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The Empire of Japan in the Great War

Discussion in 'Japan' started by Dan Morton, Jan 27, 2016.

  1. Dan Morton A Fixture

    Imperial Japanese Army
    The Empire of Japan entered the war on the Entente side. Although tentative plans were made to send an expeditionary force of between 100,000–500,000 men to France,[8] ultimately the only action in which the Imperial Japanese Army was involved in was the careful and well executed attack on the German concession of Tsingtao in 1914.[9]

    Imperial Japanese Navy

    The Japanese seaplane carrier Wakamiya conducted the world's first sea-launched air raids in September 1914.
    Japan entered World War I on the side of the Entente, against Germany and Austria-Hungary, as a consequence of the 1902 Anglo-Japanese Alliance.
    In the Siege of Tsingtao, the Japanese Navy helped seize the German colony of Tsingtao. During the siege, beginning on 5 September 1914, Wakamiya conducted the world's first successful sea-launched air strikes. On 6 September 1914, in the very first air-sea battle in history, a Farman aircraft launched by Wakamiya attacked the Austro-Hungarian cruiser Kaiserin Elisabeth and the German gunboat Jaguar off Tsingtao.[62][63] from Kiaochow Bay.[64] Four Maurice Farman seaplanes bombarded German land targets like communication and command centers, and damaged a German minelayer in the Tsingtao peninsula from September to 6 November 1914 when the Germans surrendered.[65][66]
    A battle group was also sent to the central Pacific in August and September to pursue the German East Asiatic squadron, which then moved into the Southern Atlantic, where it encountered British naval forces and was destroyed at the Battle of the Falkland Islands. Japan seized former German possessions in northern Micronesia, which remained Japanese colonies until the end of World War II, under the League of Nations' South Pacific Mandate.[67]
    Hard pressed in Europe, where she had only a narrow margin of superiority against Germany, Britain had requested, but was denied, the loan of Japan's four newest Kongō-class battlecruisers (Kongō, Hiei, Haruna, and Kirishima), the first ships in the world to be equipped with 356 mm (14 in) guns, and the most formidable battlecruisers in the world at the time.[68]
    Following a further request by the British and the initiation of unrestricted submarine warfare by Germany the Japanese, in March 1917, sent a special force of destroyers to the Mediterranean. This force, consisting of one armoured cruiser, Akashi as flotilla leader and eight of the Navy's newest destroyers (Ume, Kusunoki, Kaede, Katsura, Kashiwa, Matsu, Sugi, and Sakaki), under Admiral Satō Kōzō, was based in Malta and efficiently protected allied shipping between Marseille, Taranto, and ports in Egypt until the end of the War.[69] In June, Akashi was replaced by Izumo, and four more destroyers were added (Kashi, Hinoki, Momo, and Yanagi). They were later joined by the cruiser Nisshin. By the end of the war, the Japanese had escorted 788 allied transports. One destroyer, Sakaki, was torpedoed on 11 June 1917 by a German submarine with the loss of 59 officers and men. A memorial at the Kalkara Naval Cemetery in Malta was dedicated to the 72 Japanese sailors who died in action during the Mediterranean convoy patrols.[70]
    In 1917, Japan exported 12 Arabe-class destroyers to France.
    In 1918, ships such as Azuma were assigned to convoy escort in the Indian Ocean between Singapore and the Suez Canal as part of Japan’s contribution to the war effort under the Anglo-Japanese alliance.
    After the conflict, the Japanese Navy received seven German submarines as spoils of war, which were brought to Japan and analysed, contributing greatly to the development of the Japanese submarine industry.[71]

    Arisaka Type 38 Rifle

    The Type 38 rifleArisaka (三八式歩兵san-hachi-shiki hoheijū?) was a bolt-action rifle that supplemented the Type 99 Japanese standard infantry rifle during the Second World War.[2] The design was adopted by the Imperial Japanese Army in 1905 (the 38th year of the Meiji period, hence "Type 38") and served from then until the end of 1945.

    4.19 kg (9.2 pounds)[1]
    1,275 mm (50.2 in)[1]
    Barrel length
    800 mm (31.5 inches)
    6.5×50mm Arisaka
    Bolt action
    10-15 rounds per minute[1]
    762 m/s (2,500 ft/s) Type 38 cartridge[1]
    Effective firing range
    366–457 m (400–500 yd) [1]
    Maximum firing range
    2,377 m (2,600 yd)[1]
    Feed system
    5-round magazine

    The Type 38 rifle used the 6.5×50mm Arisaka cartridge. This cartridge produces little recoil when fired. However, while on par with the Norwegian and Italian 6.5mm military cartridges of the time, the 6.5×50mm was not as powerful as several others in use by other nations. The Type 38 at 1,280 mm (50.4 in) was the longest rifle of the war, due to the emphasis on bayonet training for the Japanese soldier of the era, whose average height was 160 centimeters (5 ft 3 in).[7] The rifle was even longer when the 400 mm (15.75 inches) Type 30 bayonet was fixed. The Type 38 was fairly heavy, at about 4.25 kg.

    Post-war inspection of the Type 38 by the U.S. military and the National Rifle Association found that the Type 38's receiver was the strongest bolt action of any nation[8] and capable of handling more powerful cartridges.

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