5th Division HQ, Hiroshima.
|Country||Empire of Japan|
|Branch||Imperial Japanese Army|
|Garrison/HQ||Hiroshima City, Japan|
|Engagements|| First Sino-Japanese War |
World War II
|Ōshima Yoshimasa, Nozu Michitsura, Oku Yasukata, Ueda Arisawa, Aketo Nakamura, Terauchi Hisaichi, Seishirō Itagaki|
The '5th Division' (第5師団, Dai-go shidan) was an infantry division of the Imperial Japanese Army. Its call sign was the Koi (Carp) Division (鯉兵団, Koihei-dan). The 5th Division was formed in Hiroshima in January 1871 as the Hiroshima Garrison (広島鎮台, Hiroshima chindai), one of six regional commands created in the fledgling Imperial Japanese Army. Its personnel were drafted from Hiroshima, Yamaguchi and Shimane.
The Hiroshima Garrison had responsibility for the western region of Honshū (Chugoku district), ranging from Hyōgo Prefecture to Yamaguchi Prefecture. The six regional commands were transformed into divisions under the army reorganization of 14 May 1888.
The 5th Division entered the First Sino-Japanese War with the battle of Seonghwan on 28 July 1894. It also participated in the battle of Pyongyang on 15 September 1894, securing Japanese control over Korea. On 24 October 1894, the 5th Division made an unopposed crossing of the Yalu River into Chinese territory, encountering only token rearguard resistance and thus ending the Battle of Jiuliancheng on 24 October 1894. It then proceed inland to Mukden) in December 1894. The 5th Division last saw action in this war during the Battle of Yingkou on 4 March 1895, resulting in the peace negotiations and the treaty of Shimonoseki, signed on 17 April 1895.
On 27 January 1900, the 5th Division participated in the Eight-Nation Alliance (of which the Japanese were the only non-Europeans) against the Boxer Rebellion, with a divisional detachment becoming the core of the Gaselee Expedition. Other units of the division garrisoned Tianjing city and Tanggu District. The Japanese combatants won the Battle of Beicang on 5 August 1900 single-handedly. On 14–16 August 1900, the same Japanese combat detachment participated in the Battle of Peking. The division received praise from foreign observers for its bravery, professionalism and discipline.
In the Russo-Japanese War, under the command of General Nozu Michitsura, it saw combat at the Battle of Shaho, the Battle of Sandepu, and the Battle of Mukden.
The division was assigned to Liaoyang, Manchuria from 30 April 1911 until 19 April 1913, when divisional headquarters returned to Hiroshima.
On 24 August 1919, the 5th Division was assigned to the Siberian Intervention at the request of the United States. This mission ended on 24 June 1922 with the unilateral Japanese withdrawal.
After the Second Sino-Japanese War erupted on 7 July 1937, the 5th Division was assigned to the Japanese China Garrison Army on 27 July 1937 as a combat division. It participated in Operation Chahar on 14–27 August 1937. At the same time, one reinforced regiment was participating in the Beiping–Hankou Railway Operation.Soon afterwards, the division was re-routed to the newly-formed Japanese Northern China Area Army on 31 August 1937, fighting in the Battle of Taiyuan, where the 3rd Battalion of the 21st Infantry Regiment suffered severe casualties in the Battle of Pingxingguan on 24 September 1937. On 30 March 1938, the division was assigned to 2nd Army for the Battle of Xuzhou.
19 September 1938, the 5th Division was subordinated to the 21st Army and sent to South China, participating in the Guangdong province offensive capturing Nanning in November 1938. The division was then ordered to return to North China on 29 November 1938 and subordinated to the 12th Army. Plans went awry because the 21st Infantry Brigade was surrounded by the Chinese in the Battle of Kunlun Pass in December 1938. As a consequence, these troops suffered heavy casualties and were delayed until late January 1939. The division returned to 21st Army in South China on 16 October 1939. The 21st Army was reformed to 22nd Army on 9 February 1940. As part of the newly-formed army, the 5th Division became the core of the forces allotted for the Japanese invasion of French Indochina on 22 September 1940. After the invasion, the division occupied the northern part of French Indochina.
With its combat experience and record in China, the 5th Division was considered one of the best units in the Imperial Japanese Army, and on 12 October 1940, it was placed under the direct control of Imperial General Headquarters and started an intensive training program, including paratrooper exercises in Kyushu together with the 5th Air Group. The division was officially assigned to the Nanshin-ron on 9 November 1941, subordinated to 25th Army (Tomoyuki Yamashita), which was part of the Southern Expeditionary Army Group (Field Marshal Terauchi Hisaichi) based in Saigon.
The 5th Division landed on the east coast of Thailand at Singora and Patani on December 8, 1941. The 5th Division fought its way through northern and central Malaya. It was particularly successful at the battle of Jitra on 11 December 1941 and the battle of Slim River on 6 January 1942. In both battles, it defeated the Indian 11th Infantry Division. At the Battle of Slim River, the 5th Division's 41st Infantry Regiment, supported by tanks, swept through sixteen miles of British defenses, shattering the exhausted combatants of the 11th Indian Division and inflicting an estimated 3,000 casualties.
The 5th Division did not have it all its own way during the Battle of Malaya, suffering heavy casualties during the Battle of Kampar from 30 December 1941. Nonetheless, the division was able to capture Kuala Lumpur 11 January 1942. After overcoming the stiff resistance of the 8th Australian Division during the Battle of Muar at Gemensah Bridge, the 5th Division has opened the way to Singapore on 22 January 1942.
On the night of 8 February 1942, six battalions of the 5th Division, under command of Lieutenant General Matsui Takuro as part of Lieutenant General Yamashita Tomoyuki's 25th Army along with the IJA 18th Division crossed the Johor Strait using landing craft.
On the Singapore side, Sarimbun beach was heavily defended by two companies, one each from the 2/20th and 2/18th Battalions of the 22nd Australian Brigade, supported by a machine gun company, three artillery batteries and an anti-tank battery. However, the Japanese combatants managed to penetrate the British defense perimeter, and the Australian troops retrograded after midnight allowing the 5th Division, to move on to Ama Keng village and established a beachhead, where they fired a red starshell over the straits to indicate their success to General Yamashita.
Immediately after this important victory, the 5th Division moved inwards into Singapore to capture more strategic areas such as Tengah Airfield on 9 February 1942. The unit fought against the 2/29th, 2/20th and 2/18th Battalions of the 22nd Australian Brigade and the Jind Indian Infantry Battalion, the airfield garrison. On 11 February 1942, Bukit Timah Road was captured by the 5th Division after fierce fighting. Singapore surrendered four days later.
The 41st Infantry Regiment was detached from the division in March 1942, therefore the 5th Division became a triangular division. The 4,160-man strong Kawamura Detachment (comprising an elite part of the 41st Infantry Regiment of 5th Division) landed on Panay island on 16–18 April 1942, resulting in a force of 7,000 U.S.-Filipino combatants retreating from the coast on 20 April 1942. The Kawamura Detachment then proceeded to land on the north coast of Mindanao on 3 May 1942, forcing the surrender of the Americans and Filipinos on 10 May 1942, after heavy fighting.
The rest of the detached 41st Infantry Regiment re-formed as the Yazawa Detachment, and was initially deployed in Cagayan on north coast of Luzon. It was transferred, landing in Davao City on 28 June 1942, and used to reinforce Nankai Shitai (South Seas Detachment) under command of Major-General Tomitaro Horii.On 18 July 1942, the detachment was reinforced by a company of tanks plus a company of close-support artillery, and ordered to join the thrust to Port Moresby on 31 July 1942. Initially sailing to Rabaul, which was being used as staging point on 16 August 1942, the Yazawa detachment departed on 19 August 1942 on board Kiyokawa Maru and Myoko Maru . They landed at Gona, around the Japanese beachhead, on 21 August 1942. During the battle of Isurava the Yazawa detachment was held in reserve.
After the Battle of Brigade Hill was fought further inland, the Yazawa detachment made its way to the mouth of the Girua River (near Buna), where it secured a landing of the supplies and reinforcements, starting from 23 September 1942.On 29 October 1942, the bulk of the Yazawa detachment took up defensive positions inland near Oivi Creek, to cover the retreat of 144th regiment and other units. The Australians attacked with superior forces on 4 November 1942 during the Battle of Oivi-Gorari, mauling and routing the Yazawa detachment. About 900 combatants left of Yazawa detachment narrowly escaped the encirclement and run away to the heavily wooded Ajura Kijala Range to the north-east on 10 November 1942. The last rearguard covering the Oivi Creek was wiped out 13 November 1942. The Yazawa escapees reached the mouth of the Kumusi River, north of Gona, by 28 November 1942, but the detachment was not combat-ready because of the loss of most of its heavy equipment and the high incidence of malaria amongst its troops. The majority of the malaria-weakened combatants were transported by landing craft to the mouth of Girua River on 29 November 1942, losing hundreds to the Allied air attacks in sea. The more healthy ones joined them after an overland march on 2 December 1942. On 31 December 1942, Colonel Yazawa ordered a desperate rescue mission to the Buna with the composite unit gathered from the jumble of shattered Japanese detachments. Due to the fall of Buna on 2 January 1943 they aborted the mission, but the Yazawa detachment still clashed with Allied combat patrols and rescued about 190 combatants escaping from Buna. As the retreat to Gona on 20 January 1943 failed, the Yazawa detachment ceased to exist, with only a few survivors reaching Japanese lines.
In 1943, the division was subordinated to 19th Army. The 5th Division subsequently saw action in Rabaul and Guadalcanal and various islands in the Dutch East Indies before surrendering to the Allies on Ceram, in the Dutch East Indies.
The division was involved with Tachibana Maru incident, comprising hospital ship been used to transport armaments (up to howitzers) and healthy combatants.As result of the incident, about 1,500 prisoners of war of the division were captured by United States 3 August 1945.
The 5th Division headquarters buildings in Hiroshima Castle were destroyed by the atomic bomb explosion on 6 August 1945. Loss of life was light because the headquarters had departed in March 1945 to reinforce the 125th Division in Manchukuo.
The 6th Division was an infantry division of the Australian Army. It was raised briefly in 1917 during World War I, but was broken up to provide reinforcements before seeing action. It was not re-raised until the outbreak of World War II, when it was formed as a unit of the Second Australian Imperial Force. Throughout 1940–41 it served in the North African Campaign, the Greek campaign, on Crete and in Syria, fighting against the Germans, Italians and Vichy French. In 1942, the division left the Middle East and returned to Australia to meet the threat of Japan's entry into the war. Part of the division garrisoned Ceylon for a short period of time, before the division was committed to the New Guinea campaign. In New Guinea, its component brigades had a major role in the successful counter-offensive along the Kokoda Track, at Buna–Gona and around Salamaua–Lae in 1942–43. Throughout late 1943–44, the division was re-organised in Australia before being committed as a complete formation to one of the last Australian operations of the war around Aitape–Wewak in 1944–45.
Maroubra Force was the name given to the ad hoc Australian infantry force that defended Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea from the Japanese, and was involved in the Kokoda Track Campaign of the Pacific War, World War II. The force was established by the Allies under the codename "Maroubra", referring to the troops in the forward area, it was one of many units forming the body of the New Guinea Force, the main Allied army formation in the South West Pacific Area during 1942.
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The 9th Battalion, Royal Queensland Regiment is a Reserve light infantry battalion of the Australian Army, raised and based in the state of Queensland. It is part of the Royal Queensland Regiment and is currently attached to the 11th Brigade of the 2nd Division. 9 RQR can trace its history as far back as 1867 with the establishment Queensland Volunteer Rifle Corps, although it was not until 1911 that it was designated as the "9th Battalion". Over the course of its history, the battalion has served Australia in a number of conflicts including The Boer War, World War I and World War II, while more recently, members of the battalion have been involved in various peacekeeping operations and exercises around the Pacific region.
The 2/1st Battalion was an infantry battalion of the Australian Army. Formed as part of the Second Australian Imperial Force at the start of World War II, the battalion was deployed to the Middle East in early 1940 and subsequently took part in the early fighting in the North African campaign, taking part in battles around Bardia and Tobruk before later being sent to Greece in early 1941. A lightning German advance quickly pushed the Allies back and forced them to evacuate after a very short campaign and the 2/1st was landed on Crete where they subsequently fought unsuccessfully to repel a German invasion in May. The majority of the battalion was captured on Crete, but the 2/1st was subsequently re-built from survivors in Palestine and returned to Australia in early 1942 following Japan's entry into the war. They then fought two campaigns against the Japanese in New Guinea, fighting in the Kokoda Track campaign during 1942–43 and the Aitape–Wewak campaign in 1944–45. Following the war, the 2/1st was disbanded.
The 2/2nd Battalion was an infantry battalion of the Australian Army raised for service as part of the all-volunteer Second Australian Imperial Force during World War II. Raised in October 1939, the battalion was deployed to the Middle East and in early 1941 took part in the first ground action undertaken by Australian troops during the war during the Battle of Bardia before helping to capture Tobruk. In April, the battalion briefly fought in Greece, before being evacuated after the Allied forces were overwhelmed by German forces. Some members of the battalion took part in the Battle of Crete, after which the battalion undertook garrison duties in Syria. In mid-1942, the 2/2nd undertook defensive duties in Ceylon before returning to Australia. They subsequently took part in the fighting against the Japanese along the Kokoda Track and then around Buna–Gona. After a period of reorganisation and training in Australia throughout 1943–44, late in the war the battalion was committed to the Aitape–Wewak campaign before being disbanded in early 1946 after the war.
The 3rd Battalion was an infantry battalion of the Australian Army. Originally raised as part of the First Australian Imperial Force for service during World War I, the battalion formed part of the 1st Brigade, attached to the 1st Division. It was formed shortly after the war broke out and was among the first Australian units to be sent overseas, arriving in Egypt in December 1914. In April 1915 the battalion participated in the Landing at Anzac Cove, coming ashore in the second and third waves. In December 1915 the 3rd Battalion was evacuated from the Gallipoli peninsula and withdrawn to Egypt again, where it took part in the defence of the Suez Canal before being sent to France to fight on the Western Front in March 1916. For the next two and a half years the unit would serve in the trenches in France and Belgium and would take part in many of the major battles fought during that time. In May 1919, following the end of the war, the battalion was disbanded and its personnel repatriated back to Australia.
Tomitarō Horii was a lieutenant general in the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II. After graduating from the Imperial Japanese Army Academy in 1911, Horii served in China before undertaking a variety of regimental appointments. Following Japan's entry into World War II, he commanded a division during the capture of Guam before commanding the Japanese force that had been given the task of capturing Port Moresby. In November 1942, in the retreat from Oivi–Gorari, Horii drowned while attempting to canoe down the Kumusi River to reach Japanese forces defending Buna–Gona. His canoe was swept out to sea and capsized.
The 2nd Division was an infantry division in the Imperial Japanese Army. Its tsūshōgō was Courageous Division.
The 2/9th Battalion was an infantry battalion of the Australian Army during World War II. Raised in Queensland as part of the Second Australian Imperial Force shortly after the outbreak of the war, it formed part of the 18th Brigade and over the course of the war it was attached to the 6th, 9th and 7th Divisions due to several re-organisations. It served in the United Kingdom in 1940, forming part of a small Australian garrison sent there to help defend against a possible German invasion, before being transferred to North Africa where it took part in the Siege of Tobruk and then undertook garrison duties in Syria following the Syria–Lebanon campaign in 1941.
The 14th Brigade was an infantry brigade of the Australian Army. Originally raised in 1912 as a Militia formation, it was later re-raised in 1916 as part of the First Australian Imperial Force for service during World War I, the brigade was assigned to the 5th Division and served on the Western Front between 1916 and 1918 before being disbanded. It was later re-raised as part of the Australia's part-time military forces during the inter-war years. During World War II, the brigade was a Militia formation and it took part briefly in the New Guinea campaign with elements of the brigade undertaking defensive duties around Port Moresby before taking part in the fighting along the Kokoda Track and around the Japanese beachheads at Buna–Gona. The brigade was disbanded in mid-1943 as part of a rationalisation of Australian military forces as a result of manpower shortages.
The 30th Brigade was a brigade-sized infantry unit of the Australian Army. Formed in December 1941, as part of the Militia, the unit was raised for service during the Second World War. Established in response to Japan's entry into the war, the brigade's subordinate units were established in several Australian states. Some of these had already been dispatched to New Guinea before the brigade's headquarters was established, although the majority arrived there in early 1942. Following their arrival, the brigade initially provided garrison troops to Port Moresby before later taking part in the fighting along the Kokoda Track during which elements took part in delaying actions around Kokoda and Isurava, before being relieved by units of the Second Australian Imperial Force. After the campaign began to turn in favour of the Australians, the Japanese withdrew north towards their beachheads around Buna and Gona, and elements of the brigade were recommitted to the fighting. In early 1943, the 30th Brigade was withdrawn back to Australia and was disbanded in July 1943, with its personnel being redistributed to other formations.
The Invasion of Buna–Gona, called Operation RI by the Japanese, was a military operation by Imperial Japanese forces to occupy the Buna–Gona area in the Territory of Papua during the Pacific campaign of the Second World War. The initial landings and advance on Kokoda occurred between 21 and 27 July 1942. The Japanese invaded and occupied the location in preparation for an overland attack on Port Moresby along the Kokoda Track. The landing marked the start of the Kokoda Track campaign. The landings were not directly opposed by land forces but were engaged by elements of Maroubra Force as they advanced on Kokoda. This initially included B Company of the 39th Battalion, patrols of the Papuan Infantry Battalion (PIB) operating in the area and a small number of the Australian New Guinea Administrative Unit (ANGAU) that became attached to the force. The Australians were initially repulsed near Oivi but subsequently regrouped to defend Kokoda in an initial battle there from 28–29 July.
The 144th Infantry Regiment was an infantry regiment in the Imperial Japanese Army. The regiment was attached to the 55th Division. The regiment participated in the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II, fighting in the Pacific during a number of battles including those at Guam, Rabaul, and Salamaua. It also participated in the invasion of Buna-Gona, the Kokoda Track campaign and the battle of Buna–Gona.
The Battle of Buna–Gona was part of the New Guinea campaign in the Pacific Theatre during World War II. It followed the conclusion of the Kokoda Track campaign and lasted from 16 November 1942 until 22 January 1943. The battle was fought by Australian and United States forces against the Japanese beachheads at Buna, Sanananda and Gona. From these, the Japanese had launched an overland attack on Port Moresby. In light of developments in the Solomon Islands campaign, Japanese forces approaching Port Moresby were ordered to withdraw to and secure these bases on the northern coast. Australian forces maintained contact as the Japanese conducted a well-ordered rearguard action. The Allied objective was to eject the Japanese forces from these positions and deny them their further use. The Japanese forces were skillful, well prepared and resolute in their defence. They had developed a strong network of well-concealed defences.
The 229th Infantry Regiment was an infantry regiment in the Imperial Japanese Army. The 229th consisted of conscripts drawn mainly from Gifu Prefecture. The regiment was attached to the 38th Division. The regiment participated during the Second Sino-Japanese War, the conquest of Hong Kong in 1941, the Dutch East Indies in early 1942, the Guadalcanal Campaign and Papua Campaign. While the 1st and 2nd Battalions were on Guadalcanal, its 3rd Battalion fought in the Battle of Buna–Gona in Territory of Papua from November 1942 to January 1943, where it was destroyed. The regiment was re-formed and later fought during the New Georgia campaign where the regiment was commanded by Colonel Hirata Genjiro, while the 1st Battalion was commanded by Major Hara Masauo while Major Kojima Bunzo commanded the 3rd Battalion.
The Battle of Oivi–Gorari was the final major battle of the Kokoda Track campaign before the Battle of Buna–Gona. Following the capture of Kokoda by Australian forces on 2 November, the Allies began flying in fresh supplies of ammunition and food to ease the supply problems that had slowed their advance north after the climactic battle around Ioribaiwa, which coupled with reverses elsewhere, had stopped the Japanese advance on Port Moresby.
The Battle of Kokoda consisted of two engagements fought in late July – early August 1942. Forming part of the Kokoda Track campaign of the Second World War, the battle involved military forces from Australia, supported by the United States, fighting against Japanese troops from Major General Tomitaro Horii's South Seas Detachment who had landed around Buna and Gona in Papua mid-July 1942, with the intent of capturing Port Moresby to the south via the overland route.
The Battle of Buna–Gona was part of the New Guinea campaign in the Pacific Theatre during World War II. It followed the conclusion of the Kokoda Track campaign and lasted from 16 November 1942 until 22 January 1943. The battle was conducted by Australian and United States forces against the Japanese beachheads at Buna, Sanananda and Gona.
The 21st Independent Mixed Brigade was an infantry brigade of the Imperial Japanese Army raised during World War II. Formed in January 1941 in Osaka, Japan, the brigade consisted of a single infantry regiment and support elements. It undertook occupation duties in Indochina before being sent to Malaya and then Rabaul. In late 1942, the brigade was sent to take part in the Battle of Buna–Gona in New Guinea. It was withdrawn to Rabaul, and then Japan, in June 1943. Elements of the brigade were converted into other formations and the formation ceased to exist in July 1943.