Since this information has been obtained from prisoners
of war, it should be treated with considerable
reserve. However, our observers to date have found
the average Japanese prisoner to be more truthful in
his statements than are prisoners of other enemy nationalities.
a. Regarding Organization
Each rifle company normally has 190 men, but existing conditions in
some Southwest Pacific islands have forced the number down to 120. The
rifle company platoon usually consists of 52 men, but the prisoner's platoon
had 70, and was therefore classed as "independent."
The battalion-gun company normally is divided into 3 platoons, each
having 4 guns and about 70 men.
The mountain artillery battalion consists of approximately 500 men.
b. Regarding Equipment
(1) Landing Boats.--Each of those used at Buna carried 30 fully
equipped infantrymen, or 20 men equipped as machine-gunners, or 10 horses.
(2) Flame Throwers.--A prisoner "thought" that each company is
supposed to carry three flame throwers. Their use is primarily against
fortifications and armored vehicles, the prisoner said.
(3) Marks of Identification.--One prisoner stated
that his identity disks had been sewn to his uniform. These disks are
made of black metal sheeting; they are shiny at first, but rust
after brief use.
Another prisoner said that all badges of rank were removed by
personnel in his unit before it left Rabaul for action on an
island to the south. All marines wore a white cloth badge on
the left side of the coats, over the heart. The inscription
on these badges included name, rank, company, and date of birth.
(4) Eye Shield.--These are issued to all troops as a
protection against sun glare, but are seldom used, because
they affect the eyes and are considered a nuisance.
c. Regarding Supplies
(1) Ammunition.--One prisoner said that each rifleman
carries 60 rounds into the combat area, while others
stated that the number was 120. A supplementary supply
is carried by natives. Shells for the infantry battalion
gun (70-mm) are packed five to a case, which weighs
about 75 pounds. Larger shells, for mountain
artillery, weigh about 20 pounds each.
Normally each soldier carries two hand grenades.
(2) Rations.--The information on rations was
conflicting, probably because of the differing local tactical
and supply situations. One prisoner said each man in
his unit carried rations for 2 days upon landing, while
another's unit carried sufficient food to last for 20 days.
d. Regarding Medical Care
One prisoner stated that each Jap soldier was issued 10 antimalarial
pills, to be taken one per day for 10 days. At the end of the 10-day
period, they took a round of smaller pills. The prisoner said he did
not know the nature of the pills except that they prevented malaria. His
unit had no malaria until the pills ran out. He added that the
Japs would not use mosquito headnets because of the heat.
Another prisoner, questioned regarding malaria, said about half of
his unit was attacked by fever--he did not know, if all were malaria
cases. Light cases recovered in 3 days, the serious ones took as
long as 3 months.
e. Regarding Suicide
The following dialogue between a captured Japanese warrant officer
of the Naval Air Service and his interrogator is reported from
the Southwest Pacific:
Q. After the war is over, what would you like to do?
A. In accordance with our tradition, I would like you to allow me to destroy myself.
Q. That is contrary to our ideas and we cannot allow that, but if there is
anything else which you would like and which we have power to grant, we would
like to do so.
A. I would like to have my hair cut.