[Lone Sentry]
  [Lone Sentry: Photographs, Documents and Research on World War II]
Home Page  |  Site Map  |  What's New  |  Search  |  Contact Us

"Ruses on Kwajalein" from Intelligence Bulletin, August 1944

[Intelligence Bulletin Cover]  
The following report on Japanese ruses during the Kwajalein Island fighting was originally published in the Intelligence Bulletin, Vol. II, No. 12, August 1944.

[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.]


U.S. infantry officers whose units took part in the successful invasion of Kwajalein Island noted that the Japanese employed a number of ruses during the battle. Inland of the beach defenses (described in Intelligence Bulletin, Vol. II, No. 9, pp. 1-2, and Vol. II, No. 11, pp. 49-51), the Japanese had prepared virtually no fortifications. Since the landing caught the enemy off balance, it progressed rapidly, and enemy resistance in the interior soon dwindled to little more than occasional sniping. However, it has been found that a Japanese soldier fighting alone is just as likely to employ ruses as when he is with his unit.

Three days after the first U.S. landings on Kwajalein, Japanese soldiers still were sniping from foxholes, which were covered with a natural camouflage of palm fronds to blend with the surrounding terrain. Other enemy soldiers lay prone, and in full view, among the bodies of Japanese dead. Whenever the opportunity presented itself, the hidden or camouflaged enemy soldiers would fire upon U.S. troops--usually when circumstances enabled the Japanese to fire on a number of men from the rear while maintaining good personal security.

On one occasion a U.S. junior officer was standing near the bodies of several Japanese, one of whom was very much alive and biding his time. (Later this soldier, too, was discovered and killed.) Although this enemy soldier had every opportunity to fire on the U.S. officer, he refrained from doing so, apparently preferring to wait until a time when he could kill not one man, but several.

Another sniper infiltrated behind U.S. lines during the night and hid himself very effectively in a rubbish heap. This man, too, allowed U.S. soldiers to go by and then fired on them from the rear. As a result, there were casualties, and a company advance was delayed. When the sniper was discovered, he did not give himself up until gasoline had been poured on the rubbish pile and set afire.

Japanese artillery attempted to place fire between the U.S. front lines and supporting artillery bursts to create the impression that U.S. troops were about to be fired on by their supporting artillery.

When U.S. forward units signaled to the rear with colored flares, the Japanese also fired flares of the same color, hoping to confuse the attackers. However, the Japanese were unaware of the exact meaning of the prearranged signals, and the ruse failed.

Since the invasion of Kwajalein was characterized by surprise and speed of execution, the Japanese did not have enough time to devise booby traps. Nevertheless, they succeeded in laying a number of antipersonnel mines. Inasmuch as some of these were laid near trees, it is reasonable to believe that the Japanese hoped to injure attackers seeking cover.


[Back] Back to Articles by Subject | Intel Bulletin by Issue | T&TT by Issue | Home Page

LONE SENTRY | Home Page | Site Map | What's New | Search | Contact Us