World War II
World War II known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries; the major participants threw their entire economic and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China, it included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, the only use of nuclear weapons in war. Japan, which aimed to dominate Asia and the Pacific, was at war with China by 1937, though neither side had declared war on the other. World War II is said to have begun on 1 September 1939, with the invasion of Poland by Germany and subsequent declarations of war on Germany by France and the United Kingdom.
From late 1939 to early 1941, in a series of campaigns and treaties, Germany conquered or controlled much of continental Europe, formed the Axis alliance with Italy and Japan. Under the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939, Germany and the Soviet Union partitioned and annexed territories of their European neighbours, Finland and the Baltic states. Following the onset of campaigns in North Africa and East Africa, the fall of France in mid 1940, the war continued between the European Axis powers and the British Empire. War in the Balkans, the aerial Battle of Britain, the Blitz, the long Battle of the Atlantic followed. On 22 June 1941, the European Axis powers launched an invasion of the Soviet Union, opening the largest land theatre of war in history; this Eastern Front trapped most crucially the German Wehrmacht, into a war of attrition. In December 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on the United States as well as European colonies in the Pacific. Following an immediate U. S. declaration of war against Japan, supported by one from Great Britain, the European Axis powers declared war on the U.
S. in solidarity with their Japanese ally. Rapid Japanese conquests over much of the Western Pacific ensued, perceived by many in Asia as liberation from Western dominance and resulting in the support of several armies from defeated territories; the Axis advance in the Pacific halted in 1942. Key setbacks in 1943, which included a series of German defeats on the Eastern Front, the Allied invasions of Sicily and Italy, Allied victories in the Pacific, cost the Axis its initiative and forced it into strategic retreat on all fronts. In 1944, the Western Allies invaded German-occupied France, while the Soviet Union regained its territorial losses and turned toward Germany and its allies. During 1944 and 1945 the Japanese suffered major reverses in mainland Asia in Central China, South China and Burma, while the Allies crippled the Japanese Navy and captured key Western Pacific islands; the war in Europe concluded with an invasion of Germany by the Western Allies and the Soviet Union, culminating in the capture of Berlin by Soviet troops, the suicide of Adolf Hitler and the German unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945.
Following the Potsdam Declaration by the Allies on 26 July 1945 and the refusal of Japan to surrender under its terms, the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August respectively. With an invasion of the Japanese archipelago imminent, the possibility of additional atomic bombings, the Soviet entry into the war against Japan and its invasion of Manchuria, Japan announced its intention to surrender on 15 August 1945, cementing total victory in Asia for the Allies. Tribunals were set up by fiat by the Allies and war crimes trials were conducted in the wake of the war both against the Germans and the Japanese. World War II changed the political social structure of the globe; the United Nations was established to foster international co-operation and prevent future conflicts. The Soviet Union and United States emerged as rival superpowers, setting the stage for the nearly half-century long Cold War. In the wake of European devastation, the influence of its great powers waned, triggering the decolonisation of Africa and Asia.
Most countries whose industries had been damaged moved towards economic expansion. Political integration in Europe, emerged as an effort to end pre-war enmities and create a common identity; the start of the war in Europe is held to be 1 September 1939, beginning with the German invasion of Poland. The dates for the beginning of war in the Pacific include the start of the Second Sino-Japanese War on 7 July 1937, or the Japanese invasion of Manchuria on 19 September 1931. Others follow the British historian A. J. P. Taylor, who held that the Sino-Japanese War and war in Europe and its colonies occurred and the two wars merged in 1941; this article uses the conventional dating. Other starting dates sometimes used for World War II include the Italian invasion of Abyssinia on 3 October 1935; the British historian Antony Beevor views the beginning of World War II as the Battles of Khalkhin Gol fought between Japan and the fo
1st Tank Division (Imperial Japanese Army)
The 1st Tank Division, was one of four armored divisions of the Imperial Japanese Army in World War II. The 1st Tank Brigade was created out of four separate armored regiments based in Manchukuo on June 24, 1942. With the addition of one infantry regiment, it was soon raised to the status of a full armored division. Stationed in Ning'an in northern Manchukuo, it was tasked with border patrol of Manchukuo's eastern frontier with the Soviet Union under the overall command of the Japanese First Area Army; as the situation in the Pacific War against the Allies deteriorated for Japan, in March 1944, the IJA 9th Armored Regiment of the 1st Tank Division was reassigned to the IJA 31st Army, sent to Saipan, where it was annihilated at the subsequent Battle of Saipan and Battle of Guam. The remaining three regiments participated in Operation Ichi-Go in mainland China; the IJA 3rd Armored Regiment of the 1st Tank Division was reassigned to China and attached to the 11th Army until the end of the war. In March 1945, the 1st Tank Division with its 5th Armored Regiment was reassigned to the Japanese home islands in preparation for the expected invasion by Allied forces.
It gained the IJA 1st Armored Regiment from the 3rd Tank Division, formed part of the IJA 36th Army under the Japanese Twelfth Area Army. The headquarters unit and IJA 1st Armored Regiment were based in Sano, with the IJA 5th Armored Regiment stationed at Ōtawara, Tochigi (and relocated to Kazo and the IJA 1st Mechanized Infantry Regiment and the Division’s mechanized artillery stationed at Tochigi. Anticipating that Allied forces would land at Kujūkuri Beach, the 1st Tank Division was to hold a defensive line stretching from Mount Tsukuba to the Tama River, with forward units deployed to Choshi, Chiba; the surrender of Japan came before the landing, the 1st Armored Division did not see any combat on Japanese soil. The 1st Tank Division was demobilized in September 1945 with the rest of the Imperial Japanese Army. List of Japanese armored divisions Drea, Edward J.. "Japanese Preparations for the Defense of the Homeland & Intelligence Forecasting for the Invasion of Japan". In the Service of the Emperor: Essays on the Imperial Japanese Army.
University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 0-8032-1708-0. Frank, Richard B. Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire. New York: Random House. ISBN 0-679-41424-X. Jowett, Bernard; the Japanese Army 1931-45. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-84176-354-3. Madej, Victor. Japanese Armed Forces Order of Battle, 1937-1945. Game Publishing Company. ASIN: B000L4CYWW. Rottman, Gordon L.. World War II Japanese Tank Tactics. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1846032349. Skates, John Ray; the Invasion of Japan: Alternative to the Bomb Downfall. New York: University of South Carolina Press. ISBN 0-87249-972-3. Tomczyk, Andrzej. Japanese Armor Vol. 5. AJ Press. ISBN 978-8372371799. Taki's Imperial Japanese Army Page - Akira Takizawa
2nd Tank Division (Imperial Japanese Army)
The 2nd Tank Division, was one of four armored divisions of the Imperial Japanese Army in World War II. The 2nd Tank Division was raised in Manchukuo on June 24, 1942. Stationed in Mudanjiang in northeastern Manchukuo, it was tasked with border patrol of Manchukuo's eastern frontier with the Soviet Union under the overall command of the Japanese First Area Army. In February 1944, the 11th Tank Regiment was sent to the Kuriles. In the following month, the Recon Unit was renamed the 27th Tank Regiment and with the AA unit, sent to China; as the situation in the Pacific War against the Allies deteriorated for Japan, in early August 1944 the remaining units of the 2nd Tank Division were reassigned to the Japanese Fourteenth Area Army, sent to the Philippines, where it was deployed on the main island of Luzon. In January 1945, the US forces made amphibious landings on Luzon and the army units pushed inland. General Tomoyuki Yamashita held back the tank division so as not to waste them in large scale counterattacks against superior forces.
He had them withdraw inland to northern defensive positions. During this time, the 2nd Tank Division came under heavy air attacks. Most of the 2nd Tank Division, dug in around San Jose, it lost 108 of its 220 tanks in heavy fighting in just over a week. By March 5, the division had lost a total of 203 Type 97 Chi-Ha and 19 Type 95 Ha-Go tanks, two of its new Type 4 Ho-Ro self-propelled guns; the remaining tanks were used to support infantry or were dug in like pillboxes and annihilated during the remainder of the Battle of the Philippines in various engagements on Luzon and Mindanao. The 2nd Tank Division was reconstituted in Japan as a training unit after the disaster in the Philippines. In February 1945, its 11th Armored Regiment was transferred to the control of the Japanese Fifth Area Army and attached to the 91st Infantry Division, it was stationed in the northern Kuril Islands, where it was in combat against the Soviet Red Army at Paramushir during Invasion of the Kuril Islands at the end of World War II.
It was demobilized in September 1945 with the rest of the Imperial Japanese Army. The reconnaissance regiment was transferred to Okinawa where it was converted to the 27th armored regiment attached to the 24th Division, anti-aircraft company was transferred to 20th Army. List of Japanese armored divisions Breuer, William B.. Retaking The Philippines: America's Return to Corregidor & Bataan, 1944-1945. St Martin's Press. ASIN B000IN7D3Q. Frank, Richard B. Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire. New York: Random House. ISBN 0-679-41424-X. Jowett, Bernard; the Japanese Army 1931-45. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-84176-354-3. Madej, Victor. Japanese Armed Forces Order of Battle, 1937-1945. Game Publishing Company. ASIN: B000L4CYWW. Morison, Samuel Eliot; the Liberation of the Philippines: Luzon, the Visayas 1944-1945. History of United States Naval Operations in World War II. 13. Castle Books. ISBN 0-7858-1314-4. Rottman, Gordon L.. World War II Japanese Tank Tactics. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1846032349. Smith, Robert Ross.
Triumph in the Philippines: The War in the Pacific. University Press of the Pacific. ISBN 1-4102-2495-3. Zaloga, Steven J.. Japanese Tanks 1939–45. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-8460-3091-8. Taki's Imperial Japanese Army Page - Akira Takizawa
3rd Tank Division (Imperial Japanese Army)
The 3rd Tank Division, was one of four armored divisions of the Imperial Japanese Army in World War II. The 3rd Tank Division was raised in Inner Mongolia in 1942 as part of the Japanese Northern China Area Army under the overall aegis of the Mongolia Garrison Army. Tasked with border patrol of Manchukuo's western frontier with the Soviet Union, from April 1944, it participated in Operation Ichi-Go in northern China against the National Revolutionary Army of the Republic of China; the two primary goals of Ichi-go were to open a land route to French Indochina, capture air bases in southeast China from which American bombers were attacking the Japanese homeland and shipping. The 3rd Tank Division’s IJA 8th Armored Regiment was detached in June 1944, transferred to the control of the Japanese Eighth Area Army in Rabaul; the IJA 12th Armored Regiment based in Taiyuan, was withdrawn to bolster the defenses of Seoul in Korea towards the closing stages of the war and as part of the Japanese Seventeenth Area Army was in combat against the Soviet Red Army’s invasion of Manchuria.
The IJA 13th Armored Regiment based in Hankou was withdrawn to Tianjin in 1944, ended the war in Changsha. The IJA 17th Armored Regiment ended the war in Tianjin; the 3rd Tank Division was demobilized in September 1945 with the rest of the Imperial Japanese Army. List of Japanese armored divisions Frank, Richard B. Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire. New York: Random House. ISBN 0-679-41424-X. Jowett, Bernard; the Japanese Army 1931-45. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-84176-354-3. Madej, Victor. Japanese Armed Forces Order of Battle, 1937-1945. Game Publishing Company. ASIN: B000L4CYWW. Rottman, Gordon L.. World War II Japanese Tank Tactics. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1846032349. Sherry, Mark D. China Defensive; the U. S. Army Campaigns of World War II. United States Army Center of Military History. CMH Pub 72-38. Taki's Imperial Japanese Army Page - Akira Takizawa
4th Tank Division (Imperial Japanese Army)
The 4th Tank Division, was one of four armored divisions of the Imperial Japanese Army in World War II. The 4th Tank Division was raised on July 6, 1944 near Tokyo, it lacked self-propelled gun regiments. Similar to the German Panzer-Lehr-Division, it was created out of the training departments of the Armor School, Cavalry School, Field Artillery School and Military Engineering School of the Imperial Japanese Army Academy, its remaining students and staff. Assigned to the IJA 36th Army Corps, it was designated for the defense of the Japanese home islands against the projected Allied invasion; the 4th Tank Division was based in Fukuoka on Kyushu. It was equipped with the finest and most advanced armaments, including a "significant" number of Type 3 Chi-Nu medium tanks and Type 3 Ho-Ni III tank destroyers. Following Japan's surrender on Sept 3, 1945, the 4th Tank Division was demobilized with the rest of the Imperial Japanese Army, without having seen combat. List of Japanese armored divisions Frank, Richard B.
Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire. New York: Random House. ISBN 0-679-41424-X. Jowett, Bernard; the Japanese Army 1931-45. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-84176-354-3. Madej, Victor. Japanese Armed Forces Order of Battle, 1937–1945. Game Publishing Company. ASIN: B000L4CYWW. Rottman, Gordon L.. World War II Japanese Tank Tactics. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1846032349. Tomczyk, Andrzej. Japanese Armor Vol. 4. AJ Press. ISBN 978-8372371676. Zaloga, Steven J.. Japanese Tanks 1939–45. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-8460-3091-8. Taki's Imperial Japanese Army Page - Akira Takizawa
Imperial Japanese Army
The Imperial Japanese Army was the official ground-based armed force of the Empire of Japan from 1868 to 1945. It was controlled by the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff Office and the Ministry of the Army, both of which were nominally subordinate to the Emperor of Japan as supreme commander of the army and the navy. An Inspectorate General of Aviation became the third agency with oversight of the army. During wartime or national emergencies, the nominal command functions of the emperor would be centralized in an Imperial General Headquarters, an ad-hoc body consisting of the chief and vice chief of the Army General Staff, the Minister of the Army, the chief and vice chief of the Naval General Staff, the Inspector General of Aviation, the Inspector General of Military Training. In the mid-19th century, Japan had no unified national army and the country was made up of feudal domains with the Tokugawa shogunate in overall control, which had ruled Japan since 1603; the bakufu army, although large force, was only one among others, bakufu efforts to control the nation depended upon the cooperation of its vassals' armies.
The opening of the country after two centuries of seclusion subsequently led to the Meiji Restoration and the Boshin War in 1868. The domains of Satsuma and Chōshū came to dominate the coalition against the shogunate. On 27 January 1868, tensions between the shogunate and imperial sides came to a head when Tokugawa Yoshinobu marched on Kyoto, accompanied by a 15,000-strong force consisting of troops, trained by French military advisers, they were opposed by 5,000 troops from the Satsuma, Chōshū, Tosa domains. At the two road junctions of Toba and Fushimi just south of Kyoto, the two forces clashed. On the second day, an Imperial banner was given to the defending troops and a relative of the Emperor, Ninnajinomiya Yoshiaki, was named nominal commander in chief, in effect making the pro-imperial forces an Imperial army; the bafuku forces retreated to Osaka, with the remaining forces ordered to retreat to Edo. Yoshinobu and his closest advisors left for Edo by ship; the encounter at Toba–Fushimi between the imperial and shogunate forces marked the beginning of the conflict.
With the court in Kyoto behind the Satsuma-Chōshū-Tosa coalition, other domains that were sympathetic to the cause—such as Tottori and Hizen —emerged to take a more active role in military operations. Western domains that had either supported the shogunate or remained neutral quickly announced their support of the restoration movement; the nascent Meiji state required a new military command for its operations against the shogunate. In 1868, the "Imperial Army" being just a loose amalgam of domain armies, the government created four military divisions: the Tōkaidō, Tōsandō, San'indō, Hokurikudō, each of, named for a major highway. Overseeing these four armies was a new high command, the Eastern Expeditionary High Command, whose nominal head was prince Arisugawa-no-miya, with two court nobles as senior staff officers; this connected the loose assembly of domain forces with the imperial court, the only national institution in a still unformed nation-state. The army continually emphasized its link with the imperial court: firstly.
To supply food and other supplies for the campaign, the imperial government established logistical relay stations along three major highways. These small depots held stockpiled material supplied by local pro-government domains, or confiscated from the bafuku and others opposing the imperial government. Local villagers were impressed as porters to move and deliver supplies between the depots and frontline units; the new army fought under makeshift arrangements, with unclear channels of command and control and no reliable recruiting base. Although fighting for the imperial cause, many of the units were loyal to their domains rather than the imperial court. In March 1869, the imperial government created various administrative offices, including a military branch; the imperial court told the domains to restrict the size of their local armies and to contribute to funding a national officers' training school in Kyoto. However, within a few months the government disbanded both the military branch and the imperial bodyguard: the former was ineffective while the latter lacked modern weaponry and equipment.
To replace them, two new organizations were created. One was the military affairs directorate, composed of two bureaus, one for the army and one for the navy; the directorate drafted an army from troop contributions from each domain proportional to each domain's annual rice production. This conscript army integrated samurai and commoners from various domains into its ranks; as the war continued, the military affairs directorate expected to raise troops from the wealthier domains and, in June, the organization of the army was fixed, where each domain was required to send ten men for each 10,000 koku of rice produced. However, this policy put the imperial government in direct competition with the domains for military recruitment, not rectified until April 1868, when the government banned the domains from enlisting troops; the quota system never worked as intended an