Oh look, Japan has Marines again

Well, “again” may not be entirely correct. Back in 1897, the Imperial Japanese Navy formed, much like every modern navy or the time, a cadre on each of its seagoing vessels of sailors equipped with small arms, basic pack, and a smattering of small unit tactics into what were termed landing force (rikusentai) units, soon to be bloodied in the Russo-Japanese War, the grab for Tsingtao from the Germans and later fighting in Manchuria.

Japanese Propaganda Photo of Special Naval Landing Force Soldiers During The Invasion of The Dutch East Indies. January 1942. Note the “knee mortar” and Rikusentai anchor crest

By 1932, these individual detachments formed into company and battalion sized units named after their naval district and were designated Special Naval Landing Forces (Kaigun Tokubetsu Rikusentai), characterized by Western historians as something akin to the marine troops of the Imperial Japanese Navy as they evolved into specialists in amphibious warfare, and three battalions of the force was even parachute trained.

It was the SNLF that saw some of the bloodiest combat of WWII and many of these units (growing as large as regimental and brigade-sized) were bled out of existence in the subsequent island hopping campaigns of 1942-44, ceasing to exist as a whole in 1945.

Post-war, as a byproduct of the 1947 Japanese constitution which swore off aggression, the Coastal Safety Force (which later morphed into the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force) lacked dedicated amphibious troops although ship’s boarding teams were formed for inspections. While the JMSDF has operated old WWII-era surplus landing ships (USS LST-689 as JDS Oosumi starting in 1961), built their own 2,000-ton Miura-class LSTs in the 1970s, and today operate three very modern 14,000-ton Ōsumi-class tank landing ships (the latter capable of carrying a pair of LCACs, 8 helicopters, and a battalion-sized force with 10 main battle tanks each), the forces intended to be toted were regular Army (well, “Japan Ground Self-Defense Force”) troops whenever they weren’t conducting search & rescue and other disaster relief operations such as after an earthquake and tsunami.

This has changed as the Japanese are considering placing an order for a large Wasp-class amphibious assault ship and the Japanese Diet approved a law that allowed for the reinterpretation of the constitution that allowed military personnel to train with U.S. forces in amphibious assault units designed to take outlying islands.

And now they are working on Marines…

The new Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade (suirikugidoudan) stood up 7 April and is a 2,100-man unit formed around the nucleus of the old Western Army Infantry Regiment, the former a battalion sized light infantry unit that since 2002 has trained just for amphibious operations in defense of the Home Islands. While still light infantry in nature, they are acquiring AAVP-7A1’s amtracs, and Japan is looking at MV-22 Ospreys as well to form legit Marine Expeditionary Units.

More at Reuters

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About laststandonzombieisland

Let me introduce myself. I am a bit of a conflict junkie. I am fascinated by war and warfare, assassination, personal protection and weaponry ranging from spud guns and flame throwers to thermonuclear bombs and Soviet-trained Ebola monkeys. In short, if it’s violent or a tool to create violence it is kind of my thing. I have written a few thousand articles on the dry encyclopedia side for such websites as Guns.com, University of Guns, Outdoor Hub, Tac-44, History Times, Big Game Hunter, Glock Forum, Firearms Talk.com, and Combat Forums; as well as for print publications like England Expects, and Strike First Strike Fast. Several magazines such as Sea Classics, Military Historian and Collector, Mississippi Sportsman and Warship International have carried my pieces. Additionally I am on staff as a naval consultant and writer for Eye Spy Intelligence Magazine. Currently I am working on several book projects including an alternative history novel about the US-German War of 1916, and a biography of Southern gadfly and soldier of fortune Bennett Doty. My first novel, about the coming zombie apocalypse was released in 2012 by Necro Publications and can be found at Amazon.com as was the prequel, Chimera-44. I am currently working on book two of that series: "Pirates of the Zombie Coast." In my day job I am a contractor for the U.S. federal government in what could best be described as the ‘Force Protection’ field. In this I am an NRA-certified firearms, and less-than-lethal combat instructor.

One response to “Oh look, Japan has Marines again”

  1. mobiuswolf says :

    They’re planning to get in on the ‘fun,’ I guess.

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