56th Division (Imperial Japanese Army)

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56th Division
Active 1940–1945
Country Empire of Japan
Branch Imperial Japanese Army
Type Infantry

The 56th Division (第56師団 Dai-gojuroku Shidan?) was an infantry division in the Imperial Japanese Army. It was also known as Ryuheidan (龍兵団) meaning "Dragon Division".

History[edit]

The 56th Division participated in the Invasion of Burma during the Burma Campaign. Racing north from the port of Rangoon, at the Battle of Toungoo its reconnaissance elements forced the Chinese to evacuate the city opening the way to the east. Later the 56th Division flanked the allied line to the East, by advancing through the mountains to the Salween River in the Karenni States. The Division defeated the Chinese 6th Corps in the battles of Mawchi, Bawlake, Bato, and Loikaw and forced their retreat eastward to Yunnan. Advancing north through the Shan States the 56th Division defeated elements of the Chinese 65th Corps to take the city of Lashio on the Burma Road. The fall of Lashio cut off much of the Chinese Army from China and compelled the allies to evacuate Burma. The Division advanced into Yunnan in pursuit of the Chinese but were halted at the Battle of Salween River by the Chinese 36th and 88th Divisions. The 56th Division remained in northern Burma and Yunnan engaged in defending Burma against the Chinese in the Battle of Northern Burma and Western Yunnan in 1944 where, interestingly the division codenamed the "Dragon Division" was completely annihilated by the Chinese Expeditionary Army (Yunnan) down to the last man in the Chinese town of Longling in Chinese meaning "Dragon's Tomb".

Commanding Generals, 56th Division[edit]

Organization[edit]

56th Division

  • 56th Infantry Brigade Group:
    • 113th Infantry Regiment
    • 146th Infantry Regiment
    • 148th Infantry Regiment
  • 56th Reconnaissance Regiment (motorised)
  • 56th Field Gun Regiment
    • 2 battalions of 12 X 75mm guns each
    • 1 battalion of 12 X 105mm guns
  • 56th Engineer Regiment
  • 56th Transport Regiment

See also[edit]

Reference and further reading[edit]

  • Madej, W. Victor. Japanese Armed Forces Order of Battle, 1937-1945 [2 vols]

Allentown, PA: 1981