The Burma Campaign

Order of Battle of the Japanese 15th Army – January to April 1942

January 1942

15th Army Headquarters

(Lieut.-General S.Iida)

     33rd Division

(Lieut.-General S. Sakurai)

         33rd Infantry Group Headquarters

(Major-General M. Ariki)

              214th Infantry Regiment

(Colonel T. Sakuma)

              215th Infantry Regiment

(Colonel M. Harada)

         33rd Mountain Artillery Regiment

(two battalions – nine guns)

         11th Anti-Tank Gun Company

(four 37mm guns)

         Tank platoon

(four Type 95 light tankettes detached from the light tank company of the 2nd Tank Regiment)

         33rd Engineer Regiment

(one company only)

         33rd Transport Regiment

(two horse companies only)

         Divisional medical unit


         Two field hospitals

(one company only)

         Veterinary and ordnance sections


     55th Division

(Lieut.-General Y. Takeuchi)

         112th Infantry Regiment

(Colonel K. Obarazawa, later Colonel S. Tanahashi)

         143rd Regiment

(Colonel M. Uno)

         55th Cavalry Regiment

(less one mounted infantry squadron and less part MMG and anti-tank gun companies)

         55th Mountain Artillery Regiment

(less one battalion – 12 guns)

         55th Engineer Regiment

(one company only)

         55th Transport Regiment

(less two companies)

         Divisional medical unit


         Two field hospitals


         Veterinary and ordnance sections


     Army Troops


         4th Independent Engineer Battalion


         20th Independent Engineer Battalion


         Two bridging companies


         One railway battalion


         Two wire communication companies


         Two fixed radio units


         One line of communication sector unit


         Two independent transport companies

(motor transport)

         Two independent transport companies


         One line of communication hospital


         One base hospital






1.  33rd Division. 

The 213th Infantry Regiment (Colonel K. Miyawaki) and two mountain gun battalions were left behind in China for lack of shipping and did not rejoin the Division until the end of March 1942. 

The anti-tank guns and the light tank platoon came into action at Pegu on 6th March.  The guns were captured by a company of the 1st Battalion, West Yorkshire Reiment, supported by tanks.  The three tanks were quickly knocked out at long range by Stuarts of the 7th Queen’s Own Hussars.   A fourth tank had been lost earlier whilst crossing the Sittang River.  The parent light tank company had been left in Thailand, these four tanks had been driven on their tracks all the way from Thailand.

2.  55th Division. 

The 55th Infantry Group Headquarters had been sent to Guam, with the Division’s third regiment, the 144th Infantry Regiment, and other sub-units under command.  When the main invasion of Burma began, the second battalion of the 143rd Infantry Regiment (2/143 Battalion) was at Victoria Point and the third battalion of the 112th Infantry Regiment (3/112 Battalion) was at Tavoy.  Both battalions rejoined at Moulmein.

The 55th Cavalry Regiment’s normal composition was three mounted infantry companies, one armoured vehicle company, one medium machine gun company and an anti-tank gun company.  The missing elements had also been sent to Guam.


Reinforcements – Phase 2 of Operations – March-April 1942

18th Division

(Lieut.-General Mutaguchi.  Arrived Rangoon 8th April 1942)

     55th Infantry Regiment


     56th Infantry Regiment


     114th Infantry Regiment


     1st Tank Regiment


     12th Cavalry Regiment


     18th Mountain Gun Regiment

(two battalions of 12 guns each, one battalion of 12 X 75mm guns)

     12th Engineer Regiment


     12th Transport Regiment


56th Division

(Lieut.-General Watanabe.  Arrived Rangoon 26th-27th March 1942)

     113th Infantry Regiment


     146th Infantry Regiment

(arrived Rangoon 19th April 1942, from operations in the Netherlands East Indies)

     148th Infantry Regiment


     14th Tank Regiment

(three companies each of 11 tanks and Regimental Headquarters with three tanks, all light tank Type 95)

     56th Reconnaissance Regiment


     56th Field Gun Regiment

(two battalions of 12 X 75mm guns each, one battalion of 12 X 105mm guns)

     56th Engineer Regiment


     56th Transport Regiment


33rd Division

(elements of the 33rd Division, arrived Rangoon end March 1942)

     213th Infantry Regiment

(Colonel Miyawaki)

     Two mountain gun battalions

(of 33rd Mountain Artillery Regiment)

Army Troops

(all assigned in support of 33rd Division)

     21st Mixed Heavy Artillery Unit

(4 X 105mm and 4 X 150mm guns)

     26th Independent Engineer Regiment

(water transport)

     51st Independent Field Anti-Aircraft Unit

(one company of 75mm AA guns)

     One company of anti-tank guns




1 December 2017