The Southern Expeditionary Army Group was formed on November 6, 1941, under the command of Marshal Hisaichi Terauchi, with orders to attack and occupy Allied territories and colonies in South East Asia and the South Pacific.
These plans called for air attacks against the Philippines, beginning on X-Day, by the 5th Army Air Force Division and the 11th Naval Air Fleet. At this time, Imperial Japanese Army and Imperial Japanese Navy units were to land on Batan Island, Luzon (at: Aparri, Cagayan, Vigan, and Legazpi City), and at Davao, Mindanao, and to seize airfields. Following the elimination of American air support, the main body of the IJA14th Army was to land at Lingayen Gulf, while another force landed at Lamon Bay. These forces were then to attack Manila in a pincer attack. After this, the islands of Manila Bay were to be taken. In the resulting Battle of the Philippines (1942), Japanese forces accomplished their primary objectives.
On January 18, 1942, the commander of 16th Army Lt. General Hitoshi Imamura arrived at Takao, Taiwan from his base at Saigon. He received an order to hasten the invasion preparation toward Java. But due to shipping shortages, he had to adjust the plans. On January 21, he arrived at Manila to inspect the IJA 48th Division and to have discussion with the commander of the IJN 3rd Fleet. The Netherlands East Indies was invaded in a three-prong attack by using 3 groups: western, center and eastern group.
Following the surrender of Hong Kong, the 228th, 229th and 230th Infantry Regiments from the IJA 38th Division were also deployed to Netherlands East Indies separately. On February 13, the 229th and 230th assaulted Palembang on Sumatra and then joined the main force. On February 28 midnight the 230th Infantry Regiment landed on Eretan Wetan on Java.
The 1st Kure Special Naval Landing Force and 228th Infantry Regiment from 38th Army and Airplane Carrier Division 2 from Japan, reached Ambon on January 30.
|1||Field Marshal Count Hisaichi Terauchi||6 November 1941||31 August 1945|
|1||Lieutenant General Osamu Tsukada||6 November 1941||1 July 1942|
|2||Lieutenant General Shigenori Kuroda||1 July 1942||19 May 1943|
|3||Lieutenant General Kinori Shimizu||19 May 1943||22 March 1944|
|4||Lieutenant General Jo Iimura||22 March 1944||26 December 1944|
|5||Lieutenant General Takazo Numata||26 December 1944||September 1944|