127th Division (Imperial Japanese Army)

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127th Division
第127師団
Active 1945–1945
Country Empire of Japan Empire of Japan
Allegiance 3rd army
Branch Imperial Japanese Army
Type Infantry
Size 13130
Garrison/HQ Helong (Pataohotzu)
Nickname(s) Eimai division
Engagements Soviet invasion of Manchuria

The 127th Division (第127師団, Dai-hyakunijūnana Shidan) was an infantry division of the Imperial Japanese Army. Its call sign was the Eimai Division (英邁兵団, Eimai Heidan). It was formed 16 January 1945 in Hunchun as a triangular division. It was a part of the 8 simultaneously created divisions batch comprising 121st, 122nd, 123rd, 124th, 125th, 126th, 127th and 128th divisions. The nucleus for the formation was the 9th border guards group and some personnel from the 112th division.[1]

Action[edit]

The 127th division was assigned to the 3rd army 26 February 1945. By the end of March 1945, 280th and 281st infantry regiments were combat ready, and 282nd infantry regiment was formed from a couple of independent infantry battalions diverted from the Fujin City area. In the middle May 1945, the division formation was officially complete. The 127th division was reinforced by 2nd Heavy Artillery Regiment and the 2nd independent Heavy Artillery Battery, both armed by Type 45 240 mm howitzers. In July 1945, the 37th artillery regiment and the 127th airborne (called also assault or raid) battalion were added.

The 127th division was used primarily as a labour units to dig the defenses to be used by the more combat-ready units, therefore it was transferred several times, first from Hunchun to Tumen, Jilin, then to Longjing, Jilin. By 9 August 1945, the divisional headquarters were at Helong (Pataohotzu), while 281st infantry regiment quartered at Yanji. The majority of troops were deployed west of Tumen River. The divisional fortifications were mostly cave-type, and approximately 1/3 complete by the 9 August 1945. Combat training was sporadic due need of concealment and diversion for labour duties, with reported low self-confidence of the non-commissioned officers by end of July 1945. The combat efficiency of the 127th division was estimated to be 20%.[2]

The 127th division was the first Japanese unit to come under Red Army attack during a Soviet invasion of Manchuria. The shelling of the positions of the 280th infantry regiment on the north flank of 127th division has started immediately after midnight 9 August 1945. Immediately afterwards, the 3rd army has reinforced 127th division with the 101st Independent Mixed Regiment. The 280th infantry regiment has managed to retreat and disengaged 11 August 1945.

The announcement of the surrender of Japan 15 August 1945 was dismissed as false by the commanders of the 127th division. The division has participated in reaction on Soviet armour units breakthrough at Yanji 15–16 August 1945, but the hostilities ceased before units sent were engaged.

The total losses of the 127th division during the invasion were 853 men, majority of them forward scouts missing in action.[3]

The division has surrendered 19 August 1945 while still on the initial defensive positions.

Actual equipment[edit]

The 127th division has a some shortage[4] of the equipment prior to the start of the Soviet invasion of Manchuria

Weapon Authorized Actual
Heavy grenade launchers 108 48
Light machine guns 108 81
Heavy machine guns 24 18
Type 11 37 mm infantry gun 6 6
Type 1 37 mm Anti-Tank Gun 6 6
Type 41/94 75 mm Mountain Gun 4 6
Divisional artillery 36 18 (75 mm field guns)
10 (75 mm mountain guns)
4 (105 mm howitzers)

Lack of anti-tank weapons have resulted in 127th ordnance company fabricating a throwing Improvised explosive devices out of stock of aerial bombs in Hoeryong stores. The metal-tipped bamboo spears were also manufactured.[5]

The division was supplied with the 2-weeks long supply of ammunition, of which 75% was concentrated on the forward positions.

Although general supply level was fine, automotive fuel and electrical batteries for the radios were in short supply. Also, supply of engineering equipment for digging the fortifications was inadequate despite tools and machinery requisitioned from the local coal mines.

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  • This article incorporates material from Japanese Wikipedia page 第127師団 (日本軍), accessed 3 July 2016
  • Madej, W. Victor, Japanese Armed Forces Order of Battle, 1937–1945 [2 vols], Allentown, PA: 1981.