55th Division (Imperial Japanese Army)

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55th Division
Active 1940–1945
Country  Empire of Japan
Branch  Imperial Japanese Army
Type Infantry
Size Division
Garrison/HQ Himeji
Nickname(s) "Sou" division
Engagements Battle of Bilin River
Battle of Toungoo
Arakan Campaign 1942–43
Battle of the Admin Box
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Torazo Ishimoto
Hiroshi Takeuchi
Takeshi Koga
Tadashi Hanaya
Ryozo Sakuma

The 55th Division (第55師団 Dai-gojūgo Shidan?) was an infantry division of the Imperial Japanese Army. Its call sign was the "Sou" Division (壮兵団 Sou Heidan?).It was formed on 10 July 1940 at Zentsūji, simultaneously with 51st, 52nd, 54th, 56th, and 57th divisions. The formation nucleus was the headquarters of the 11th division. Its manpower came primarily from the four prefectures of Shikoku island. The 55th division was initially assigned to Central District Army.

In 1941, the division was assigned to 15th army and participated in the Japanese conquest of Burma. The division have 143rd regiment detached to capture separately Dawei (Tavoy) and Myeik (Mergui), while the main divisional body has captured Mawlamyine (Moulmein) 31 January 1942. In March 1942, division fought for 14 days around the city of Taungoo against weakened Chinese 200th division. The fight ended when Chinese broke through and disengaged. 18 April 1942, the 55th division have encircled the Chinese 55th division, eventually wiping it out. During the Burma Campaign 1942–43, 144th Infantry Regiment of the 55th division was detached and sent to New Guinea. The rest of the 55th division was used for countering ill-planned[1] British attack (see Arakan Campaign 1942–43) at Donbaik (Sittwe (Akyab)) from 18 March 1943. 3 April 1943 the 55th division have started to advance past the Mayu range, eventually surrounding and defeating a number of British units. Encountering a stiff resistance from May 1943, by 15 November 1943 the 55th division was still in Arakan area.[2] Finally, the 55th division fought a failed offensive which become the Battle of the Admin Box in February 1944. In the aftermath of the disastrous Battle of Imphal, the 55th division was assigned to 28th army in Burma and after retreating to Irrawaddy river the division was subordinated to 38th army. The 55th division have meet the day of Surrender of Japan 15 August 1945 in Phnom Penh.

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Reference and further reading[edit]

  1. ^ Ian Nish, "Anglo-Japanese Alienation 1919-1952: Papers of the Anglo-Japanese Conference on the history of the Second World War", p. 167
  2. ^ John Grehan、Martin Mace, "The Fall of Burma 1941-1943"
  • Madej, Victor (1981). Japanese Armed Forces Order of Battle, 1937–1945. Allentown, PA: Game Publishing Company. OCLC 8930220. 
  • Ian Grant and Kazuo Tamayama, Burma 1942, Zampi Press, Chichester, 1999. ISBN 0-9521083-1-3
  • Charles Happell "The Bone Man of Kokoda: The extraordinary story of Kokichi Nishimura and the Kokoda Track" Macmillan Publishers, Crows Nest, 2008. ISBN 978-1-4050-3836-2