Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


This is coolbert:

The comment has been made:

"If it is true that the virulent falciparum malaria never existed in Japan, then the susceptibility to it, may have been equal on both sides.

The Japanese did not have DDT, but that only started being used towards the end of the war, I thought.

Given the very high casualties from malaria, why didn't proxies get used more, from populations less susceptible?"

Proxies were used by allied forces both in New Guinea and Burma.

1. In New Guinea, the actual combat was left to American and Australian forces. Native units were formed, but performed mostly as menial construction laborers and porters. Did this type of work willingly and did a very good job. To what extent they were not effected by the tropical and jungle diseases I cannot say. "Native" combat arms units to repel Japanese attack DID NOT exist!!

2. In Burma, the British 14th Army was a very heterogeneous force.

Consisted of soldiers from England, west Africa, and British Indian Army troops, to include Ghurkhas. Also had a large force of Burmese levies. The latter acting again mostly as menial construction laborers or porters.

You would have thought that the Africans, Burmese, Ghurkhas, and troops from the Indian sub-continent would have had a tolerance for the tropical climate and a better ability to handle tropical diseases. Was this the case? I cannot say. I do believe that troops of all nationalities were more or less victims of the jungle. The tropical climate and jungle environment had no respect for nationality, inflicting harm on all more or less equally!!??

Japanese troops too were not immune to the vicissitudes of jungle warfare.

Were also victims of their own success in the early part of the war. Continued to use tactics that were outmoded by 1944 for jungle fighting.

The ability of the Japanese soldier on the offensive was based to a large extent on the premise that enemy food stores could be captured and utilized. Japanese offensives moved forward initially with great rapidity because of this reason. The great battles in Malaya and Burma [1941-1942], where the Japanese emerged victorious, were a result of such tactics.

Advance, capture the food of the enemy, advance, capture more food, advance, etc.

"The explanation of the Japanese soldier's astonishing jungle mobility was really very simple. His primitive supply system was used almost exclusively for ammunition . . . he was expected to feed himself from captured supplies."

By 1944 the British had caught on. Deprive the attacking Japanese from capturing food from your own stocks and they [Japanese] starved!! As simple as that!!

"they [Japanese] were foolish to imagine that the British had not learned some lessons from their defeats, and that these would be applied sooner than later."

A starving soldier in the jungle is obviously much more susceptible to tropical diseases.

"For their part, the Japanese had reached the limit of their endurance. A prisoner . . . stated that he and comrades and been existing on nothing but roots for ten days."

"The orders for the attack [Japanese attack], found on the body of the major who had led it, were as follows: '2nd Battalion 122nd Regiment will attack and destroy the enemy in the nullah. Objects of the attack: (a) to procure food; (b) to destroy the enemy."

[this Japanese battalion attacked with a complement of 76 men remaining from a total of 1000 that existed two weeks earlier!!! The attack failed!!!]



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