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"Japanese Notes on Jungle Warfare" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following U.S. military intelligence report on Japanese tactics in jungle warfare was originally printed in Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 29, July 15, 1943.

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department publication Tactical and Technical Trends. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]


In planning their training for jungle warfare, the Japanese have been conscious of the great varieties of the jungle country of East Asia and the southwest Pacific area. The following points on jungle warfare taken from Japanese sources emphasize certain methods of jungle warfare apparently tested by Japanese experience.

*          *          *

a. The Advance

Leave some distance between the leading unit and the main body, and distribute liaison men between units; although it is best to relieve the unit each day, the officer commanding the leading unit should not be changed.

[Japanese Formation]

The above diagram reproduced from a Japanese diary had the caption, "Suggested Formation for a Company Advancing through Jungle."

It is essential for the leading unit to include in the regular reports to the commanding officer in the rear, the condition of the trail and the type of country.

As there are clearings in the jungle, the commanding officer must advance his units by bounds and rushes from one area to another. Camouflage of each man and each gun must be complete. When crossing a grassy plain, cover everything with grass. If enemy planes appear while you are in a clearing, lie still. Generally, riflemen must support the heavy weapons. The minimum is one rifle platoon for a machine-gun company and one for the battalion gun platoon.

When bivouacking in the jungle, cooking should be done in several places, well away from the bivouac area. All fires should be extinguished immediately after cooking. During the advance, communication will be by telephone and runner. Radio will not be used. The rate of advance will be regulated by that of the heavy weapons. The distance covered in a day will usually be between 3 to 5 miles.

b. The Attack

When selecting assembly areas for the attack, try to disperse units, and choose places which are naturally camouflaged. The concentration of the main force at the assembly point for the attack, must be made at night. If enemy artillery fire is encountered, it is important that this be neutralized before units take up their positions. Attacking units will move to the edge of the forest during darkness, crawling if necessary. On signal, they will rush the enemy positions. As it is best for each flank unit to make a rush at the same time, the time of the attack should be coordinated.


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