51st Division (Imperial Japanese Army)

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The 51st Division (第51師団 Dai-goju-ichi Shidan?) was an infantry division of the Imperial Japanese Army. It was formed on 10 July 1940 at Utsunomiya, Tochigi, and was assigned to the Eastern District Army. Under the command of Lieutenant General Kenichiro Ueno, upon formation the division's infantry group consisted of three infantry regiments: the 66th, 102nd and 115th.[1] Other supporting elements included the 51st Reconnaissance Regiment, the 14th Field Artillery Regiment, the 51st Engineer Regiment, the 51st Transport Regiment and a divisional signals unit.[1] In July 1941 Prince Yi Un took over as commander of the division, leading them to China when they were transferred to the Kwantung Army in August 1941. In September 1941, the division was reassigned to the Twenty-Third Army.[1] In November 1941, Yi Un handed over command to Lieutenant General Hidemitsu Nakano, who would remain in command of the division until after the end of the war.[1] The following year, in November 1942, the 51st Division was moved to New Guinea where they were allocated to the Eighteenth Army.[2] In February 1943, the division concentrated around the LaeSalamaua area,[3] and subsequently took part in the New Guinea campaign throughout 1943–45, fighting against Australian and United States forces before being destroyed.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d "51 Division (Japan)". Axis History Factbook. Retrieved 3 January 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Budge, Kent G. "Japanese Order of Battle, Part 1". The Pacific War Online Encyclopedia. Retrieved 30 December 2010. 
  3. ^ Tanaka 1980, p. 48


  • Tanaka, Kengoro (1980). Operations of the Imperial Japanese Armed Forces in the Papua New Guinea Theater During World War II. Tokyo, Japan: Japan Papua New Guinea Goodwill Society. OCLC 9206229. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Madej, Victor (1981). Japanese Armed Forces Order of Battle, 1937–1945. Allentown, PA: Game Publishing Company. OCLC 8930220.