16th Division (Imperial Japanese Army)
The 16th Division was one of four divisions raised in the closing stages of the Russo-Japanese War (1904–1905), and was raised from men in the Kyoto area. The division was immediately deployed, but the Treaty of Portsmouth was concluded before it could see combat, and remained in Manchuria as a garrison force.
In 1937, hostilities broke out against China and the Second Sino-Japanese War commenced. The 16th Division was assigned to the Second Army, under the command of the Northern China Area Army. The division participated in the Battle of Nanjing (1937), the Battle of Xuzhou (1938) and the Battle of Wuhan (1938) before being withdrawn from China and returned to Japan.
As the war in the Pacific progressed, the 16th Division was deployed to the Philippines and based in Manila as part of the 35th Army, within the structure of the 14th Area Army. However, as the war situation deteriorated, the Imperial General Headquarters ordered the 16th Division to Leyte Island for a final decisive stand against Allied forces. Of the approximately 13,000 men in the 16th Division, only 620 survived the Battle of Leyte, which included only one of its regimental commanders (who later killed himself).
The order of battle for the 16th Division included:
- 9th Infantry Regiment
- 20th Infantry Regiment
- 33rd Infantry Regiment
- 22nd Field Artillery Regiment
- 16th Construction Regiment
- 16th Transport Regiment.
Reference and further reading
- Madej, W. Victor. Japanese Armed Forces Order of Battle, 1937-1945 [2 vols] Allentown, PA: 1981