Japanese elite army!

Discussions on all aspects of the Japanese Empire, from the capture of Taiwan until the end of the Second World War.
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ancientcoins
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Japanese elite army!

Post by ancientcoins » 28 Apr 2004 06:33

This is my first post.Thank you for watching.
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Jeremy Chan
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Post by Jeremy Chan » 28 Apr 2004 09:25

Ancietcoins,
Ni hao ma? Wo ye shi hua ren Those are paratroopers, right? Because they're wearing the paratroopers' cloth helmet. On the second photo, the machinegunner in front seems to be wearing camouflgae uniform.
Cheers,
SteelFist

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ancientcoins
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Post by ancientcoins » 28 Apr 2004 10:29

Colonel SteelFist wrote:Ancietcoins,
Ni hao ma? Wo ye shi hua ren Those are paratroopers, right? Because they're wearing the paratroopers' cloth helmet. On the second photo, the machinegunner in front seems to be wearing camouflgae uniform.
Cheers,
SteelFist
:P really,you are Chinese???!!!hehe!Thank you for your comments on this topic.I have checked the original introduction of these pictures just now,but have no clear conclusion whether they were paratroopers.The original title says they were Japanese Special Troops.Besides,the two soldiers in the second picture were carrying a 97 20mm infantry automatic gun(jiuqishibubingzidongpao,may be my translation is wrong,sorry)
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Kakita Harry
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Post by Kakita Harry » 29 Apr 2004 09:52

Japanese Para's were called "Special Troops".


The "Type 97 20 mm infantry automatic gun" is that, was was called an "anti tank rifle", the only ranged weapon for airborne infantry against armoured targets at the begin of WWII.

These are very interesting pictures on a quite rare theme!

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Menumorut
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Post by Menumorut » 30 Apr 2004 10:30

Where did they fought ? (Except China?)

I would know to know nore about those japanese special forces durring the WW2.

Thanks

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Kakita Harry
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Post by Kakita Harry » 30 Apr 2004 12:27

As I know, a parachute regiment or battailon was used in early 1942 to capture the city of Palembang and airfields in this area, on the isle of Sumatra.


Much later, in May 1945, during the battles of Okinawa, a small group of airborne infantry (ca. 60 men) attacked the airfield of Yontan by night.
4 of 5 Planes were shot down, but the last belly-landed near the airfield and the soldiers aboard attacked the parked planes and destroyed / damaged some.
But I don't know whether these soldiers were parachutists.

Sorry, thats all info I have.

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MAX_theHitMan
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Post by MAX_theHitMan » 10 May 2004 10:46

Intersting post. i never knew the japanese Imperial troops had a special Elite force. Most interesting.

I like that second picture of them carrying that huge MG. Looks like they were off to shoot a tank.

Great post.
Thanks ancientcoins
Keep up the very informative news

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Kakita Harry
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Post by Kakita Harry » 11 May 2004 11:20

[quote="MAX_theHitMan]
I like that second picture of them carrying that huge MG. Looks like they were off to shoot a tank.
[/quote]


But only early in the war. The automatic anti-tank rifle became very fast obsolete!

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Wolfensteiner
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Post by Wolfensteiner » 24 May 2004 13:37

The japanese swept through asia like knife through butter

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ancientcoins
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Post by ancientcoins » 26 May 2004 14:40

But it was at the beginning that Japanese had made their success easily.After that period,their good luck had been delayed or stopped by the determinative resistence of the people in the occupied areas!!

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Post by Panzergenadier » 14 Sep 2004 11:35

The Japanese Kwantung Army in Manchuria also took place in operations in korea and china. It is may be the best army in the Japanese forces. it has over 500 000 men and was crushed by the russians in july 1945.

P.S. I'm not sure about the spelling of the army.

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Post by Sewer King » 16 Sep 2004 03:30

On the second photo, the machinegunner in front seems to be wearing camouflgae uniform.
To me the AT gun bearer in front looks like he is wearing the same sort of coverall as the saluting parachutist, judging from the collar. The rough texture of his outerwear looks like a camouflage netting or vest of sorts. He also seems to have a shovel slung across his back.

It seems that there are only a few photos of Japanese paratroops known today:

A relatively common one shows a trooper buckling on his airborne helmet , and he is wearing a German-style "bone sack" but is otherwise unequipped.

A close-up photo of Japanese paratroopers seated in their aircraft was found in a Manila newspaper office in 1945. The men wear the airborne helmets and are looking back at the photographer. Little detail shows but they seem to be holding their rifles wrapped in cloth. This photo is in John Weeks' book Assault from the Sky (1979).

There is a Japanese military art painting of the Sumatra landing, in which the paratroopers who have just landed are heroically posed with rifle or pistol and beginning to assemble.

A series of photos of the Giretsu commandos show them about to embark for the Okinawa raid. An officer is being toasted in farewell, and the troops are wearing uniforms they hand-painted for camouflage. One of these troops in painted camo was depicted in the recent Osprey Men-at-War volume 369, The Japanese Army 1931-45 vol 2. he is heavily armed with a grenade bandolier, pistol, and 8mm Type 100 submachinegun.
But I don't know whether these soldiers were parachutists.
The giretsu were said to have been drawn from the paratroops, although in the airfield raids they were more correctly air-landing troops rather than airborne. From 1942-45 I wonder about the status of the Japanese airborne forces, small as they were. When the Soviets were losing the war they deployed their paratroops as ordinary infantry, as the Germans did when the war turned against them. I guess the Japanese airborne were never numerous enough to have done the same.

There is a report in Harushi Taya Cook's oral history, Japan at War, that a similar raid was planned against American-held Iwo Jima in mid-1945. Glider-borne troops were to be used in a suicide raid against the US Army Air Force base there.

The Japanese never made much use of submachineguns like all the other combatants did. It seems that the few Bergmann-type guns they had were issued to their few elite or near-elite troops, like the Naval Landing Forces (marines), paratroopers, and giretsu. This low use seems strange considering how the Japanese favored close-quarter combat, and the short ranges of the jungle. Probably the weak 8mm pistol cartridge was no encouragement.

Even more rare than Japanese paratrooper units! Japanese ski troops. The Imperial Army had raised some ski troops in expectation of war with the Soviets, and called on Norwegian instructors to train them. I've only seen two photos of such troops, who probably ended up as ordinary infantry as well.

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Post by Larry D. » 18 Sep 2004 13:52

Interesting subject, but you gentlemen forgot one of the main combat operations carried out by the Japanese airborne/air-landing forces. In December 1944 a relatively large airborne/air-landing force (mainly from the 2d Teishin Dan - 2d Raiding Brigade of some 750 men) belonging to the 1st Teishin Shudan (1st Raiding Group) struck U.S. airfields in the Burauen area on Leyte on 6 December 1944. They destroyed some aircraft and inflicted some casualties, but the raiders were eventually wiped out.

While the Leyte operation was being carried out, the 1st Teishin Dan remained at the main airborne/air-landing base at Karasehara/Kyushu in Japan. It was still there on 15 Mar 45 and comprised:
HQ 1st Teishin Dan
1st Teishin Rentai (1st Raiding Regiment)
2d Teishin Rentai
1st Teishin Senshatai (1st Tank Unit)
1st Teishin Seibitai (1st Maintainence Unit)
101st Hikojo Chutai (101st Airfield Company)
102d Hikojo Chutai
103d Hikojo Chutai

The remnants of the 1st Teishin Shudan with the 2d Teishin Dan and some attached companies (heavy weapons, engineer, signal and glider troops) remained in the Philippines to the end of the war.

So you have just 3 Imperial Japanese Army airborne/air-landing wartime combat operations: Sumatra in 1942, Leyte in 1944 and Okinawa in 1945. The rest of their wartime activity was limited to training.

Additionally, 3 of the SNLF (Special Naval Landing Force) units had airborne components and these were used to secure airfields in Celebes and Borneo in Dec 41 and Jan 42.

Larry

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Post by king_nothing » 19 Sep 2004 13:03

On the subject of the Type 97 20mm, anyone have any pictures of it in actual use or maybe a propaganda pose of troops armed with it?

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Post by Keltixx » 19 Sep 2004 13:58

If of interest - The following is from a work in progress of mine. I am trying to write a book on all of the Airborne Forces of WWII - organization, jumps, equipment, etc. Information on the individual Japanese ops themselves will take more time for me to recover as they have to be extracted from the chornological text. However, if there is interest, I will so do.

BTW, welcome corrections and comments on the following, if polite. :wink:
I have not worked on this specific section for about three years and I know I have some updates that need doing. Specifically, I have found more information on the names of units (in Japanese) and some on equipment, chutes and rations mostly. And no, it has not been spell checked lately.

Like I said, the book will try to cover all countries, so I would be glad to share what I have with others.

Ciao - Jeffrey

Japan's Airborne forces

In early 1940 the Japanese set up parachute training schools at Shimonoseki, Hiroshima, Shizuoka and Hileji. The parachute course was six months long and personnel output was very low. German instructors arrived in Japan in the summer of 1940 and made several changes including reducing the course to two months while improving the quality of instruction. Within a year, over 100 German paratroop instructors were working at nine Airborne training centers, helping train over 14,000 men. The German instructors worked with both Japanese Army and Naval paratroopers as each service maintained independent forces and training facilities. The Army paratroopers were part of the Japanese Army Air Force. The Naval paratroopers were considered special landing forces, suitable for raids or spearheading an amphibious assault. (the Navy also had many non-parachute trained Naval landing forces that performed the same types of duties.)
Army training was the most extensive. The original Army training course lasted nearly six months. Later this was reduced to two months and then to four to five weeks. In content, the training was similar to the American Model in the use of jump towers and the emphasis on physical fitness. A man had to make six jumps to qualify as a paratrooper, the final jump being at about 120 meters. During training the Japanese placed great emphasis on jumping in tight groups and in rallying quickly. The Naval paratrooper course was initially only about seven to ten days long and not very thorough. Under German tutelage it became similar to the Army course.
While the original paratroopers were all volunteers, men were later drafted into Airborne units. Since all Japanese soldiers were imbued with the principles of sacrifice and obedience, it is unlikely that this caused any great morale problems for the men.

It is difficult to try to give a coherent organizational plan for the Japanese Airborne forces. Even more mainstream Japanese units had a bewildering variety of tables of organization that often defy a researcher. The Japanese were also willing to throw together a myriad of disparate units, down to platoon level, to create task forces. The information below is a composite of several organizational schemes that surfaced during research.


Raiding Group (Army)

This was intended to have one Raiding Brigade and one Flying Brigade. Only one Raiding Group, the 1st, was ever close to being completely formed. Lack of available and/or suitable aircraft crippled the Flying Brigade. At full strength the Raiding Group contained 5,575 men but was never at full strength. A second Raiding Brigade was formed (see below) but apparently only contained the parachute elements.

The Raiding Group (TEISHIN SHUDAN) was officially organized as follows: group Headquarters with 220 men; one Raiding Flying Brigade; one Raiding Brigade; one machine cannon unit with 120 men; an engineer unit with 250 men and a signals unit with 140 men.

Raiding Brigade - officially, the Raiding Brigade was composed of the following: Headquarters - 75 men; two Raiding (Parachute) regiments (TEISHIN RENTAI) - each with an authorized strength of 700 men; two glider regiments (KAKKU HOHEI RENTAI) - each with an authorized strength of 880 men; a 200 man light tank unit; a maintenance unit with 200 men; and three companies of airfield troops with a total of about 600 men. It is unlikely that the Brigade was ever at full strength and the 880 men glider regiments were apparently never fully formed.

Raiding (Parachute) Regiment - actually of Battalion strength (600-700 men): Regimental Headquarters with 80 men; three rifle companies; a heavy weapons Company with 125 men; and a signals detachment with 30 men. Sometimes a 147 man construction unit and a 10 man liaison section was attached. Each parachute rifle Company had about 155 men divided into a 15 man Headquarters; three 40 man rifle platoons and one 20 man machine-gun platoon. Each platoon had a small Headquarters, two rifle sections and a heavy weapons section. A rifle section had a 6 man rifle squad and a 7 man anti-tank squad. The heavy weapons section had a 9 man heavy machine-gun squad and a 5 man anti-tank gun squad (probably equipped with an semi-automatic, magazine fed 20MM anti-tank rifle).

Flying Brigade: Headquarters with 60 men; two flying regiments (each with three squadrons - total strength of 500 men per Regiment); one 500 man Glider Regiment (probably never more than partially formed); and a signals detachment with 50 men. The theoretical operational strength of each flying Regiment was 35 transport aircraft. The Japanese were the only nation that attempted to subordinate aircraft directly under their Airborne forces. While admirable, the Japanese aircraft industry was never equal to the strains placed on it and the Flying Brigade had to make do with whatever aircraft were not desperately needed elsewhere.


Raiding Regiment (Army) (Battalion strength)

Jumped at Palembang, Sumatra and Koepang, Timor (see Airborne operations section). In 1942 it expanded to Brigade strength to form the parachute section of the Raiding Brigade of 1st Raiding Group.


1st Raiding Group (Army)

Portions fought on Luzon in 1944-1945 and were destroyed there. Exact unit composition is unclear but is known to have included:

1st Raiding Brigade: 1st Airborne Regiment; 2nd Airborne Regiment

1st Glider Regiment

The official U.S. history of the Pacific war mentions an understrength 2nd Glider Regiment (Battalion) from the 1st Raiding Group as part of the Takaya detachment of the Kembu group that defended Clark Field on Luzon. The command Headquarters of the Raiding Group became the Headquarters of the Kembu group.

Commanders: Keigo Kawashima (March 1944), Rikichi Tsukada (at Leyte in late 1944 - later commander of the Kembu group).


2nd Raiding Brigade: 3rd Airborne Regiment; 4th Airborne Regiment

Peak strength of 1,475 men. Part of the 3rd Regiment, about 350 men, made the valedictory Japanese combat parachute jump at Leyte in December 1944. Later the 4th Regiment jumped close behind their own lines as reinforcements for Japanese forces at Ormoc, Leyte. The Brigade was destroyed on Leyte.


A Fifth Army Parachute Regiment was apparently formed in 1943 but never left Japan. Commander in September 1943 was Lieutenant-Colonel Kanetoshi Ijuin.


The Army also formed the 1st and 2nd parachute training regiments but these were absorbed by the 3rd and 4th Airborne regiments in August 1942. The training regiments were probably only formed as cadre for the 3rd and 4th regiments.


1st Yokosuka special Naval landing force (Navy)

The 1st Yokosuka special Naval landing force, the Imperial Navy's first paratroop unit, made a combat jump at Menado, Celebes in January 1942. Top strength of the 1st at Menado was about 844 officers and men in a Headquarters Company, three rifle companies and a machine-gun Company. Later the 3rd Yokosuka was formed and then both were consolidated in the new 1st Yokosuka special Naval landing force with an initial strength of 1326 officers and men. The combined unit, now containing only about 850 men, fought on Saipan in the ground role in 1944 and was destroyed there. When it was committed to action on Saipan the 1st was organized into a:
Headquarters; Headquarters Company; command platoon; three infantry companies; anti-tank unit; medical, signals and transport units.

Each 193 man infantry Company contained Company Headquarters, three infantry platoons and a heavy machine-gun platoon. Each infantry platoon had three 11 man rifle squads and one 11 man grenade launcher/discharger squad. The heavy machine-gun platoon was divided into two 11 man squads - each equipped with one heavy machine-gun.

Armament of the 1st on Saipan included 510 rifles, 36 grenade launchers/dischargers, 27 light machine-guns, 6 heavy machine-guns and 2 37MM anti-tank guns.

Japanese Airborne forces suffered even more than the Soviets from a paucity of suitable aircraft throughout the war. The two main Japanese paratroop aircraft were the Nakajima L2D2, a virtual copy of the legendary DC-3, and the Mitsubish KI-57 that was about 3/4 the size of the DC-3. The KI-57 could carry eleven passengers or a ton and a half of freight. Japan also pressed several other airplanes into service. They built a licensed copy of the American Lockheed Lodestar, known as the Hudson in British service. Although it could only carry a small amount of men or freight, there are some reports that it was used in the 1942 Airborne attacks at Palembang and Menado. The old Mitsubish KI-21 type 97 bombers carried only nine men or about a ton of freight but was used in some of the smaller Airborne operations later in the war.

The late war Japanese parachute was a mix of canopy first and canopy last operation. It required a good deal of height to operate successfully. The Japanese usually carried a reserves chute. Some of the Japanese paratroopers at the Leyte jump in 1944 had problems with a faulty "quick opening" harness that came open while the user was still in the air. The results were invariably fatal.

The Japanese had few special items of equipment. There was a take down rifle and a light machine-gun with a folding stock but little else in the way of special equipment. the guns could be carried in a flat pack clipped to the chest harness but this must have been very uncomfortable in use. They also used, or at least experimented with, a bag similar to the American Griswold bag for carrying the rifle.
Because their initial training and organization had been under the tutelage of German instructors, the Japanese used a German style jump smock made of cotton and silk. The final version of the Army Para helmet was similar to the Naval type in that it was padded and had a close fitting cloth inner helmet. By the end of the war, the Japanese paratrooper was indistinguishable from the ordinary Japanese infantryman in both uniform and equipment.
Like his infantry companions, the Japanese paratrooper ate a wide variety of canned fruits, vegetables, fish and meats. Rice, both canned and dried, formed the basis of the diet.

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