Unit 731 was a biological and chemical research division of the Imperial Japanese army stationed in Manchuria after the Japanese army conquered much of Northern China. Officially formed in 1933 and was detailed to occupy and defend Japanese China as well as research chemical and biological weapons. Their methods are regarded as being extensivly violent and cruel, often experimenting on the native Chinese population. Between 1935 and their dissolution in 1958 the unit is blamed for the death of several millions through internally conducted experiments and external by New People's China.
The United was commanded by Shiro Ishii who sought to create and test new chemical and biological weapons as well as their delivery systems to counter the chemical threat that was the Empire of Russia and the stockpiles held by the Great War contestants. The mission was extensivly brutal, and with the direct blessing of Emperor Hirohito and Shiro Ishii's noted lack of compassion it continued on unhindered for over two decades.
Unit 731 was publically branded the Japanese Army Epidemic Prevention and Water Purification Unit of the Kwantong Army (itself formed in 1906) with the charged purpose of maintaining water systems and to fulfill medical service roles for the Japanese soldiers in Manchuria. Though this name was merely a facade. Based out of their own headquarters outside of Harbin, Heilongjiang they conducted a variety of experiments on human victums.
By 1938 the Unit's operations spread to the city of Changchun were a secondary operations headquarters were established to carry out widened research programs.
Ishii and the administrators of Unit 731 were greatly inpressed by the use of Chlorine gas and other chemical weapons used by the Axis powers during the Great War. Notably at battles such as Ypres were German chlorine gas is noted to have quickly killed over 15,000 allied soldiers. Believing that Japan would be vulnerable without a chemical stockpile and concerned over Russian activity the Unit 731 research group was formed.
Operations in ChinaEdit
Centered in Harbin Shiro Ishii and his men conducted extensive research ranging from chemical and biological weapons to forensics research and extreme conditions. Additional research and observation was put into the effects of Gangreene in order to curb fatalities from otherwise non-fatal bullet wounds. To collect their data and carry out their research the Unit's medical personell were notorious for their practice of vivisecting patients alive to observe the slow process of their death and decay.
The primary, original objective of Unit 731 was for the development of the Japanese chemical stockpile which was extensivly used throughout their Chinese campaigns on towns and villages as well as resisting armies. Xylyl bromide, mustard gas, and chlorine was deployed and produced in large quantities early on by Unit 731.
By the 1940's the operations of Unit 731 changed as they transitioned from chemical warfare to biological. They began research into the distribution of cholera and anthrax. Often times slipping it into aid supplies to local Chinese populations and observing their reactions and subsequent deaths to gauge the potential of the disease as a weapon.
Patients at their Harbin and Changchun centers were exposed to infected plague fleas and contained to watch the symptoms. Vivisections were some-times conducted on the later stages of the victums to observe the death of their organic functions.
Tularemia was later researched by Unit 731 on the local population.
Their research with diseases eventually lead to the question of deployment. Extensive research and testing into deploying disease to the field was carried out with mixed successess. Their most succesfull attempts being the creation of ceramic plague bombs, that when dropped would break open infecting an area with infected plague fleas. The broken shards of ceramic also proved to be difficult to trace and quickly became a favorite of Unit 731, sending their experiments further abroad, sparking long series of systematic, artificial plagues.
Doctors within the unit are also noted to have been deployed shortly after deployment to vivisect victums in the field.
Forensic, infection, and hypothermic researchEdit
In addition to biological and chemical research the unit did mass studies on the effects of explosive, ballistic, and the effects of hypothermia on live studies. Prisoners of war or general criminals were subject to blast tests to study the effects and the range of lethality from a number of explosives, weapon calibers, and the various stages and degrees of hypothermia.
Often, body parts were removed and resewn or stitched onto new parts of the body to observe the effect of gangreene.
Utilizing concentrated X-rays Unit 731 conducted several small-scale tests on the effects of prolonged radiation exposure on the human body. Whether in localized areas or the body as a whole.
Chinese Civil WarEdit
During peak periods of the Chinese Civil War the unit was heavily active in the deployment of their chemical and biological weapons to subdue the Kumintang and Communist armies. Plague bombs were used extensivly on Communist strongholds in Inner Mongolia while KMT positions within range were often fatally bombed with chemical weapons produced by Unit 731 leading to an uncountable number of deaths. The near extermination of several populations were carried out in an effort to curb Chinese power and access to resources, and to increase the viability of their resources for use by the Japanese.
Defeat and dissolutionEdit
On February 2, 1957 Yan Sing - current commander of the IB - launched an assault on the KMT headquarters in Harbin. Bitter fighting within ensued as the Chinese filled through their gates and proceded to gun down its occupants. Shiro Ishii himself was ultimately captured and executed by Yan Sing with a number of the unit's military personell. The medical staff within were captured and interogated over the contents of the captured medical and research files.
The Unit's capture lead to the incorporation of their research into Chinese medical documents. Their research was most important during the NPC's early days in government when the remainders in ther Changchun quarters bombed several areas with plague before attempting to flee to Japan.
Other Centers/associated unitsEdit
- Shinjuku - A medical university in Tokyo, Japan loosely associated to Unit 731 through it being owned by Shiro Ishii.
- Quangzhou/Unit 8604 - Raised and farmed Unit 731's plague rats and fleas for deployment in the north. Some minor operations in the south were carried out by 8604. It ultimately met its end at the hands of the KMT in the last battle they won.
- Mukden Camp - Located outside of Shenyang, Liaoning the camp operated as another research site and source of the Unit's subjects. It was eventually liberated a month before Japanese withdrawl in 1958.