1. IN THE PHILIPPINES
(1) Infantry.--As a rule, Japanese infantry in the
Philippines started their attacks just before darkness
or at night. In nearly every case, the attacks were
flanking movements carried out by forces ranging from
individual snipers to fairly large groups of soldiers.
These groups worked separately, not worrying about
the men on their right or left. They sneaked around
the flanks or through gaps, and then imitated bird calls
so that they could detect each other's whereabouts and
meet. Regardless of the opposition encountered, these
men maintained an aggressive effort to accomplish
their mission. They tried to clear out certain designated
areas during the night and have them completely
occupied by dawn. Usually the attacks were made on
small fronts of about 1,000 yards. Sometimes the infiltrating
groups, behind or to the flanks of our lines,
would remain quiet for 2 days or more while other
groups infiltrated through to strengthen their positions
for attack. These tactics were successful mainly because
of the jungle country, and because the Japanese
had the most troops and complete air superiority.
The Japanese made good use of a .25-caliber light machine
gun, which was easy to handle in the jungle. The
gun often was carried strapped to the back of one man,
who acted as the bipod when the gun was fired, while
another man with him acted as gunner. When a target
was observed, the first man flopped to the ground, with
the gun on his back, and the gunner flopped behind him
and fired the gun. As soon as a clip of ammunition
was fired, they would roll over, 10 yards or more, and
open again on the same target. By repeating this several
times, the Japanese tried to lead our troops to believe
that two or more machine guns were operating
against them. At first, some of our troops believed that
this .25-caliber was a Tommy gun.
The Japanese sniper wore a split-toe, rubber-sole
ankle-shoe, which had a cheap cloth top. He wore a
headnet cover over a steel helmet and a loose shirt or
smock, which had several patterns of green and white
colors in wavy lines.
One apparent weakness of the Japanese in jungle tactics
was their practice of throwing their full strength
into the battle at the beginning. This method worked
all right when it succeeded in driving back our forces. Such
tactics would be dangerous if the opposition were
to hold and counterattack strongly.
(2) Artillery.--The Japanese handled artillery very
well, except that at the beginning they showed they were
not used to combatting opposing artillery. They did
not conceal their guns, and they moved forward with
truck columns under artillery fire or tried to occupy a
town within U. S. artillery range. However, the Japanese
learned quickly from experience, although only
after suffering heavy casualties.2 Although their fire
generally was effective, it never was very heavy except
just before the fall of Corregidor. The Japanese
concentrated artillery on Bataan after it fell, and
plastered Corregidor heavily with the aid of an observation
plane and observation balloon. Their 150- and
105-mm guns were the most effective weapons in the
bombardment, although a few 240-mm guns were used.
The Japanese battery included a fifth gun. While
four guns were firing on a target, this fifth gun would
fire on a new target to get the range and make other
firing adjustments. So, when the battery had completed
fire on a given target, it had all the fire data on
a new one and could begin heavy firing at once.
(3) Chemicals.--The Japanese used no smoke or
poisonous gas. They attempted to burn the woods on
Bataan without success.
(4) Refugees.-—The Japanese destroyed considerable
civilian property at the beginning of the war to force
refugees into our lines. Between 10,000 and 30,000
refugees flooded Bataan, adding greatly to our supply
(1) Rifle.--The .25-caliber rifle was the only one used
by the Japanese. Much lighter than our Grarand, it
was ideal for jungle fighting. In contrast to our rifle,
the Japanese weapon gave no flash and did not make a
loud noise. Use of smokeless powder by the Japanese
in their rifles—as well as in their machine guns-
gave them another advantage over us. Our Gar and
proved 100 percent effective, although a little heavy for
(2) Machine guns.--These were of three
types--calibers .25, .30, and .50. Their .30-caliber gun is
heavier than ours and was not particularly suited for
(3) Grenades.--Two types of grenades were used, a
small and a larger size. Some of these were fired from
small mortars which weighed from 5 to 10 pounds.
(4) Mines and traps.--The Japanese were cunning in
the use of antitank mines on trails. They had plenty
of mines and used them on all probable tank approaches. They
also resorted to the old jungle trick of fixing
grenades on twigs and branches over trails. "Doped" food
and cigarettes were dropped in places where our
troops would be expected to find them.
(5) Tanks.--The Japanese had a large number of
small tanks in the Philippines, but they used them extensively
only at the beginning of the war and near the
end of the campaign. The tanks had a "V" front, and
this sloping armor made them a hard target to hit
solidly from the front. A good place to hit them is on
a flat surface just below the "V" front. The tanks
were well constructed.
(6) Artillery.--The Japanese used 47-mm antitank
guns, some 75's, 105-mm guns, 150-mm guns, and a
few 240-mm siege guns. The 47 's stood up better than
our 37's, and the 105's and 150's proved to be excellent
(7) Personal.--Leather equipment rots rapidly in
the jungle because of the moisture, while webbed articles
stand up well. Raincoats are greatly needed. All
articles, such as mosquito nets and towels, should be
green or brown.
2. IN CHINA
The Japanese have been playing "straight football" in
China, leaving off the trick devices used in Malaya
and the Philippines. Usually they throw almost everything
into the front lines to start a battle and withhold
very few reserves. Pursuit is their specialty, and they
prepare pursuit columns at the time of the attack. On
the front they organize a holding battle and later place
their main efforts on one or both flanks. Then the pursuit
column goes into action, usually with tanks and
other motorized vehicles. These columns generally
push far ahead of the main body.
Smoke has been used freely by the Japanese in China,
and some poisonous gases have been employed on a
Japanese rifle fire, .25-caliber, has not been very
accurate when judged by our standards, and their pistol
marksmanship is considered "lousy."
Very few tanks are used because gasoline has been hard to obtain.
As in Malaya and the Philippines, the Japanese use
mortars and grenades to great advantage.
Considerable attention is devoted to camouflage.
Every man has helmet and body nets, and all artillery
units have nets for their pieces.
1 Practically all the information given in this section was obtained
from United States military observers who were on the battlefronts
2 Our artillery killed as many, if not more, Japanese than did all
the rest of our weapons. The total Japanese casualties were much
higher than ours, but ours were comparatively low. Most of our
casualties were from small-arms fire.