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Strategy & Tactics Briefing Room World at War 85


The Battle of Timor

By Jon Cecil

Opposing Forces

Imperial Japanese Army Headquarters assigned Gen. Hitoshi Imamura’s Sixteenth Army, part of the Southern Expeditionary (army) Group, with the responsibility for conquering the Netherland East Indies (NEI). Imamura in turn delegated the task of taking the island of Timor, the easternmost of the Sunda Island group within the NEI, to the 228th Infantry Regimental Group (228 IRG) under the command of Col. Sadashichi Doi.

The 228 IRG was drawn from among the three infantry regiments within the 38th Infantry Division, commanded by Gen. Takeo Ito. The IRG totaled about 5,300 men, and contained artillery, engineer, transport and other ancillary sub-units along with five Type 94 tankettes. The Dutch defenders on Timor consisted of 500 troops deployed near Kupang, while the Portuguese force at Dili numbered another 150.

In February 1941 the Australian government and the Dutch government in exile (in London) reached an agreement that, if the Japanese joined the war, Australia would provide aircraft and troops to help defend Dutch Timor.

Read the Full Article in World at War #85

The Budapest Campaign 1944-45

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· The Budapest Campaign, 1944–45 In mid-1944 Hitler made the decision to contest the Soviet drive into Hungary to the maximum extent possible. That led to the commitment of large panzer forces there throughout the final year of the war. The capital of Budapest, and the oilfields near Lake Balaton 30 miles away, provided the climactic scenes in the German dictator’s final attempt to gain one last victory for his Reich.

· The Battle of Timor, 1942–1943 Overall, the Timor campaign had little strategic significance for the larger war, yet the small Allied forces committed there succeeded in preventing an entire Japanese division from being used in the early phases of the New Guinea and Guadalcanal Campaigns.

· Rebuilding the French Army, 1942–45 Before the war ended, the Americans had equipped and trained eight French divisions in North Africa, partially outfitted and trained three more in France, furnished equipment for 19 air squadrons, while also turning over some 1,400 aircraft, 3,000 artillery pieces and 5,000 armored fighting vehicles. By providing that support to the French, the US was able to offset its combat manpower in Europe by some 10 divisions. It was a worthwhile effort.

· The French Expeditionary Corps at Monte Cassino In May 1943 the French Expeditionary Corps participated in the campaign that fi nally broke the Germans’ Gustav line in southern Italy. The story of their success has been largely obscured by the earlier Allied failures there. The French should, however, actually be credited with delivering the decisive stroke that broke the German resistance in that campaign.

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