The Japanese Imperial Army

Discussions on all aspects of the Japanese Empire, from the capture of Taiwan until the end of the Second World War.
Berichter
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Location: Missouri, USA

The Japanese Imperial Army

Post by Berichter » 29 May 2004 13:05

I've read a book a year or so ago called The Rise and Fall of the Japanese Empire, 1935-1945. This book was based on research done in surviving Japanese records. From what I've gathered from this book, the Japanese Imperial Army was geared more for WWI era battles than for armored warfare that characterized the mechanized armies of the British, Germans and Americans. I've also looked at an Osprey series book about the Japanese Imperial Army and it seems that the Japanese Imperial Army was a force of light infantry divisions backed up by horse cavalry and light tanks/armored cars.

Do I have this right?

Cordially,

Berichter

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Lawrence
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Re: The Japanese Imperial Army

Post by Lawrence » 30 May 2004 05:25

Berichter wrote:I've read a book a year or so ago called The Rise and Fall of the Japanese Empire, 1935-1945. This book was based on research done in surviving Japanese records. From what I've gathered from this book, the Japanese Imperial Army was geared more for WWI era battles than for armored warfare that characterized the mechanized armies of the British, Germans and Americans. I've also looked at an Osprey series book about the Japanese Imperial Army and it seems that the Japanese Imperial Army was a force of light infantry divisions backed up by horse cavalry and light tanks/armored cars.

Do I have this right?

Cordially,

Berichter
Hi Berichter,

The Japanese Army was a bit behind many Western nations, specifically America and Germany, illustrated by their reluctance to adopt a submachine gun. The Japanese had the attitude of 'if it isn't broke, don't fix it.' Point in case, the Arisaka rifle.
As you mentioned, tanks were fairly light and rarely used, aside from the campaigns in China and the early offensives in late '41 and early '42. Although the Japanese Army wasn't the most mechanized force in the war, that is not to say they were not efficient. The Japanese soldier made due with what he had and fought against almost impossible odds with often times suprisingly results. A good comparison would be your average Chinese soldier.
That being said, the Japanese Navy, on the other hand, was techincally superior to the Army; as illustrated with the Zero. Many of the brightest scientists joined the Navy, and it earned the a reputation of having the best minds from all over Japan.

Volklin
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Post by Volklin » 30 May 2004 08:22

Japan's domain is amphibious land so they saw the need for advancement in Navy.

Jungles aren't really tank country either..

Berichter
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Posts: 104
Joined: 28 May 2004 02:34
Location: Missouri, USA

Post by Berichter » 30 May 2004 13:02

Thanks for the great info, folks. Now, I didn't say that the Japanese soldier was worse than his counterparts among the Allies and the Axis. I only thought that the Imperial Army looked lighter in composition than the Allied and German forces. From what I gather, the Japanese soldier used fortified positions and terrain to the best advantage that could be gained.

Look at the battle for Iwo Jima and Tarawa. Also, from that book, I learned that the Japanese mindset allowed soldiers to fight on despite the logistical difficulties and the obsolescent equipment. The greatest advantage that the Japanese soldier had was his fighting spirit. I have a question: Was the Imperial Japanese Army regional in composition like the British Army or did units draw recruits from all over the Empire like the U.S. Army?

Cordially,

Berichter

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