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"How the Japanese Mark Trails for Night Use" from Intelligence Bulletin, May 1944

[Intelligence Bulletin Cover]  
The following report on Japanese methods for marking jungle trails was originally published in the Intelligence Bulletin, Vol. II, No. 9, May 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.]



To facilitate night movements in the jungle, the Japanese have made frequent use of phosphorescent wood, vines, and ropes. The phosphorescent wood and vines are plentiful in the jungles, while' individual enemy soldiers usually carry a length of rope for a variety of purposes. How the Japanese use such material to aid their movements at night is explained in the enemy instructions given below.


a. Materials for marking should be prepared during the daytime; however, luminous wooden markers will be prepared the night before.

b. The various types of route-marking materials are luminous wooden markers, vines, and ropes.

c. If luminous wooden markers are used, they should be placed higher than a man's head; if vines and ropes are used, they should be placed hip high.

d. Steep cliffs, holes, and other places of danger should be blocked off with vines and ropes, and also marked by luminous wooden markers.

e. Luminous wooden markers should always be tied to a tree. However, instead of being tied to a large tree, they can be inserted between the thick vines, and so forth that surround the tree.

f. When the luminous wooden marker dries on account of the sun, the degree of illumination will decrease; therefore, it is necessary either to place it on moist ground during the daytime or dip it in water in the evening.


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