Second General Army (Japan)

The Second General Army (第2総軍 (日本軍), Dai-ni Sōgun) was a general army (army group equivalent) of the Imperial Japanese Army responsible for the defense of western Honshū, Kyūshū and Shikoku during the final stage of the Pacific War.

Second General Army
Japanese: 第2総軍 (日本軍)
Dai-ni Sōgun
ActiveApril 8, 1945 – November 30, 1945
CountryEmpire of Japan
AllegianceEmperor of Japan
BranchImperial Japanese Army
TypeGeneral Army
Nickname(s)Saiho (西方, Western)
EngagementsNone (Operation Downfall)

History edit

The Second General Army was established on April 8, 1945 with the dissolution of the General Defense Command into the First and Second General Army. It was essentially a home guard and garrison, responsible for civil defense, anti-aircraft defenses, and for organizing guerilla warfare cells in anticipation of the projected Allied invasion of the Japanese home islands in Operation Downfall (or Operation Ketsugō (決号作戦, Ketsugō sakusen) in Japanese terminology). Although its territory encompassed all of western Japan, its primary mission was to ensure the security of southern Kyūshū, which was regarded as the most probable target for invasion. Its forces consisted mostly of poorly trained reservists, conscripted students and home guard militia.

After the fall of Okinawa, the command of the Second General Army was relocated to Hiroshima. When the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, most of the military units, logistical arms, and command staff of the Second General Army were killed. Together with the Fifth Division, Fifty-Ninth Army, and other combat divisions in the city who were also hit, an estimated 20,000 Japanese combatants were killed.[1]

Survivors regrouped at Ujina Air Base at the outskirts of Hiroshima, where they organized relief efforts and maintained public order in Hiroshima once martial law was proclaimed. However, the atomic bombing ended the Second General Army as an effective military organization for Imperial Japanese Army units in western Japan. Elements remained in place under the American occupation authorities until November 1945 to assist with the demobilization of Japanese troops.

Commanders edit

Commanding officer edit

Name From To
1 Field Marshal Shunroku Hata 5 April 1945 15 October 1945

Chief of Staff edit

Name From To
1 Lieutenant General Tadakazu Wakamatsu 6 April 1945 18 July 1945
2 Lieutenant General Seisaburo Okazaki 18 July 1945 15 October 1945

See also edit

References edit

Books edit

  • Brooks, Lester (1968). Behind Japan's Surrender: The Secret Struggle That Ended an Empire. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company.
  • Drea, Edward J. (1998). "Japanese Preparations for the Defense of the Homeland & Intelligence Forecasting for the Invasion of Japan". In the Service of the Emperor: Essays on the Imperial Japanese Army. University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 0-8032-1708-0.
  • Frank, Richard B (1999). Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire. New York: Random House. ISBN 0-679-41424-X.
  • Jowett, Bernard (1999). The Japanese Army 1931-45 (Volume 2, 1942-45). Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-84176-354-3.
  • Madej, Victor (1981). Japanese Armed Forces Order of Battle, 1937-1945. Game Publishing Company. ASIN: B000L4CYWW.
  • Marston, Daniel (2005). The Pacific War Companion: From Pearl Harbor to Hiroshima. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 1-84176-882-0.
  • Skates, John Ray (1994). The Invasion of Japan: Alternative to the Bomb Downfall. New York: University of South Carolina Press. ISBN 0-87249-972-3.

External links edit

  1. ^ Frank 1999, pp. 286–287.