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"Jungle Warfare" from Intelligence Bulletin, November 1942

[Intelligence Bulletin Cover]  
The following sections of a captured Japanese manual were originally published in the Intelligence Bulletin, November 1942.

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department Intelligence Bulletin publication. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]



In the first phases of the present war, the Japanese were highly successful in jungle fighting. A captured Japanese manual reveals the instructions given to Japanese troops prior to these attacks; some of the important passages are translated below.


a. Object

The main object is to crush the British and Chinese forces, especially the latter. A failure to achieve these ends may likely have a serious effect on the Great East Asia War.

Before a general engagement takes place, an effort must be made to destroy the British and Chinese in their respective areas. Held frontally, the main enemy forces are to be cut off and destroyed by a big encircling movement.

Friendliness of the inhabitants, absence of roads, and the difficult nature of the country outside the areas chosen for encirclement are an advantage for us.

b. Plans (concealment)

Carefully chosen troops are to be used for infiltration and encirclement before the main general encircling offensive starts.

To avoid enemy air or ground observation, they should choose terrain where there is natural concealment and also utilize periods of darkness. When the enemy is met, he should be denied information of our plans, encircled, and attacked immediately.

c. Mobility

It is essential that encircling units have extreme mobility. They must be capable of overcoming all difficulties and reach their objectives at a given time. If necessary, all local means of transport must be used. Transport should be arranged in advance so that the troops can be moved at short notice. When these troops are moving to an objective they should keep contact with troops in the rear. (Editor's note: This was not done in many cases.)

The enemy usually constructs strong points on roads but neglects his flanks.

British and Indian troops do not destroy roads, so a motorized thrust is of value. Even the Chinese do not destroy roads properly in Burma because the local inhabitants--whose help is needed--are hostile to them.

Encircling troops must consolidate the positions they occupy--strong points and antitank obstacles are to be built.

In mopping up, every encircled enemy is to be killed.

Complete cooperation must exist for all units, both in the air and on the ground.

Encirclement may extend several hundred kilometers (1 kilometer equals about 5/8 mile) so close cooperation with air is necessary in mopping up. Prearranged signals should always be given to the planes.

d. Administrative

Waiting for supplies from the rear impairs mobility; therefore troops must be prepared to live off the country, and guard and conserve their ammunition.

e. Local Inhabitants

The attitude of the local inhabitants affects the outcome of the campaign; therefore always be nice to them. Respect and protect all Burmese temples so that the monks may be of assistance.


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