This was the Japanese three-phase second element of ‘Ichi’ designed specifically to take the US air bases at Hengyang, Lingling, Kweilin and Liuchow in southern China and also to create an overland link between the Japanese forces in the great westward salient up the Yangtse river and in French Indo-China (June 1944/February 1945).
The task was entrusted to Lieutenant General Yukio Kasahara’s 11th Army and Lieutenant General Hisaichi Tanaka’s 23rd Army of General Yasuji Okamura’s 6th Area Army under the overall control of Field Marshal Shunroku Hata’s China Expeditionary Army.
The 11th Army advanced to the south from a railhead on the Yangtse river in the area to the south-west of Wuchang, while the 23rd Army advanced to the north-west from the area of Canton.
‘To-1’ was the advance of the 11th Army to Hengyang and of the 23rd Army toward Han-hsiung in June and July 1944, ‘To-2’ the advance of the 11th Army from Henyang to Kweilin and of the 23rd Army from Canton to Kweilin in July to September, and ‘To-3’ the advance of the 11th Army from Kweilin to Liuchow and of the 23rd Army to meet the spearhead of the 11th Army near Nan-hsiung in October. The advance ended in January or February 1945 as the 11th Army reached Nan-ning just to the north of the Chinese/French Indo-Chinese border on the Gulf of Tonkin.