The Intelligence Bulletin seeks to acquaint our junior
officers and enlisted men as far as possible with the
characteristics, training, and background of enemy troops. Such
information has been given in each of the four preceding
monthly issues of this publication. Particular
reference is made at this time to the following sections
which dealt with the Japanese: "Section I. GROUND FORCES," issue
No. 1; "Section I. CHARACTERISTICS OF
THE JAPANESE" and "Section II. GROUND FORCES" issue
No. 2; "Section II. THE SOLOMON ISLANDS CAMPAIGN" issue
No. 3; and "Section I. FIGHTING IN THE SOLOMON ISLANDS" issue
No. 4. Additional information about the Japanese follows:
2. REACTION IN BATTLE
The information in this paragraph comes from several
captured Japanese diaries. It shows that the Japanese
have a healthy fear of our weapons--particularly bombers--and
that their morale can be shaken. However, the quotations--below--should
not be interpreted as being counter to previous
information describing the tenacity, fanaticism, treachery, and
brutality of the Japs in battle. Apart from the morale aspect, these
extracts reveal that certain weaknesses existed in the Japanese
defenses at some points.
"Due to our antiaircraft guns being ineffective, the
enemy (U.S. planes) circles around and drops their bombs
on essential places. As we have only rifles, our only
alternative is to flee from that area. It doesn't seem
soldierly for us to flee as we watch the planes.
". . . I believe if friendly planes were here--even
the inferior seaplanes--the enemy would disappear. I often
think that antiaircraft guns and machine guns are not
"Several bombs were dropped. Even though there is little
damage, the bombing is very dreadful. It is a horrible thing
just to think of the restless souls of the human beings. The
workers seem to scatter like small spiders at the same time the
alarm sounds off. It is true that even the soldiers have in mind
to flee as they watch the enemy planes. The higher officers
would flee before anybody else.
"Even as an enemy, they deserve praise. It is very difficult
for their bombs to hit the target. However, we are in fear on
account of lack of armament.
"This time I think it is truly hopeless when I watch them over
our head. Our force is shooting more and more at the
enemy. However, not even one bullet seems to hit anything.
"Thus, in a battle the air assault is very fearful. No matter
what I do, I would rather be alive, and return to stay
near Shizuko (his wife)."
"Our combat planes cannot get close to the enemy
Flying Fortresses. It's very regrettable that the
only alternative is for us to flee from being killed."
"Last night I stood guard at the working place, but there was
no air raid. Even the motor sound of the automobiles would get
us all excited. We started to construct the air raid shelters at
0500 hours. However, it was behind schedule. There is not
even a single high official who can look into the future.
"An air assault occurred at 0930 hours, and every soldier fled. The
deck officer was very displeased and gave a lecture. 'It is soldierly
to die by a bullet.' Such boastful talk was made by
him. However, when it comes to actual bombardment, he would
disappear first, and the subordinates are very unpleasant about
". . . Many commanders like to take into battle with them as
many of their men as possible, but, in contrast to
this, I myself (a lieutenant) am inclined to leave behind
many of those who are not really fit (due to injuries and
sickness). Can it be that I am not sufficiently ruthless? It
is a matter regarding which some self-examination is
necessary. I am worried because I cannot unconcernedly
overlook another's troubles and the feeling grows
on me that as a commander I am lacking in sincerity. I feel that
I am becoming detached from my comrades through insufficient
"Diligent people talk of their hopes.
"Lazy people bemoan their misfortunes.
"I will rectify my lack of mental discipline by diligence and industry."
"I (a lieutenant) don't know whether it is because the No. 1 Battalion
has had so many casualties, but all ranks of commanders
seem to have lost some of their offensive spirit . . .
"I feel strongly that if the enemy adopts guerrilla tactics, we will
have no alternative but to adopt similar tactics. I have told
Captain Horita that we must make a desperate attack at the
enemy supply lines and billets, but he won't listen to me.
"The regimental headquarters has decided to move forward as
the enemy in front has been repulsed by our 1st Battalion. I recommend
that since none of our troops could be observed along
the road, it was too early to move forward but the
recommendation was rejected. Unwillingly we pushed
forward, with the 3d platoon at the head. As expected, when
we reached the ravine Corporal Komatsu and 5 men were
killed, and Corporal Yamamoto and 2 men wounded . . ."
"June 17.--. . . (en route to Southwest Pacific island) Although
I am not to think about such things until this military objective
is ours, as I was gazing at the stars I felt as though I
saw Yuriko's face (his girl friend)."
"July 3.--Going south. Wind came up in the afternoon and
the boat rocked violently because of the high waves. During
the night, while watching the waves, we began thinking about
home and various other things and we became
very depressed . . ."
3. EARLY TRAINING
Physical training and conditioning play an equally
important part in the development of the Japanese soldier. The
Japanese have been quick to realize the advantages
of mechanization and motorization, but they fully realize
that in many of the areas in which their troops must
operate, such equipment can be used only to a limited
extent. Furthermore, they feel very strongly that in
warfare the machine can never take the place of man. All
their training is based on the theory that troops must
be prepared to operate under any conditions without the
advantages of motor- or even horse-drawn transport.
The process of conditioning and hardening the soldier
begins with his earliest recruit training. Physical drill,
wall-scaling, road marches (a good part of which is done
at double time up hill as well as on the level), fencing,
bayonet training, ju-jitsu (called "judo" by the Japanese),
and swimming occupy much of the soldier's time. The
strictly military training is frequently carried out under
adverse weather conditions, and, even in the earliest stages,
is made to simulate battle conditions as realistically as
circumstances will permit.
Because training in schools and universities does much
to furnish the army with recruits who are already partially
conditioned and toughened, the Japanese soldier is brought
to a state of physical fitness very soon after his induction
into the service. He needs this early conditioning because
his training during the rest of his service will include long
marches and maneuvers with full pack and equipment
under a hot summer sun in Formosa or other tropical
areas, or long periods of tactical exercises in the cold
winters of Hokkaido and "Manchoukuo," frequently followed
by a night in open bivouac in the snow without fires
or lights of any kind. Men who have experienced these
hardships find, under the stress of battle, that they have
become accustomed to physical strains and are freer to
concentrate on overcoming the other difficulties which
might confuse them in action.
Japanese training doctrine calls for special emphasis on
field exercises, and insists on a maximum degree of realism
in their execution. Whenever possible the enemy is
represented by troops, not by flags or dummies; and
trenches, barbed wire, and other obstacles are actually
constructed in the area over which the troops are to operate.
Every effort is made to simulate the noise, confusion,
and befuddled vision which so frequently exist in actual
battle, in order to accustom officers and men to that
peculiar state known as the "fog of war." Artillery and
machine-gun barrages are fired over the heads of friendly
troops, and live grenades and mortars are used, although
with reduced charges. So realistic was the training of the
divisions which were rehearsing in the hills near Canton
for the attack on Hong Kong that the troops suffered "a
number of casualties." No considerations, either political
or humane, are ever allowed to interfere with what the
high command believe to be the one and only purpose of the
training program--the production of fighting men.
All soldiers in the Japanese Army receive basic infantry
training during their recruit period and take frequent
refresher courses throughout their term of service. The
training is progressive and thorough. Instruction proceeds
systematically from the School of the Soldier to
exercises involving large units and combined arms. In
addition to this purely peace-time training, many officers
and men were rotated through the ranks of active divisions
on the China front before joining units destined to
take part in the major campaigns of the present war. Service
in China was considered a very important part of
the training program, and every effort was made to give
this experience to the largest possible number of men. The
Japanese have made conscientious use of the facilities
afforded for small-unit training in the comparatively quiet
areas of China and for higher unit and combined staff
work in the more active sectors.
In all field exercises, the Japanese soldier is required to
make full use of the terrain for cover and concealment.
He is taught to improvise simple camouflage by using
grass, twigs, branches of trees, and even by plastering
himself with mud. Each combat soldier is provided with
an individual camouflage net which he uses when on
scouting or sniping duty. All men in the infantry and
engineers are trained in the duties of scouts or snipers
and much time is devoted to instruction in infiltration
methods. Normally, in combat, only selected men are
used for this type of work, but all those units fighting in
jungle areas have been greatly benefited by the fact that
all officers and men have had some experience in maintaining
themselves, and in operating for days at a time,
individually or in small groups, behind the enemy's lines.
Night operations play an important part in the training
of Japanese troops of all arms. An effort is made to get
every combat soldier out once a week on some sort of
night problem with special emphasis being laid on individual,
squad, and platoon exercises. More than half of
the six weeks of intensive training engaged in by the
troops designated for the attack on Hong Kong was
devoted to night operations. Their efforts were well
repaid, for the key point in the British defense line on the
Kowloon peninsula was captured after some two hours
of fighting when a Japanese infantry battalion and a few
engineers launched a well-timed and perfectly coordinated
night attack against the position and caught the
defenders completely by surprise.
Recent manuals bearing on various aspects of the
training of officers stress the necessity of developing
initiative in all grades, and the danger of adhering too
rigidly to previously formulated plans when the situation
demands a change in the course of action. That the
Army has taken this to heart and can apply it in even the
most complicated form of engagement was demonstrated
at Kota Bharu (East coast of Malaya) where the repulse
of the Japanese landings in the north and central sectors
of the beach necessitated a change of plans in the midst
of the engagement, involving the movement of men,
barges, and even ships to the southern flank. This
difficult maneuver was carried out in the face of the
enemy, after the troops had suffered considerable losses,
and during the hours of darkness. The Malayan campaign
contains numerous other examples of rapid changes
in tactics by troops whose first attempts to advance had
been blocked by determined enemy resistance. Japanese
troops are still taught to move forward regardless of losses
when no other method presents itself, but officers are
trained to seek out the soft spots in an enemy line and to
make their plans flexible enough to take advantage of
any change in the situation which may occur.
Mass singing is used extensively. The Japanese say
that martial marching songs heighten morale and that
the beat of the music aids the rhythm of breathing,
thereby easing fatigue. This feature has obviously been
borrowed from the Germans, whose army has for many
years recognized the value of mass singing.
4. COUNSEL ON FIELD SERVICE
The information in this paragraph was taken from a Japanese
manual called "Battlefield Discipline" (Senjin Kunren).
a. A moment's negligence may result in an unexpected catastrophe. Be
constantly on your guard. Do not despise your enemy or the
natives. Do not be negligent after a small success. Know
that carelessness brings disaster.
b. Sentry duty is important. Upon the sentry rests the safety
of an army; he also represents the discipline of an army. Those
on sentry duty must devote their person to their tasks, which must
be sternly carried out. Accord the sentry high respect.
c. Ideological warfare is an important phase in modern conflict. Destroy
propaganda and falsehoods of the enemy by your unshakable
faith in the cause for which your Empire stands, and
endeavor to spread Kodo (literally, the "Imperial Way").
d. Rumors arise from a lack of confidence. Do not be misled; do
not be agitated by them. Firmly believe in the strength of
the Imperial Army and deeply trust your superiors.
e. Control your anger and suppress your grudges. The
ancients said, "Consider anger your enemy." A moment's violence
often leaves cause for a long regret.
f. There is nothing more to be regretted than to fall a victim
to disease on the field. Be particularly mindful of your health
so that you may not be unable to serve because of excesses.
g. Take to heart this saying of an ancient warrior: "My
sword is my soul; my horse is my fortune." Always take good
care of your arms and supplies, and give humane attention to
animals on the field.
h. Be honest always; consider exaggerations and lies as dishonorable.
Extreme caution should be exercised in identifying the
Japanese soldier by means of clothing and personal
effects. Japanese troops in recent campaigns often
have exhibited a complete lack of uniformity in dress.
In the majority of cases reported in Malaya, Japanese
noncoms and privates wore uniforms of a cloth similar
to our khaki drill. Officers wore slightly darker or greener
khaki. The badge of rank usually was worn on the
collar. A soft fatigue cap was worn underneath the steel
helmet, which is much deeper than our old type and
which is also distinguishable by a five-pointed star in
the front center. In Burma, the Japanese were sometimes
found wearing Chinese hats (peaked with a round
crown). Footwear consisted of black or brown boots
or tabi (canvas shoes, with heavy rubber soles, in which
the big toe is separated from the remainder of the foot), with
puttees up to the knee.
However, there were several deviations from the above
standard attire, arising from pure necessity or from
deliberate attempts at disguise.
Some of the prisoners were wearing pajamas and
even Chinese civilian dress. Captured Japanese equipment
often included a soft straw hat, shorts, sweat
shirts, and canvas shoes, which prisoners explained as
part of their evening change in tropical weather. Instances
have been reported by our troops of Japanese
soldiers wearing captured British gas capes, Indian
uniforms, and Malayan clothes. Such variations in dress
have been observed principally on the front-line troops, who
are fond of discarding their own cheap apparel for
British clothing, both to disguise their identity and to
satisfy their instinct for loot.
From the foregoing, it will be understood that the
uniform is not always a foolproof means of identifying
a Japanese soldier. In addition, it is advisable to study
his facial and physical characteristics, especially so as to
be able to distinguish him from our ally, the Chinese. (See
Section I, Characteristics of the Japanese, Intelligence
Bulletin No. 2.)