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Kuroda Shigenori (1887-1952)

Kuroda Shigenori was commissioned an infantry officer in 1909, graduated from the War College in 1916, and was a military observer in England following the First World War. He later served as military attaché in India. When war broke out in the Pacific, he was serving as bureau chief for military training. He served as chief of staff to Southern Army from June 1942 and become commander of 14 Army in the Philippines in October 1943. Allegedly a lax commander who spent his time playing golf instead of improving the Philippine defenses, he was replaced by Yamashita in September 1944 when his patron, Tojo, fell from power.

Why bother about defense plans? The Philippines are obviously indefensible.

(Hastings 2007) However, the official U.S. Army history describes Kuroda as a realist who believed the war was already lost, due to overwhelming American air power. Kuroda proposed concentrating his forces on Luzon but was overruled by Imperial General Headquarters and Southern Army, who insisted on attempting to hold most of the archipelago with the help of Japanese air power. Kuroda was deeply skeptical of this plan (Cannon 1953):

That concept is good, but you cannot fight with concept alone. Words alone will not sink American ships and that becomes clear when you compare our airplanes with theirs. That is why the major battles have been occurring on land. We can say that the power of our air force is negligible at this time. No matter how much the Fourteenth Army devotes their efforts toward air power, in actuality, should there be a decisive fight, they must fight on land. The preparation and conduct of an operation, and the responsibilities thereof cannot be conducted by airplanes and air units. The land army should initiate its own preparations. For example, for what purpose were the group of air bases constructed at Davao and Tacloban? Even though they are built, they aren't used. It amounts to construction for the use of the enemy.

Ironically, Yamashita would also argue in vain for centering the defense of the Philippines on Luzon, but would be overruled by Southern Army and compelled to fight for Leyte.

Service record

1887     
  bornb
1909
Second lieutenant     

1915

War College
1932
Colonel     
Commander, 59 Regiment
1933

Chief, Recruiting Section, Military Affairs Bureau, Ministry of War
1935

Military attache, India
1937
Major general     
Commander, 26 Division
1938

Commander, 4 Independent Garrison Unit
1939

Commander, 26 Division
1941

Deputy inspector-general of military training
1942-6     

Chief of staff, Southern Army
1943-10     
Lieutenant general     
Commander, 14 Army, Philippines
1944

Commander, 14 Area Army, Philippines
1945

Retires
1946

Arrested for war crimes
1949

Sentenced to life in prison
1952

Released
1952

Dies

References

Cannon (1953; accessed 2013-5-31)

Fuller (1992)

Generals.dk (accessed 2008-5-10)

Hastings (2007)


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