Observations of Guadalcanal

Nov. 4, 1942: Two alert U.S. Marines stand beside their small tank on Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands during World War II. The military tank was used against the Japanese in the battle of the Tenaru River during the early stages of fighting. (AP Photo)

Nov. 4, 1942: Two alert U.S. Marines stand beside their small tank on Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands during World War II. The military tank was used against the Japanese in the battle of the Tenaru River during the early stages of fighting. (AP Photo)

 

Captain J.L. Zimmerman, USMC, a staff officer interviewed by an Army Intelligence officer shortly after the height of fighting ___

He ( the Japanese soldier) fought as an individual, as well and as bravely as any warrior the world has ever see; he bore privation and hardship that would have put out of action most of the troops of the Allied forces, and in spite of those hardships and privation, he attacked with determined ferocity whenever he came in contact with the American troops.  In attack, he was single minded and reckless of his life; in defense he was bitterly tenacious.

This was first published in Historical Division, USMC

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#rd Defense Batt. fire a 90mm antiaircraft gun, Guadalcanal

3rd Defense Batt. fire a 90mm antiaircraft gun, Guadalcanal

Major Frank Hough, USMC

The Japanese High Command was full of surprises and paradoxes.  The officer class was thoroughly professional and had been for generations, yet they proved grossly negligent or ignorant in several matters which the armies of other nations considered military fundamentals.

One – combat intelligence.  Although the prewar espionage system was a model of far-reaching thoroughness, their officers in the field were nearly always without accurate knowledge and seemed incapable of gaining such knowledge.

Security, both internal and external… Troops went into combat carrying diaries, maps of their destinations and even orders outlining in detail the action.  Prisoners of war talked freely… They had never been taught differently; their officers having ordered them to die rather than be captured.

Japanese soldier throws a type 91 grenade, Guad.

Japanese soldier throws a type 91 grenade, Guad.

Troop security… Columns marched through unknown country shouting and jabbering at the top of their lungs… Operations were either impromptu affairs without adequate preparation or planned in such elaborate detail as to be unworkable under combat conditions.  Their only tactical innovation was the development of infiltration.

Their idea of winning battles was to achieve surprise or overwhelm by numbers… These means failing, they abandoned tactics for trickery. ie. feign surrender to get close enough to blow their captors…booby trapped our dead as well as their own…English speaking Japanese tapped field lines in order to issue false orders…snipers yelling “Corpsman!” in order to lure men to their death.

Officers and men alike were essentially attack-minded.  Despite its general nature, the Guadalcanal campaign, save for its opening and closing phases, had been basically a Japanese offensive… It might be said that Japan’s greatest military achievement of the war was the conversion of a fighting force imbued for generations with the philosophy of attack into what were quite likely the most stubborn defensive fighters in military history…unfortunately for us, is exactly what the Japanese became as the war moved westward.

by: Capt. Donald Dickson - how he saw the Marines as they left Guadalcanal

by: Capt. Donald Dickson – how he saw the Marines as they left Guadalcanal

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http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/12/30/missing-wwii-fliers-remains-return-from-guadalcanal/21075985/

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Today is the anniversary of the start of the Korean War – TO ALL THE VETERANS – Your countries salute you!!

My post for the start of the war – CLICK HERE!

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Military Humor – ala Sad Sack

SadSack33

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Farewell Salutes – 

Samuel Brass – Kennebunk, ME; US Navy, WWII, Korea, Cuba, Commander

Vincent Crocker – Rutland, VT; US Army, WWII, ETO, 265 Combat Engineersrose-flag

Amund “Frank” Fulmer – Overgaad, AZ; US Navy, WWII, PTO

Martin Herman – IA; US Army Air Corps, WWII, PTO, 188 reg/11th A/B DIv., Pfc

William Keel – Marietta, WA; USMC, WWII

Jack Lance – Hicksville, NY; US  Army Air Corps, WWII, B-17 gunner

Verna Loverock – Comox, CAN; CW Army Corps, WWII

Louis Porreco – Erie, PA; US Army, 82nd A/B

Jamal Rhett – Palmyra, NJ; US Army, Iraq, Sgt., 25th Infantry Div.

Todd Thomson – Hamilton, VA; US Army, Iraq, Afghanistan, Lt. Colonel, Bronze Star

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on June 25, 2015, in Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 49 Comments.

  1. Interesting comments about Japanese strategies for engagement. Letters from Iwo Jima, Clint Eastwoods film included both the banzai charge and final acts of the samurai code (ritual suicide or sepuka) carried out by the officers.

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    • Very true, Gustav. Many had already decided before leaving home that they would never return. They left ritual parts of themselves such as nail clippings and a letter for family members as they left to fight as warriors of the Emperor. Thank you for visiting.

      Like

  2. Interesting perspective of the Japanese weaknesses,think I saw a bit of one of those weaknesses during the Vietnam war, moving through jungle making loud noises, some say it was to scare of the enemy to avoid contact, myself I think as your post portrays, bad training.

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  3. Great story about finding the missing pilot in the Solomons.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. For interest gp

    http:// imgur .com/a/bLyB6?gallery

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  5. educational and inspiring as per usual. Great blog 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You were right in saying that the Japanese where the most “stubborn” defensive fighters in the world. I read some books that present Japanese fighting up to the last man standing and the word surrender is not in their vocabulary. They’d rather commit harakiri or seppuku rather than surrender. That’s why the Kamikaze fighters were born out of this mindset.

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  7. Such incredible history. Thank you as always, for bring it to us.

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  8. Interesting observations, particularly about the security.

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  9. It seems that warriors, whichever side they are on, respect other warriors. I understand that.

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    • It would take another soldier to be able to evaluate his enemy after battle, and that’s why I included these views, Jacqui. I appreciate you taking the time to read them.

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  10. I hadn’t made that connection between then and today’s wars . Very insightful . Hard to fight the fanatic .

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  11. How ironic that you have a farewell salute to Jamal Rhett of Palmyra, NJ who fought in Iraq as we watch impotently while ISIS destroys valued antiquities in Palmyra, Syria.

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  12. That paragraph about the way the Japanese soldier fought is the way my Dad described it, too. Of course our troops fought with similar tenaciousness, but Dad said there was someting almost maniacal about the Japanese soldiers he encountered. Reminds me of jihadists today. Brainwashing is a powerful enemy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Very true, Sammy. And, please feel free to add any other comments or stories your father told you. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Rightly said there. They were bred that way due to their culture and spiritual belief. Like Vikings where a horrible death guaranteed their passage to Valhalla, a Japanese who died honorably in a battle is assured of a good karma or next life. Japanese don’t fear death, they welcome it as part of their spiritual progression into the divine.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I also didn’t realize that today was the anniversary of the Korean War. It is sad that it’s forgotten by many, Everett.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Despite some of my relatives having served in Korea as part of compulsory national service, there has been no mention of this anniversary here. It is not only a forgotten war, but due to the prolonged situation between North and South Korea, the fact that it still officially an ongoing war is also never mentioned.
    It is sometimes referred to here as a UN ‘intervention’, and the term ‘Korean War’ is reserved for the history books.
    Nice article about the tenacity of the Japanese soldier. It is just a shame that they showed so little regard for POW and civilians.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Korean War was always considered a UN Action here as well, but other things arose from that. Such as, the veterans could not join the local VFW (Veterans of Foreign War) posts because of that technocality, many things popped up – so it was changed.

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  15. Somewhat fortunately for the West and unfortunately for the Japanese, their military mindset seems like a debased form of Samurai culture. If true Samurai values had been practiced, the war might have progressed quite differently.

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    • Perhaps, Swabby. Any elaborations on that idea?

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      • Years ago, i discussed WW2 and the Japanese Empire with my Japanese ex-bf several times and he brought out these interesting points of view. They are the mindset of a college-age student in the 1970s….

        Perhaps, foremost is the reliance of the original Samurai upon martial arts and how they were used in actual battlefield situations. They used a variety of weapons and tactics against their foes. There was more stealth and cunning than was displayed in WW2.

        Another important aspect was their knowledge of the enemy. Unlike the superficial intelligence used by Tojo’s forces, the Samurai strove to understand the inner mindsets of their foes. The Samurai also honored their enemies and did not torment their captives as was done in WW2.

        One thing brought out in your article is that the Japanese forces blabbed, once they were captured. Samurai would never do that, even under duress. In worst case scenarios they committed hari kari rather than bring shame upon their country, family, and themselves.

        There are more nuanced aspects, but if the Japanese Empire had utilized these traditional norms, their military would have been much keener.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. An interesting post, thank you. I didn’t realise that today was the anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War. That really has become a forgotten war in England, and I can’t remember seeing any mention of the anniversary in the press or on TV.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Fighting an enemy that has been trained to die rather than be captured caused us a lot of casualties and, I think, made us change the way we fought as well.

    Liked by 1 person

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