The Strengthened Japanese Infantry Battalion
One description that continually shows up in Allied reports on the Japanese is the Strengthened Infantry Battalion. This was said to be part of the Type "A" Division, which included additional artillery and was thought to be specifically designed for 'continental' operations as a direct result of experience against the Red Army.
It would appear that this type of Division was never faced by the British and Commonwealth troops in Burma or by the Americans in the Pacific, but it is frequently included in their intelligence summaries.
The Strengthened Infantry Battalion
Battalion Headquarters (3 Officers, 87 men)
Battalion Train (4 Officers, 191 all ranks)
Machine Gun Company (1 Officer, 74 men)
Company Headquarters (1 Officer, 14 men)
Four Machine Gun Sections, each (15 men)
Infantry Gun Company (1 Officer, 119 men)
Company Headquarters (1 Officer, 29 men)
Four Sections, each (15 men)
Ammunition Section (30 men)
Anti-tank Company (1 Officer, 99 men)
Company Headquarters (1 Officer, 9 men)
Four Sections, each (19 men)
Ammunition Section (14 men)
Four Rifle Companies (6 Officers, 254 men), each comprised of;
Company Headquarters (1 Officer, 28 men)
Machine Gun Platoon (1 Officer, 23 men)
20-mm Cannon Platoon (1 Officer, 23 men)
Ammunition Platoon (16 men)
Three Rifle Platoons, each
Platoon Headquarters (1 Officer, 1 man)
Grenade Discharger Squad (15 men)
Three Rifle Squads, each comprised of 13 men
Total Strength of 1620 all ranks ( Officers and men)
Points of note
There is no breakdown given for the subunits of the Machine Gun Company, the figures in italics are my suggested estimates. To call this unit a Battalion is somewhat of an understatement as it is easily twice the size of the average Allied Battalion.
The elements of the Battalion
Machine Gun Company - each Section had one 7.7-mm heavy machine gun, supported by a fifth Ammunition Section.
Infantry Gun Company - each Section had one 70-mm infantry gun, supported by a fifth Ammunition Section.
Anti-tank Company - each Section had one 37-mm or 47-mm anti-tank gun, supported by fifth Ammunition Section.
Rifle Company - along with the increased Battalion firepower the Rifle Companies also received their own support weapons. The Machine Gun Platoon had two 7.7-mm guns and the Cannon Platoon two 20-mm anti-tank rifles.
There are two descriptions of the Rifle Platoon, the above taken from a British summary of July 1944. This shows the Platoon as similar to that of the Standard Battalion, but adds a couple of extra men to the Grenade Discharger Squad and gives it a fourth launcher. An alternative version shows each Squad, Rifle and Grenade, at fifteen men, with a commensurate reduction in Company HQ strength.
The most striking feature of the Japanese Infantry Battalion is the multiplicity of versions in which it could be found. This seemingly infinite flexibility has also been described as its greatest weakness and with good reason. For one unit to be reinforced, another had to be depleted. There was no magic pool of reserves on which to draw to find the extra men and material for the reinforced formations, they were simply taken from elsewhere and not always returned.
The Japanese Army
The Japanese Infantry Battalion
Japanese Divisional Organisations