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Tamada Yoshio (1891-?)

Tamada commanded 4 Tank Regiment at Nomonhan, a force comprising most of the Type 95 tanks of Kwantung Army. On 3 July 1939 he ordered a daring night attack that succeeded in overrunning some of the Russian artillery (Coox 1985):

It is regrettable that the regiment did not break through the enemy facing us during the daylight hours, but the mission does not admit of delay. If we let things ride, a blot would remain in history for a long time. Yet, if we carry out this advance at night with determination, there is hope of breaking through. Consequently, from now the regiment will seek and destroy the foe, wherever encountered, while advancing towards the confluence. It seems foolhardy to commit a large tank unit to battle at night without knowing the enemy situation and the terrain; but the mission demands it, and I therefore earnestly desire that all officers and men blend into one, centering on the unit commander and, for the honor of the regiment, push forward at the risk of annihilation.

The attack was aided by a violent electrical storm whose flashes illuminated targets for the Japanese tankers while reducing the alertness of the defenders. Some 12 Russian artillery positions were overrun and destroyed, their guns unable to fire on the tanks because they could not be depressed sufficiently. However, the tanks were widely scattered, and Tamada, for whom the battle was his first taste of combat, considered committing suicide out of fear that his regiment had been destroyed. Eventually the scattered regiment reformed and withdrew in good order back to the Japanese lines. To Tamada's disappointment, the precious Japanese armor was pulled out of the battle shortly thereafter.

Pressure was later brought on Tamada to commit suicide because one of his tanks was knocked out and captured by the Russians. However, Tamada's superior successfully defended Tamada, though he was subsequently assigned to training duty and did not return to a combat command (2 Amphibious Brigade in northwest New Guinea) until March 1944.

Coox (1985) describes him as "...deliberate, rather stubborn, extremely serious, precise, intellectual, detailed in his thinking and his orders, and considerate of and gentle to his men." He was a graduate of the Army War College but did not consider himself really temperamentally suitable for the tank corps, which he was not assigned to until he was already a major. He neither smoked nor drank.

Service record

1891

Born in Tokoku region of Japan
1933-12    
Major

1934-4

4 Tank Regiment
1938-7     
Colonel     
Commander, 4 Tank Regiment
1940

Commander, Noncommissioned Officers' Tank School Training Regiment
1941
Major general    
Commandant, Army Tank Preparatory School
1944-3     

Commander, 2 Amphibious Brigade, New Guinea
1945
Lieutenant general     
Commander, 96 Division


References

Coox (1985)

Fuller (1992)

Generals.dk (accessed 2008-7-5)

Pettibone (2007)



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