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"Japanese brutality as they overrun hospital 2" Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP07 Mar 2018 2:04 p.m. PST

"In northern Burma the clashes between the Anglo-Indian forces and the Japanese were becoming more frequent. The Japanese were now building up in strength and attempting to infiltrate the British lines. On the 7th February they broke into a Field Hospital run jointly by the Royal Army Medical Corps and the the Indian Army.

It was a widely dispersed series of buildings and the Japanese force, which appeared to be searching for medical supplies, shot or bayoneted patients in their beds when they were found.

They did not discover everyone and a party of doctors and patients lay undiscovered overnight. They were not spared for long. Lieutenant-General Sir Geoffrey Evans was subsequently able to piece together what happened:…"
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GGouveia07 Mar 2018 8:00 p.m. PST

The Japanese also overran a hospital in Hong Kong and bayoneted lots of wounded Canadians. They also raped and murdered many nurses in the hospital.

ZULUPAUL Supporting Member of TMP08 Mar 2018 8:09 a.m. PST

When I was growing up there was a family friend who had his wife (a nurse) raped & murdered by the Japanese. He was a POW for 4+ years. Didn't have much nice to say about Japanese anything.

Mark 109 Mar 2018 10:58 a.m. PST

WW2 was a time when Japan was at the height of a very peculiar spasm of military machismo. Assertions (at the time, and in retrospect) that this was somehow related to the historical concepts of "Bushido" fail on many issues. But there is little doubt that, wherever it came from, the ways of the Japanese military in the WW2 era were shocking on many levels.

There are pretty well documented reports that Japanese infantry regiments in China were "issued" PoWs to help blood their new replacement personnel. The typical issue was one PoW per 40 rank-and-file soldiers, and one PoW per officer.

The PoWs issued for rank-and-file replacement blooding were used for the bayonet course. They were tied to a stake, and after practice against stuffed straw bales the replacement soldiers were each required to charge and bayonet the PoW. In general they had to do it in quick succession, or the last few among the 40 didn't get any sense of bayonetting a live enemy, which was after all the whole point of the exercise.

The officer replacements got one each, to behead with their swords. This was done in front of several of their peers, as a sort of acceptance ceremony. Not much re-usability of the PoW in that case.

This was viewed as a highly productive part of a soldier's training by the front line units. Soldiers who have never deliberately done lethal violence to another person often hesitate at the point of engagement. This is one reason that combat veterans are more reliable in combat.

I've seen photographs of both activities. One can never be entirely sure of a photo's context, so I do not wish to assert that the historical interpretation is 100% proven. But I believe the accounts -- there is not a whole lot of more likely explanations of soldiers lined up to take turns bayonetting someone tied to a stake.

(aka: Mk 1)

GGouveia09 Mar 2018 12:38 p.m. PST

Mark, that's brutal. wow.

Personal logo capncarp Supporting Member of TMP09 Mar 2018 5:46 p.m. PST

I had an uncle who survived the Bataan Death March only to succumb to dysenery at Camp O'Donnell 2 months later. He had reached the venerable age of 21. My opinion of the Imperial Japanese mindset would fill several septic tanks.

Mark 109 Mar 2018 7:06 p.m. PST

Mark, that's brutal. wow.

I've read accounts of activities that were significantly more brutal even than what I have posted. But the documentation, at least what I was able to access, was not quite as credible to me.

Another case that is quite credible, maybe even more credible than the account I gave above, was the beheading contest among two junior officers.

Two young lieutenants in China from different units, who were both full of military spirit, wound up in a sort of ad hoc contest after their "acceptance" rituals as I described above. One requested, and was provided, with a second PoW to behead. His martial spirit was reported in the press, and when the other read the stories he requested TWO more PoWs to behead, which was also duly reported, and the race was on.

The Japanese popular press (ie: newspapers) press played the whole thing up for the home front over a period of several weeks, treating it much like a sporting championship. Evidently it was quite widely reported at that time, so there is ample archival evidence. As I recall the two finally had an amicable meeting and agreed to call it a draw after each had done something like 120 beheadings. It was suggested that part of the problem was the strain on their logistics supply lines transporting so many PoWs for their contest, but also that they needed to focus on their combat duties and had no more time for games.

Pretty brutal.

(aka: Mk 1)

Legion 410 Mar 2018 9:05 a.m. PST

Yes, I too have heard/read similar accounts of IJFs' ruthlessness and brutality, etc. Clearly war crimes in anyone's opinion, save for those committing such heinous acts.

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