Terauchi, Field Marshal Hisaichi, 1879-1945

Terauchi was Supreme Commander of the Japanese Southern Army throughout the war. He took the command on 6 November 1941 with instructions to seize all American, Dutch and British possessions in the ‘southern area’ starting on 8 December. The invasions were accomplished more quickly than anyone expected, enabling Terauchi to order the invasion of Java a full month ahead of schedule. In 1942 Terauchi was given responsibility for constructing the 250-mile Burma Road. Though it would normally have taken five years to build, he resolved to build it in 18 months. Living in appalling conditions a full third of his work force of 50,000 POWs died (as well as a considerable number of Japanese). Terauchi at one point censured HOMMA, responsible for the Bataan Death March, and Immamura of pursuing too liberal a policy regarding natives.

In May 1944, Terauchi moved his HQ from Saigon to Manila and was charged with defending a vast area from New Guinea to Burma with his Southern Army. In July 1944 he was one of the three men suggested to replace TOJO as Prime Minister. Terauchi also commanded at Leyte, where he refused to surrender a lost battle despite a shortage of troops on Luzon and the loss of a convoy of 10,000 men sunk by Allied aircraft. In September 1945 Terauchi suffered a stroke and was therefore unable to attend the surrender ceremony of Southeast Asian troops on 12 September in Singapore.

Ter Poorten, General Hein, 1887-1948 Serving as Commander in Chief of land forces in the Dutch East Indies from October 1941, Ter Poorten had to organize its defense against the Japanese, who invaded Sarawak, the Celebes and Tarakan (Borneo) in January 1942. Ter Poorten had 125,000 well-trained men and American backing but he had insufficient artillery, planes and transport and the US bombers were of little use because of the lack of fighter support. Aware of this in advance, he blew up all the oil wells in these territories and surrendered in April 1942 near Bandung.

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