[Lone Sentry: Japanese Officers Hold a Critique] [Lone Sentry: Photos, Articles, and Research on the European Theater in World War II]
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"Japanese Officers Hold a Critique" from Intelligence Bulletin, Dec. 1944

[Intelligence Bulletin Cover]   A U.S. intelligence report on Japanese analysis of their tactics against Allied troops in New Guinea, from the Intelligence Bulletin, December 1944.

[Editor's Note: The following article is wartime information on enemy weapons and tactics published for Allied soldiers. More accurate data on Japanese weapons and tactics is available in postwar publications.]


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."

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