 [\>tie lrlands in tllr Jlar~halls conlmericcd air a t t a c h on \Take I ~ l ; ~ n i dt ~ D~ccnther X la5tin~ tIlro~rghthe IL)th.The 4th Flcct attcmptcci a landin!: r)n t l ~ c 1 Ith, but was wpulred before 45tl Staizuru 2d SNI.I: t r o o p wsrc dchnrhrd. Carrier attacks lasted from llecernlrcr 71 to 23 rvlien 1,000 Maizum 2J 5SL't: t r t l q i r from I;rk.ajalein Inndcd on tile south \ I ~ c ) r ~ s TIIC~ . -150 hlarine and A) Xaq. rlckndcrs killcd a l ~ n o r t400 of tlic landing fnrce hcforc capi h ~ I a t i n ~ . Tlie 4th I,lrct IKIF solely re5pnndl)le for initial opcrationq in thc Gilberts and SoTr)n~ons. 'rl~c Gilbert I ~ l a n dpart ~ , of the Gilbert and Ellicc Crorcn C o l o ~ ~werc y, Incd tcd only 311) inilcr to the southeact of the japancsc hl;lr\hallc. Clthcr than n fcrv coastwatul~cr~ thcrc were no I5riti5t1 military fnrccr in t lie C;illwrtr and no airfields. Thelnl)nnere desired the (;illlrrtr to dcti!' the Allies t~ases rrithin ear)' alr range of the Xlarrliall~ and trr wrve as an out guard fc~r the Xiandatc. I)n December 8 a cnmpanv of thc 51st ciuarrl 1:nrce 1.51 Kiihiriri! occupiccl \Fakin Irland in Uutartiari .Atoll in the northern Gilbeltr. :\ small seaplallr t>arc atlrl radio \tation I r a 5 cstablishcd. Ik4arines raided thir facility i n .\ujiurt 1942 r\.itIi partin! success. Slakin and Taralva wcrc strenfllicncd nr n result., PIC same unit thcn landed on Dclio lrlnnif in Tamlcn .It011 nn the 10th. They rounded up a few Lurcjpcans and departetl. hut returnetl on the 24th and collccred seven coarhvatrhcrs. Returning on Se~>tcmber 3, 16-12 they picket1 up annther 17 roashvntcherr and five other Eurrqlcan?, who were murdered. Tlie I'nlm~uka6th SSLF occupied Tarawn in force at thir, time and placcd a tictachn~enta n Milkin. Iapnnese turayF into the SoIolnons did not cornrncnce ilntil rannit? 22, 1942 whcn the IIN bombed T u l a ~ i ,Ihr Solnrnclns' administrative center, as Rabnl~ltsas s e i ~ c d Cln . ,ZI;trch 30-3 1 SKLF troop? occupied Buka Island on t l ~ c north end of Rougainrvilleand Shnrtland Island on the south. This arra ~vould serve as an out hward for Rahnul and a rtaging area tor Future operations into t11e s o u t h t m Solomon\. To provide a forrcard rtnaing area to rupport opesatlorl? nn Rpua and future operation5 further tn tlie \ot~tlleart,a detachment of the Kure 33 SSI.!: seized T u l a ~a i l~d I;at'uttl nn Mas 4. In mid-June tlie lapaucsc began conrtntction of an nirficlti (In Guadatcanal, which was di\co~crc.clby ttic US in earlv July. l'hc lunc 4-5 IVattlc of Midrv;ly proved lo be tlie turning point of t hc war with thc losr of threra carrier\. Tllc intended landing fcmc Ira\ thr 7cl Combined Landing Force tllith 1,250 troops from the Yokoruka 5th SNLF and 1,200 troops c ~ fthe lchiki Force 128th I n f a n t y I-],7th Division) plus tilt UN 11th and 12th I:on5tr11ction Units. 'The planncrl August operations to sci?c Fiji, Sew Calcdonia, a n d Satnoa were cancdlcd on ~ L I I11, ~ 1942. '1-11e 9.000-m~n Karcagucbi Dctachmcnt rra5 to occupy Fiji, the 5.500-man S o t ~ t h Scar I'lctnchrn~nt w ~ ~ rciztl I d NCW C:rrlcdonia, ;lnd n I ,200-man hnttalic~nnt the : \ h a Dctach~nent would land on Santna. 'l'liesc wvrc hnckcd Iry t h c 1'azarv;i Force ( ~ e c 17th Army helow). In light of thc lllird rtcfcnrc force5 nn thmc islands, thew

forces were in ad qua:^. after July I I . 1Y-12.


condt~ctedno furtt~cradvancer of ~i~r~ificance

New Guinea
-1 hc l n p a ~ l c s r 1nrpc.l~~enarcrlDutch Sew tiuinca until rlpril 1942 when 5malI Slt'LI.' elcmentr r,icuprcd a ffc~cqitcs 011 ttir north Airfield5 and barge-

s t a ~ i bases n ~ wcrc ectal3lirhcd to support upcratiuns in nortl~cast Ncrv Guinca.

A fcw small islands rrff the 9011th and routli~rcrt coasts wcrr also ocuupicd. 'I'he Japanere tvcrc more intrn.%tcd in t hc Huron Ciulf nrca on tI?c north codst of ntjrthca3t \.'err- C;uinen and the island's east end, Pa pua. Planning hy the 4th Fleet had bck.y,.unin I.'cl>ruar!* tn Tecute the I-luron Gulf arcn for a~rfields. and itr mineral rert)urces. On blarcE~ R, 11114-1 Infantry of the South Scnc Detachment landcd nt 5alamntla while the kfaituru Zd SS3.F seized Lea. On the 1 l t h an SN1.F clcmenl took F~schhat'en. These units had ~tagec!out of Rabaul. 111143 tvas rcllcvrd by the I ,.<OII-man 82d Guard Force to dcfcnd the area. In .April thc 4th Izleet launched the bIO Operatiotl, an effort tn seize I'c3i-t Moreshy on the south cnart of Papua. The 144th Infantry, detached frotn thc South Scas Petaclirnenl, and the Kure 3d SN1.T: departed Rabaztl, hrt the attack convoy was intercepted hy US carrier Iforcc5. -l-tic con\a!; stifferjng rcvcrc l a s ~ e rwat , nlrned back during the nattlc of the Coral Sea larzin): from Mav 4 t o 8.Thir wasjapan's First major dcfcat in the war. Or1 May 18 the 1 J t h i\mv war activated a t Davao, Miilclarlao to contrnl Ilh operations in the South Pacific. Undcr the command of 1,tl;cn Hy,tkutalie Seikichi, i t s headquarters were tnoved to Ilahaul un Jirly 24 followcrl I??i1.i assigned units. iYhcn organized all assigned units wcrc at I ) a ~ ~ awith n the exception of tlic South Seas Dctacl~rneiitat R;)halil. Unable to seizc Port Morrsby by sea, thc Yokoyarna ildvnncr 1:clrce Ivaq landetI at Gona an tlic north coast of Papua oil July 22. I\ n;ltivc track led from

17th A m y

South Seas Detachment (55th Infantry Gmup with 1 44th Infantry)

Kawaguchi Detachment (35th Infantq Brigade with 124th Infantv)

Y a m Force (41a Infantry, 55th Division)

Aoba Demchmenr (4th Infantry, 2d Divislon)" 15th Independent Engineer

* The remmnder of the Zd Division mrs ossigned on Augusi 2 9 t o make o s m n d amphibious attempt to seize Post Moresby once the Kokodo Tmrl wus secured. Gncelled in September.

17th Army, South Pacific Operations, May 1942

p J
I.. ... ...... ......
Rssrtachadb 26 D M h u when assinned to 17m

Lessons learned
'Ihc Japanc~c leametl a great deal in these early battles. but higher cnmrnandr often fnilcd to in~plelllcr~t them :\rmy-icicle. .At t l ~ r unit lcvcl r division and t~clow t lie ~ leswns learrrcd in corn bat were absorbed, espccinlly tvith regard to tactic$, fire wpporz, and ficld craft. Development of amphihiour npcrations all hut cea\ed ar the japanrw mnved on ta the defensive in late-1'342. There were feltV organizational changes, a t any Icvcl. Thc mo7t noticeable changer \\.ere the crcntual c l i ~ n i n a t i a r~ ~ the ~ i infantry group Ilc.adqrt:irters trom most d i ~ i d o n s and threc rather than four riflc con~panics pcr battalion. The i n f a n w group headquarters Ivrrc often med to organize ILIBs. :I small num her of divisions rcccived n Ilkm hotvitzcr battalion it1 place r ~ their f third 7.Scm 1)attalion. Recibusc of shilrtages of icm hattalion guns. d u c tcl their cost and the length of training required for them, Fomc i n f a n t n gun units rcere equipped with thr. 8cm mortar, r ~ v l ~ i c war l i a more cffc~-tive and portable weapon for l u n ~ l cwarfarc. FcI~' diviriot~< rctaincd four licId harpitals with moxt heing reduced t o t hrec or even ~ I V O\lost . diririrlns conrpcrtetltheir cavalry reg-inlcntr to reconnaissance. though they may h a w rctaincd t h e r-;lr;~lry clc5i~nntion. XFany new divisior~r Iiicked either. 771c last nf the rquarc divisiclns were triangularizcd by reassigning an intentry r c ~ i r n e n t and a brigade H(A and t h c iiltertial reorganization c l t divi'iinnal units ad jt19ted. Increa3cd nunrhcrs of A 4 t ~ n i t swere raised, a'i were artillery ant1 e ~ ~ g l n e e tinitr, r Additicinal shipping engineer anti other units to \ul,port rz.atcrhnrnc npcrations in the South Seas were a l ~ n activated. Tllr tank group was c!irninated in 1912, t>eil~g insuff~cicnt t o control tar-tical operations. .\dtfi tional tank rcgin~cn ts were raised ant1 th rce crnall rank rlIvi\iorls wcrc organized in blarichuria in 19-12. Surprisingly, [nnlp eight infantry divisions twre acTivntcd in early-1942, largely from existing Ilr,IIh and independent regiitren t r. .A l a r ~ c tli~rnt~er of I\,fBr and gamiron unit\ twrc rairetl thuugh to secure occupicd territories. It t \ ~ u l d not be until t l ~ c wtnmcr of 1943 that ten aclditional dh-irions were raised. The I]:\ Air Seneice grc;ttlv cupanded and renrganizcd tritli the former air group? llecnming air armicr 'I'lie cart area Japan now controlled and its widcIy dispersed units rcquircd the acti\+ation of additional army and area army headquarters to allorv efectivc command and control, 35 \\"cII as Ic)gi~ticaI SZIP~T~. \Vith the rurh to produce equipment, ~nut~jtiolls, and all types of logistiwl rllirtr;riru/. there was little time for quality ct~ntrol, integration of improvements, and i n i p r ~ w d packaging. Soinc effort made t o improve mtlnitions packaging M protect tlicnt from the climate estrenles of thc tropics. A great deal of anlnlrriirt~r~tl and rclated items detcrioratcd and malfunctioned because of the poor wcatlicrproofing of their packaging. Vet?. few ntrr rveapons tvcrv inrroduccd during the tvnr. Sctv infantry weaF?ons clirl appear in 1942: a Iiglltcr 7.7mm HMG, the imprnvetl 4.7crn AT q l n , and a 12crn mortar, to name a few. Jlapancscrcsearcli sild dtvelopznent had lar~ely stagnated t~cfr)re the war. Material rc~c~urccs, manufacturing ral5ahilities, and time constraint^ Forccd Japan t o retain thc tried and proven weapon? already in use, even though inany wcrc inadequate. Even with new rlciTelopmenteffom it would havc rakcn u p to two !>ears [tor any ncw weapons to bc dcveiopcd nnri produced in quantity. Japan could ill-afford clownlime as iactoric5 wcrc retoolcd for new rrcalmrls. l'hc tahricntion of existing rvcapnnr was increased, hut production coulrl not kccp tip with t h e dcmandr elf equipping ncw t ~ nt i s and rrplncinr: comhat 3ossc5. Recaltqe of ~ r l ~ t l i r~i I ~llo r t a g e ~ , much that was avi~ifahler\.d\ ct~mmittcd to aircraft and \hip producfio~l.

February Japan occupier Hainan lsland off the South China coast. Japan inlr~ates a long-running offensive against Soviet fortes on che Manchuria-Siberia border, but Is defeared in September.


25 September 17 September

Due to reverses in China,]apan rnobllites 1,000,000 men. The U S enacts export control law restricting the supply o f fuel and other war materials to Japan. Japan pressurizes the government of Indochina co accept Japanese occupation after the tall of France. Japanese forces occupy Hanoi in Indochina. Japan forms the Tripart~teMilitary Alliance with Germany and Italy.

I94 1 1 3 April 27 May

26 July 5 November

6 Nwember
27-28 Nwember 2 December 7 December 10 December

The JapanesctSovier Non-Aggression Pact is concluded, The U S President declares a smte of "full emergency," authoriz~ng armed forces to readiness levels to repel a threat in; the Western Hemisphere. The U S freezes Japanese assees. Japan commits to war wrth the Western Powers. The Southern Army is activated and units assigned. S Mar~ner depart Chlna for rhe Philippines. 4th U "X-Day" is set for the commencement of hostilities, japan attacks Malaya. Pearl Harbor. and the Ph~llppines. japan assaults Guam, and US forces surrender there.Japanesc land o n northern Luzon. HMS Prince ofwales and HMS Repulse are sunk. Japanese forces land on sourheast Luzon. Thailand declares an alliance wirh japan. The Japanese land In Bricish Borneo. Japanese forces land on Mindanam. Japanese forces land in Llgayen Gulf. Luzon. Japan assaults Wake Island, and U S forces s ~ r r e n d e ~ A second japanese landing on southeast Luzon takes place. Hong Kong falls t o Japanese forces

I 2 December 1 4 December I b December

10 22 23 24 2':
December December December

December December

2 January I I January

15 January 23 January 8 February 14 February 15 February 19 February 20 February 26 February

Manila, capital of the Philippines, falls. Japanese troops land on Dutch Borneo (Tarakan Isfand) and Celebes Japanese forces cross Into Burma from Thailand. Japanese rroops land on New Britain and sene Rabaul. Japanese forces suspend offensive operatrons on Baraan. Japanese forces land on southern Sumacra. The fall of Singapore, japanese forces land on Bati. Iapanese forces land on Dutch and PortugueseTirnor. Japanese forces land on Mlndoro.

I March 12 March 12 March 8 April 9 April l a April

16 April 24 April 4 4 May

Japanese troops land en West and East Java. Japanese forces land on northern Sumatra. The Japanese resume the Baraan offensive after reinforcement. Japanese troops land in the Admiraly Islands. YS-F~lipino forces surrender on the Banan Peninsula.

l i b May 20 May Spring 4-5 June 13-2 I June 9 June I I Juty

22 July

7 August 24 September

Japanese forces land on Cebu. Japanese troops land on Panay. The Doolittle ra~d 1s conducted onTokyo. The Battle of the Coral 5ea.The Japanese Port Moresby invasion force withdraws. Japanese assault Corregidor. and US-Filipino forces surrender. Comm~nwealrh forces withdraw from Burma into India. Japan acrivares eight new infantry divisions. The Battle for M~dwy. Japan seizes Anu and Kiska,Aleurian Islands. Last US-Fillpine forees surrender in the Philippines. Japan cancels the invasions of Fiji, N m Caledonia,and Samoa. Japaneseforces land a t Buna-Gona and attempt to seize Port Moresby from ~nland,The Battle for the KokodoTmil continues until September. U S Mar~nes assault Guadalcwal-Tulagh The Japanese defense of Buna-Gona begins.

Cook, Taya and Theodore F. fopnn nt IVoc An Ornl Histon. (New York, NY,
The Ncw P r e s l 1092) Daugherty, Lea J., 111 Fi,rIrtir~~f Ttvll~~iqfres of n Japnrt~sr Alfntthy?mn, 1941-1 945: Tmirti~lg, Tccl~rrirfrter, rtttd H'e~~porix ( S t Paul, M N . MRI Publishing, 2002) Drea, Edward J . 111 tlrc Smici> oftE~e E~nprror:Essnys ort tltp hnperin! Inpfltirr~ A m y (Lincoln, 5.4,University of Nebraska Press, 1998) Forty, George jnpnne~eilnnr. Hnndbook, 1939-1945 (Stroud, UK, Suttnn

Publishing, 1999)

Fu Her, Richard Sliokarl-Hirthlito'r Snrr~trrni: Lrndrrs of ihr ]nl~lrrles?Anrini Forcrls

1924-1945 (London, UK, Arms and Armour Press, 1992) Harris, Meirion and Susie Soldiers of tlre Srrtf: tlrc R i w nllif Fi111 of the l??rpirinl J~ptrrr~se Arrlzy (New York, NY, Random House, 1991 ) Hayarhi, Saburo and Coox, Alvin D.X ~ , ~ I ITile I : Inpn~~cse Anrry irr tllr Pnciflc I,JIFr (Quantico, VA, Marine Corps Association, 1959). Published in Japan in 195 1 as T~ihciyo Scrrso Rik~rsm Goishi. Henshali, Kenneth G . A H i f t o v uf]npntr: fio~tl Storir ASP to Sr~pwpow~r {New York, NY. St Martin's Press, 1999) Hough, LtCol Frank 0.; Ludwig, Maj VerIe E.; and Shaw, Henry F. Jr. Histor)! of US ,Mnri~leGorp Qprrntior~riri \\brkf Wnr 11. I 4 l t I: Pearl H n r h r T o G~tntlflkt-nrml [Warhinflon, DC,US Government Printing Office, 1958) Humphrevq, Leonard A. She Wny of the H P ~ I J P I 511~orrf: I ! ! . the J n p n ~ i eAnny ~ e itr the 1920s (Stanford, CA, 19951 lenaga, Saburo The I'ncific Wnr, 1931- E 945: n Cn'ticnl l)rrspefli\r r$lnpnrr!s Rule i l l IVorIrl Wnr II (New York, NY, Random House, 19783 Long, Gavin IvI. Tile Six Yrarr Wnr: n Co~lcise H i r t o y ofrlr~stmlini?rtl?r 19.39-1945 W ~ F {Canberra, T Australia, The Australian War Memoria1 and the AustraEIan Gnvcrnment Publishing Senrice, 1973) Morison, Samuel E. Ifistor), of US ,4hvy Oprmtiu~a i~i I.i'nrld lYor I!. Vol. IlI: the Risirg Srrtr irr tlie PnciFc, 1931-April 1942 (Boston, MA, Little Rrown and Co.,1948) Morton, Louis Utrited Stntrs Arm!* irt 12rorld 1 4 b r 11: tthc FnII o f the Philippiner (Washington, DC,US Government Printing Office,1953) Rotman, Gordon L. LrS ,Mnri)le 13orp1 OrrJ1.r of Rnttk: G m ~ t nnd ~ d Air U11itr iri the PncifFc Ilmr, I9:<9-1945 ( IVestport, CT, Greenrvood Pub1ishing, 2002) Rottman, Gordon L. Uforld I4hr II Pn'ncific Islnrid Grrirle: cl Gru-.Militn~, Shrli). (Westport, CT, Greenwood Publishing, 201323 Toland, John TIlc Risir?,c( Srtrt: tI?eDi*c!i~le mld F d l of t l ~ Irrpn~l~st, r Enrpirr. 1939-1945 (New York, NY, Random Hou~e, 1970) War Department, HnrfdFook OH Joponerr>, W i / i t n Fort-~r, ~ T M - E 30-480, September 15, 1944 with Change 3, June 1 , 1945. Whitman, John 1V.Rntnnrr: Olrr Li~xtI?itcl~(New Yorli, NY, Hippncrene Books,

Abbreviations and linear measurements


A M antiaircraft artillery ABDACOMAmcriran-Brikh-Du.h.AustmIian Command APHE Armor-piercing high explosive AT antitank Bn Barcation Btry Eiatcery Co Company




light machine gun Navy Air Serv~ce non-comm~ssioned officer Netherlands b s t lndies Regiment Special Naval Landing Force(s)






1 1 8 IJA

commanding officer command post Detachment Field artillery High explosive heavy machine gun Headquarrers Imperial Geneml Headquarters Independent Infantry Barnlion Imperial japanese Army lmperral Japanese Navy tndependent Mixed Brigade


Ofiter ranks LC L~eurenant l stLr [ s t Lleurenanr 2dLt 2d Lieutenant Capt Captain Maj Major LtCal Lieutenant-Colonel Col Colonel BGen Brigadier-General MajGen Maior-General LtGen Lieurenant-General

Disrances. ranges, and dimensions are given in the contemporary U S system of

Inches,feet. yards. and stature miles rather chan metric:
feet to meters:

multiply feet

by 0.3048

yards to meters: miles to kilometers:

multiply yards by 0.9 144 multiply miles by 1.6093

Weapan calibers are given in h e standard Japanese metric system: centimeters to inches multiply by 0.3937

References to ~Hustrarions a r e shown in bold. air barelions 7,8 Air Group. 3d 13. 14 Alr Group, 5th 13 aircrafr 13,69 Aifield Battalron. 24th 60 Ambon lsland 77-78
American-Britlsh-Durch,ku6fraIIa Command

(ABDACOM) 73.80 amphtbious operations 20-22.22 armies. numbemd (Hornengun) 34rh Bataan Force 48 lkun Detachment 64 Imai Demchmenr 65.67 Kanno Denchment 6 1,M.65 Kawaguchr Detachment 69.72 see also armies, numbered: 16th Kawamura Decachment. 69.72 Kimura Oerachrnenr 61.65.68 Lamon Force 64,65 Maaumoro Detachment 61-62 Miura Derarhmenr 61.72 Nagano Demchment 68,69.71,72 Phlllppines Attack Force 16.59. $9.40. 60.67 Sonoda Force 51.65 Suzukl Detachment 72 hkahash~ Oemchment 65-66 Tanaka Derachmenr 60.6 15th 13. 14. 16 16th 14. 16.73 East lndies Artack Forte 14. 16.73.74 Ito Detachment 75,78-79 Kawaguch~ Demchmen~ see olso armres. numbered 14th Kume Demchment 76 Sakaguchi Detachment 6 1,76.77 see of50 armies, numbered 25th 17th 87.88 Aboa Decachment 86.88 Hayashl Force (1st Landrng force) 88 Yano Force (2d Landing Force) 8b,88 23d 14 25th 14. 16.80 Abe Unir 82,83 Fukushima Detachment 8 1 Fmai Unit 82 Kanemura Detachment 80.82 Nasu Detachment 81
Sakaguchi Deechment 82,83 ree also

disposit~on of forces. December 1. 1941: %la genesls 5-8 scrshrn (strength of will and spiri~) 19-20 Army. Southern 12.13. 16.53.58 organmarlon 25 prc-invasion deployment. December 194 1: II R e s e m 14. 16 Army General staff. 2d Bureau of 56 Army-Navy Cenrral Agreement 12 artillery 7,48-50.71.88 see afso weapons field guns 49 howinec IOcrnType 91 (1931) 50 limber and caisson. 7.Scm held howiner 49 mouncain gun. 7.Scm Type 94 (1934) 33. 49.49-50.88 non-divisional 50 Artrllery. !8th Wounrain 35 artillery and tank coordination 4 2 4 3 Artillery Command. Is t 71 artillery regiments see regrments. artillery artillery mctics 44 artrllery unit mountain 33 artrllerymen. Sourh Seas Demchmenr 88 Australian troops Ball 80.82 Balikpapan 76 Bamn Island 60 battaztl~ons. organizarton bicycles 45 Borneo 73,74,75,76-77 Boxer Rebellion 6 bridging and bridge-repair mutiriel 18 brigades 65th 13. 72 rndependent 3&.88 2 1st Independent M~xed 14. 16.36.36 infantry. organindon 24 Burma Artack Force 13. 16 Cavalry htcalion. 22d 122 Kiher Doit00 35 cavalry reglmcnrs (Kiher Rentno 333 Cebu lsland 72 Celebes ~sland77 China.war in 10. 13, 18.22 China Incident (t937) 8 combat operations 58 see ulso Netherlands East Ind~es: New Guinea; Philippines: South Seas operations command 52-54 commanders. unit 53 cornmunlcaoons 34.55.55-56.54 Correg~dor Corregrdor Landing Force 72 drvision advancing in columns 4 1.42 dtvls~ons6, 7. 8. 13.88 Zd l3,17,81,82.83

3d 22
4th 13. 17.68.71

5th 14. 17.22,26,32,72 6th 22 7th 13 1 tth and 12th 22 lbth 18th 14. 17.22,26,35 l i s t 14, 16 33d 13. 17 38th 1 4 . 17.80.81 48th 13.l6.Z6.53.k4.65.67,82,83 55th 13, 14. 17 56th t4. 16 1 14th 22 depot (Rum Sardon) 24 Guards (Konoe Shrdan) ( infantry (5oidan) 23-24 see olso divis~ons, rriangtllar square (Yon-tortl Shidon) 3 5.35,88 permanent Urr-sesu SF~rdun) 26 "sccuriry" (Chian Shrdan) 26 rrrangular (Sorr-row Shrdan) 26 1940 standard B (OGU), organmtion 26-35,27,28 Dutch troops 77,78,79,80.82 East lndies Amck Force 14. 16,73,34 Emperor engrneer units 22.3 3
e n s 5-8

French Indochtna, occupation 4.8 Garrison Unit. I01h lndependenr 68,71 Gavutu-Tanabogo Islands 19 Gilberc Islands 86 Greater f a r t Asia Co-prosperity Sphere 4. I2 Greater East AsIa War, goal of 4 Group. 35th Infantry 73 Group, 55th Infantry 14.84 Group. 54th Infantry 14.73.77 Guadalcarral 50.88 Guam 12. 18. 19.21.83-84 Guam Occupation Force 14, 16 Guard Farce. 5 1 s t (5 1 Ke~brtor) 86 Guard Force. 82d 87 Guards, Imperial (Konoe) 5.24 see also divisions. Guards Hajima. Gen Sugiyama 52 Hedeki. Gen Tojo 52 Hirohim Emperor 8 Hong Kong 12.53 Hong Kong A m c k Force 14, t b Imperial General Headquarters {IGHQ) 52.

armter numbered: 16th Sato Detachment 8 1 Shoii Dccachmenr 8 1-83 Tanaka Unir 82.83 organlzauon 23 Army. lmperral Japanese Dor Nrppon Terkok~Rrkugun des~gnation given 8
Imperial Receipt 4

Battle Orders 9
lapan.eae Army i:n World War I1

ifitended t oI 3 . m -

C O ~ O ~ seize Ipgiom rich in mn&c

m d

m a , W & && ~a , a c e s ; :

o w ~ ; m a ~ ,m m b e for the " G E ~



book,fie && of the

b m

Japan= Army

W&d WELI n, *e f o emeat: the of the m, &a. orgmkatiion f o r the conqyI~of the Phillppins, New Guhaga, the Sou& Seas area, . a dthe ~w

F A 1