The information in this section has been paraphrased from translations of a variety of unrelated
Japanese documents. These have been edited to eliminate repetition and passages of doubtful
value. The reader must keep in mind throughout this section that the information comes from
enemy sources, and that it must not be confused with U.S. methods of warfare.
2. THE DOCUMENTS
a. General Comments
This is war, and casualties are unavoidable. Our soldiers must not let themselves be stunned
into a passive state of mind by the sight of casualties; each man must resolutely continue
with his appointed duty.
During the course of battle, no commander will retreat except upon orders of a higher
command. No unit will take action on its own initiative. No commander will oppose the
plans of his superior, or lower the morale of his unit. Casualties result from misunderstanding
one's mission, or failure to give proper orders. Further casualties result because lower
commanders often lack self-confidence, or desire notoriety. [Editor's note: According to
some earlier notes on Japanese training, considerable emphasis was placed on the initiative
and daring of small-unit leaders. Perhaps some of the latter have overstressed the point.]
If the enemy situation is completely unknown, we will not make a frontal assault.
Hand-to-hand combat during daylight hours is not advisable. It is not profitable to be
foolhardy, because modern war involves tremendous fire power, with automatic guns.
Items which you [Japanese] will note while reconnoitering in the jungle include the following:
(1) The size of the jungle and the nature of the foliage around its edges;
(2) The nature of the terrain covering (density of plant growth, types and sizes of trees, and
the condition of fallen trees);
(3) The nature of defiladed positions and the degree of defilade;
(4) The nature and condition of the terrain as a whole, including streams, marshes, cliffs, and
other ground obstacles;
(5) The deviations on the compass, if any, and the accuracy of available maps or other
(6) The communication installations, if any; the condition of any inhabited areas; and any
problems in connection with water supply;
(7) The degree of infestation by mosquitoes, flies, and other harmful or nuisance insects;
(8) Whether or not the area is occupied by enemy [United Nations] security detachments, positions,
or defense installations; and
(9) Suitable routes for the advance of all columns.
During the advance, in jungle areas, make a complete reconnaissance of the enemy
situation. In addition to sending out patrols, each unit will select competent
personnel (those with excellent eyesight, such as fishermen and the natives of
Ponape Island) for close-range reconnaissance.
In the jungle, the individual soldier on reconnaissance should constantly be on the
alert for the slightest movement or sound. He should advance only a short distance
at a time, making use of the terrain and foliage and crouching as much as
possible. When resuming reconnaissance after resting, he should go forward and
retreat a number of times. If an individual enemy is discovered, creep up and
shoot him. Take particular care to guard your rear.
In the case of a small detachment patrolling in thick jungle, one man must go forward
with his rifle ready to protect the others. It is also necessary to keep a sharp watch
to the rear.
c. Advancing in Jungle
Platoons advancing in the jungle will move by squads, or deploy in two lines, or they will
move in a diamond formation led by the leading squad. If hostile forces are known to be far
away, there are many occasions when the platoon can move in column formation.
If hostile forces are encountered, concentrate maximum fire power on them, and maintain
the advance as they retreat.
The interval between squads depends upon the density of the jungle and the nature of the terrain.
In case of a company advancing through the jungle, one platoon will form the front line, or
the platoons will advance in waves. Covering fire will be provided. The direction of
advance will be indicated by the leading platoons.
In approaching hostile forces, provide adequate covering fire. When closing with the
enemy, it is necessary to lay down intense fire from light machine guns, rifles, and
grenades. If this fire is relaxed, not only in the advance held up but the entire
tactical situation is jeopardized.
The above precautions are necessary to stamp out the "guerrilla" activities of the hostile forces.
d. Assault Tactics
Consider the following possibilities in connection with launching assaults:
(1) Attract the attention of hostile forces from the front by the use of smoke, by
firing, or by shouting; then assault from another direction.
(2) Wait until darkness to assault, particularly if nightfall is only 20 to 30 minutes off.
(3) Make use of rain or fog, and assault when the enemy is off guard.
(4) Assault when the enemy's attention is diverted by our bombing operations.
(5) Assault suddenly over terrain which the enemy believes to be impassable, such as
cliffs, rivers, streams, steep inclines, and jungles.
During assaults, be especially careful not to group together at vital points, such as
hilltops, villages, and bridges. These are excellent targets for hostile machine
guns, artillery, and bombing.
Hostile forces during withdrawals always attempt to destroy installations, such as
bridges, power plants, airfields, manufacturing plants, and communication facilities. Prevent
this destruction by advancing at an unexpectedly fast pace. It is of vital
importance to hurry the opposition during a withdrawal.
Where there are no bridges across nonfordable streams, swim across them. Your clothing
and equipment will dry quickly.
Watch out for booby traps while capturing hostile establishments. First, cut electric wires
to prevent explosions. Arrange for engineers to remove explosives.
f. Antitank Tactics
Some antitank weapons and methods of using them are as follows:
(1) Magnetic mines.—Attach them to the steel plating of the engine section, or
to the turret above the driver's seat, because the armor is relatively thin at those places.
(2) Molotov cocktail.—Throw these at the engine section, in the rear of the
tank, to set the motor afire.
(3) Explosive with handle.1—Insert the explosive on top of
the ground tread, so that the tread will carry the explosive to the front
sprocket. Camouflage yourself thoroughly, and then crouch low as you move quickly to
insert the explosive and make your getaway.
Favorable opportunities for attacking tanks at close range include the following:
(1) When a tank slows down in climbing a slope or passing over obstacles;
(2) When a tank is separated from other tanks, or from infantry;
(3) When a tank is passing through covered terrain; and
(4) At dawn, at dusk, and at night.
g. Antiaircraft Tactics
As soon as the pilot of a hostile plane sees the flash of the first antiaircraft round, he
changes his course. Therefore we should limit each gun to four rounds in the first salvo.
Against fighter planes making diving attacks from several directions, it is effective to
fire two types of time-fuze shells with a 1-second difference in the delay element (or
more, depending on the situation).
In case a combination of hostile fighters and bombers attack us, we should fire on the
fighter planes when they come close. This is particularly important where a
bomber [bombers?] is used as a decoy while fighters attack from other directions.
h. Night Combat
The hostile forces have a large number of heavy and light machine guns and automatic
rifles. Therefore, a careless assault, even at night, will result in great losses. Each
front-line unit will deploy into the most advantageous formation and take every
advantage of terrain and cover before assaulting. (For further information, refer to
paragraphs 210 and 217 of the [Japanese] Infantry Training Manual.)
Because of the lack of systematic support, our firing power usually fails to achieve
much success [in the Southwest Pacific]. In night attacks, prepare for simultaneous
firing, even if attacks are not directed at the same objective. Reserve units should
be used without hesitation.
i. Precautions with Ammunition
Every effort should be made to keep ammunition dry and cool—not over 90° F. Extreme
care is required particularly for shrapnel shells, time and percussion fuzes, and so
forth, which contain non-smokeless powder. Valuable opportunities have sometimes
been lost because hand grenades failed to explode on account of dampness.
Observe the following points in the handling and use of ammunition:
(1) Keep it from receiving the direct rays of the sun.
(2) Stack it so air can circulate, throughout.
(3) Do not place ammunition directly on the ground. First put down wooden rests, so that air
can circulate under the ammunition and protect it from the heat of the ground.
(4) Keep ammunition-loaded vehicles in the shade as much as possible. Improvise awnings
made of tree branches to cover the load while in transit.
(5) Stack in the shade or under awnings the supply of ammunition at gun positions.
(6) Be sure there is space for air to circulate on the top and sides of ammunition dumps
which are covered by sheets for protection against rain.
Ammunition for all guns will be protected against moisture by pasting a paper in the
percussion cap (they may be fired without removing the paper).
Separate the smoke bombs filled with yellow phosphorus from the rest of the ammunition, and
stack them in a cool place, out of the sun.
If air should come in contact with the yellow phosphorus, it will produce an offensive
smell or a white smoke. The shell will explode unless proper steps are taken. Without
delay the shell should be immersed in warm water or smothered with sand.
Signaling shells and special shells will explode spontaneously under high temperature, so
keep them cool and clean and separated from other ammunition. (This information applies
to the "10th-year model" grenade signal flare.)
In supplying ammunition, make no mistakes as to the fuzes for the different types of bombs
and shells. Observe the marks on the fuze boxes or on the fuzes, so you will not confuse
the type classifications, such as "Field Cannon," "Howitzer," and so forth. Where the
outward appearance of shell cases is identical, or where different types of shells are
similar, pay particular attention to the distinguishing markings on the ammunition
boxes and the cases so that you will not confuse the types of fuzes for cannon.
When transporting shells, the fuze should be removed from the complete shell, except
under the following circumstances:
(1) When a unit transports ammunition loaded in the regulation manner, in the specified boxes and
(2) When a special type shell loaded with yellow phosphorus is fitted with a fuze and
made completely air-tight;
(3) Where shells were fitted with fuzes when they were manufactured, or were fitted with a
base fuze; and under such other circumstances as may be determined from time to time.
j. 6.5-mm Ball Ammunition
We [Japanese] have two types of 6.5-mm ball ammunition, the standard charge and the
reduced charge. The standard charge weighs 2.15 grains and the reduced charge 2 grains. As
a means of distinguishing between the two types, the mark (G) is stamped on the
lower left-hand corner of the top of the box in which the reduced-charge ammunition is packed.
The suitability of these types of ammunition for the various types of 6.5-mm weapons is
indicated by the following table:
|Type of gun
when there is
k. Use of Captured Supplies
When the battle does not progress favorably and supply becomes very difficult, assault
and capture enemy supply depots at all costs.
Since the enemy usually burns the supplies he cannot carry during withdrawals, each
unit will act quickly to prevent this destruction so we may use the supplies.
l. Treatment of Prisoners (Singapore)
The handling and direction of prisoners of war at work must be still more strict. Subordinates
must be trained to bear down and make the prisoners work hard. We have seen subordinates
acting toward prisoners as if the latter were on an equal footing with themselves. These
men do not know themselves.
Subordinates must have sufficient self-respect to place themselves on a higher level, and
use prisoners as if they were Canton [China] coolies. In giving orders, use
bugles, whistles, or Japanese words of command, and make the prisoners move fast. Those
who lag will be dealt with rigorously, with measures to make them behave exactly
as the Japanese Army wishes.
1 This weapon is believed to be an ordinary stick with an explosive
charge (probably TNT) attached to one end.