The World at War


General Tomoyuki Yamashita

Tomoyuki Yamashita was born November 8th, 1885 in Kochi, Japan. After graduating from the Army Academy in 1905 and the Army war College in 1916, he was posted to the General Staff where he rose papidly through the ranks becoming the highest ranking general of its air force.
     Yamashita was an able strategist and tactician and was responsible for training the Imperial Army in the arcane arts of jungle warfare and helped to concieve the invasion of Malaya in December, 1941. In the course of a two and a half month campaign his forces overran all of Malaya and forced the surrender of the British fortress and naval base of Singapore on February 15th, 1942. This earned Yamashita the nickname of the "Tiger of Malaya ". Soon afterward Yamshita was retired by order of Prime Minister Hideki Tojo with whom he had professional differences, some dating as far back as the 1920's. He would not see active service again until after the fall of Tojo in 1944 when he was sent to conduct the defense of the Philippines. He was badly defeated in both the Leyte and Luzon campaigns but continued to hold out until the general surrender of Japanese forces in August, 1945. Yamashita was tried and convicted of war crimes for which he may not have been responsible and was eventually hanged.
     Yamashita was one of the most effective commanders in the Army and inspired strong loyalty and affection of his men with whom he endured the risks of combat, going ashore for example with the first wave during the landings in Malaya.

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