Shojiro Iida, 1888-1980

Shojiro Iida (1888-1980) was the Japanese general in charge of the Fifteenth Army during the occupation of Thailand (1941) and the invasion of Burma early in 1942.

Iida was a career soldier who graduated from the Military Academy in 1908 and the Army Staff College in 1915. During the First World War he served on a Special Research Commission that examined the tactical implications of the fighting (1916-1918). He then went on to teach at the Infantry School (1922-26, 1927-30 and 1932-34) before being promoted to colonel (1932) and given command of the 4th Imperial Guards Regiment (1934).

After that promotion came quickly. Iida became chief of staff, 4th Division in 1935, was promoted to major general and made chief of the Military Administration Bureau in 1937, became chief of staff of the First Army in 1938 and was promoted to lieutenant general and made commander of the Imperial Guards Division in 1941.

In 1941 Iida was given command of the Fifteenth Army. His first task was the occupation of Thailand (December 1941), a move that exposed Burma and Malaya to invasion from an unexpected direction. In January 1942 Iida led the invasion of Burma. The outnumbered and outfought British were forced out of a series of defensive positions. Rangoon quickly fell, and the longest retreat in British military history began. By mid-May Iida had chased the British all the way back to the Indian border.

Iida remained in Burma until 1943, when he was recalled to Japan. In 1944 Iida was placed on the reserve list, and he wasn't recalled until July 1945, when he was placed in command of the much weakened Thirtieth Army in Manchuria. Soon after he arrived at the front the Soviets invaded, and in a short campaign overran the area (9-15 August 1945). Iida was captured, and remained a prisoner until 1950.

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (2 September 2009), Shojiro Iida, 1888-1980 ,

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