3rd Division (Imperial Japanese Army)

3rd Division

Soldiers of 6th Inf. Regt., 3rd Division crossing the Bái hé River during Ichang Operation, 8 May 1940.
Active 18881945
Country Empire of Japan Empire of Japan
Branch Imperial Japanese Army
Type Infantry
Garrison/HQ Nagoya, Aichi, Japan
Nickname(s) "Lucky Division"
Engagements First Sino-Japanese War
Russo-Japanese War
Siberian Intervention
Shandong Incident
Taro Katsura
Yoshimichi Hasegawa
Yusaku Uehara
Nobuyoshi Muto

The 3rd Division (第3師団 Dai-san shidan) was an infantry division in the Imperial Japanese Army. Its call sign was the Lucky Division (幸兵団 Kō-heidan).


The 3rd Division was formed in Nagoya in January 1871 as the Nagoya Garrison (名古屋鎮台 Nagoya chindai), one of six regional commands created in the fledgling Imperial Japanese Army. The Nagoya Garrison had responsibility for the central region of Japan. This region was known as the Chūbu district, and stretched from Aichi Prefecture to Ishikawa Prefecture. Upon the recommendations of the Prussian military advisor Jakob Meckel to the Japanese government, the six regional commands were transformed into divisions under the army reorganization of 14 May 1888.

As one of the oldest divisions in the Imperial Japanese Army, the 3rd Division participated in combat operations during the First Sino-Japanese War, the Russo-Japanese War, the Siberian Intervention, and the Shandong Incident.

Some of its more noteworthy commanders included Katsura Taro, Hasegawa Yoshimichi, Uehara Yusaku and Nobuyoshi Muto.

9 December 1938, the 3rd division was subordinated to 11th Army and was subsequently was one of the divisions assigned to the China Expeditionary Army (CGA) headquartered in Nanjing. As one of the most powerful units ("crack" unit) in the theatre, the 3rd Division has served in nearly every battle in central China. During the Zhejiang-Jiangxi Campaign it was converted into a triangular division on July 4, 1942. It later served, for a time as a headquarters and garrison division for strategic Zhejiang Province.

Battles and Campaigns fought in China (19371945)

Battle Actions start date
Battle of Shanghai 22 August 1937 Chuanshakou - Shanghai
Battle of Xuzhou 14 February 1938 south of Xuzhou
Battle of Wuhan 22 August 1938 Xinyang
Battle of Suixian-Zaoyang 3 May 1939 Tongbai - Suixian
Battle of Changsha (1939) 1 September 1939 Hubei - Hunan - Changsha
1939-40 Winter Offensive 13 December 1939 Tingsiqiao - Xinyang
Battle of Zaoyang-Yichang 1 May 1940 Xiangyang - Xiakou, Nanzhang County
Central Hopei Operation 23 November 1940 Suizhou
Battle of South Henan 24 January 1941 Ye County, 保安鎮 city
Battle of Changsha (1941) 7 September 1941 south bank of Miluo River - Huashan, Xinhua County
Battle of Changsha (1942) 24 December 1941 Yueyang - Miluo River - Liuyang River - Miluo River
Zhejiang-Jiangxi Campaign 15 May 1942 ?
Battle of West Hubei 9 April 1943 north coast of Dongting Lake
Battle of Changde 2 November 1943 south of Changde - Changde - south of Changde
Battle of Changsha (1944) 27 May 1944 Wanyang Shan - Liuyang
Battle of Guilin-Liuzhou September 1944 southern Liuzhou

At the end of World War II, with the dissolution of the Imperial Japanese Army, the 3rd Division was formally disbanded in Zhejiang.

See also

Reference and further reading

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