Notes on Japanese warfare, as revealed by their documents, are
given in this section. The documents have been edited and paraphrased
to eliminate repetition and unimportant parts. The reader must keep in mind
throughout that the information presented is from
enemy sources, and he must not confuse it with U.S. methods of warfare.
(1) Artillery.--Artillery support is essential for any successful
attack against the enemy [U.S. troops]. They react quickly to
our artillery fire; therefore, we should establish numerous
artillery positions (real and dummy). By fixing fake positions, using
smoke, and so forth, we confuse the opposing forces and
make them waste their shells.
...We [Japanese] have often received effective shelling in
front of the U.S. positions. And there have been instances where
this shelling disorganized our ranks and finally made it impossible
for use to charge.
(2) Fire Support.--In many cases our attacks on positions are
ineffective without organized fire support. Even a night attack
must have a thorough artillery preparation, and we should not
hesitate to use fire-power support forces. [These "fire-power
support forces" probably consist of battalion and regimental
guns, quick-firing guns, mortars, and machine guns—in other
words, the infantry heavy weapons. The Japanese have had a
tendency to neglect the proper use of these, and to depend mainly
on maneuver and "cold steel."]
(3) Antitank.--In regard to attacking tanks, you will jump on
the tank and throw a hand grenade inside, or stab the occupants
with your bayonet.
(1) Against Aircraft.--The direction from which U.S. planes
approach should be watched carefully, and no one should be
exposed to aerial view. If the troops carelessly bunch up, they
will be bombed and strafed at every opportunity.
In woods, take advantage of shadows while moving.
Your equipment should include camouflage nets and camouflage
matériel. The latter should be fastened to your uniform with
Opposing planes seek to locate our headquarters in order to
bomb and strafe it. Therefore, its concealment is very important.
Runners and orderlies must be careful lest their activities betray
the position of headquarters and cause strafing by planes. Headquarters
will detail an officer to direct and control all special
Shortly after our landing, fierce air attacks are expected...
The moment the attacks are over, you will construct slit
trenches big enough to accommodate about five men. Until these
are completed, remain under cover during daylight hours.
To afford protection against strafing as well as bombing, use
the slopes of high ground and dig lateral tunnels.
Since incendiary bombs probably will be dropped, military
supplies must be dispersed and important documents placed in
(2) Against U.S. Warships.--There will be practically no
friendly warships on the sea [in this area], and opposing ships
may appear in considerable force with scouting planes. Since
there is great danger of a naval bombardment, those units fronting
the ocean must dig strong entrenchments.
a. Procuring Information
Get information [on U.S. forces], by means of air reconnaissance, enemy
broadcasts, sentries with telescopes, prisoners of
war, reconnoitering of outpost lines, and so forth. Information
is needed on the following matters:
(1) Enemy strength and tactics;
(2) Location of main hostile positions, types of obstacles, and the strength of flank defenses;
(3) The terrain, especially the situation of Lunga river [Guadalcanal];
(4) Location of hostile hangars, fuel dumps, and communication centers.
However, procurement of information of the area in which the
division is disposed will be given the greatest consideration.
b. Security Measures
Each first-line unit, as well as the command posts of the
various commanders, will have its own secret name (code).
The disposition of our strength and the condition of our
supply will be kept secret from the enemy [U.S.]. Adequate
precautions must be taken regarding sketches of our troop
dispositions. The scattering of secret paper scraps will be
stopped, and papers used by soldiers, written orders, reports, and
messages will be reduced to the minimum.
4. CONDUCT OF SOLDIERS
That the discipline of Japanese soldiers in some New Guinea
areas was far from perfect is borne out by the following
extract from a Japanese pamphlet:
During these operations, many crimes which affect military
discipline have been committed. They are based on a slackness
of will power and a depression in spirit.
The crimes affecting military discipline are as follows:
Robbery and rape (most frequent); trespassing on another's premises (second
most frequent); disorderly conduct (generally while drunk); destruction
of military equipment; desertion; trespassing on places off
limits; leaving the sentry post without
permission; loss of secret military documents, especially
the code book.
b. Personal Sacrifices
Every noncom and every private will cooperate by sacrificing
his life for the Imperial Army.
Even though you are a patient, you should not hesitate to
advance. There are cases where patients exerted their utmost
energy at the time of withdrawal. Therefore, it should be
possible to exert your utmost energy at the time of advance.
Educate everyone so they would rather die on the battlefield
in glory than withdraw.
5. DAILY SCHEDULE
The Japanese used the following daily schedule during their
occupation of Tulagi Island in May, 1942:
|Morning worship begins||0415||Respectful reading|
|End of worship ||0440|| of Imperial Mandate.|
|Exercise ||0440|| |
|Breakfast ||0500 |
|Begin work ||0630 |
|Rest ||0730 |
|Resume previous tasks ||0745 |
|Rest ||0845 |
|Resume previous tasks ||0900 |
|Stop work ||1000||Sick call.|
|Begin daily care [of equipment]||1015 |
|End daily care [of equipment]||1100 |
|Special course begins||1430 |
|Special course ends||1530 |
|Begin work||1700 |
|End work||1745 |
|All hands get sleeping gear ready||1900 |
|Prepare for tour of inspection||1915 |
|Tour of inspection||1930 |
1. It is expected that laundry work will be done after lunch and in time
not allotted to tasks or lessons.
2. Special courses shall consist chiefly of sports designed to improve
standards [of health], and, at the same time, to aid the nourishment of
bright clear feelings.