In the Service of the Emperor: Essays on the Imperial Japanese Army

By Edward J. Drea | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TWO
THE DEVELOPMENT OF IMPERIAL JAPANESE ARMY AMPHIBIOUS WARFARE DOCTRINE

I aim to outline the evolution of amphibious warfare doctrine in the IJA from the 1890s to 1941. This chapter elaborates and clarifies other treatments of the subject by relying on specific examples to illustrate the changing doctrine. 1

IJA amphibious operations proceeded through three general stages. 2 The first occurred from about 1890 to the opening days of World War I. During this period Japan conducted landing operations in three major conflicts against Ch'ing China ( 1894-95), Czarist Russia ( 1904-5), and Imperial Germany ( 1914-18)--as well as punitive expeditions to seize Taiwan ( 1895) and to North China to suppress the Boxer Rebellion ( 1900). At most these landings met fleeting resistance. During the SinoJapanese War, for instance, Japan's First Army (First Division and Twelfth Brigade) conducted an unopposed landing on the Liaotung Peninsula about 100 miles north of Port Arthur then turned south to seize the key installation. Likewise the Second Army's (Second and Sixth divisions excluding the Twelfth Brigade) landing on the eastern tip of the Shantung Peninsula met scant Chinese resistance. The invaders seized their objective, the port of Weihaiwei, about 35 miles from their landing area, within two weeks. 3

Operational doctrine mandated ship-to-shore landings and subsequent development of the landing site to handle the unloading of additional troops and cargo. Success depended, in turn, on the Japanese navy's

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