Japanese and German intelligence officers have acquired valuable
combat intelligence information through the negligence of
U.S. officers and enlisted men. Despite considerable education
in field security, combat troops are seriously jeopardizing Allied operations
by deliberately violating security regulations.
Enemy officers have expressed amazement at American troops'
apparent disregard for security, and have discussed specific examples.
A German intelligence officer, who has interrogated both
American and British prisoners of war, remarked that the
security of documents in the American army was "absolutely
shocking." Time after time, he said, Top Secret documents
were found in the vehicles, and on the persons, of Americans
captured in front-line fighting. He cited a case in which a Top
Secret order-of-battle document was found on an American
lieutenant who had been taken prisoner. This document gave
the complete regrouping of American forces for the breakthrough
at Avranches. If the Germans had been able to secure
the air cover necessary to permit them to move their troops,
the German officer said, they could have stopped the attack, for
the document gave advance notice of many locations and moves
of the Allied forces. He also said that when he mentioned this
document to his prisoner, the American lieutenant replied,
"Well, you can't keep all these things in your head."
A Japanese officer told how Japanese forces obtained similar
combat intelligence early in a certain island campaign. According
to the officer, on the day the American invasion forces
landed, the Japanese found an identification tag on a Marine
casualty. In addition to the official information on the tag, the
Marine—apparently on his own initiative—had added the
words, "4th Marines".
Later that day the Japanese also captured a map which had,
in addition to other valuable information, the symbol [X]
drawn in at a certain village. The officer said that he knew the
symbol indicated some type of headquarters, but that he was
not sure of the size of the unit indicated. However, the numeral
"4" had been written on the right side of the map. From this
numeral, on the symbol, and from the captured dog tag, the
Japanese were able to conclude that they were opposed by the
4th Marine Division.
The Japanese are aware of the value of documents in
intelligence, and place great importance upon their capture. In the
intelligence plans of a Japanese division are these instructions:
"There will be useful articles on abandoned enemy dead, who
are to be searched immediately after battle. Their possessions—especially
documents, diaries and maps, which have very great
value—are to be collected." The order points out that in spite
of instructions, Japanese lower units are collecting only weapons
and food and that the "collection of the most valuable intelligence
material is being sadly neglected." Subordinates were
instructed to detail one section of a reserve unit as a document
There is ample evidence that the Japanese know how to use
the information which comes into their hands through field
intelligence. Time and again, Japanese orders have included such
references as these: "It is believed that the enemy intends to
launch a strong attack in the near future, according to
information gathered from sketches and diaries taken from enemy
dead," and "The diaries abandoned by Allied soldiers of the
southern group have made clear the enemy's topography and his
plans for infiltrating forces into places not under our control."
U.S. soldiers who have been prisoners of war have revealed
that American troops are carrying into battle personal letters,
diaries, unit rosters, and similar important documents. These
items are just what the enemy is looking for to complete his
intelligence estimates of the situation.