Some Japanese tactical plans for use against airborne
forces are presented in an enemy treatise which
is paraphrased below. The document outlines the
tactics that hostile airborne forces are expected to use, and
then discusses countermeasures planned by the Japanese.
The Japanese believe that airborne forces are most
vulnerable to ground attacks from the time their transport
planes [and gliders] arrive over the landing area
to the time when these forces complete their assembly
for combat. A well-coordinated attack by the defenders
during this period is the "key to victory," the enemy
document states. Other important defensive
factors include thorough reconnaissance and security
measures in advance, to prevent surprise attacks, and
the establishment of perfect communication
and liaison between various units of the defending
forces (especially in the case of air-ground
communications and liaison).
Regarding the plan of attack by United Nations
forces, the document reads:
In connection with landing operations by ground troops, the
opposition [United Nations] may dispatch airborne troops inland
for the purpose of capturing important military points, key
communication centers, and important military installations, such
as our airfields or other areas suitable for landings.
Thus the hostile forces will try to gain the initiative at the
beginning of the landing operations. To maintain this initiative
as the operations progress, the opposition, by close coordination
with its ground fighting, may try to throw our rear into confusion
by use of airborne forces: to cut lines of
communication (especially transportation routes and communication lines), to
interrupt troop movements, and to destroy command and liaison
systems. Or, the enemy may use airborne troops in the areas
where their ground forces are fighting, in an effort to make a
decisive attack immediately.
To arrange successful countermeasures to the above tactics, it
is necessary that our commanders be certain in their judgment of
where and when the hostile forces will attack.
It is also necessary that commanders be prepared to engage
small numbers of hostile airborne troops who may be landed
in the interior [of an island or a considerable distance back of
the major ground operations] for the purpose of throwing the
inhabitants into confusion. Our forces should look for any
change in the attitude of the inhabitants [as a means of detecting
whether or not they may be hiding hostile troops].
Regarding Japanese preparations for airborne attacks, the
enemy treatise reads:
The commander of the security detachment must work very
closely with all units concerned, especially the air units, in
detecting hostile plans and in disseminating this information. The
commander will strengthen security measures in accordance
with intelligence gained from air reconnaissance and from
various intelligence reports and observations.
The security-detachment commander will bear in mind that
hostile forces will often land at dawn or at dusk, and that first
of all, they will usually make a thorough reconnaissance, establish
a detailed plan of attack, and execute strafing and bombing attacks.
Because of this hostile reconnaissance, the security forces must
try to conceal themselves completely against air observation, and, when
the strafing and bombing starts, must fight back
fearlessly and courageously.
In seeking concealment from the air:
(1) Use forests, buildings, and so forth, and their shadows as well;
(2) Cover with camouflage nets the positions which are exposed; and
(3) Disperse troops and execute movements rapidly if the
orders above cannot be complied with.
It is especially necessary for security-detachment commanders
to keep communication facilities in good order so that there
will be no hitch in troop movements during an emergency.
The security-force commander will arrange for construction
of defensive positions in areas suitable for airborne landings
and in the vicinity of vital points which hostile airborne forces
may try to capture. The commander also will make a proper
tactical distribution of antiaircraft units and of other troops
necessary to the defense.
Suitable places for hostile landings are:
(1) Airfields and terrain suitable for aircraft landings;
(2) Flat ground which has few, if any, obstacles;
(3) Roads without obstacles;
(4) Terrain on which planes can taxi; and
(5) Bodies of water which can be used by seaplanes.
If the security-force commander feels that the enemy [United Nations] is
planning an airborne attack in a particular
area, he will strengthen its defenses by concentrating tank units
there, as well as other additional troops. Their advance will
be concealed from air observation.
Preparations must also be made for hostile "hit-and-run" attacks. (In
these attacks enemy troops expect to be removed by
planes after accomplishing their mission.)
b. To Defend Airfields
Regarding security measures for airfields, it is necessary to
guard each airfield and its perimeter, as well as the planes and
installations. Preparations must be thorough. A careful check
must be made on civilians going in and out of the airfield. Security
measures must be especially strict at night.
The distribution of the airfield security force may vary according
to its strength, the enemy situation, and the adjoining
terrain. However, strong means of security must be placed near the
planes and the more important installations.
In making the proper distribution of security forces at airfields, it
is necessary to place antiaircraft observation sentries at the
required points and to have adequate patrols to make rounds
through the areas adjacent to the field.
The defense measures will also include the skillful utilization
of terrain and other natural objects; the construction of
barriers, positions, and so forth; and the establishment of adequate
communication with nearby units.
In areas suitable for airfields or runways, it is necessary to
place obstacles, or otherwise make it impossible for hostile airborne
troops to use these areas. It is best to use such obstacles
as wagons, barrels, and boxes, because they can be removed
quickly in case our own aircraft need to use the areas.
In keeping watch over the civilians going in and out of the
airfield, it is necessary to check their movements carefully and
to inspect their clothing and anything that they carry. Individual
civilian movements will be prohibited. The internal situation
[regarding civilian inhabitants] will be investigated, and if
necessary, communication with the outside will be stopped. It is
especially necessary to take constant precautions concerning the
movements of civilian families.
With regard to tactics that the Japanese may use against
airborne troops, the enemy document says:
4. COMBAT TACTICS
When hostile transport planes get within range, we will first
concentrate antiaircraft fire in an effort to destroy airborne troops
While they are still in the planes, or while they are parachuting
down. From the time of landing, the fire of artillery, machine
guns, rifles, mortars, and grenades will be used against the invaders.
Before the hostile troops are able to concentrate their
strength, the rifle unit [or units] will make a quick, determined
assault, and the tank unit, coordinating with the riflemen, will
attack and crush the opposition.
Combat tactics against airborne troops which have been able
to concentrate in a landing area corresponds, in general, to ground
combat tactics. Appropriate movements by tanks and other
mobile units are especially valuable for this type of fighting.
It is necessary to annihilate the hostile troops before reinforcements
can arrive by air or overland.
Since hostile planes usually will continue to support airborne
troops after their landing, it is necessary for our antiaircraft units
to resume antiaircraft fire immediately after the hostile troops
have landed—except in unusual circumstances.
Since the attacking airborne troops—especially
paratroopers—will attempt to use the transportation facilities, weapons, and
equipment in the landing area, we must take the necessary countermeasures.
In case of a surprise attack, precautions will be taken so that
secret documents and matériel will not fall into hostile hands.
b. Against Parachute Troops
Parachute troops generally jump when the speed of the transport
planes is approximately 135 miles per hour and when the
altitude is about 450 feet or more. The jumping is completed
within 20 to 30 seconds. During this period the parachutists are
easy targets for the various antiaircraft weapons, including
machine-gun and rifle fire.
While descending, parachutists carry only such weapons
as pistols and grenades. For their full equipment they must
rely on reaching packs which are parachuted down separately.
Therefore, they are weakest from the moment they near the
ground to the time they are able to reach their equipment and
get ready for action. During this time it is essential that we
launch an especially fierce and daring attack.
Furthermore, shelling at the time of landing is very effective,
since casualties are inflicted not only by shell fragments but
by the shell-scarred areas which cause sprains and broken bones.
We also should make every effort to capture dropped equipment
and supplies before the parachutists can reach them.
Hostile forces sometimes try to make a display of force by
dropping dummy men and materiel. The genuineness of these
must be determined at once.
c. Against Air-landing Troops
At present the enemy [United Nations] lands from 10 to 20
riflemen per glider or plane. It is necessary to annihilate these
groups individually just after they land and before they can
effect a concentration. Heavy fire by artillery and machine-gun
units and crushing assaults by tanks are especially effective.