Nankai Shitai

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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Peter H
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Re: Nankai Shitai

Post by Peter H » 08 Apr 2010 05:39

..an officer marks a blaze on a tree indicating direction for troops following..
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Peter H
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Re: Nankai Shitai

Post by Peter H » 08 Apr 2010 05:42

The view from Ioribaiwa Ridge of bombardment of Australian positions on Imita Ridge,September 1942..
According to one view ( http://reviews.media-culture.org.au/mod ... e&sid=3687 )
They can see the searchlights of the Port Moresby airfields reflected in the sky ahead and they know that their long journey is within reach of victory. One cannot but compare this scenario with the New Zealand soldiers at Gallipoli when they captured the summit of Chunuk Bair in August 1915 and gazed exultingly at the shining waters of the Dardanelles. History decreed that both expeditions were to go no further.
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Peter H
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Re: Nankai Shitai

Post by Peter H » 08 Apr 2010 05:46

Defensive position in Papua similar to Buna/Gona
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Peter H
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Re: Nankai Shitai

Post by Peter H » 08 Apr 2010 05:46

Nankai Shitai survivors:
..in Singapore 1943 (left to right):unknown officer,Lieutenant Sakamoto,Colonel Tsukamoto,Captain Hamada,Lieutenant Yamasake and Lieutenant Nakahashi..
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Brady
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Re: Nankai Shitai

Post by Brady » 08 Apr 2010 05:53

Peter H wrote:
The view from Ioribaiwa Ridge of bombardment of Australian positions on Imita Ridge,September 1942..
According to one view ( http://reviews.media-culture.org.au/mod ... e&sid=3687 )
They can see the searchlights of the Port Moresby airfields reflected in the sky ahead and they know that their long journey is within reach of victory. One cannot but compare this scenario with the New Zealand soldiers at Gallipoli when they captured the summit of Chunuk Bair in August 1915 and gazed exultingly at the shining waters of the Dardanelles. History decreed that both expeditions were to go no further.
So this view then is looking south and the Sea past PM is in the distance?

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Peter H
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Re: Nankai Shitai

Post by Peter H » 08 Apr 2010 10:29

According to Collie the sea south could be seen from Ioribaiwa Ridge and,page 2:
...at night,the men could see the searchlights of Seven Mile airfield on the outskirts of Moresby,forty-two kilometres away...
Also..."only 1500 of the 6000 troops who had set out on this campaign in July and August remained in good enough condition four to six weeks later to fight on..half of the soldiers who had pushed south...were now sick or wounded...some..were now missing,presumed dead...over a thousand were known to have died..."

Ioribaiwa Ridge
http://www.kokodawalkway.com.au/stations/ioribaiwa.html
The Japanese war correspondent, Seizo Okada, described their arrival at Ioribaiwa: "The sea! It's the sea of Port Moresby! Wild with joy, the soldiers who were stained all over with mud and blood, threw themselves into each others arms and wept".

Maps can be found here:
http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/USA ... pua-6.html
http://www.kokodatreks.com/kokodatreks/ ... ntreks.cfm

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Peter H
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Re: Nankai Shitai

Post by Peter H » 10 Apr 2010 03:47

Peter H wrote:144th Regimental flag on display--ceremony conducted for crossing the equator.

According to Kokichi Nishimura in Charles Happell's The Bone Man of Kokoda this flag was burnt,during the retreat from Kokoda,by its standard bearer within eyesight of advancing Australian troops.

Not burnt as indicated here.

The Path of Infinite Sorrow page 274:
..the regimental colours of the 144th,in the care of Warrant Officer Shimada,had been taken to Rabaul but were taken to Mambare by submarine on 2 February[1943].The colour party in tattered uniforms and no shoes,eventually brought them back to Rabaul..

...the 41st colour party,led by Major Koiwai,arrived at Barumbari with the regimental flag intact..

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Peter H
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Re: Nankai Shitai

Post by Peter H » 05 Jul 2013 09:59

Review of Peter Williams' The Kokoda Campaign 1942: Myth and Reality here:
http://www.army.gov.au/Our-future/LWSC/ ... 201942.pdf
Much of the book attempts to explain the real reasons for the Nankai Shitai’s
successes during the first half of the campaign. In doing so Williams tackles a
number of the related myths surrounding the fighting. The Japanese were actually
well informed on conditions on the Kokoda Track thanks to a comprehensive
intelligence collection program which had begun in the 1930s. They supplemented
their own reconnaissance with information provided by German sympathisers
living in New Guinea and open source material purchased in Australia. Many
popular accounts of the campaign highlight the supply problems encountered by
the Japanese as a major factor in their final defeat. The Japanese supply system,
while austere by Western standards, was actually well organised and optimised to
suit light forces operating in difficult terrain. There was a supply crisis during the
campaign, but it lasted for less than six weeks, was caused by massive flooding in
September, and impacted on only a small part of the total Japanese force, albeit with
significant consequences. Similarly, the Japanese medical system proved effective
and illness had more of an impact on the Australians, at least until December, when
the Japanese had been pushed back to the Buna-Gona beachheads. Williams credits
the Japanese superiority in firepower as a significant contributor to their successes.
They had considerable experience in employing mountain artillery and used their
37mm, 70mm and 75mm guns to consistently outmatch the Australians, whose light
mortars and machine-guns were inferior in range and firepower.

Perhaps the most valuable contribution made by this book is to place the
campaign within its wider strategic context. The single most important factor that
influenced the Japanese conduct of the Kokoda campaign was the US invasion of
Guadalcanal in August 1942. Within days of this development Major General Horii
Tomitaro, commander of the Nankai Shitai, was ordered to maintain the bulk of his
forces north of the Owen Stanley Range and delay his advance on Port Moresby.
The four infantry battalions that continued to advance south from Isurava were only
ever intended to secure a favourable position on the southern side of mountains
in preparation for the moment Horii was released to resume the offensive. The
diversion of large numbers of Japanese troops to reinforce the ultimately futile
defence of Guadalcanal meant that this never eventuated.Williams concludes that
it is more accurate to argue that it was the US Marines at Guadalcanal who were
most important in Port Moresby’s salvation rather than the Australians fighting
along the Kokoda Track....
Williams also highlights that though the Nankai Shital numbered 15,000 troops,half were "non-combat trained
support troops whose task was to build a large base in the Buna-Gona area and to maintain a supply line into the
Owen Stanley Range".Of the fighting troops "only 4,000 actually advanced along the Kokoda Trail and no more than 2,400--the size of the Japanese forced at Isurava--were committed to any one battle".

Morever "a curious feature of the widespread yet mistaken view of the superior strength of the Japanese in the
Kokoda campaign is that it took hold after the Second World War.Apart from reports from the front line,Japanese
strength was not greatly exaggerated at the time.In September 1942 at a War Council meeting in Washington DC,President Roosevelt complained that the Australians were being pushed back by an enemy no more than 4,000
strong..."

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Peter H
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Re: Nankai Shitai

Post by Peter H » 05 Jul 2013 10:07

From the Collection of Peter Williams.

Japanese company advancing in New Guinea
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Peter H
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Re: Nankai Shitai

Post by Peter H » 05 Jul 2013 10:08

Men of the 1st Battalion 144th Regiment resting between Kokoda and Isurava
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bowenjk
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Re: Nankai Shitai

Post by bowenjk » 22 Aug 2013 08:49

Peter Williams' book "The Kokoda Campaign 1942-Myth and Reality" has not gone entirely uncriticised. I did an early review on Amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/review/R8YN5UCG5Z ... N5UCG5ZFPQ

Without reference to any supporting historical evidence, Peter Williams claims in his book (at page 10) that Port Moresby was not the primary Japanese objective when the Yokoyama Advance Force landed at Gona/Buna on 21 July 1942, but I have pointed out in my Amazon review that Japan's official history Senshi Sosho (War History Series) records a number of Imperial Japanese Dairikumei (Great Army Orders), Dairikushi (Great Army Instructions), and 17th Army meirei (orders) that directly contradict this controversial claim by Williams.

Peter Williams also claims in this book that "the Japanese probably knew more about the Kokoda Track than did the Australians" (at page 5) but Senshi Sosho records (at pages 94-97) that the Japanese landed at Gona/Buna on 21 July 1942 under the mistaken impression that there was a road passable by motor traffic between Gona/Buna and Kokoda and possibly a road between Kokoda and Port Moresby. This mistaken intelligence came from aerial reconnaissance on 30 June 1942. The failure of the Japanese to appreciate the true nature of the terrain between Gona/Buna and Kokoda finds support from "The Path of Infinite Sorrow - The Japanese on the Kokoda Track" published in 2009 by authors Craig Collie and Hajime Marutani. The authors interviewed five Japanese veterans of the 144th Regiment who landed as part of the Nankai Shitai advance force at Gona/Buna on 21 July 1942 equipped with hundreds of bicycles. Japanese troops had used bicycles very successfully in the Malaya and Philippines campaigns on existing roads, and the Nankai Shitai believed that Japanese troops could cycle by road to Kokoda. They soon found that their bicycles were useless on the track to Kokoda, and discarded them. Sergeant Sadashige Imanishi stubbornly carried his bicycle across the Kumusi river and then threw it away in disgust (at page 70). Most of his fellow soldiers had already dumped their bicycles.

Perhaps the most controversial claim by Peter Williams in his book is that "In truth, during the Japanese advance, the Australians were rarely outnumbered by their enemy" (at page 1). He is talking about the fighting that took place between the Japanese beachheads at Gona/Buna and Ioribaiwa in the Owen Stanleys where the Japanese advance finally ground to a halt and the Japanese retreated, or as the Japanese military would probably have said "advanced to the rear". Williams suggests that the "myth" of inferior Japanese numbers during the Japanese advance has been used to disguise the truth that the Japanese were "qualitatively superior to the Australians on the Kokoda Track/Trail (at page 2). I am researching this aspect for the Battle for Australia Historical Society, and it appears to be clear that Senshi Sosho (at page 107) does not support this controversial claim by Peter Williams at least in regard to the initial fighting at Oivi (26 July 1942) and the first defence of Kokoda (29 July 1942). Senshi Sosho states at page 107 that the Japanese forward company "advanced to the high ground at Oivi approximately 16 kilometres to the east of Kokoda, where they were joined by the main strength of the advance party on 26 July". If the Japanese have got their own military history correct then less than 100 Australians were facing a Japanese battalion at Oivi and first Kokoda. This aspect will need a great deal more research before I can reasonably challenge Peter Williams on this very important aspect of the Kokoda fighting.

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CHARPOY CHINDIT
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Re: Nankai Shitai

Post by CHARPOY CHINDIT » 01 Sep 2013 23:33

You might like my review on Amazon.co.uk to provide some balance.

5.0 out of 5 stars THE KOKODA CAMPAIGN 1942 MYTH AND REALITY by PETER WILLIAMS 28 July 2013
By Charpoy Chindit
Format:Hardcover|Amazon Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book, certainly worthy of a five-star review, in common with most of the superlative series to which it belongs.

There are many accounts of the Kokoda track fighting available, so you may ask; why bother with this one? The book's subtitle provides the answer - `Myth and Reality'. Controversially, the author has identified what he considers to be a series of myths about the Kokoda campaign. He then proceeds with a detailed examination of each myth within his overall chronological account of the campaign. Unsurprisingly, this has proven contentious given the importance that Australians attach to the achievements of their forces - usually presented as a vastly outnumbered Australian force, inflicting more casualties than they received, and stopping the Japanese in their determined Port Moresby thrust, thereby saving Australia.
The author has re-examined all of these themes in great detail, making use of previously unused sources, especially Japanese, in order to make his case. He has been, for the most part, successful and any future works on this campaign will have to incorporate, or at least consider, his conclusions. This is especially true of his re-examination of the dynamics of Japanese operational planning. His detailed analysis of the troop numbers engaged on both sides is most impressive. There is much else here that is worthy of praise. For example, I greatly appreciated his discussion of the maps available to both armies; indeed, I now think every work of military history should include such a discussion. His chapter on Japanese artillery was equally eye opening, this arm perhaps providing the Japanese with a decisive advantage in the earlier battles. I was also surprised at the complete lack of Japanese mortars at this stage of the fighting, contradicting traditional accounts.

After reading the book, I was somewhat disappointed to find so little reaction to it. What is the point of iconoclasm if no one objects? Fortunately, James Bowen has obliged with a one-star review (How Peter Williams gets Kokoda wrong) in which he espouses some of the traditionalist views challenged by this book. He limits himself to two main criticisms; Japanese strategic and operational planning and the relative numbers engaged in the early battles.
On the first issue he seems to have read the book, but missed the point. No-one doubts that the capture of Port Moresby was one of the initial objectives of the Japanese campaign, but Williams clearly demonstrates that the change in Japanese priorities brought about by the US counter-offensive in the Solomons postponed, and eventually cancelled, the overland thrust towards Moresby. Bowen uses extensive quotes from the official histories to support his position without noticing that they all date from before the Guadalcanal landings. The dynamics of the situation seem to have escaped him.
He adopts a traditionalist position on the question of troop numbers engaged too, preferring to rely on older sources. Williams approach to this question seems painstaking and really quite impressive. His conclusions are that the Australian forces were rarely outnumbered in the Kokoda track fighting.
Many of Bowen's other criticisms just do not hold water. To describe this book as "...undermined by inadequate and/or very selective research, obscure references..." is laughable. Bowen's statement that "It is difficult to avoid an inference that his purpose appears to be to diminish the achievement and heroism of Australian soldiers..." is offensive. I certainly did not draw that inference, nor will any fair-minded reader.

This book is not just another narrative regurgitation of familiar events, but is an important work that challenges the reader to re-examine the issues. It is strongly recommended for that reason.
Buy the book, read it and make up your own mind.

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Re: Nankai Shitai

Post by bowenjk » 12 Sep 2013 02:24

One of the problems with history forums is that my careful analysis of a published work, complete with page references, is designed for readers with adequate attention spans and the capability to understand English. The criticism of me by Charpoy Chindit, including his description of my views as "laughable", suggests that he does not possess those important qualifications that produce intelligent and useful discussions on websites such as the Axis History Forum and the Amazon forum where he repeats his criticism of my analysis of the Kokoda book by Peter Williams. If only we could see more honesty in history forums, they would be much more pleasurable for members.

I have read the Kokoda book by Peter Williams, and doubt very much that I have missed the point as Charpoy Chindit suggests. If he looks at page 10 again, he will see that Peter Williams is saying the capture of "Port Moresby was... not (an) essential part of the (Japanese) plan". If we are prepared to be honest, there is no ambiguity about what he is saying on that page and in that early chapter 2. He is saying that when the Japanese landed in Papua on 21 July 1942, Port Moresby was not their primary objective. He does not mention in that context the later Japanese defeat at Milne Bay and the sequence of Japanese defeats on Guadalcanal.

Since Charpoy Chindit is quoting above from his own review of the Peter Williams Kokoda book on Amazon UK, I have added the following to my review of the book on that website and added a mention of Williams' inability to recognise the failure of the Japanese to appreciate the rugged nature of the terrain between their beachheads and Kokoda:

"The failure by Peter Williams to understand Japanese strategy in Papua in 1942 can reasonably be viewed as a major blow to his credibility on the Kokoda theme. Obviously concerned about this major blow to his credibility, apologists for Peter Williams, including one Charpoy Chindit, are attempting to distort the plain meaning of what Williams said at page 10, namely, when the Japanese invaded Papua the capture of "Port Moresby was a highly desirable, but not essential, part of the (Japanese) plan". An honest appreciation of English words indicates beyond any doubt that Williams is saying that, when the Japanese landed in Papua, the capture of Port Moresby was not their primary objective. The apologists appear to be arguing that the literal meaning of Williams' words in the context of chapter 2 "Strategy" should be ignored because that meaning causes him to appear foolish and ignorant. Instead of that literal meaning, we are told to assume that he was really meaning to speak about the Japanese decision to abandon the capture of Port Moresby after their defeat at Milne Bay, heavy losses on Guadalcanal, and their army grinding to a halt 40 kilometres short of Port Moresby. This view would result in a ludicrous distortion of the actual words used by Williams at page 10.

"When Williams talks about what the Japanese knew about the country they were invading in the chapter "Military Intelligence", his credibility really falls off a cliff. He makes the absurd claim (at page 5): "...the Japanese probably knew more about the Kokoda Track than did the Australians". Williams chooses to ignore the firmly established historical fact that the Australian defenders of Port Moresby were being advised by Papua "old hands", Lieutenant F. P. Brewer (formerly Assistant District Officer at Kokoda) and Lieutenant Bert Kienzle (Yodda Valley planter). These men had walked every inch of the track between the Japanese landings at Gona and Buna and Port Moresby. When the troops of Major General Tomitaro Horii landed in Papua, they had no firsthand knowledge of the rugged terrain between their beachheads and Kokoda. Aerial reconnaissance had mistakenly suggested the presence of a road between the beachheads and Kokoda (Senshi Sosho at pages 94-97). Acting on this false intelligence that they could travel to Kokoda on bicycles and motor transport, the Japanese unloaded hundreds of bicycles for that purpose at the beachheads. The bicycles were abandoned as useless long before the Japanese reached Kokoda. The failure of the Japanese to appreciate the difficult terrain between their beachheads and Kokoda was acknowledged by authors Craig Collie and Hajime Marutani in their book The Path of Infinite Sorrow: The Japanese on the Kokoda Track (2009). The authors interviewed five veterans of the Nankai Shitai's 144th Regiment, who told them that they had thrown away their bicycles when they found that they were useless on the track rising to Kokoda in the Owen Stanley foothills. Staff Sergeant Sadashige Imanishi tells how he carried his bicycle on his shoulders across the Kumusi River before throwing it away in disgust (page 70). I find it very strange that Peter Williams makes no mention of the firsthand evidence in this book that the Japanese had no appreciation of the ruggedness of the terrain between their beachheads and Kokoda. The Kokoda book by Williams was promoted with the claim that it had been extensively researched. As far as I can see, it would have been fairer to describe it as selectively researched."

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CHARPOY CHINDIT
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Re: Nankai Shitai

Post by CHARPOY CHINDIT » 12 Sep 2013 16:32

It seems that some people think that the greatest problem with history forums, and Amazon reviews, is that they allow others to express opinions contrary to their own. How dare they criticize the thoughts of someone with a "Sandstone" university education!
While I’m still within my limited span of attention, and bearing in mind my incapability with the English language, I would like to point out that I never criticized James Bowen himself, as he alleges, just his poor review.
I will let the reader decide on the additional points that he has raised in response to my review, after they have read Williams’ book.
I do not have the time to be Bowen’s history teacher, although he certainly needs one. He seems to think that history is set in stone, forever unchanging, and that the traditional and official accounts are never to be challenged. I prefer to think that it is the job of a good historian to re-evaluate, re-examine old sources, find new sources, provide fresh analysis and find new perspectives. You do not have to accept, or indeed like, all of Williams’ conclusions in order to see that is exactly what he has done with this book.
I do, however, agree that the internet needs truthful book reviews, even though Mr. Bowen himself has failed to produce one. I fail to understand how anyone whether in total agreement with the author’s conclusions or not, can seriously post a one-star review for a book of this quality, from a reputable author and the publishers of such an excellent series. I am afraid that there is more to book reviewing than mere axe-grinding, Mr. Bowen. We understand that you don’t like the book; now move on and let others, even those without ‘sandstone-university’ educations, make their own judgements.

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matthew hainer
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Re: Nankai Shitai

Post by matthew hainer » 19 Jun 2016 18:18

"Great Army Instruction No.992" was presented to Major General Horii Tomitaro at Imperial General Headquarters on 8 November, 1941. The orders, among other things, outlined that after the seizure of Guam, the Nankai shitai was to assemble at Truk at the earliest opportune time with the cooperation of the navy for the invasion of Rabaul. My question is, why did it take until 23 January, 1942 for the Nankai shitai to land at Rabaul? I've read two explanations: the failure of the 4th Fleet to seize Wake Atoll on 11 December prevented the South Seas Fleet from providing escort forces for the Nankai Shitai, and that the Army's lack of available transport ships prevented the Nankai shitai from departing Guam for a month as the ships were needed to haul troops and supplies for other operations.

If the answer is in the former, wasn't the 4th Fleet aware of the fact that the only aircraft based at Wake were a few surviving short-range F4F-3 Wildcats of VMF-211 and that there were no naval assets on the Atoll to threaten an advance of the Nankai shitai from Guam to Truk to Rabaul? If the answer is in the latter, would anybody know the activities of the detachments seven transport ships: China Maru (5,870 tons), Cheribon Maru (4,905 tons), Clyde Maru (5,498 tons), Daifuku Maru (2,184 tons), Nichimei Maru (4,693 tons), Venice Maru (6,571 tons), and the Yokohama Maru (6,143 tons)?

Respectfully,
Matthew Hainer

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