Rikugun Shōshō Tomitarō Horii
November 7, 1890|
Hyōgo prefecture, Japan
|Died||November 23, 1942
|Allegiance||Empire of Japan|
|Service/branch||Imperial Japanese Army|
|Years of service||1911–42|
|Commands held||55th Infantry Division|
|Battles/wars||Second Sino-Japanese War
World War II
Tomitarō Horii (堀井 富太郎 Horii Tomitarō?, November 7, 1890 – November 23, 1942) was a lieutenant general in the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II. After graduating from the Imperial Japanese Army Academy in 1911, Horii served in China before undertaking a variety of regimental appointments. Following Japan's entry into World War II, he commanded a division during the capture of Guam before commanding the Japanese force tasked with capturing Port Moresby. While attempting to canoe down the Kumusi River to reach Japanese forces fighting around Buna–Gona in November 1942, Horii drowned at sea when his canoe capsized.
Born in Hyōgo Prefecture, Horii became an infantry officer following his graduation from the 23rd class of the Imperial Japanese Army Academy in 1911. He was later assigned to the headquarters of the Shanghai Expeditionary Army, and in early 1932 during the prelude to the Second Sino-Japanese War, was involved in the January 28 Incident.
From 1935 to 1937, Horii was attached to the IJA 12th Infantry Regiment, having previously attended Waseda University. He became commander of the IJA 78th Infantry Regiment in 1938, after his promotion to colonel the previous year. In March 1940, Horii was promoted to major general. The following year Horii was appointed commander of the IJA 55th Division, part of the South Seas Force. Horii led this organization in the Japanese invasion and subsequent capture of Guam during December 8–10, 1941; following this engagement, Horii served briefly as the Japanese military Governor of Guam.
During the New Guinea campaign, Horii and his South Seas Force were assigned to the invasion of Port Moresby, but were turned back after the escorting naval force was attacked by Allied forces during the Battle of the Coral Sea. The Japanese then planned an overland attack to capture the town by advancing from the north coast. In July 1942, they landed to established beachheads at Buna, Gona and Sanananda. This marked the beginning of the Kokoda Track campaign. The South Seas Force, under command of Major General Tomitaro Horii, advanced using the Kokoda Track to cross the rugged Owen Stanley Range.
By 16 September, after heavy fighting against a small Australian Army force, Horii's command had advanced as far as Ioribaiwa, and was close enough to see the lights of Port Moresby. In light of reverses at Guadalcanal, the Japanese command determined it could not support both battles and, on 23 September, Horii was ordered to withdraw his troops on the Kokoda Track until the issue at Guadalcanal was decided. Limited provision had been made for the resupply of Horii's force and, by this time, the situation had reached a crisis. On 26 September, the Japanese commenced to withdraw from the front line. They fought a well ordered rear-guard action back over the Owen Stanley Range, with the Australian forces in close pursuit.
Horii's force had been severely depleted by lack of supply but at Oivi, near the northern end of the Kokoda Track, Horii's force received both resupply and reinforcement. The Japanese suffered heavily in the battle around Oivi–Gorari from 4 to 11 November, and the well ordered withdrawal that had been planned quickly disintegrated into a rout. The Australians crossed the Kumusi River at Wairopi on 16 November and were now about 65 km (40 mi) from Buna–Gona.[notes 1]
The flooded river blocked the retreat of Horii's force. Horii decided to raft down the river with a small party so he might more quickly reach the Buna–Gona positions that were being threatened by the Australian advance. Gunfire had been heard from the coast. When the raft became snagged on trees, he took to a canoe that was found by the river's edge. The canoe was swept out to sea and capsized during a storm. Horii drowned but his orderly survived to report his death. Horii was posthumously promoted to lieutenant general.
- Dupuy 1992.
- Ammenthorp, Steen. "Horii, Tomitaro". The Generals of World War II. Retrieved 14 January 2015.
- Horner 1993, p. 10.
- Bullard 2007, pp. 48–50 & 85.
- McCarthy 1959, pp. 122–125; Bullard 2007, pp. 106–107.
- Bullard 2007, pp. 94–176; Milner 1957, pp. 54–121; McCarthy 1959, pp. 108–146 & 193–228.
- Smith 2000, pp. 162–193.
- Bullard 2007, p. 159.
- Bullard 2007, pp. 159 & 166.
- Bullard 2007, p. 160.
- Milner 1957, pp. 98-104.
- Milner 1957, p. 121.
- McCarthy 1959, p. 418; James 2009, trek map; Milner 1957, p. 147.
- Anderson 1992, p. 7.
- Milner 1957, p. 127; McCarthy 1959, p. 385.
- Bullard 2007, pp. 173–175.
- Hayashi 1959, p. 224 cited in James 2009, p. 69.
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- Bullard, Steven (translator) (2007). Japanese Army Operations in the South Pacific Area New Britain and Papua Campaigns, 1942–43. Canberra: Australian War Memorial. ISBN 978-0-9751904-8-7.
- Dupuy, Trevor N. (1992). Encyclopedia of Military Biography. London: I B Tauris & Co. ISBN 1-85043-569-3. OCLC 59974268.
- Gamble, Bruce (2001). Darkest Hour: The True Story of Lark Force at Rabaul – Australia's Worst Military Disaster of World War II. St. Paul, MN: Zenith Press. ISBN 0-7603-2349-6. OCLC 71288724.
- Hayashi, Saburō (1959). Kogun: The Japanese Army in the Pacific War. Quantico, VA: Marine Corps. Association. OCLC 1133179.
- Horner, David (May 1993). "Defending Australia in 1942". War & Society 11 (1): pp. 1–21.
- James, Karl (2009). ""The Track": A Historical Desktop Study of the Kokoda Track". Commonwealth Department of the Environment. Retrieved 29 November 2014.
- McCarthy, Dudley (1959). South – West Pacific Area – First Year: Kokoda to Wau. Australia in the War of 1939–1945, Series 1—Army. Volume V (1st ed.). Canberra: Australian War Memorial. OCLC 3134247.
- Milner, Samuel (1957). Victory in Paupa. United States Army In World War II. Washington, DC: Center Of Military History, United States Army. LCCN 56-60004.
- Smith, Michael (2000). Bloody Ridge: The Battle That Saved Guadalcanal. New York: Pocket. ISBN 0-7434-6321-8.
- Chen, Peter. "Horii, Tomitaro". WW2 Database.
as Administrator of New Guinea
|Commander of Occupied New Guinea