The following notes on Japanese defensive tactics
were paraphrased from translations of various enemy
treaties on this subject. Readers are cautioned to
bear in mind that these notes deal with combat methods
devised for use by the enemy, and that they must not
be confused with our own defense tactics.
2. DEFENSE PLANS FOR "X" AREA
Japanese plans to defend a certain area in the South
Pacific are outlined below. The area is not identified.
We will defend our present positions to the last man, breaking
up hostile attacks by fire power and counterattacks. Our reconnaissance
must be precise and systematic so that we may avoid
being taken by surprise. Those units on guard in the outer
areas will keep as much of their strength as possible in a mobile
state of readiness.
b. Tactical Points
Front-line companies will make reconnaissances of the area
extending 1 kilometer from the hostile positions, battalions will
be responsible for the first 2 kilometers, and the regiment for
over 2 kilometers.
You will use infiltration and raiding patrols to confuse the
Upon discovery of a new enemy plan, you will display
initiative to disrupt those plans.
Every unit, from the smallest sentry group to the largest
company; must consider the probability of hostile artillery
attacks, and therefore strive to construct several alternate positions,
to the left, right, and rear, so that our defense will be as
mobile as possible.
Construct strong aerial-defense trenches.
Companies occupying positions the farthest forward will be
relieved in about two weeks by battalion- and regimental-reserve units.
"Get one of the enemy every time you shoot" is to be a maxim
of this fight. The defenders must shoot the big forms of the
enemy [United Nations] as they approach. As many provisions
and as much ammunition as possible must be stored in the front
lines. However, these supplies should be widely dispersed as a
protection against bombing.
It is preferable to lay telephone wires between every observation
post and company. Because of air attacks, important connections
must be doubled. Also, wires must not be laid in groups.
Men must be posted to guard wires, or reserve wires must be
Communication between platoons or sections should be done by
signals or by the speaking-tube system. In front of hostile forces,
it is quite unnecessary to speak in a loud voice or to dispatch
Radio equipment and telephones must be installed in strong
3. COASTAL DEFENSES
It is necessary to determine the landing plans of the hostile
forces at an early stage. Their movements must always be
observed—especially the activity of boats, torpedo boats, and
reconnaissance planes. Patrol of the adjacent sea area by boats
must not be left up to the Navy. Every unit must plan various
measures for coast patrol. It is necessary to practice various
methods of quickly reporting the discovery of hostile forces.
Both day and night maneuvers must be held in rehearsing
tactics to use in defense against landing operations. It is necessary
to develop various plans that the enemy [United Nations] may
use, and to work out the proper measures to counter these
When it is known that hostile forces will attempt a landing,
every unit must concentrate as much of its strength as possible
to annihilate the invaders on the beach. Even those who are sick
and wounded must, if at all possible, bear arms and participate
in the battle with grim determination.
It must be remembered that the hostile troops, upon landing,
will not be familiar with the situation and will have no constructed
positions. Furthermore, they will be confused, due to
poor liaison and lack of control, and will therefore be in a very
disadvantageous position. Under such conditions it is possible
for even one of our smallest units to destroy a large number of
the invaders by fierce and fast attacks.
On the other hand, if the invaders are given time to reorganize
and dig in, it will be very difficult to annihilate them later.
4. COMMENTS ON PANTELLERIA DEFENSE
The following observations are made in connection with the
American and British attacks on the Italian island of Pantelleria:
(1) To counter the enemy's [United Nations] large-scale, overwhelming
air attacks, it is essential to possess sufficient fighter
planes and absolutely complete antiaircraft defenses and ground installations.
(2) To counter hostile landings, it is essential to possess strong
mobile forces for counterattacks, in addition to the fixed defenses
for combat at the water's edge.
(3) Isolated islands require an accumulation of sufficient water,
rations, and matériel.
(4) Evacuation of the inhabitants from Pantelleria was begun
only a short time before the surrender. Although both planes
and ships were used for this purpose, only a few hundred were
removed. It was a blunder not to have cleared out all the inhabitants
before the decisive attack, regardless of their devotion to their soil.
5. ANTIAIRCRAFT OBSERVATION
An antiaircraft observation party should have field glasses, shutter
field glasses, and simple communication equipment.
The party should take up positions where its members will
have a wide view and where the sound of planes can be easily
heard. These positions should be located so as to facilitate communication
with the officer in charge and with the appropriate
Antiaircraft observers must know how to distinguish between
hostile and friendly planes.
When any evidence of a hostile plane is detected, report to the
officer in charge and to the antiaircraft units in the vicinity. If
the identity of the plane cannot be determined, the procedure will
be the same.
Report to the officer in charge when a friendly plane is detected
coming in our direction.