This section is based on several Japanese documents, of
various types. Some of them were written prior to our
capture of Guadalcanal and other islands nearby. This
fact probably accounts for contradictory statements
in some of the documents. Remember that this
information comes from enemy sources, and therefore is
not necessarily true. The individual documents are
separated by dashes. Reference should be made
to Intelligence Bulletin No. 5, for
January, 1943, Section I (Japan), "Jap Estimate
of U.S. Land Tactics," page 29.
The U.S. Army's usual fighting is in accordance with the
bulletin, "American Army Combat Information, Guadalcanal Island," distributed
November 24, 1942. (The Australian Army fights according
to Nos. 1 and 2 of the "Special Intelligence Reports.") However, some
supplementary information on their usual methods of fighting is as follows:
a. The enemy (U.S.) fires at a slow rate, but is skillful in covering jungle
roads and precipices.
b. He is fond of using hand grenades, and fires and throws them at close range.
c. The enemy's fighting spirit is unexpectedly intense. He does
not retreat in single-firing combat. However, when charged, he
d. At a point about 1 kilometer (roughly 5/8 mile) to the front
are scouts who, when attacked, usually flee immediately.
e. Enemy foot patrols usually operate 200 to 300 yards to the
left and right, forward and rear of their positions.
The following is our estimate of American strength and capabilities:
a. They stress cooperative firing, and never fight without artillery.
b. When assaulting they fire their pistols.
c. Their tactics are formal, and they lack initiative ability. They do no
more than they are told.
d. In defense, they never counterattack and never carry out an offensive.
e. Their supply facilities are extravagant.
f. They know nothing of assault. We should assault whenever possible. Fifty
yards is often the best distance for assault.
g. The Americans are untrained for night fighting, and they fire their
guns all night long.
h. Their command is untrained for retreat combat. If they begin retreating, pursue
i. Their tanks fight separately. However, they are very good at movement.
j. If the Americans are hit on the flanks or in the rear, their command becomes
confused and they are unable to fight.
The following are notes on the enemy's (U.S.) methods of
a. The Americans choose high places or curves in roads for their
positions, and snipe from a short distance (30 to 50 yards).
b. They are skilled in the use of hand grenades.
c. Their will to resist is comparatively strong, and, although we
attack them, they still resist.
d. The enemy usually posts an observation party at a point
approximately 1,000 yards in front of his position.
e. His observation to the flanks and rear is very good. He
always tries to attack our rear and flank.
f. The enemy pays considerable attention to fire support.
The enemy's weak points:
a. The enemy does not pay much attention to hand-to-hand fighting.
b. His front-line defense is easily penetrated. There are many gaps in his position.
Things to watch for in combat:
a. The enemy lays piano wire (small, smooth, and made of high-grade steel) in front of his positions.
b. He has good fire protection on his flanks.
c. He outflanks by using heavy firearms.
d. He uses diversion tactics in attack. (Do not pay much attention to enemy decoy tactics.)
e. He constructs many false positions.
f. It is easy to be deceived by the enemy's decoy tactics in the
forest. Send a sentry forward. Don't choose a good position.
g. The enemy always shoots from the side of roads or from the edge of high ground.
h. The enemy usually places observation posts about 1,000 yards in front of
his position. Watch closely for electric wire and microphones.
i. The enemy always prepares for close combat.
Their (U.S.) impressions of the Japanese Army:
a. The Japanese Army is very strong--always winning.
b. They don't take a serious view of fire power.
c. They are skillful in movement at night.
d. They have a strong esprit de corps.
e. They make minute plans for operations.
f. They charge without any thought of sacrifice.
g. They generally throw their reserves into battle immediately after it starts.
h. Their officers are skillful and industrious.
i. Assaults are skillfully executed.
j. Artillery is skillfully used.