One day, during a lull in operations, a group of Japanese
officers made a critical analysis of their own tactics against
Allied troops in a New Guinea sector. As a result of the
meeting, they reestablished for their unit certain principles of
offensive tactics typical of Japanese military doctrine.
In discussing the conduct of an attack, the officers agreed
that a general study of the battle area terrain should be made
on a sand table in preparation for the attack. They noted that,
in the past, there had been difficulty in carrying out an operation
according to plan, simply because there had not been an
adequate study of the routes to be taken.
These officers advocated the use of a flank attack when the
situation permitted. "Certain victory," they said, "can be
expected by destroying important [Allied] points by a Special
Attacking Unit, thereby breaking the Allied chain of command."
They concluded that, once this had been done, they could take
advantage of the situation and penetrate the Allied flank.
They recommended thorough reconnaissance, prior to launching
an attack, of the position their troops would occupy. This,
they said, should be particularly true if a night attack in
undulating terrain or in a dense, hilly forest were contemplated.
Also the company commander personally was to dispatch his
men to their proper attack positions.
The use of a previously organized squad in advance of the
attack force was advocated. Greater success can be achieved,
they said, by using infiltration and surprise attacks, and by
forming small parties of men to carry explosives and hand
grenades with which to detonate U.S. antitank mines.
Japanese troops, the officers agreed, should commence attacking
if strong hostile fire is met. The position should be penetrated
by firing rifles and light machine guns from the hip.
Grenades should be used by the riflemen, and the Allied
communication network should be cut simultaneously with the firing
of the first round of the attack.
Throughout the discussion the Japanese officers seemed to
favor the flanking movement as the most decisive maneuver in
battle. "The results of envelopment are positive," they said.
"At night successful envelopment can be achieved when a portion
of the strength advances to the rear of the flank. This has
a great effect on morale; therefore it is advisable for even small
groups to maintain tactically advantageous positions."