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"Japanese Explanation of S.W. Pacific Reverses" from Intelligence Bulletin

[Intelligence Bulletin Cover]   A short report on an intercepted Japanese broadcast where recent military reverses were explained, from the Intelligence Bulletin, April 1943.

[Editor's Note: The following article is wartime information on enemy tactics and equipment published for Allied soldiers. In most cases, more accurate data is available in postwar publications.]


According to the Japanese, they won a "strategic" victory in the lower Solomon Islands and in the Gona and Buna areas of New Guinea. The enemy's version of the fighting was given in a report made to the Japanese Diet (parliament) by Major General Sato, Army spokesman representing both the Army and Navy. The report was picked up by the Federal Communications Commission from a Japanese broadcast.

Explaining the Japanese strategy in the South Pacific, General Sato said that their "advance guards," on Guadalcanal and in New Guinea, held the American and Australian troops until the Japanese main forces could consolidate positions closer to their supply bases "for a concrete operation in the future."

". . . At the beginning of September," General Sato said, "We crossed the Stanley Mountain range and neared the vicinity of Port Moresby. However, owing to general circumstances, our unit withdrew to the vicinity of Buna, and began the task of diverting the enemy to this area."

General Sato claimed that the Japanese "withdrew" from Buna and Guadalcanal only after accomplishing their objectives—holding United Nations forces until the main Japanese forces were well established in the rear. "The withdrawal of our forces in both areas was carried out in an orderly manner and, moreover, in a calm manner, while always attacking the enemy and keeping him under control."

General Sato admitted that the Guadalcanal operation was "nerve-wracking" because the Japanese units "had to operate several thousand nautical miles away from the base line which connects Malaya and the Philippine Islands. Therefore, it was inevitable to have differences in effectiveness and speed of operations between our forces and the enemy forces . . . Because of this fact, it would have been ignoble strategy for our forces to have sought a decisive battle in a location strategically disadvantageous."

". . . Due to such harmonious unity between our Army and Navy," General Sato continued, "the most difficult strategy—a withdrawal under the very noses of the enemy—was done calmly and in an orderly manner, with almost no losses. This is something unprecedented in the world."

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