At least a rough idea of how the Japanese use
sentries in the South Pacific areas may be gained from
the following collection of enemy information.
Japanese sentries usually form a "line of observation on the foremost
front line." They are given specific instructions, some of which must
be carried out even if it means a stand to the death.
The enemy "sentry" is divided into "special guard" and "double
sentry." The special guard is posted at strategically important
points or at places where effecting relief is difficult. It usually
is composed of a noncommissioned officer or a superior private as
leader and four to seven privates. This number may be increased
under certain circumstances. Part of the guard is usually posted as
observers while the remainder is concealed nearby. All men are armed
with rifles, and the group sometimes has a light machine gun also.
A double sentry post is composed of a noncommissioned officer or a
superior private as leader and "the required number" of privates. Usually
two to four men at a time will be on duty. From outpost
detachments (pickets) two men are sent out a distance of about 400 yards to
form a "double sentry."
According to the Japanese, sentry positions must be
capable of all-around defense. The "most suitable" places
must not be selected, because they can be easily
fired upon by hostile forces. The positions must be so
concealed that they cannot be seen from a distance of
over 5 yards. The Japanese also lay stress against the
destruction of natural terrain features.
"The positions of those on observation duty (more
than two men) and those on relief must be close together," one
Japanese document states, "so that the
relief can be effected at the resting place. Therefore
the relief party does not have to move its position
for the purpose of relieving those on observation duty."
3. SPECIAL ORDERS
The "special orders" for Japanese sentries are given below.
Sentries must know:
a. The number of sentries;
b. The names of important roads, villages, and natural objects [in the area];
c. The situation in regard to friendly units and patrols in forward areas;
d. What ground must be particularly observed;
e. The article regarding precautions against gas attacks;
f. The position and the number of neighboring sentries, and
the methods of communication;
g. The position of pickets and your company, and routes to them;
h. The methods to use in observing, what postures to assume, how
to effect relief, how chemical troops move into action, and what to
do in case of hostile attacks;
i. How to signal and give alarms; and
j. Any other precautionary item.
In regard to instructions for observing, the Japanese sources are quoted as follows:
Observation, in all directions, must be carried out constantly. This
may sound easy, but there are certain tendencies to avoid. For
example, the sentry who does not see hostile forces for
several days in his area is apt to become lax. In this state he is
likely to be fired upon before he sees the enemy, who more than
likely will then be able to get away. The enemy who approaches
must be killed, or, if possible, captured.
It is necessary that sentries make good use of their hearing. In
jungle areas, the sound of dead branches broken by footsteps
can usually be heard before anyone can be seen (unless the movement
is over a road or trail). These sounds generally are followed
by the shaking of bushes or branches and then, finally, the
appearance of the enemy.
If anything regarding hostile forces is discovered, it must be
reported immediately. If something occurs so suddenly that
time does not permit reporting, it is necessary to signal by firing
rapidly, or by some other means. The report will be made later.
5. COMBAT TACTICS
Upon contact with hostile forces, Japanese sentries
have been instructed to take the following action:
Approach of the enemy [United Nations] will be signaled to
the sentry leader and neighboring sentries. (A sentry should
act at his own discretion. Contacts cannot be made.)
When the sentry (or sentries) is certain that the hostile
forces plan to continue advancing, fire will be withheld until
the latter are at point-blank range. Then the sentry will fire—first
at the man carrying the automatic rifle and then at those who follow him.
If the hostile forces are small, they will be shot or captured. If
large, we must start firing from a greater distance than that
outlined above. If the invaders attack persistently, we will use
hand grenades in driving them back.
With superior forces, the enemy may attack our rear; therefore
we must guard it carefully.
Sometimes, in retreat, the hostile forces are weak, and we
should follow up with fierce attacks.
The opposing forces will try to collect their dead, if any; therefore
we must guard against these efforts.
Each sentry leader will make a report after the hostile forces
have been driven away.
6. COMMUNICATION, MOVEMENT, RELIEF
A Japanese document stipulates that only hand signals
will be used for communication between sentries. Communication
for effecting reliefs will be done without
speech or any other form of noise. Signals may
be given, according to the document, by pulling a
wistaria vine, or some other type of vine.
Sentries will be relieved at "dawn, dusk, and so forth," the
document states, "but we must be careful that the route of
relief is not detected by hostile forces."
Sentries are required to mess alternately, and quietly.