Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
xanthus

Japanese Paratroopers of WWII (56k warning)

10 posts in this topic

I recently acquired a whole bunch of neat Osprey books full of exhaustive information, rare photos, detailed artwork, and the most up-to-date information straight from Japanese sources.

One of the books is "Japanese Paratroop Forces of WWII", a fairly slim volume but full of very illuminating information.

I recently posted this in Mauserk's thread in the barracks but I figured I would re-post it here in case anyone finds it interesting.

Some scans of uniforms from the Osprey book;

para1.jpg

para2.jpg

para3.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Operations:

January 11, 1942

-IJN: Yokosuka 1st SNLF (special naval landing forces; all IJN paratrooper units were SNLF)

-Manado, Celebes, Dutch East Indies (Indonesia)

-Objective: Lagoan Airfield defended by Dutch forces under Maj B.F.A.Schilmoller.

-Plan: 334 paratroopers would drop directly on top of Lagoan Airfield from 28x Type 96 "Tina" transports. Each aircraft carried roughly 12 paratroopers, 5 equipment canisters underneath the plane, and 2 inside the plane. The drop was made at an altitude of 500ft and at a speed of 100 knots. 22 men aboard 2x four-engined Type 97 "Mavis" seaplanes would land on a nearby lake with 2x 3.7cm ATGs and 1 medical section for support.

A second drop group consisting of 74 paratroopers would drop over the airfield the next day as reinforcements.

-Weapons: Each paratrooper was armed with either 1x 8mm Type 94 or Type 14 pistol, a Type 30 bayonet and typically 2 or more grenades (HE, WP, and tear gas grenades were available). Drop canisters contained Type 38 6.5mm rifles, Type 96 LMGs, Type 89 5cm light mortars ("grenade dischargers"), and a variety of demolition charges.

- AAR:

As they approached Celebes, 1 Type 96 "Tina" transport was shot down by a friendly aircraft by mistake with the loss of all aboard. The remaining 322 men were successively dropped on the airfield within 20 minutes of the first transports arriving over the objective.

The airfield was more heavily defended than was believed and Japanese forces initially sustained numerous casualties within the first moments of the drop. Enemy pillboxes were ultimately unable to pin down Japanese forces after all paratroopers had landed, and the pillboxes were quickly destroyed or captured. After the pillboxes were wiped out, 3 Dutch AFVs entered the airfield from the nearby Allied base at Kakas and engaged the paratroopers; 1 AFV was destroyed, 1 was captured, and the remaining AFV retreated. Within 1 hour, SNLF forces had secured the airfield and mopped up all remaining resistance.

SNLF forces then advanced on the base at Kakas and engaged 150 Allied troops equipped with 1 ATG and 1 AFV. SNLF forces successfully captured the base after a 3 hour firefight. SNLF forces then linked up with ATG and medical support units from the seaplanes after securing Kakas.

Reinforcements dropped the next day but by then the battle was over and all Allied forces in the area had been wiped out.

- Casualties: By the end of the 2 day operation, SNLF losses were 20 KIA (plus an additional 12 aboard the transport lost to friendly fire) and 32 wounded. There were 140 Dutch KIA and 48 captured.

Fun fact: Yokosuka 1st SNLF forces on the ground at Manado were led by Cdr Toyaki Horiuchi, CO of the unit. 40 years old at the time of the jump, he was a bit of a celebrity in Japan at the time, known as a kind of fitness guru who excelled at Swedish gymnastics. He reportedly pushed his men to perform rigorous exercise routines that were seen as somewhat unusual at the time.

para4.jpg

para8.jpg

February 20, 1942

-IJN: Yokosuka 3rd SNLF

-Koepang, Dutch Timor (West Timor)

-Objective: Penfui Airfield, near the capital city of Koepang, defended by a combined Australian and Dutch force under Australian Brig W.C.D. Veale.

- Plan: Because most of the total casualties suffered in the Manado operation occurred within the very first moments of the drop, it was believed it wasn't safe to drop paratroopers directly over an objective. 308 paratroopers would drop at a predesignated DZ 10 1/2 miles Northeast of Penfui Airfield from a mixed group of 28x Type 96 "Tina" and Type 1 "Thalia" transports. 17x Type 1 "Betty" bombers flew ahead of the 1st drop group to bomb the DZ just before the drop; the transports would drop low and slow just as before.

The second drop group consisted of 323 men aboard 26 transports and would drop the next day with support elements; enemy forces were significantly larger and better armed than in the previous operation, and the Japanese expected a tough fight.

Paratroop forces would be supported by Kure 1st SNLF ground troops who would make amphibious landings to the South and then move into Penfui Airfield to relieve the paratroopers after it was secured.

-Weapons: Each man dropped with a pistol, a bayonet, and grenades; primary weapons were acquired from drop canisters as in the first operation. In addition to the same weapons used in the first operation, the following equipment was also used; Type 99 2lb magnetic anti-armor charges and Type 100 flamethrowers.

- AAR:

The "Betty" bombers bombed the DZ just before the jump and all 308 paratroopers landed safely without encountering opposition. The SNLF force then advanced south towards the major road which led to Koepang, the nearby capital, where they encountered troops of the Australian 2/40th Inf Bn who heavily engaged them. SNLF forces noticed a rising cloud of dust in the direction of Koepang, which gave away the presence of a larger force of Dutch and Australian tanks and armored cars; SNLF forces then dug in and had time to prepare to engage the armored force while the Australian infantry of 2/40th Bn were slowly whittled away. The armored force, unsuccessful in their counter-attack against the SNLF, eventually withdrew from the area.

SNLF forces decided to bypass the remaining Allied defenders by leaving the road and heading into the jungle, straight towards Penfui Airfield; the Japanese did not want to delay the capture of their objective and sought to avoid more engagements en route. The jungle was, however, extremely dense, and the SNLF had a difficult time carrying their wounded through the tough terrain. Eventually, after hacking through jungle all night, the exhausted SNLF forces settled on a hill overlooking Penfui Airfield and remained there until they saw the 2nd drop group landing at the same DZ Northeast of their position.

Forces from the 1st drop group sent messengers to the 2nd drop group informing them of the Australian and Dutch armored force guarding the major road to Koepang. The 2nd drop group itself was engaged by this same armored force at the road, while the messengers from 1st drop group eventually reached 2nd drop group and guided them through the path they had hacked in the jungle to Penfui Airfield.

Meanwhile, 1st drop group continued to struggle through the jungle until they reached Penfui Airfield the next morning only to find that it had just been successfully taken by SNLF ground troops of Kure 1st SNLF who had reached the airfield before them. Allied forces in the area surrendered the next day.

- Casualties: SNLF paratroop losses were 36 dead and 34 wounded; Australian and Dutch casualty figures for the fighting are unavailable.

para5.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The IJA's first paratroop operation was on February 14, 1942 and was arguably more daring and more strategically important than either of the IJN operations in the area.

The IJA's paratroopers were to simultaneously secure the major airfield at Palembang, the capital city of Sumatra, and the major oil refineries along the banks of the Musi river to the South. The oil refineries, operated by two separate Dutch companies, were of high strategic value and were among the largest in Southeast Asia.

IJA paratrooper units were called "Raiders".

February 14, 1942

-IJA: 2nd Raiding Regiment

-Palembang, Sumatra, Dutch East Indies (Indonesia)

-Objectives: Pangkalanbenteng Airfield (called "P1" by the British) and the two large oil refineries (known by the acronyms of the Dutch companies which operated them, BPM and NKPM) along the Musi river to the South.

Defended by Dutch and British forces under Dutch LtCol L.N.W.Vogelesang. In addition, there were 260 RAF and RAAF ground crew and service personnel at Airfield P1.

- Plan: IJA paratroopers in the 1st Attack Group would attempt to make near simultaneous drops in four different DZs throughout the objective area; their CO, a man named Col Kume, planned to crash land in a forested area Southeast of the airfield with Regt HQ and support elements. The organization and drop zones were as follows:

180 paratroopers in 18x Type 1 "Thalia" and Type 100 "Topsy" transports 1,200m SE of Airfield P1

60 paratroopers in 6x Type 1 transports 200m W of Airfield P1

60 paratroopers in 6x Type 1 transports 500m W of BPM Refineries complex

39 paratroopers in 3x Type 1 transports 700m S of NKPM Refineries complex

In addition, 27x Type 97 "Sally" bombers would drop cargo and an assortment of weapons canisters at each of the four DZs. They would be escorted by 80x Ki-43 Type 1 "Oscar" fighters and 9x Type 99 "Lily" bombers for support. With a single Type 100 scout plane leading the formation of 150 aircraft at an altitude of 9,850ft, it must have been an awesome sight.

The 2nd Attack Group, which consisted of 90 paratroopers, would drop over the airfield on the following day as reinforcements.

-Weapons: Like IJN paratroopers, each paratrooper dropped with a Type 14 or Type 94 pistol, a Type 30 bayonet, and variable number of grenades; primary weapons were recovered from separately dropped canisters. However, prior to 1943, IJA paratroopers did not use the same primary weapons as their IJN counterparts. IJA paratroopers used the 7.7mm Type 99 rifle, and the 7.7mm Type 99 LMG, whereas IJN parartroopers used older 6.5mm weapons. This operation was also the first major use of the 8mm Type 100 SMG, which was used in significant numbers and found to be highly effective in close range combat. Like IJN paratroopers, the Type 89 5cm light mortar (grenade discharger) was used along with a variety of other weaponry.

- AAR:

As the aircraft arrived over the DZs they encountered heavy fire from Allied AA at the airfield which was manned by the British 6th Heavy AA Regt, Royal Artillery. Despite the heavy fire, all transports successfully dropped their paratroopers on or near their assigned DZs without loss. Right behind the transports, the Type 97 bombers dropped their cargo and strafed the area; 1 bomber was shot down over the refineries. Japanese fighters engaged 5x British Hurricanes at 2,600ft over the airfield and shot one down before encountering another 10 at 6,500ft; 2 more Hurricanes were shot down without any Japanese fighters lost. Type 99 bombers arrived and hit barracks and AA positions at the airfield. Japanese aircraft strafed defensive positions at the airfield and refineries relentlessly.

The 180 paratroopers who landed SE of the airfield landed in a wooded area which Japanese reconnaissance had mistakenly believed was only covered with low bushes. Weapons canisters and cargo containers were snagged in the trees and became difficult or impossible to recover; the woods also made it difficult for the paratroopers to find each other. Many armed only with pistols and grenades, they gradually assembled into groups and moved towards the airfield; British AA was firing blindly into the woods but inflicted no casualties.

One stick of paras landed on the road between Palembang and the airfield because their jump was delayed due to a jammed door. They encountered 4 trucks loaded with 40 Dutch soldiers fleeing South and engaged them with pistols and grenades; to the amazement of the tenacious Japanese paratroops, the Dutch soldiers, green and demoralized, quickly surrendered. A short time later, 2 armored cars and 4 troop trucks came North along the same road; surprised by the sounds of gunfire on the road and the Japanese aircraft overhead, they abandoned their vehicles except for 1 armored car and the troops on one truck, both of which briefly engaged the small group of Japanese paratroopers before fleeing South back towards Palembang. 2 paratroopers were killed and 1 was wounded, but this handful of men had taken 40 prisoners and managed to establish a roadblock between Palembang and the airfield.

The 60 paratroopers who had landed W of the airfield landed in an area covered in dense reeds which was initially thought to be grassland. Like the other group, equipment was difficult or impossible to find. Scattered groups advanced on the airfield from the reeds successfully knocking out remaining AA positions.

On the SE side, Paratroopers advancing on the airfield from the woods encountered 300 Allied troops attempting to withdraw from the airfield. A fierce firefight ensued, and Allied forces were eventually pushed back to airfield offices which they eventually abandoned. Roughly 7 hours after the first paratroopers jumped, remaining Allied forces were mopped up and the airfield was secure.

Meanwhile, the 60 paratroopers who had landed Southwest of the BPM Refineries complex had no difficulty finding their equipment or each other. They quickly advanced towards the refineries, capturing a pillbox before engaging about 60 Allied troops in a residential area just outside the refineries. The paratroopers used Type 100 SMGs to great effect in the close quarters of the residential streets and refinery buildings and quickly raised a Rising Sun flag on the central topping tower of the complex. Allied troops in the residential area regrouped and launched a determined counter-attack; a fire was allegedly started by an Allied mortar round which resulted in some damage to the facilities. Fighting continued through the night.

The 39 paratroopers South of the NKPM complex landed in a deep swamp but managed to use a native boat to recover their equipment. Two paras landed directly in front of an Allied position and were able to kill eight defenders with their pistols and grenades. The two men attempted to advanced up the road to the refinery, but were wounded by fire coming from the buildings around the facility and turned back to find the rest of their comrades. The entire length of the road from the swamp to the NKPM refinery complex was devoid of cover and swept by heavy Allied fire. Finding no flanking route, Japanese forces advanced under fire until their platoon leader was killed, and they decided to wait until nightfall before advancing any further. They eventually advanced into the refinery to find that the Allied defenders had retreated in the darkness; a delay-fused Dutch demolition charge exploded shortly after the Japanese force entered the facility, the resulting fire destroyed 80 percent of the complex.

Col Kume and his force, who crash landed Southeast of the airfield with Regt HQ and support elements, had been unable to make it through the thick woods to reach the airfield that day so did not play a part in the battle. The next day, the 2nd Attack Group dropped safely on the airfield, and reconnaissance elements sent to Palembang city found that it had been abandoned by Allied forces.

Later in the day, two Dutch armored patrol boats were encountered on the Musi river near the refineries; one was taken out with small arms fire and the other escaped. No more resistance was encountered afterwards. Although one refinery was seriously damaged, the other was in good condition, and casualties had been fairly light.

- Casualties: Unknown, but Japanese casualties said to be "light."

From the IJA Palembang operation;

para10.jpg

para11.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The IJA launched another paratrooper operation on April 29, 1942 at Lashio on the Burma Road to cut off Chinese forces there; 70 transports filled with men made their way to DZ, but the weather took a turn for the worse and eventually became so rough that the mission was aborted. The IJA wouldn't conduct another true paratrooper operation until 1944.

As for the IJN, they had ambitious plans for the conquest of Port Moresby, Fiji, Samoa, and even Northern Australia, but future paratrooper operations planning was abandoned after the catastrophic loss at Midway. The IJN converted their paratrooper units into regular seaborne SNLF forces. Veterans from the battle at Manado were sent to reinforce Saipan and were ultimately wiped out in the battle of Saipan in 1944. Other SNLF paratroop veterans were luckier and ended up at the naval base at Truk where they stayed until Japan's surrender.

Desperation-

Japan was eventually reduced to using IJA paratroop units in desperate suicide missions against American forces retaking the Philippines; some operations were complete failures, some had mixed success.

November 26, 1944

-IJA: Kaoru Airborne Raiding Detachment (elite fighters trained in guerrilla tactics)

-Leyte, Philippines

-Objectives: North and South Burauen Airfields, defended by large numbers of American forces

- Plan:

40 Kaoru Raiders on 4x Type 0 "Tabby" transports (The DC3/C47 clone that Mauserk posted a picture of) would deliberately make belly landings on the airfields; the raiders would then use demolition charges to destroy as many aircraft, installations, and material as possible. This was a suicide mission and the raiders were essentially expected to destroy as much as possible before their inevitable deaths.

-Weapons: The Kauro raiders were not jumping from planes and their were no separate weapons canisters; they were expected to rush out of the planes as quickly as possible and attack their objectives. Each man carried his primary weapon, either a Type 99 rifle or a disassembled Type 99 LMG in canvas and leather pouches slung on the hip, demolition charges, and grenades. Each man also carried a curved short sword called a "giyuto".

- AAR:

Flying at night and at an extremely low altitude to avoid American fighters, the 4x "Tabby" transports radioed that they were approaching the target, and this was the last transmission received from them. It is now known that the pilots went astray from their objectives as each plane ended up in different locations.

One transport crashed into the sea just offshore near Dulag airfield, but all men aboard survived. As the men waded ashore, they encountered and engaged an American patrol which returned fire, killing two of the raiders. The remaining raiders fled inland.

Another transport landed on a beach near Abuyog airfield; US forces engaged and killed one raider, the rest escaped into the jungle.

The third plane reached the Burauen Airfields, but was shot down by AA and all aboard were killed.

The fourth plane missed the objective area completely and landed near Ormoc where the raiders eventually linked up with Japanese ground troops; they were absorbed into 16th Inf Div and carried out the ground war against American forces; their fates are unknown.

- Casualties: 13 Raiders KIA during the operation, the rest were either absorbed into existing ground units or independently carried out guerrilla attacks against American forces for the duration of the battle of the Philippines; None are known to have survived the war. There were no American casualties inflicted by the Raiders on the night of the operation.

Despite the failure of the Kaoru raid, the IJA was not deterred and planned a second raid against the Burauen Airfields in December with the same objectives.

Interestingly, the airfields were now being defended by the US 11th Airborne Div; the resulting battle was the only time Japanese and American airborne troops ever faced each other in the Pacific.

December 6, 1944

-IJA: 3rd and 4th Raiding Regt, the "Takachiho paratroopers" (named after a town in central Kyushu with spiritual significance in Shinto legend)

-Leyte, Philippines

-Objectives: North and South Burauen Airfields, San Pablo airstrip, Dulag Airfield, and Tacloban Airfield, defended by the US 11th Airborne Div.

- Plan:

The paratroopers were divided into groups for each airfield; each airfield group would consist of paratroopers aboard Type 100 "Topsy" transports who would jump over the airfields and attack AA and other defensive positions, and other paratroopers aboard Type 100 "Helen" bombers which would crash-land on the airfields; as in the previous operation, these men would rush out of the transports and use demolitions to destroy as many planes and as much of the installations as possible. Due to the failure of the Kaoru raid, the majority of paratroopers would be jumping and only 40 men would be crash-landing.

260 men aboard 17x Type 100 transports would jump over Burauen South Airfield.

72 men aboard 6x Type 100 transports would jump over Burauen North Airfield.

36 men aboard 3x Type 100 transports would jump over San Pablo airstrip.

84 men aboard 7x Type 100 transports would jump over Dulag Airfield.

20 men aboard 2x Type 100 bombers would crash-land on Dulag Airfield.

24 men aboard 2x Type 100 transports would jump over Tacloban Airfield.

20 men aboard 2x Type 100 bombers would crash-land on Tacloban Airfield.

They would be supported by a simultaneous attack on the airfields by the 16th Inf Div.

-Weapons: This operation marked the first use of of the special Type 2 "takedown" rifles; Each man carried his primary weapon in leg bags or haversacks. Primary weapons were either a Type 2 rifle, a Type 99 LMG, or a Type 100 SMG. In addition, each man carried two HE grenades, two HEAT grenades, two smoke grenades, two Type 99 magnetic charges, six demolition charges, a shovel, and 100 feet of rope. A heavy amount of equipment for one man to carry, the IJA wanted to ensure that each man was armed to the teeth and able to inflict as much damage as possible.

- AAR:

As soon as the formation of 39 aircraft was over Leyte, they encountered extremely heavy AA fire. Because the heavy fire confused the pilots and broke up the formation, most of the paratroopers were dropped over the San Pablo airstrip with only 60 men landing on Burauen South Airfield. The aircraft bound for Dulag and Tacloban were all shot down with the loss of all men aboard, as a result there were no belly landings on any airfields. Only 17 of the transports would successfully RTB.

As the paratroopers descended on the airfields, 300 Japanese troops of the 16th Inf Div fought their way down from the hills and dug-in in a wooded area on the North side of Burauen South Airfield and engaged American defenders on the airfield from their position.

The Japanese had counted on the shock effect of troops parachuting from the sky, but this was lost on the 11th Airborne. At Burauen North Airfield, some paratroopers were shot down from the air as they landed, but most managed to reach the packed lines of aircraft and began quickly destroying them. Fuel and supply dumps were set on fire; the Japanese killed defenders in the immediate area, seizing US machine guns and AA on the airfield. The Japanese called out to the remaining American forces on the airfield in English, asking them to surrender, but some 60 American troops dug-in on the South side of the airfield and held out all night.

Fighting at San Pablo airstrip also continued through the night as the outnumbered American forces refused to surrender or retreat. The Japanese paratroopers hoisted a Rising Sun flag on a palm tree on the airstrip, but it was cut down under fire by two US troops. US forces were reinforced the next day and by nightfall on December 7th, most of the San Pablo airstrip had been secured by American forces. The remaining Japanese paratroopers chose to fight to the death, and fighting continued until December 11th when the last Japanese forces were killed at San Pablo airfield. None were taken prisoner.

At Burauen South Airfield, after eventually losing half their men, the Japanese paratroopers there withdrew into the jungle and eventually linked up with 26th Inf Div.

- Casualties: Only the 30 Japanese paratroopers that withdrew from Burauen South Airfield survived the operation, but none are known to have survived the war. Exact US casualty figures from this specific battle cannot be obtained and it is unclear how many men were killed or wounded, though there was known to be an unspecified number of killed and wounded as a result of the operation. 11 aircraft were lost and facilities suffered moderate damage; resupply of frontline units was hampered as a result, but aircraft were replaced and facilities repaired within days.

para3.jpg

As labeled, Kaoru Raider on the left, heavily armed paratrooper of the second Leyte operation in the middle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Battle of Ormoc

December 8-21, 1944

-IJA: The remainder of the 4th Raiding Regt, the "Takachiho paratroopers"

-Ormoc, Leyte, Philippines

-Objectives: Reinforce Japanese ground forces at Valencia Airfield near Ormoc on Leyte; engage and destroy American forces in the area.

- Plan:

Sobered by their failures, the IJA decided on a more modest operation for some of their remaining paratroopers. A total of 481 paratroopers in six separate groups would drop over Japanese positions around Ormoc and Japanese-controlled Valencia Airfield between December 8 and 14 to reinforce dwindling Japanese ground troops. They were then to launch offensives against American positions in the area.

-Weapons: As in the last operation, each man jumped with a single primary weapon which was disassembled and carried in leg bags or haversacks; either a Type 2 Rifle, a Type 99 LMG, or a Type 100 SMG. Each also carried an assortment of grenades, food rations, and other basic supplies.

Food and ammunition was also dropped separately in canisters.

- AAR:

The 1st group of 90 paratroopers safely dropped on Valencia Airfield on December 8 and along with forces of 12th Independent Inf Regt moved South and attacked a US-held hill position east of Ormoc. American shellfire soon killed the company commander and half of the paratroopers quickly became casualties. After dark they withdrew and rejoined other Japanese ground forces in the area.

Additional paratroopers in subsequent groups dropped on the 10th became attached to the IJA Imabori Unit and took up position on a hillside above the road north of Ormoc. The next morning, US forces attacked under cover of a heavy bombardment. At a critical moment in the engagement, 70 of the paratroopers crept along a ditch emerging to charge the enemy at point blank range. After suffering casualties, American forces withdrew. A renewed American advance later in the day eventually surrounded the Japanese forces; the Japanese commander vanished under shellfire (only his sword was found), and the Japanese force lost about one-third of its strength. The battered paratroopers remained dug-in and only conducted raids after dark to kill US soldiers, destroy ammunition and fuel dumps, etc. The Japanese defense was broken by December 16th, and US troops advanced towards Valencia Airfield. On December 20th, the remnants of the Japanese force were ordered to retreat into the mountains; about 100 paratroopers managed to link up with Japanese troops on the mountains.

On December 14th, the last group of 35 paratroopers dropped near Valencia and linked up with 35th Army HQ. They were ordered North to Limon to link up with the exhausted Japanese 1st Div. Collecting some surviving paratroopers from previous jumps, Capt Ohmura led 75 paras North; The men of 1st Div, who were battle-worn and shell-shocked, were delighted to see the heavily armed paratroopers in their clean uniforms. After coming under heavy fire from US artillery on the night of December 21st, they were ordered to retreat. Escorting 1st Div HQ, they suffered repeated harassment from Filipino guerrillas armed with mortars. By January 1945, Ohmura's unit was strengthened to 100-plus by a steady stream of paratrooper stragglers. An additional 12 survivors from an earlier jump joined the unit by the end of the month. The last survivors eventually brought total strength to around 400 paratroopers.

Under repeated attack throughout February, the paratroopers were steadily weakened and demoralized by combat casualties, hunger, and disease.

On March 17, Capt Ohmura and 76 fit paratroopers were ordered to escort 35th Army HQ to the coast for a withdrawal to Cebu. They were forced to abandon their wounded and sick and more died en route. When they arrived at the coast, only two of the expected barges arrived; half the party volunteered to stay behind.

On March 24, the survivors rejoined 1st Div at Cebu City. When the Americans landed on Cebu, 35th Army HQ again decided to escape using small boats and escorted by about 20 paratroopers. They were strafed by a US fighter, and Gen Suzuki of 35th Army HQ and all of his staff were killed. The paratroopers survived and rejoined 1st Div on Cebu. They carried out a guerrilla campaign in the jungle and 17 of the paratroopers managed to survive the war, eventually surrendering to American forces.

- Casualties: Of the 481 paratroopers that jumped between Dec 8 and 14, only 17 ultimately survived the war and eventually went on to lead normal lives in Japan.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There were more desperate IJA operations, I'll try to post about them later today. In the mean time here are more scans:

para6.jpg

para7.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Glad you enjoyed it! ;)

I always that Japanese paratroopers were among the least well-known subjects of WWII; clouded in mystery, hearsay, and false information, it was tough to get hard facts. This book was definitely an eye-opener for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I never got around to typing out the rest of the Japanese Paratrooper story, I wasn't sure if anyone was interested.

But for the hell of it, here's what happened next:

After the main body of IJA Paratroop forces were committed on Leyte with the Ormoc operation (as described in one of my previous posts above), an additional 500 were sent to Luzon. After the US landing on Luzon on January 9th, 1945, the paratroopers moved North, accompanying 4th Air Army HQ. After resisting a US advance at Balete Pass in March, the unit retreated Eastwards into the Mamparang mountains where word eventually reached them of Japan's surrender in August. By then about 80 men had survived.

Rewind back to 1944; following the fall of Leyte, the Japanese decided to send the Heavy Weapons Co of the 3rd Raiding Regiment to Negros Island, just West of Cebu, to train green soldiers there in anti-tank tactics. The men would leave in transports and land at a friendly airfield, there would be no jumping from planes. On the way, two transports were shot down by US fighters, but most reached Bacolod Airfield on December 18. There they instructed men of the 77th infantry brigade whose only combat experience had been against Filipino guerrillas. The elite, well-trained paratroopers, armed with the best weaponry Japan could produce, were said to have made a great impression on the soldiers.

Because US forces initially bypassed Negros, the paratroopers only engaged in local anti-guerrilla operations until March 1945 when the US 40th Inf Div landed and pushed Japanese forces into the mountains. The Americans launched an offensive on April 9th, but the paratroopers and IJA ground forces maintained a determined defense, inflicting significant casualties on American forces; their positions would not be overrun until June 2. The surviving paratroopers withdrew deeper into the mountains, constantly skirmishing with US patrols. Racked with disease and starvation, 30 of the Negros paratroopers had survived by the war's end.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.