Nankai Shitai

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Peter H
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Nankai Shitai

Post by Peter H » 19 Jul 2005 02:28

The Nankai Shitai (South Seas Detachment) under Major-General Tomitara Horii was an Army detachment allocated in 1941 with the capture of Guam and the Bismarcks.In early 1942 it was also planned as being the invasion force for New Caledonia but this operation never eventuated.

Strength in 1941/42:

55th Infantry Brigade Group

4,886 officers and men

144th Infantry Regiment(55th Division)


Tomitara Horii:

Image
http://www.cr.nps.gov/history/online_bo ... fig2-6.jpg

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Post by Peter H » 19 Jul 2005 02:45

First Operations-Guam

The 144th Infantry Regiment was detached from the 55th Division and assembled in Korea in November 19141.It then briefly stopped off in Japan before proceeding to Chichi Jima.It then moved to Haha Jima,28th November-5th December 1941.

Allocated as the invasion force for Guam it captured the island quickly on the 10th December 1941 with the loss of one dead,six wounded.
Unfortunately 1942 claims that the Japanese suffered 200 dead in taking Guam are untrue.

The Guam invasion:

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http://www.npswapa.org/gallery/albums/J ... apa204.jpg

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Post by Peter H » 19 Jul 2005 03:46

Operation North Australia

Horrii's force was alerted on the 4th January 1942 to proceed with the capture of Rabaul.The Nankai Shitai left Guam on the 16th January and arrived off Rabual on the 22/23rd January 1942.In the meantime Kavieng on New Ireland was also occupied.


http://ajrp.awm.gov.au/ajrp/remember.ns ... enDocument

At 2.45 am, the 144th Infantry Regiment began landing. The 3rd Battalion encountered stiff resistance from a company of infantry and militiamen at Vulcan Beach but the other battalions landed without opposition and advanced rapidly. Shortly after daybreak, the Australian commander, Lieutenant Colonel J. J. Scanlan, ordered his troops to break out “every man for himself”. Thus, except for mopping-up actions, the Japanese had captured Rabaul in a single night. Its port and airfields were operational within two days.


The men of the Nankai Shitai were also involved in the infamous Tol Plantation massacre of February 1942 on New Britain.

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Post by Peter H » 10 Aug 2005 14:07

The Nankai Shitai remained at Rabaul in the first half of 1942.

However on the 8th March the 2/144th Regiment was detached to seize Salamaua in New Guinea,while at the same time SNLF seized Lae.Navy troops also took over the garrison of Salamaua so the 2/144th was withdrawn back to Rabaul,arriving back there on the 15th March 1942.

On the 14th June 1942 General Hyakutake, commander of the 17th Army, was told to prepare for an overland attack on Port Moresby.The 15th Independent Engineer Regiment,a veteran formation from the Malaya campaign,was also attached to Horii's command as a result.

On the 1st July 1942 Horii was ordered to prepare a reconnaissance force to land at Buna and reconnoiter the overland route to Port Moresby from that point.This force was under Colonel Yosuke Yokoyama,commander of the 15th Engineer Regiment.Yokoyama Force consisted of the 15th Engineers,the 47th Field Antiaircraft Artillery Battalion, the 1/144th Regiment of the Nankai Shitai,and a company of the SNLF 5th Sasebo.On the 20th July Yokoyama's force left Rabaul,now also with the revised role of being the advance echelon of the march on Port Moresby.On the afternoon of the 21st the Buna landing was made.On the 14th August 3,000 men of the 14th and 15th Naval Construction Units also deployed at Buna,their role to build the area up as a major base for operations.

On the 17th August Horii's main force of the Nankai Shitai left Rabual,arriving at Buna on the 18th August 1942.

From Paul Ham's Kokoda---Horii and his men depart from Rabaul.
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Post by Peter H » 11 Aug 2005 10:55

At the same time Horii's force was increased by the allocation of the 41st Infantry Regiment(the Yazawa Detachment).These veterans of the Malaya campaign(detached from the 5th Division) arrived at Rabaul on the 16th August, from Davao,then departed for Papua on the 19th August,arriving two days later.Horii's command now numbered 8,000 troops(2 infantry regiments),3,000 naval construction troops,and 450 SNLF.

Meanwhile the advanced Yokoyama Detachment,spearheaded by the 1/144th Regiment under Lt Colonel Hatsuo Tsukamoto,had encountered the Australians,capturing Kokoda on the 29th July.Fighting flared around this locale until the Australians withdrew via Deniki to Isurava 14-16 August 1942.

Horii meanwhile moved into action,riding into Kokoda on the 24th August,and moving the bulk of the South Seas Detachment into position to attack Isurava and drive onto Port Moresby. One battalion went along an eastern parallel flank trail with the aim of trapping the Australians at Alola, the next village along the track south of Isurava. It was planned that the rest of his force would make frontal assaults on Isurava to pin and eventually overwhelm the enemy.

The shelling of Isurava commenced on the 26th August,using the two 70mm howitzers that Horii brought into action.The Australians poured down a heavy fire in response(the Japanese called their position Mount Isurava) and the battle surged for three days from the 27th.By the 30th August the Australian forces were in retreat up the Kokoda Trail...1800 Australians had defended the position against 6000 Japanese,delaying Horii's timetable as well:Australian casualties were estimated at 700,Japanese at 1600,including 550 killed.

An Australian comment on the Japanese at Isurava:

They were brave and strong of purpose. They were trained and experienced in this type of warfare. They were hard and enduring.

Dudley McCarthy,Official Historian,SWPA

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Post by Peter H » 18 Aug 2005 09:32

The Nankai Shitai continued their advance down the Kokoda Track--constant pressure was applied by Horii,using alternately his 144th and the 41st Regiments.

The Japanese war correspondent Seizo Okada:

...an endless serpentine movement of infantry,artillery,transport unit,infantry again,first aid station,field hospital,signal unit,and engineers...the jungle became thicker and thicker,and even at mid-day we walked in the half light of dusk..rain..the soldiers got wet to the skin through their boots and the undercloth round their bellies.


Unfortunately by early September their two week rice ration per man had been consumed---starving troops entering Myola feasted on leftover,deliberately spoiled enemy rations and an outbreak of food poisoning halted the advance for a day.

The fighting at Efogi, 5-9 September,cost another 200 Japanese killed and 150 wounded against 75 Australian battle deaths.

From Ham,"the Nankai Shitai cross the Owen Stanleys.."
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Post by Peter H » 16 Sep 2005 07:00

The subsequent halting of the Japanese drive on Port Moresby is well known.The Nankai Shitai then was involved in the retreat back to the Buna-Gona beachhead and only remnants were evacuated after the fierce fighting there.

Details of Horii's death by drowning can also be found here:

http://ajrp.awm.gov.au/ajrp/remember.ns ... enDocument

Horrii's replacement,Major-General Oda Kensaku,committed suicide near Giruwa in January 1943.

Major-General Yamagata Tsuyuo,sent to command the Gona-Sanananda-Buna garrison in December 1942,later escaped to Rabaul.He became the commander of the 26th Division and died at Leyte in February 1945.

Colonel Kusunose Masao,the commander of the 144th Regiment,and at one stage Horrii's second in command,was repatriated home due to illness in 1943.In December 1945 he was summoned to testify for war crimes at Rabaul.According to Ham--"Kusunose refused.He walked into a forest on the side of Mount Fuji and,in the freezing winter,starved himself to death."


Paul Ham relates that:

Horii's men suffered a near complete loss.A Japanese analysis of the Nankai Shitai's casualty rate shows that of the original 5586 troops sent from Kochi to Papua(excluding the 41st Regiment and later reinforcements),5432 were killed in action--a kill rate of 97 per cent.The 144th Regiment's 3500 men suffered 3264 deaths,93 per cent of their men....Very few of the Nankai Shitai came home--estimates suggest only 5 per cent of the original 13,000 survived.


Remnants of the 144th Regiment in Rabaul totalled 236 men in 1943.In April 1943 the Nankai Shitai was officially disbanded.The survivors of the 144th were transferred to Burma to rejoin their parent 55th Division.Then only 140 of these soldiers survived the fighting in Burma and returned to Japan after the war.

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Post by Peter H » 12 Dec 2006 12:32

"Message to Warriors in the South Seas"

http://www.army.mil/CMH/books/wwii/MacA ... P1/ch1.htm

The pamphlet entitled, "Message to Warriors in the South Seas," was issued on 15 November 1941 above the signature of Maj. Gen. Horii, Commanding General of the South Seas Detachment, which comprised the main force in the attack on Guam.

RESTRICTED
A Guide for Warriors in
The South Seas

South Seas Detachment Hqs.
15 November 1941

Horii Force Staff -Educational Pamphlet No. 1
Instructions regarding the attached "Message for Warriors in the South Seas"

To all units and militarized civilian personnel under my command:

This pamphlet, together with the previously distributed "Collection of Imperial Rescripts," to which are annexed: "Field Service Instructions" and "Read This and the War is Won", is to be used as material for the practical strengthening of morale in the field.

15 November 1941
Tomitaro Horii
Commanding General,
South Seas Detachment

Instructions given to the officers, men, and civilian employees under His Majesty the Emperor and under my command, on the occasion of the formation of the South Seas Detachment and their departure for operations:

In obedience to the orders of His Imperial Majesty, I now take command of your honored unit as an independent force, and am about to undertake a vital duty. I cannot repress my deep emotion, and I feel keenly the gravity of my responsibility.

I am convinced that the world situation surrounding East Asia faces an unprecedented crisis, and the fate of the Empire hangs in the balance. I believe that all of you, habitually bearing in mind the Imperial Edicts, have obeyed the orders of your superiors and have striven with all your might; however, at this time when your unit has been newly organized and is about to take the field, you are to stress to yourselves these three great principles with fullest courage:–

The strict observance of military discipline; the strengthening of esprit de corps; and the determination to fight to the death for certain victory. Whether you be under the higher commands or under the command of subordinate officers, whether you be officers or militarized civilian personnel, true to the spirit of loyalty, you are to have faith in and assist the combined action of the land and sea forces working together as one body; thus you shall do your utmost to utilize the results of your training and to display the combined fighting strength of the detachment.

You will take care of yourselves, bear in mind my wishes, and upon the opening of hostilities determine to exalt still more the true worth of the Detachment, swiftly bringing the Holy War to a successful termination, and thereby carrying out the Sacred Imperial Desire.

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Post by Peter H » 08 Apr 2007 13:44

Senshi sosho

http://ajrp.awm.gov.au/AJRP/AJRP2.nsf/W ... penElement

The South Seas Force assembled in Rabaul by late April. The force was removed from the order of battle of the 18th Army by an order dated 17 June (“Great army order no. 804”). This order dissolved the formation, and
returned units to the order of battle of the 55th Division, at that time in Burma.

In summary, the South Seas Force was a unique formation directly commanded by Imperial Headquarters at
the beginning of the war. It had been given the responsibility of invading Guam and then Rabaul, had
participated in fierce fighting after landing in New Guinea, and had crossed the Owen Stanley Range to within
sight of Port Moresby. Thereafter, the force had fought desperately against the odds, had lost two commanders
in succession, and lost most of its officers in battle.

The losses for the South Seas Force were compiled by the No. 1 Demobilisation Bureau as follows:

South Seas Force personnel table
Unit Mobilised in Japan,Reinforcements, Killed in action or lost.Survivors

55th Infantry Group headquarters 180 155 253 82
144th Infantry Regiment 3,500 1,150 3,264 1,386
55th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Company 130 30 130 30
55th Mountain Artillery Regiment, 1st Battalion 900 257 905 252
55th Engineer Regiment, 1st Company 300 50 310 40
55th Supply and Transport Regiment, 2nd
Company
145 30 140 35
55th Division Medical Unit (one-third strength) 220 80 250 50
55th Division Disease Prevention and Water
Supply Unit (part strength)
50 10 45 15
55th Division Veterinary Workshop (part
strength)
21 5 20 6
55th Division 1st Field Hospital 140 30 115 55
Total 5,586 1,797 5,432 1,951

The 41st Infantry Regiment assembled in Rabaul by mid-June 1943. The regiment was removed from the order
of battle of the 18th Army by “Great army order no. 834” on 2 September. The regiment was returned to Korea
and placed under the command of the Demobilisation Duty Officer.

According to the memoir of Koiwai Mitsuo, the commander of the 2nd Battalion, the regiment lost over two
thousand men and approximately three hundred casualties were evacuated. There were barely two hundred
survivors when the regiment arrived in Rabaul. The commander of the regiment, Colonel Yazawa Kiyomi, died
on active service after the evacuation from the Mambare River.

The withdrawal to Rabaul of the 21st Independent Mixed Brigade was completed in early June. The brigade
was ordered back to Japan by “Great army order no. 800” issued on 12 June. The brigade’s artillery and
anti-aircraft units formed the 5th Independent Field Heavy Artillery Battalion and the 42nd Independent Field
Anti-aircraft Company respectively. They were then placed in the order of battle of the 18th Army. The
brigade’s tank unit was transferred to Wake Island on 22 June and placed under the command of the 170th
Infantry Regiment 2nd Battalion.

The brigade commander, Major General Yamagata Tsuyuo, was transferred to the headquarters of the garrison
division in Kyoto.

The 15th Independent Engineer Regiment was transferred from the order of battle of the 18th Army to the 19th
Army by “Great army order no. 868” on 18 October. The regiment then headed for the new battlefields of New Guinea.

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Re: Nankai Shitai

Post by Peter H » 01 Apr 2009 00:04

From Bruce Gamble's Darkest Hour: The True Story of Lark Force at Rabaul - Australia's Worst Military Disaster of World War II.
Junior officers of the 144th Infantry Regiment..photographed in a formal garden on their home island of Shikoku..
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Re: Nankai Shitai

Post by Peter H » 01 Apr 2009 00:06

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.
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Re: Nankai Shitai

Post by Peter H » 10 Apr 2009 11:41

From Bruce Gamble page 73:
When the Invasion Force reached the Equator at 0500 on January 20,the South Seas Detachment paused to commemorate a special event.In all of Japan's 2600 year history,they were the first army force to cross the line...'On the day we crossed the equator,all the men,fully armed and equipped,assembled on deck'.

'At this time,when we are about to advance into the southern hemisphere,we shall pay respect toward the Imperial Palace',said the commander towards his assembled subordinates.Solemnly,and with overflowing emotions,the men presented arms towards the north.'

Victory Song for the unit composed after the capture of Rabaul,January 1942:

Nankai Dayori(Tidings from the South Seas)

First to cross the Equator
Our unit of vigorous youth from Shikoku
Far from home,in the South Seas
The Rising Sun flag fluttering brightly
Over Rabaul,New Britain

Like a maiden's breast
Rising kindly over the gulf
The fiery volcano beckons
The pure hearts of young brave men
Think of the smoke in their homeland

Push on into the jungle
Bananas,papayas and coconut milk
Enjoy the taste of bounteous nature:
Nostalgic we would push on
To our mothers in our villages

After a passing squall
A rainbow on Branch Gulf
When at last all the enemy bombs
Are heard receding in the distant sky
Beautiful smokescreen blooms with the rainbow

Just below the Equator
We are under the Southern Cross
The warrior's blood runs hot
As the Rising Sun flag advances
Ahead the enemy pleads for his life under a white flag

A brisk divine breeze blowing
Towards Australia at the limit of the south
The ultimate place to reach
The dawn of a new world
Not quickly but faintly.
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Re: Nankai Shitai

Post by Peter H » 10 Apr 2009 11:59

New Britain
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Re: Nankai Shitai

Post by Peter H » 10 Apr 2009 12:14

Carrying wounded comrade,Kokoda
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Re: Nankai Shitai

Post by Brady » 04 Apr 2010 02:40

Peter H wrote:New Britain
Rabaul?

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