- 5th Division (Imperial Japanese Army)
Infobox Military Unit
unit_name= 5th Infantry Division
dates= 1888 - 1945
Empire of Japan
Imperial Japanese Army
First Sino-Japanese War Russo-Japanese War
battle_honours=The nihongo|5th Infantry Division|歩兵第五師団|Hohei daigo shidan was an
infantry divisionin the Imperial Japanese Army. Its call-sign was the nihongo|Carp Division|鯉兵団|Koihei-dan.
The 5th Division was formed in
Hiroshimain January 1871 as the nihongo|Hiroshima Garrison|広島鎮台|Hiroshima chindai, one of six regional commands created in the fledgling Imperial Japanese Army. The Hiroshima Garrison had responsibility for western region of Honshū( Chugokudistrict), ranging from Hyōgo Prefectureto Yamaguchi Prefecture. The six regional commands were transformed into divisions under the army reorganization of 14 May 1888.
As one of the oldest Divisions in the Imperial Japanese Army, the 5th Division saw combat in the
First Sino-Japanese War. Elements of the 5th Division were the first Japanese forces to land in Korea, and the 5th Division was in charge of the southern Korean garrison and participated in the invasion of the Liaodong Peninsulain China. It was the main Japanese element in the multi-national coalition during the Boxer Rebellion, and received praise from foreign observers for its bravery, professionalism and discipline. In the Russo-Japanese War, under the command of General Nozu Michitsura, it saw combat at the Battle of Sandepuand Battle of Mukden.
Manchuriafrom 1911-1913, the bulk of the Japanese forces in the Siberian Interventioncame from the 5th Division.
Second Sino-Japanese War, it participated in the invasion of Chahar, and the Battle of Xuzhoubefore being reassigned to the south China front around Guangzhou.
After the start of the
Pacific Warthe 5th Division was reassigned to the southern front under Field Marshall Terauchi Hisaichi's Southern Command based in Saigon. With its combat experience and record in China, it was considered one of the best divisions in the Imperial Japanese Army, and was one of the divisions assigned to the conquest of Malaya and Singapore.
Battle of Singapore
On the night of
8 February 1942, six battalions of the 5th Infantry Division, under command of Lieutenant General Matsui Takuyoas part of Lieutenant General Yamashita Tomoyuki’s 25th Army along with the IJA 18th Divisioncrossed the Johor Straitusing landing craft.
On the Singapore side, Sarimbun beach was heavily defended by 2 companies, one each from the 2/20th and 2/18th battalions of the 22nd Australian Brigade, supported by a machine gun company, three artillery batteries and an anti-tank battery. However, the Japanese troops managed to penetrate the British defense perimeter, and the Australian troops retrograded after midnight allowing the 5th Infantry Division, to move on to Ama Keng village and established a beachhead, where they fired a red starshell over the straits to indicate the their success to General Yamashita.
Immediately after this important victory, the 5th Infantry Division moved inwards into Singapore to capture more strategic areas such as
Tengah Airfieldon 9 February 1942. The unit fought against the 2/29th, 2/20th, 2/18th battalions of the 22nd Australian Brigade and the Jind Indian Infantry Battalion, the airfield garrison. On 11 February 1942, Bukit TimahRoad was captured by the 5th Infantry Division after fierce fighting. Singapore surrendered 4 days later.
The 5th Division subsequently saw action in
Rabauland Guadalcanaland various islands in the Dutch East Indies, before surrendering to the Allies on Ceram, in the Dutch East Indies.
Some of its more noteworthy commanders included
Nozu Michitsura, Oku Yasukata, Yamaguchi Motoomi, Ueda Arisawa, and Terauchi Hisaichi.
Order of Battleof the IJA 5th Division included:
* 11th Infantry Regiment
* 21st Infantry Regiment (
* 42nd Infantry Regiment (
* 5th Special Operations Regiment
* 5th Field Artillery Regiment
* 5th Construction Regiment
* 5th Transport Regiment.
As of July 1937
IJA 5th Division (Motorized Square Division) - General
*9th Infantry Brigade
**11th Infantry Regiment
**41st Infantry Regiment
*21st Infantry Brigade
**21st Infantry Regiment
**42nd Infantry Regiment
* 5th Mountain Artillery Regiment
* 5th Cavalry Regiment
* 5th Engineer Regiment
* 5th Transport Regiment
The IJA 5th Division was a "motorized" square division, being equipped with 500 trucks. The trucks were for the heavy equipment and the artillery, whereas every soldier not riding in a motor vehicle rode a
Reference and further reading
* Madej, W. Victor, Japanese Armed Forces Order of Battle, 1937-1945 [2 vols] Allentown, PA: 1981
List of Japanese Infantry Divisions
* [http://www.niehorster.orbat.com/014_japan/41-12-08_army/ija_ground-units/_4-rgt_organization.html Organization, 1941 Infantry Division (square) 8 December 1941]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.