Kiyonao Ichiki - Biography - Pacific War

Pacific War

With the start of the Pacific War in 1941, Ichiki was promoted to colonel and was placed in command of the IJA 28th Infantry Regiment, from the 7th Division, which consisted of 3,000 troops, and was assigned to assault and occupy Midway island. The defeat of Japanese naval forces at the Battle of Midway in June 1942 forced a cancellation of the operation. In August 1942, Ichiki and his regiment were transferred to the IJA 17th Army in the southern front and were based at Truk in the Caroline Islands. After Allied forces landed on Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands, as part of the Allied Guadalcanal campaign, Ichiki was assigned to take a portion of his regiment (2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, with artillery and engineers; nicknamed the “Ichiki Detachment”) to recapture Henderson Airfield and drive the Allied forces off the island.

On 19 August, six Japanese destroyers carried Ichiki and his 916 troops from Truk and landed them at Taivu Point on Guadalcanal. Ichiki had been ordered to wait on the beachhead for the remainder of his regiment, but finding the beach deserted and the island apparently lightly defended, Ichiki grossly underestimated the strength of the American forces, left a rear guard of 125 men, and advanced to make a nighttime frontal assault against the American positions. Unknown to Ichiki, the American Marines were aware of his landing and were entrenched in defensive positions. In the Battle of the Tenaru of 21 August 1942 Ichiki was defeated with extremely heavy losses.

Accounts differ as to how Ichiki died. At least one account claims that Ichiki was killed in action during the heat of battle; others state that he committed ritual suicide due to the humiliation of his defeat in the battle. Despite the failure of his attack, Ichiki was promoted posthumously to major general.

Read more about this topic:  Kiyonao Ichiki, Biography

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