108th Division (Imperial Japanese Army)

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108th Division
Active 1937 - 1945
Country Empire of Japan
Branch  Imperial Japanese Army
Type Infantry
Size 18141
Garrison/HQ Hirosaki
Nickname(s) Savoir Division
Engagements Second Sino-Japanese War
Soviet invasion of Manchuria
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Koyama Shimomoto

The 108th Division (第108師団, Dai-hyakuhachi Shidan) was an infantry division of the Imperial Japanese Army. Its call sign was the Savoir Division (祐兵団, Yū Heidan). It was formed on 24 August 1937 in Hirosaki as a square division, the nucleus for the formation was the 8th division headquarters. It was subordinated from the beginning to the 1st army in North China. Part of the personnel have served in 1942 the second term with the 69th division.

Action[edit]

First formation[edit]

The 108th division was sent to ongoing Beiping–Hankou Railway Operation in October 1937[1] and had the distinction of capturing Linfen from Chinese forces. Later it was responsible for security in Shanxi province, the division returned to Japan in January 1940 and was dissolved in February 1940.

Second formation[edit]

As the situation in the Pacific War deteriorated, the 108th division was re-established 12 July 1944 in Chengde as a triangular division. It was assigned directly to the Kwantung Army, fighting Chinese Communist forces in the Chengde area; in early 1945, the 171st cavalry regiment has joined the division.

23 May 1945, the division was reassigned to 3rd area army, and reinforced by veterinary department plus ordnance company.[2] Gradually, during June 1945 the 108th division was re-deployed to counter Soviet threat, some elements of the division were left behind in Chengde for planned anti-communist offensive. 1 August 1945, most capable men of the infantry and cavalry regiments were assembled into assault battalion, leaving vacancies behind. At the same time, divisional artillery battalion was expanded to the artillery regiment. Majority of men drafted during this wave of expansion were not armed (even not with rifles or bayonets), and did not have uniforms, the 108th division was still drafting as late as 13 August 1945.[3]

With the start of the Soviet invasion of Manchuria, the 108th division was at Jinzhou.

10 August 1945, the Mizunuma detachment, comprising an infantry battalion and an artillery battalion, was reassigned to 136th division. At the same time, the rest of the 108th division was reassigned to the 44th army.

The Soviet invasion of Manchuria finished with the surrender of Japan before the 108th division saw any major combat. At the termination of hostilities, 108th division was at Liaoyang. A total 110 men from the 108th division were killed during the service.[4]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

Reference and further reading[edit]

  • Madej, W. Victor. Japanese Armed Forces Order of Battle, 1937-1945 [2 vols]

Allentown, PA: 1981