14th Division (Imperial Japanese Army)

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14th Division
Active 1905 - 1945
Country Empire of Japan
Branch Imperial Japanese Army
Type Infantry
Garrison/HQ Utsunomiya, Japan
Nickname Shining Division
Engagements Russo-Japanese War
Siberian Intervention
First Shanghai Incident
Marco Polo Bridge Incident
Second Sino-Japanese War
Battle of Peleliu
Battle of Angaur
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Tsuchiya Mitsuharu
Samejima Shigeo
Uehara Yusaku
Suzuki Takao
Hata Shunroku
Kenji Doihara

The 14th Division (第14師団 Dai-juyon Shidan?) was an infantry division in the Imperial Japanese Army. Its call sign was the Shining Division (照兵団 Sho Heidan?).

History[edit]

The 14th Division was one of four divisions raised in the closing stages of the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905). With Japan's resources strained to the breaking point towards the end of that conflict, the entire Imperial Japanese Army was committed to combat in Manchuria, leaving not a single division to guard the Japanese main islands in case of attack. The division was raised from men in the Utsunomiya area, and was the only one of the four emergency divisions considered combat-ready (albeit still severely understrength) prior to the end of the war. It was dispatched to the front in August 1905, where it joined General Nogi Maresuke's Third Army.

The 14th Division was one of the Japanese units involved in the Siberian Intervention (1919-1922), and elements stationed at Nikolayevsk-on-Amur were massacred by Bolshevik irregulars in what came to be known as the Nikolaevsk Incident (尼港事件 Niko Jiken?).

In 1932, the 14th Division (then under the control of the Kwantung Army) was involved in the First Shanghai Incident. It also participated in the pacification of Manchukuo.

With the outbreak of general hostilities in the Second Sino-Japanese War, it was assigned to the Northern China Area Army theater of operations and under the First Army participated in the Beiping–Hankou Railway Operation, and the campaign of Northern and Eastern Honan where it was involved in the Battle of Lanfeng.

In 1942, the 14th Division returned to Japan. At that time, its 50th Infantry Regiment was reassigned to the newly formed 29th Division. In August 1942, the remainder of the 14th Division was sent back to Manchukuo, and assigned to garrison duty.

As the situation in the Pacific War against the United States continued to deteriorate, the Supreme War Council began transferring forces out of Manchukuo to the southern operational areas. The 14th Division was assigned to Palau, with its 2nd Infantry Regiment sent to the island of Peleliu, and one battalion of its 29th Infantry Regiment stationed on the island of Angaur. The subsequent Battle of Peleliu and Battle of Angaur were among the bloodiest of the Pacific War. At Angaur, 1338 of the 1400 defenders were killed, and at Peleliu, 10,695 of the 11,000 defenders perished. The 14th Division effectively ceased to exist with these battles.

Noted commanders in the history of the 14th Division have included Tsuchiya Mitsuharu, Samejima Shigeo, Uehara Yusaku, Suzuki Takao, Hata Shunroku and Kenji Doihara.

Organization[edit]

First raised in 1905 as a square division. It had the following organization in the January 28 Incident at Shanghai in 1932:

14th Division

  • 27th Infantry Brigade
    • 2nd Infantry Regiment
    • 59th Infantry Regiment
    • 66th Infantry Regiment
  • 28th Infantry Brigade
    • 15th Infantry Regiment
    • 50th Infantry Regiment
  • 20th Field Artillery Regiment
  • 18th Cavalry Regiment
  • 14th Engineer Regiment
  • 14th Battalion of Army Service Corps

It had the following organization from 1937 until 1941:

14th Division

  • 27th Infantry Brigade
    • 2nd Infantry Regiment
    • 59th Infantry Regiment
  • 28th Infantry Brigade
    • 15th Infantry Regiment
    • 50th Infantry Regiment
  • 20th Field Artillery Regiment
  • 18th Cavalry Regiment (to September 1940)
  • 14th Reconnaissance Regiment (from September 1940)
  • 14th Engineer Regiment
  • 14th Transport Regiment

In 1941 it was reorganized as a triangular division. From 1941 to 1944 it had the following organization:

14th Division

  • 14th Division Infantry Group
    • 2nd Infantry Regiment
    • 15th Infantry Regiment
    • 59th Infantry Regiment
  • 20th Artillery Regiment
  • 14th Reconnaissance Regiment
  • 14th Engineer Regiment
  • 14th Transport Regiment

As a regimental combat team division from 1944 to 1945 it had this organization:

14th Division

  • 14th Division Tank Unit
  • 2nd Infantry Regiment
  • 15th Infantry Regiment
  • 59th Infantry Regiment
  • 14th Division Transport Unit
  • 14th Division Sea Transport Unit

The order of battle for the 14th Division at the time of the Peleliu campaign included:

Trivia[edit]

The long stay of the 14th Division in Manchukuo led its troops to become very familiar and fond of the local specialty, fried Jiaozi, known in Japanese as gyoza. As the troops from the 14th Division were from Utsunomiya, they took this dish home with them, and Utsunomiya is famous throughout Japan to this day for its gyoza.

See also[edit]

Reference and further reading[edit]

  • Madej, W. Victor. Japanese Armed Forces Order of Battle, 1937-1945 2 vol. Allentown, PA; 1981