Japanese comments on their operations, as revealed
by their own documents, are given in this section. The
documents have been paraphrased and edited to eliminate
repetition and parts considered of little or no value. For
the sake of clarity, individual documents are separated
by a long dash.
2. REGARDING MORALE
The following are extracts from an address made by a Japanese
commander to his troops in New Guinea on September 11, 1942:
... Endeavor to forget unpleasant incidents and to remember
only the good. It is useless to brood over matters as a hysterical woman does.
We are all thin from lack of food, but do not show a haggard
countenance when we get on the vessels. There is a saying
that "The Samurai (warrior) displays a toothpick even
when he hasn't eaten." [Comment: That is, he is too proud
to admit that he is suffering from lack of food.] This is an example
worth emulating at the present time.
Since we have been here, there have been those among us who
have worked well and also those who have been lazy. The men
of the "suicide squads" and those with similar aspirations are
among the bravest of the brave; on the other hand, those who
have neglected their duty can only be considered despicable. Every
individual must aspire to be a hero.
The document below, dated October 14, 1942, is a statement made
by a Japanese commander to his subordinate commanders in New Guinea.
This is a most regrettable statement to have to make regarding
soldiers, but this unit in facing air attacks here has turned out
to be composed of cowards. There are some men who, in the
midst of their work, take refuge before any order to do so has
been given. This is a breach of military discipline which will
not be permitted in the future.
The rigor of military discipline applies equally to those who
advance without orders and those who do not advance when
ordered to do so--to the brave as well as the weak.
When it becomes necessary to take refuge, obey the commands
of your leaders. Those on the beach near the landing craft
should take refuge in the jungle as far inland as the position of
the rapid-fire gun unit. Even during the period when you are
taking refuge, every unit commander must maintain liaison with
the command, and also exercise control both over those who are
engaged on some task and over the remainder of his unit. We
are truly sympathetic with those who have to continue work
during air attacks.
The first submarine relief went off better than expected, but the
second failed. I think that any further attempts at rescue will
be even more difficult. As a matter of fact, the crew of the
submarine, in endeavoring to rescue us, is engaged in a more
death-defying task than we are ourselves. This command does
not ask for anything more than that you should emulate the
spirit of sacrifice of such men.
The "bulletin" below was issued by a Japanese commander December 1, 1942, on
It is reported that part of my unit retreated yesterday (30th), when
the enemy penetrated the fixed radio station area. This is
being thoroughly investigated by all Military Police members
of the detachment.
It is to be remembered that anyone leaving the garrison area
without orders will be severely punished or executed on the battlefield, in
accordance with the Military Criminal Code. Hereafter
there will be no leniency. In order to develop military
discipline and strengthen the foundation of victory, deserters will
be severely punished.
Those who have no rifles or swords will tie bayonets to poles. Those
who have no bayonets will carry wooden spears at all times. Some
are walking with bayonets only, or without any arms. Each man will
prepare a spear immediately and will be as fully prepared as troops
about to charge. Even the patients will be prepared.
3. REGARDING U.S. TROOPS
The following "Characteristics of the U.S. Army" were issued
by the Japanese during the early phases of fighting on Guadalcanal:
a. U.S. troops are simple-minded and easy to deceive.
b. The enemy lives in luxury, so cut his lines of communication.
c. The Americans possess a strong feeling of national unity, and
they like novelty and adventure.
d. They are boastful, but are inclined to carry out their boasts.
e. They are optimistic and lack patience.
f. They excel in the technical field.
g. Their marksmanship is excellent.
h. They lack proper training in scouting and security.
i. The tempo of their attack is slow.
j. After the initial assembly, the enemy has difficulty in controlling succeeding movements.
k. Adjoining units do not cooperate with each other.
4. REGARDING SECURITY
Observation parties watching for aircraft will note the following places particularly:
a. The space between the mountains and the sky;
b. Between clouds;
c. The coast line and along rivers;
d. Above villages.
When enemy aircraft are observed, report the number and direction
of the flight to the commander, and the number, direction, height, and
distance to the antiaircraft units.
No soldier will be on lookout duty more than 1 hour at a time. Two
lookouts will be on duty at the same time at each post. One will
watch the direction from which planes are most likely to come, while
the other will watch the opposite direction and act as runner.
The following is an order by a Japanese commander to a "suicide squad":
I order the three of you to be messengers unto death... Should you
encounter the enemy on the way, fight to a finish; burn these
papers, and each of you use your final bullet to take your own
life rather than become a prisoner.
In writing home, mention nothing concerning current military
operations; make no reference to the zone of operations, and make
no reference to the state of training.
To avoid personal injury from falling coconuts, do not sleep under coconut trees.
5. REGARDING ATTACK
In the absence of a specific plan of action, attack during a dark
night, or in the rain, to gain the maximum surprise effect. Another
method is to assault the key enemy positions after they
have been blasted by concentrated fire.
Plans of attack should not fall into one fixed pattern. It is
best to confuse the enemy by changing the pattern as often as feasible.
... A captured position should be prepared for use against
enemy counterattacks, and it should be held firmly.
Avoid the enemy's zone of fire.
... Most of our losses are suffered from artillery and mortar
shells. When these enemy attacks cannot be neutralized, it is
important to plan a desperate assault to occupy the enemy's
strongholds. Remember that enemy artillery positions are protected
by several automatic weapons and that the positions are
strongly prepared. In attacking them, use smoke, deception, and
penetrating forces, which should be at least the strength of a
6. REGARDING DEFENSE AGAINST AIR-BORNE TROOPS
The best way to deal with enemy air-borne troops (parachute
units) is to annihilate them before they have time to assemble and
consolidate their positions. Indispensable requisites in this type
of defense are airtight security measures, including careful and
thorough reconnaissance, and perfectly established communications
Each commander is responsible for taking protective measures
in his own area. These measures are to be carried out in conjunction
with general antiaircraft defense, and with protection of
structures and equipment.
The enemy drops paratroops to capture key communication
positions and important military installations. Another practice
is to interfere with our troop concentrations and deployment, and
to drop a few troops secretly behind our lines to incite the
inhabitants and start agitations.
7. REGARDING EQUIPMENT
a. Rubber Boats
|| Capacity |
|Medium 97||6-7 men|
These boats, which can be deflated and packed, are easy to
transport and to inflate. They are easily damaged, and should be
stored under cover when not in use.
The boats are designed for use by advance units in actions over
terrain which has small, unfordable streams and lakes. They
are not suitable for use by large forces or in the crossing of large
rivers or swift currents. (They are difficult to manage in currents
moving faster than 5 feet per second.)
b. Land Mines
Types of these include a remotely controlled land mine, which
is exploded by an electrical current; an automatic mine (alarm-clock
type), and contact mines. These latter include a pressure-
operated mine which is placed about 4 to 5 inches underground,
and one which is adapted to use with a booby trap.
These land mines are not as good obstacles as are wire
entanglements. However a large number of them can be
laid in a short time.
In laying these mines, place them in dead spaces in front of a
defensive position and near wire entanglements, about 3 to 5