During the course of fighting in the South Pacific, the
Japanese have developed what they call raiding-demolition
detachments for the purpose of destroying
United Nations artillery and mortars. The
organization, equipment, weapons, and tactics used by these
detachments are described in a Japanese treatise which
is quoted below. The introduction to the treatise explains
that the methods of destroying hostile artillery
and mortars vary according to the situation at a given
time. However, this "guide" deals with "the accomplishment
of the mission in a short time by a raiding detachment."
2. THE TREATISE
The organization and strength of the raiding-demolition detachment
depends on the number of guns to be destroyed and
whether we [Japanese] attack with surprise or by storm. However, we
usually attack with surprise and suddenness. The
detachment generally consists of a demolition section, a
reinforcement [reserve] section, and a covering section, in addition
to the commander.
When the raid is against a hostile battery of four guns, the
basic strength will be as follows:
(1) Demolition section—15 men, in 5 groups of 3 men each;
1 group is assigned to each gun, and 1 is held in reserve;
(2) Reinforcement section—one section of riflemen, who act
as reserve for the demolition section; and
(3) Covering section—one section of riflemen who protect the flanks.
However, if an insufficient number of personnel are available
at a certain time, it may be necessary for one section of riflemen
to execute all three tasks—demolition, reinforcement, and
cover. Only a demolition section was used during the early part
of the Buna battle, and it gained success by surprise
attacks. Later, when the hostile forces guarded their guns more
closely, we used all three sections.
Personnel of the raiding-demolition detachment must be especially
calm and fearless. Each man must be quick-witted and
always ready to take advantage of opportunities. Therefore it
is not necessary that the leader be an officer. A noncom, or
even a private, may be preferable. (During the Buna battle
most of the raiding personnel were volunteers. Some of them
were so earnest about their work that, after accomplishing their
set mission, they searched out other guns and destroyed them
with left-over explosives.)
It is necessary that each man of the detachment carry three or more hand grenades.
Members of the reinforcing and covering sections carry rifles.
The demolition section carries 12 hand grenades (preferably
tied together in groups of 3); 8 armor-rupturing mines; 8 to 10
explosives (igniters and slow-burning fuzes included); about
12 matches, or cigarette lighters (these must be moisture-proof); 4 picks; and
smoke candles, if available.
d. Supplies and Equipment
Although the amount of rations depends upon the distance
to the objective, normally it is necessary to carry a week's
Preferably, the regular type of ammunition is carried.
All men are equipped as lightly as possible.
The detachment must learn as many pertinent details as possible
about its mission by studying intelligence reports and maps,
and, if possible, by first-hand observation.
The commander selects an assistant, and then rehearses the
plan of attack with the detachment. This includes the route
and disposition of the men during the approach, their disposition
during the attack, and the training in demolition methods to
be used. Each man must thoroughly understand his duty and
its application to the objective as a whole.
The essential point in approaching the objective is
secrecy. Therefore, the men must be prepared to take a roundabout way
and cross difficult terrain without complaint.
It is necessary to refer to tall trees and other prominent landmarks
en route in order to facilitate movement to and from the
objective. All movements must be made with good judgment, and
with the proper security measures in force.
Should the detachment be discovered by hostile forces, it
would be advisable to withdraw at once and change the route
of advance to another direction. Discovery by opposing forces
usually will cause a delay in reaching the objective.
One raiding-demolition detachment, dispatched to a distant
objective, made a detour and moved through a jungle area with
the aid of a compass. The detachment usually concealed itself
by day and collected information. Then, after searching and
marking the next line of advance, it approached the objective
g. Main Points in the Attack
When the objective has been approached, it is necessary to ascertain
conditions and wait persistently for the opportunity to
attack with surprise. Just before attacking, it is advisable to
destroy the communication net in the vicinity of the line of
guns. Unless circumstances make it necessary, do not attack while the
guns are in operation, because practically all defending personnel
will be available at that time.
When it is necessary to attack by assault, the reinforcement section
should fire and subjugate the gun crews. Each of the three-man
groups of the demolition section except the one in reserve
will approach a gun and destroy it. At this time the covering
section will protect the flanks. If possible, it is advisable to activate
smoke candles to cover the demolition section while the guns
are being destroyed.
When the attack is made at night, it is advisable to throw hand
grenades at the main groups of hostile forces in an effort to cause
Under certain circumstances, it is best to attack and annihilate
the hostile gun crews before destroying the guns. Remember
that artillery is weak in close combat.
The following information concerns the destruction of enemy
[United Nations] guns and mortars:
(1) To destroy a trench mortar, drop one ignition hand grenade
into the barrel.
(2) To destroy a cannon [any artillery piece], throw a Kessoku [presumably
several hand grenades tied together] into the bore
of the gun. To make the destruction absolutely sure, it is advisable
to demolish the gun barrel (in the vicinity of the muzzle)
with explosives or armor-rupturing mines. If possible, it is also
advisable to destroy the gun cradle. The tangent sight and other
laying apparatus should be crushed with picks.
(3) If time is available, it is advisable to drop the entire gun
into the sea or a river, or bury it in the ground. The same holds
true for the ammunition for the gun.
(4) The lenses of the panoramic sights should be brought back
as proof of successful destruction.
(5) When attacking a hostile artillery observation post, capture
and bring back as much observation equipment as possible.