Dai,Chu,Sho and Tai: A Japanese guide for unit size

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hisashi
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Dai,Chu,Sho and Tai: A Japanese guide for unit size

Post by hisashi » 17 Aug 2003 17:06

Hi,
It would be interesting to some readers to read basic Japanese military terms broken down to each characters.
Dai,chu,sho are common three size classifications. So in army,
daitai = battalion
chutai = company or battery or cavalry squadron
shotai = platoon
buntai = squad ('bun' means 'branch' or 'broken down')
han = section
For larger formations, taking some word from ancient Chinese army system, Japan introduced shidan and ryodan for 'division' and 'brigade'.
gundan = corps (Japanese army did not form corps)
gun = army
gun-shudan = army group (of Germany)

'shu' ->gathering, 'dan' ->group. It sounds that gundan is larger than gun, but Japanese army did not think so...
shitai = referred to temporal battlegroups of various size. Usually named after the commander, but 'Nankai-shitai' meant 'South-Sea shitai'.
You should not mistake a prefix 'dai' for numbers in order.

In navy,
sentai = squadron (battle unit?)
sentai was defined in 'edict on sentai', but this edict was revised several time to enlarge its definition. so various kind of sentai existed. Moreover, some special sentai were defined in other edicts.
For small vessels, such as destroyers, they were grouped as tai, such as kuchiku-tai (destroyer unit). Usually four kuchiku-tai and a light crueser consisted of a destroyer squadron.
kantai = fleet
rengo kantai = combined fleet. 'rengo' is nowadays the name of the largest labor union in Japan.

In air force of army and navy,
hiko shotai = rotte? 2-3 aircrafts.
hiko chutai[Army], hikotai[Navy] = squadron
I always have difficulty in translating navy air squadron, it may be a carrier squadron, or two or more air corps, but very confusing with squadrons in foreign air forces.
koku and hiko both mean aviation.
hiko sentai[Army], kokutai[Navy] = air group, aviation corps, gruppe?
Larger formations followed as these.
hiko dan < hiko shidan < koku gun < koku so-gun[army]
koku sentai < koku kantai[navy]

Hiko dan was directed by a major general while hiko shidan was led by a lieutenant general, and both belonged to koku gun directly, or directly to koku so-gun. 'so' means 'general'. In the last days of Japanese army, koku so-gun directed all army air units eventually.

Hisashi NAMIKAWA
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subskipper
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Post by subskipper » 17 Aug 2003 18:16

Great post maisov. I've never really been able to grip the japanse military terminology in terms of the equivalent western unit soze. I've saved your post and will print it for easy reference when reading. :) Thanks again.


~Henric Edwards

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Post by Musashi » 17 Aug 2003 21:54

Domo arigato, Namikawa-san! :)
BTW
I know SENTAI is a squadron also in aviation, not only in the navy.
What is TEISHIN DAN? I found the phrase in a game and it should be paratroopers, but paratroopers have the other phrase, which I forget. Perharps RIKKA-HEI? :oops:

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Post by Andy H » 17 Aug 2003 22:59

Army Air Force

Air Divisions were Hikoshidan
Air Brigades were Hikodan
Air Regiments were Hikosentai
Squadrons were Daitai

Naval Air Force

Carrier based Air Groups were Hikokitai
Land based Air Groups were Kokutai

Andy H

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Mait
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Post by Mait » 18 Aug 2003 00:59

TEISHIN DAN is an Army paratrooper unit called "Raiding Brigade" in english.
Perhaps the following link will also help?

http://maisov.oops.jp/e/lindc5.htm

Let me guess - the game is Pacific General?

Best Regards,

Mait.

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Post by hisashi » 18 Aug 2003 01:44

Henric,

Thank you for your cheering. On relative size of air units, I add some corrections and additional informations.
In 1941 IJN revised fleet decree so that squadron may consist of two or more naval air groups. They were also called as koku sentai.

Musashi,

Nowadays, we translate airborne as 'kutei'. It was originally an abbreviation of kuchu teishin. See
http://www.maisov.com/e/lindc5.htm
about the origin of teishin-tai. Teishin-dan was a regimental-size paratrooper unit plus transporter unit.
Also in other meaning 'teishin-tai' was broadly used. Those 'self-sacrificing unit' included non-combat units, such as seisan teishintai (production unit; especially food for themselves).

Andy,
http://www.marksindex.com/japaneseaviat ... cture.html
is very well researched page for Japanese army air force. I have nothing to correct in contents on this page.

Hiko sentai(army) and kokutai(navy land-based) was very roughly in the same size, having 30-50 aircrafts in it. I must correct my post in that hikoutai in the navy had two or more hikou chutai in it. And in some over-strength kokutai, hikou daitai were formed UNDER hikoutai. So,
kokutai > hikoutai > (hikou daitai) > hikou chutai >hiko shotai.

Until 1944, carrier-based air units were under the command of the captains in the carriers. Then they remained as a hikotai, even if they had 72 aircrafts. it seemed that they had hiko chutai at most as permanent organizations, and leaders for the sortie was assigned each time.
Throughout Japanese navy, most personnel belonged to a buntai. This buntai is the same word as army squad, but in navy, buntai was a group of personnels who have the same positions in the ship etc. Buntai itself was not in the order of battle, but on human resource allocation, buntai leader was delegated to fix details of the organization; for example, who participate in the next sortie. In large carriers, buntai leaders of fighters, dive-bombers and attackers etc. helped hikoutai leader.
In 1944 navy changed the system so that a kokutai leader directed all aircrafts in the same carrier squadron. Before 1944, carrier hikoutai was not combined as kokutai as you point out.
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Post by Musashi » 18 Aug 2003 09:53

Mait wrote:TEISHIN DAN is an Army paratrooper unit called "Raiding Brigade" in english.
Perhaps the following link will also help?

http://maisov.oops.jp/e/lindc5.htm

Let me guess - the game is Pacific General?

Best Regards,

Mait.
SUGOI :)
Its Pacific General. I have a problem playing this game. When I play Japanese campaign or sone single missions (for example SAN FRANSISCO 1944) the game kicks me off to my desktop. Do you know how to solve this problem? I heard about patch 1.1, but that one I have downloaded doesn't work. I will try to download it from other source.
Best regards,
Chris

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Musashi
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Post by Musashi » 18 Aug 2003 10:00

@Namikawa-san,
I have found in online Japanese-English translator a few months ago TEISHIN also means VOLUNTEER in English. So maybe this phrase has a few meanings? ( how many Japanese phrases? :))
Best regards,
Chris

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hisashi
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Post by hisashi » 19 Aug 2003 13:21

Musashi wrote:@Namikawa-san,
I have found in online Japanese-English translator a few months ago TEISHIN also means VOLUNTEER in English. So maybe this phrase has a few meanings? ( how many Japanese phrases? :))
Best regards,
Chris
Please see my second gif image. teishin in TEISHIN-DAN is the first one, and it have nothing to do with volunteering. I explained the second one as 'self-sacrificing' but exactly, 'giving one's body away for something'. Some suicide attack troops had the name of teishin in the second. So 'volunteering' is not bad translation, but teishin sounds very heroic. So Japaneses used this word broadly.

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