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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.
||Born in Tokoku region of Japan
||4 Tank Regiment|
||Commander, 4 Tank Regiment
Officers' Tank School Training Regiment
||Commandant, Army Tank
||Commander, 2 Amphibious Brigade, New
||Commander, 96 Division
Generals.dk (accessed 2008-7-5)
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