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"Japanese Tactics and the Employment of Parachute Troops" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following intelligence report from observers on Japanese parachute troops was originally published in Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 14, Dec. 17, 1942.

[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.]


The following report was obtained from observers who watched the Japanese employment and tactics of parachute troops during the occupation of Timor.

Twenty to twenty-five troop transports, approached supported by bombers and fighters. The bombers flew in flights of nine in V formation.

There was no wind, and the operation took place in bright sunshine at 0830.

The objective on each occasion was a position astride our line of communication. The area chosen was comparatively flat, and covered partly with high palm trees, in places 15 to 20 feet apart, and partly with thick underbrush. There was absolutely no air opposition, and the objectives chosen were about a mile and one-half from the nearest forward defended area, and about 5 miles from the fixed defenses.

Descents were made on 2 successive days; on each day approximately 350 parachutists were dropped, making a total of 700, which is believed to be a battalion. The jump was made from a height of 300 feet, while escorting planes bombed and machine-gunned the area. It is also reported that troops carried and fired Tommy guns during their descent.

It is estimated that each transport carried 15 to 24 parachutists, organized in groups of 6 to 8 men each.

There were apparently no containers either for arms or supplies. Men carried radio-telephone sets with batteries, and compasses were strapped to the wrist.

Emergency rations were carried in cellulose wrapping and consisted of rice and dried compressed fish.

Section commanders' parachutes were blue, and platoon commanders' red. Uniforms were green, buttoned to the neck, and rubber boots were worn.


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