graduate

Kimura Heitaro (1888-1948)


Photograph of Kimura Heitaro

Wikimedia Commons

Kimura Heitaro was born in Tokyo and graduated from the Japanese military academy as an artillery officer in 1908. He served with the Siberian Expedition in 1918-1919. He was military attaché in Germany and a delegate to the London treaty conference. Following promotion to major general in 1936, he became the chief of the Ordnance Bureau. He was promoted to lieutenant general in 1938 and took command of 32 Division, then served as chief of staff of Kwantung Army. He was vice minister of war under Tojo at the start of the war.

Kimura assumed command of Burma Area Army in August 1944, after the disastrous Imphal offensive. His strategy, which was to counterattack when the Allied supply lines were stretched to their limits, failed to take into account the enormous Allied air transport capability. However, Slim considered Kimura's tactics less inflexible and predictable than those of his predecessor at Burma Area Army, Kawabe Masakazu, and Allen (1984) credits him with "shrewdness, strategical skill and flexibility". In spite of his failure to hold Burma, Kimura was promoted to full general in 1945.

Kimura was tried and hanged as a war criminal in 1948. The most infamous charges against him related to the brutal treatment of prisoners of war and civilian pressed laborers under his command while working on the Burma-Siam railroad.

Service record

1888     
  Born at Tokyo
1908
Second lieutenant     
Graduates from Military Academy as an artillery officer
1918

Siberian Expedition
1928
Colonel
Inspectorate of Artillery
1929

Instructor, Field Artillery School
1929

General Staff
1929

Japanese delegate to London Disarmament Conference
1931

Commander, 22 Artillery Regiment
1932

Instructor, Field Artillery School
1934

Attached to Coastal Artillery School
1935

Chief, Control Section, Economic Mobilization Bureau, Ministry of War
1936-8-1
Major general
Director, Army Weapons Bureau, Ministry of War
1939-3-9
Lieutenant general
Commander, 32 Division
1940-10-22     

Chief of staff, Kwantung Army
1941-4-10

Vice-minister of war
1943-3-11     

Cabinet Planning Board
1944-3

Director, Ordnance Bureau
1944-8-30     

Commander, Burma Area Army
1945
General

1948

Executed as war criminal

References

Allen (1984)

Dupuy et al. (1992)

Fuller (1992)

Generals.dk (accessed 2008-4-23)



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