| The War That Came Early |
POD: July 20, 1936;
Relevant POD: September 29, 1938
|Type of Appearance:||Direct POV|
|Date of Death:||1944|
|Cause of Death:||Shot on battlefield|
|Affiliations:||Imperial Japanese Army|
Sergeant Hideki Fujita (d. 1944) was a Japanese soldier. When the Second World War broke out in October 1938, his unit was part of the garrison of Manchukuo, stationed along the disputed border between Manchukuo and Mongolia. In the winter of 1938, he and his unit were transferred to Harbin, from whence they were deployed to the border with the USSR. In April 1939 the regiment participated in the Japanese invasion of Siberia that effectively brought Japan into the wider war.
Despite suffering heavy losses from the stiff Soviet resistance and occasional mishaps from their own artillery, Fujita's regiment was able to seize part of the Trans-Siberian railroad, cutting Vladivostok off from the rest of the Soviet Union. When Vladivostok finally surrendered in 1940, Fujita was among the guards escorting thousands of Red Army prisoners to Unit 731, a biological warfare facility. There Fujita and his men remained, serving as prison guards and sometimes assisting the scientists with their experiments.
After Japan began a new war with the United States in January 1941, several US Marines were added to the facility. When some of them successfully escaped, Fujita was demoted to corporal and was disgraced. Hoping to make a fresh start, Fujita applied for and received a transfer to Unit 113 in Burma.
Despite the unbearable heat and humidity, Fujita's posting in Burma gave him the chance to regain his old rank and self-respect. He eventually received the chance to serve as a bombardier aboard a Sokei bomber, dropping porcelain bombs loaded with cholera baccilli and plague-infected rodents onto Yunnan province in China.
His efficiency in his new role led Fujita to regain the rank of sergeant, and when a biological warfare detachment was ordered to Midway Island in 1942, Fujita was personally asked by the commanding officer to accompany him. Despite his boredom on the unexciting atoll, Fujita continued to perform his duties efficiently. On one night raid, he dropped samples of the plague and anthrax over Honolulu, though mass inoculations there negated the weapons' effects.
When the United States reclaimed Midway in 1944, Fujita survived the initial assault by American paratroopers, but was soon ordered into making a hopeless assault on a Marine hilltop position. Fujita made it farther than most of his men, only to be killed near the American lines.