[Lone Sentry: WWII Tactical and Technical Trends]
  [Lone Sentry: Photographs, Documents and Research on World War II]
Home Page | Site Map | What's New | Intel Articles by Subject

"Notes on Japanese Operations" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following notes on Japanese operations were originally published in Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 16, Jan. 14, 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 some instances the fighting in Guadalcanal has developed new tactical problems which the terrain and general climatic conditions have aggravated.

The following brief report presents some notes on Japanese tactics submitted by a U.S. observer recently returned from the South Pacific Theater. These notes represent the observer's own conception of the situation based on personal conversations and contacts established at different points. It should be remembered that the visits made at various points in this area were of only a few days' duration.

a. General Tactics

The Japanese attack in force was regularly preceded by a 10- to 14-day cycle of events. This cycle included the following activities:

(1) Continued landings from destroyers each night for a period of 7 to 10 days;

(2) Shelling of the position by cruisers and destroyers standing off shore about 4 miles (The same naval force that executes the landings proceeds by the position, shelling it from 1 to 2 hours. This is obviously possible only when the Japanese have local control of the sea.)

(3) Heavy bombing raids of 20 or more bombers, escorted by Zero fighters, generally between the hours of 1100 and 1400;

(4) Finally, combined shelling, bombing, and land attack by the Japanese forces, who by this time have organized all their forces ashore, completed their reconnaissance, and marched into position near the MLR.

Comment: In their movement toward the defensive position, the main Japanese force is preceded by a patrol of senior officers. These officers attempt to determine the weak spots in the position. If the patrol is killed or surrounded the main Japanese force continues on regardless, without apparent effort to complete their preliminary reconnaissance or make any deviation from their original plans. On numerous occasions, it was quite obvious that once the Japanese had committed themselves to a plan of attack, they would not alter the plan, regardless of the resistance encountered. In certain instances, attacking forces, after being halted by machine-gun fire, have withdrawn and reorganized a second and even a third time, until all have been killed.

b. Night Attack

At night the Japanese attempt to draw the Marine's fire by rattling sticks, etc. If the Marines open fire, the Japanese immediately fire in the direction of the flash. Marines cannot accurately return this fire, as the Japanese use flashless powder. At night, in close combat, the Japanese use hand grenades, identifying their target by the flash from the Marine's rifles.

Japanese troops have not surrendered under any condition. They have committed suicide or killed each other rather than surrender. When he indicated an intention to surrender, the Japanese did so only in order to gain the advantage to kill his enemy. The Marines caught on very soon to these treacherous tactics.


[Back] Back to Articles by Subject | Intel Bulletin by Issue | T&TT by Issue | Home Page

Web LoneSentry.com