What Japanese staff officers think of the land warfare
tactics used by U.S. forces is set forth in an official Japanese
document. These beliefs indicate clearly why the
Japs have specialized in infiltrating, surprise, and deceptive
tactics to such a great extent against our forces.
Although the enemy may be in a mood to alter some of
his beliefs by now, a study of what he thinks of us as
fighters should be beneficial, as well as interesting. You
will notice that the Japanese contradict themselves more
than once in the document. Extracts from it are given
2. "U.S. METHODS--OUR COUNTERMEASURES"
One peculiarity of the U.S. forces is that the orders of the
higher commanders are passed down in minute detail and leave
little room for initiative by subordinates. For this reason, if
the supreme commander does not display a great deal of ability, a
versatile change of tactics to cope with the situation
as it develops is not possible.
American strategy is based on fighting a battle of fortified
positions, but their rules for the conduct of battles encourage mobile
warfare. In actuality, however, this is not often practiced in
training and maneuvers.
Under normal conditions, the Americans display their might in
carefully planned operations; but once their planned strategy is
spoiled, they must get one or two high commanders to straighten
things out. Hence, we must grasp every opportunity not to give
them time to do this.
In order to capture one of their positions, we must induce them
to come outside their fortifications and fight a decisive battle, or
else all efforts must be made to put a hitch in their plans; we must
practice a policy of throwing them into confusion.
Also, because American tactical ideas are simple, deceptive
displays of force are one of the most valuable of all our strategic
Again, because the character of the American is simple and
lacking in tenacity, they also lack tenacity in their tactics and
battle leadership; and if they meet with one setback, they have
a tendency to abandon one plan for another. For this reason, we
must not fail to hammer at this weakness.
The Americans are very poor at scouting, patrolling, and security
measures; so the effects of a sudden attack and the benefits
to be gained therefrom should always be kept in mind.
The Americans make much of firepower, especially the power of
artillery, and lay only small stress on bayonet assaults. So, under
the cover of night, fog, or a smoke screen, we must take advantage
of the lack of flexibility of their plans, cut down the advantage they
may have gained by having registered their artillery fire on us, and
lead our troops into an attack which will decide victory or defeat.
The decision of the U.S. forces to attack or defend will depend
largely on their estimates of the strength of their artillery compared
to ours, so it is essential that we conceal our artillery
strength and thereby cause them to underestimate it.
The Americans regard the enemy artillery dispositions as most
important. For this reason, if we utilize mobile warfare and either
conceal our batteries or establish fake artillery positions, we may
reap great benefits.
The U.S. forces vigorously recommend the offense, and constantly
practice it in maneuvers and training; and, unless they
feel a definite inferiority in manpower and more particularly in
artillery, the view should be taken that they will attempt an
As the rise of the U.S. forces took place during the World War,
it is no wonder that they developed a definite tendency toward
position warfare. Even in encounters that are not according to
the "book," their leadership follows a fixed path; and they are
extremely fearful of enemy counterattacks. For this reason, it is
especially necessary for us constantly to utilize mobile warfare
(1) Plans.--The Americans do not minutely reconnoiter the
movements of the enemy, and they are especially poor at determining
the direction from which enemy attacks will come. They
simply make broad plans for combatting enemy attacks against
their fortified positions, but have no idea of our active defense.
We must search for ways of attack and defense against the Americans
with their superior firepower; and we must avoid a stationary
defense as much as possible. Even when we unavoidably are
fully on the defensive, we must work to keep our forces mobile.
In an active defense, if we base our defense on firepower in our
advanced positions and do not seize every opportunity to counterattack,
we will never make any gains. However, if the U.S. forces
should have a marked superiority in firepower, we must
plan an active defense by disposing our forces so as to increase
the units in the reserve. Do this by increasing the frontages
assigned to front-line units. In doing this, we multiply our
chances to use reserves for flanking.
(2) Leadership.--If the U.S. forces are in a meeting engagement
or in an attack on a position (excluding heavily fortified
positions), their columns usually will first diverge and then
deploy. In deciding on the plan for deployment, they consider
the enemy artillery fire as a factor of first importance. Their
dispositions will usually be made on a much narrower front than
our assembly positions, and therefore room for their maneuvering
will be lessened.
It will be beneficial to study the methods of deployment of the
U.S. forces. It should be remembered that at this time communication
facilities will not be complete. Also, as their leaders
will not have regained control as yet, we may, by maneuvering,
discover good opportunities to strike. For this reason, do not
relax your reconnaissance of the enemy's movements.
It is bad judgment not to use an assault to bring about a final
decision. American assaults usually appear to be penetrations
of enemy positions which have already lost all power of resistance
(that is, after fire superiority has been gained); and their training
in hand-to-hand fighting is not sufficient. Because of this, it
is well to consider ways of destroying them by desperate fighting
within our defensive positions.
We must not overlook the fact that the Americans, who believe
in a principle of mutual support, are paradoxically inclined to
reckless and headlong advances; and at times, they do not consider
a coordinated advance, but, instead, rush forward alone. Consequently,
when their forces are separated, crush them individually,
or endeavor, with a counterattack by all your forces, to deliver
a crushing blow.
(3) Meeting Engagements.--In meeting engagements, it is usual
for the Americans to commit their forces only when control has
been regained, so take advantage of this by sending up an advance
guard to hold fast, and use your main body to maneuver and
strike at the enemy's flanks. Again, because the initial artillery
fire of the enemy will be unorganized, bring up to the front at
once a strong force of artillery to press the enemy. It is essential
that the initiative be taken from him and that he not be allowed
to regain it.
Their advance guards have a tendency to carry out independent
attacks, and also often deploy their front line too broadly. By
advancing one body of our troops, we can make the enemy deploy
prematurely in most cases. Also, by bringing up an advance
guard, we can gather our offensive strength in one spot for a
decisive attack, break through the enemy front line, and strike
the main body during deployment.
In dawn attacks, there are times when contact between opposing
forces is lost. Therefore, when you fear that the Americans
may launch a dawn attack while you are changing your dispositions
in preparation, carry out a small attack against them;
this will take advantage of the fact that while they are advancing
to the line of departure, their covering fire will not yet be
ready. Or, depending on circumstances, if you are well acquainted with
the terrain within the enemy's lines, you may make a major
Thus, while American attacks are not to be feared, it is most
desirable that we investigate fully the ways of combatting the
enemy's superior firepower. An attack or defense based on
firepower will never bring good results when used against
the U.S. forces.
The American defense does not utilize the ideas incorporated in
our active defense system.
In cases when there is not much time, their organization of fire
is weak and there are gaps in it. The machine guns are particularly
fond of displaying their independence, and coordinated fire
between machine-gun units is not often seen.
When there is time to spare, they display magnificent, systematic
organization of fire by using many types of weapons, and aim
it in front of the position; but they have no minute organization
of fire (that is, fire distribution by squads, and so on).
From the preceding, it can be seen that when they are pressed
for time, the American dispositions, and especially their organization
of fire, are not coordinated. Therefore, we must not fail to
move fast and attack quickly, giving them no time in which to
prepare their positions.
However, on the whole, in deciding on a plan of attack against
American positions, the possibilities of maneuver must not be
overlooked. Utilize a deceptive display of strength in order to
draw the enemy out of his positions. When he attacks, by using
your infantry guns, keep him from breaking through. Then
practice the principle of manifesting your whole might
in a counterattack.
c. Night Fighting
Insofar as night fighting is concerned, the Americans are unlike
our troops, who can attack at night and bring about decisive
results; instead, they simply use the night hours to better their preparations.
In view of the American organization of their military forces,
national characteristics, and habits, it is best for them to make
use of superior firepower and not indulge in night fighting. This
is a point of which we should take advantage.
d. Pursuit and Retreat
American pursuit of the enemy starts only when the enemy has
left his position and has begun the retreat. In the drill regulations,
it is emphasized that the whole result of battles may be
decided by energetic pursuits. In actuality, because they fear
enemy counterattacks and demand order in the ranks, their
manner of pursuit is not vigorous. And if their pursuit is delayed
by forces of the enemy, they will finally go on the defensive in
order to collect their strength.
In general, their leadership in a retreat is very incapable. For
this reason, once you have defeated them, great advantage may
be gained by pursuing them relentlessly.
e. Security Measures
Duty in the field is poorly performed by the Americans, especially
their security measures and patrols that operate over short
distances. Because of this, concealment of our movements and
execution of surprise attacks are comparatively easy, particularly
at night. Their use of cover and concealment is poor.
Their tanks are considered able to fight independently, but
coordinated action with the infantry is difficult. In consideration
of this, after the tanks have smashed the enemy positions, their,
infantry is brought up to exploit the gains. But calm individual
soldiers, well trained in throwing explosive charges, will be able
to destroy the tanks.
The movement of their tanks is extremely skillful and they are
able to pass through practically any type of terrain. However,
their antitank measures, on the whole, are crude and if we use
our tanks well, we may crush the enemy line or break through
without much difficulty.
g. Other Vehicles
A great many motor vehicles are included in the organization
of the U. S. forces, who are thoroughly experienced in using them.
They plan strategic and tactical actions with them that are unthought
of by us. In a place where vehicles can travel, regardless
of how bad the roads may be, you must consider that they will
try to use them.
h. Vulnerability of the Rear
Since the rear of the U.S. forces seems very vulnerable, threats
and raids on their rear confuse them extremely and produce many
advantageous possibilities for the conduct of operations.