8th Division (Imperial Japanese Army)

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8th Division
Active 1898- 1945
Country Empire of Japan
Branch Imperial Japanese Army
Type Infantry
Garrison/HQ Hirosaki, Aomori, Japan
Nickname Cedar Division
Engagements Russo-Japanese War
Manchurian Incident
Pacific War
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Tatsumi Naofumi
Jinzaburō Mazaki
Toshinari Maeda

The 8th Division (第8師団 Dai-hachi Shidan?) was an infantry division in the Imperial Japanese Army. Its call-sign was the Cedar Division (杉兵団 Sugi-heidan?). Hiroo Onoda, a Japanese holdout, served under the 8th Division on Lubang as an intelligence officer along with several other soldiers from the 5th division from 1944 until his surrender on March 9, 1974. He was the only survivor of a group originally consisting of 4 soldiers, Corporal Shoichi Shimada (age 30), Private Kinshichi Kozuka (age 24), Private Yuichi Akatsu (age 22), and Lt. Hiroo Onoda (age 23).

History[edit]

The 8th Division was formed on 1 October 1898, as one of the six new reserve divisions created after the First Sino-Japanese War. It consisted of troops from the Tōhoku region of Japan, primarily Aomori Prefecture, Akita Prefecture and Yamagata Prefecture. Its first commander was General Tatsumi Naofumi, formerly commander of the Sendai Garrison.

The 8th Division became infamous in history over the Hakkōda Mountains incident in January 1902, where 199 of 210 members of the 5th Infantry Regiment froze to death. The story was immortalized in a novel by the famous author Jirō Nitta.

During the Russo-Japanese War, the 8th Division distinguished itself at the Battle of Sandepu and the subsequent Battle of Mukden. From 1910, it was assigned to garrison duties in Korea, and it also participated in the Siberian Intervention.

After the Manchurian Incident of 1931, the 8th Division sent its 4th Brigade to participate in the Invasion of Manchuria with the main body joining it in 1932 when it was stationed in Manchuria under the control of the Kwantung Army. There it participated in the pacification of the newly formed Manchukuo. Its 32nd Infantry Regiment was transferred to the newly formed 24th Division in 1937.

In September 1944, the 8th Division was reassigned to the Philippines under the command of General Yamashita Tomoyuki's 14th Area Army, where it was divided between Luzon and Leyte islands. Following the Battle of Leyte and the Battle of Manila by joint Filipino and American troops, the 8th Division was almost completely annihilated and ceased to exist as an operational unit.

Noteworthy commanders in the history of the 8th Division included Tatsumi Naofumi, Jinzaburō Mazaki, and Toshinari Maeda.

Organization[edit]

The 8th Division was first raised as a square Division in 1895.

8th Division

  • 4th Infantry Brigade
    • 5th Infantry Regiment
    • 31st Infantry Regiment
  • 16th Infantry Brigade
    • 17th Infantry Regiment
    • 32nd Infantry Regiment
  • 8th Mountain Artillery Regiment
  • 8th Cavalry Regiment
  • 8th Engineer Regiment
  • 8th Transport Regiment

Later in 1937 this division was reorganized as a triangular division:

8th Division

  • 5th Infantry Regiment (Aomori)
  • 17th Infantry Regiment (Akita)
  • 31st Infantry Regiment (Hirosaki)
  • 24th Cavalry Regiment (Morioka)
  • 8th Artillery Regiment
  • 8th Recon Regiment
  • 8th Engineer Regiment
  • 8th Transport Regiment

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Madej, W. Victor. Japanese Armed Forces Order of Battle, 1937-1945 [2 vols]. Allentown, PA: 1981