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Adachi, Lieutenant General Hatazo, 1890-1947

Adachi was the Japanese Commander in New Guinea. In November 1942 Adachi took over as Commander of the Eighteenth Army and fought the desperate battle to hold on to New Guinea. His headquarters was at Rabaul which meant that all his supplies had to come by sea; this became a severe problem because the US had air superiority and were trying to encircle Rabaul. His Army, which was equivalent to a US Corps, was forced to retreat down the Kokoda Trail and shortly thereafter was pushed back from Buna, Salamaua and Madang. Adachi would not give up and was determined to reach Hollandia to establish a base from which he could fight the Americans and Australians. He reached Wewak but in April 1944 the US anticipated him and made an amphibious attack on Hollandia, Adachi and his men (31,000) were now cut off at Wewak and their attempt to break out was contained by General Hall’s XI Corps. They faced death from disease and starvation but Adachi determined ‘not to set foot on my country’s soil again but to remain as a clod of earth in the Southern Seas with

100,000 officers and men.’ He made another brave but pointless attempt to break out in May 1945. This time the Australian 6th Division repulsed his men and the Japanese lost 9000. When news of the Japanese capitulation reached him, he surrendered on 13 September 1945 with 13,500 men. In 1947 he was sentenced to life imprisonment for war crimes.

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