Japanese Army List for the time past 1942

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Len Tracey
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Re: Japanese Army List for the time past 1942

Post by Len Tracey » Mon Jun 17, 2019 3:33 am

Some excellent points raised here. For my research, I've divided the Asia-Pacific War into three periods: Early War 1937 - 1941 (Mainly China theatre, including British colonies); Mid War 1941 - 1943 (Japanese expansion and the start of the Pacific & Burma-India theatres); Late War 1944 - 1945 (Allied counter offensive). The rationale for this is as follows:

From 1937 through to late 1942, the Japanese were on the offensive pretty much continuously and generally doing quite well. This seems due to a mix of Japanese aggression, daring and decisiveness (along with a good dose of luck that often accompanies these attributes) exacerbated by allied complacency and underestimating of the enemy. By late 1942 this momentum had come to a halt and in 1943 the strategic balance gradually shifted in favour of the allies. This period of late 1942 to late 1943 involved a lot of hard fighting before the allies gained the advantage. The period 1944 - 1945 saw the allied offensive hit full stride and drive on towards Japan's eventual defeat. This is a somewhat simplistic summary I know, but it serves the purpose for organising the game. The trick, I suppose, is how far you want to drill into the detail and represent it in the game.

One aspect I've run into a lot in my research is the amount of western national mythology dogging the history regarding the Japanese (and the Chinese). A simple example is the oft quoted "fact" that Australian forces were heavily outnumbered on the Kokoda Track. When you actually compare the orders of battle, especially later in the campaign, it is clear that it was the Japanese who were outnumbered. Similar claims about Japanese "hordes" are made in many of the British histories as well. Still, no-one wants to admit they were roughly handled by a smaller force!

Just some thoughts.

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Truscott Trotter
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Re: Japanese Army List for the time past 1942

Post by Truscott Trotter » Mon Jun 17, 2019 4:14 am

Hi Len
I was thinking along similar lines for the split - Maybe split 1943 in half to KISS?
So 37-41 China and Manchuria
41- 43 HK, Malaya Burma Pt 1 Philippines etc.
43-45 - India, Burma pt 2 PNG , Island hopping?
Not sure how Guadalcanal would fit in as it is early 43 - not a campaign I have read much on.

Certainly agree with the mythology part although figures on paper are deceptive. For example a large number of the defenders of Singapore were LOC troops, admin, new recruits or were exhausted and demoralised from the retreat down the peninsula. Also of course as with all attackers they can often achieve local superiority of numbers and support weapons especially if the defenders conveniently spread themselves thin and do not keep mobile reserves to eliminate infiltrating units.

On Malaya this passage (from the Brit Official History ) caught my attention as I think it sums up some of the important factors of the campaign

"The jungles,- mangrove swamps and thickly treed areas of cultivation presented a peculiar and difficult problem to those responsible for the defence of Malaya. Visibility, except in pineapple plantations, rice-fields and tin mining areas, is very limited; thus the use of long-range weapons and the application of effective supporting fire for the infantry was very difficult. The opportunity for ambush lies almost everywhere. In jungle there are no fields of fire, tactical features tend to lose significance and roads and tracks become of great importance. All-round protection is essential, and movement, although nearly always possible, is severely restricted; static defence spells defeat. In rubber, movement is easier but the interminable lines of evenly spaced trees and the limited view make it difficult for troops to keep direction. Both in jungle and in rubber plantations control becomes difficult, the tempo of fighting is very different from that in more open country, emergencies crop up suddenly and unexpectedly and in consequence the action of junior commanders has a far greater influence on the general scheme of operations than would normally be the case. Errors of tactics, judgement and decision on their part may easily decide the result of an action. In such close country the infantry becomes the dominant arm. In open country any mistakes on the part of the infantry can often be offset by the use of armour or by increased fire support, but in Malaya this was not possible, and success depended therefore on the quality and training" (from "The War Against Japan. Volume I The Loss of Singapore (HMSO - Official HIstory of WWII - Military)" by Woodburn Kirby)

Groupe_Franc
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Re: Japanese Army List for the time past 1942

Post by Groupe_Franc » Fri Jun 21, 2019 11:39 pm

I am certainly not an expert on the IJA. But I found this article interesting: https://www.militaryhistoryonline.com/w ... papua.aspx
The article portrays the Japanese army as being unprepared for jungle combat. The author states "Command decisions, not the fighting effectiveness of individuals, sealed the fate of the Imperial Army. The Japanese struggled to get reinforcements, arms, and supplies to the front. They found past combat experience inadequate as preparation for jungle and mountain fighting. They underestimated the Allies. Those miscalculations were the result of flawed strategic analyses and operational choices." Japanese officers are described mostly is not competent to command large units and ignorant of "operational art". The article is generally critical of Japanese officers. Never mind the shortages of food and medicine. I'm left wondering how the Japanese were so successful in Malaya and Burma. The article speaks highly of the Japanese infantryman, so the critique may not be relevant to CoC. Or the article may be tripe. Still, it might interest a few folks.

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Truscott Trotter
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Re: Japanese Army List for the time past 1942

Post by Truscott Trotter » Fri Jun 21, 2019 11:52 pm

Simples the allies were worse....much worse

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