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"Japanese defense Tactics" Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP In the TMP Dawghouse29 Jan 2019 12:13 p.m. PST

"When forced on the defensive the Japanese have striven to attain the element of surprise by means of silence and concealment; employed deceptive measures wherever possible; made extensive use of snipers; and attempted to disrupt the enemy advance by infiltration tactics. The following data on Japanese defensive tactics is taken from a recent British publication.

Unless attacked, Japanese troops occupying forward positions very seldom open fire, for fear of disclosing their location, even if the target offered is a good one. From the Japanese point of view, the defensive battle begins only when the assaulting troops are too close to be missed by their light and heavy machine guns. Carefully-concealed machine-gun positions then come to life when the assaulting troops are too close to the objective to receive support from their own artillery. If the assault is up hill the Japanese add showers of grenades…."
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Legion 429 Jan 2019 4:33 p.m. PST

Well we know they were good at defending and fighting to the death.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP In the TMP Dawghouse30 Jan 2019 11:47 a.m. PST



Skarper06 Feb 2019 8:11 p.m. PST

A lot of games don't seem to reward historical defensive tactics like these [which I don't see as limited to Japanese forces.]

You want to keep your key weapons concealed and out of line of sight of enemy prep fire. Behind obstacles but with the ability to fire across the front of neighbouring positions. Only a light screen of snipers and observers need to be in the front line. A web of mutually supporting strong-points with local reserves ready to counterattack is ideal.

Machine guns will arrest enemy movement and pin the enemy in pre-plotted artillery or mortar fire-zones.

If you have to time to dig in with overhead protection a small force can hold back many times their number for long periods of time.

Mines and wire obstacles can further add to the attackers misery.

Blutarski06 Feb 2019 8:51 p.m. PST

Totally agree, Skarper.

The problem, as I view it, is the rarity of rule sets that address things like suppression (soldiers gone to ground due to incoming fire) and hidden enemy units (i.e. real visibility limits with respect to dug-in and well camouflaged elements). Many gamers out there dislike seeing their brave metal soldiers suppressed and cowering in the dirt and they like it even less when an invisible LMG bunker opens up on them from, say, 10 yards and mows down an entire section before they can even react. FoW has such great popularity for a reason.

BTW, another tactic I have read about in connection with USMC Pacific island fighting was for Japanese snipers and LMG teams to remain hidden in well-camouflaged spider holes, allow advancing marines to pass over and beyond them, then emerge from their hiding places to engage the marines from the rear

Japanese positions could be so well camouflaged as to escape detection altogether until they opened fire.


Skarper06 Feb 2019 9:39 p.m. PST

You also need a system of opportunity/defensive fire. You can't have attackers moving into LOS of defenders and getting the first shot!

You would ideally need umpires for double blind games.

I suppose commercial games deliberately skew the balance towards the attackers for playability and 'fun'.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP In the TMP Dawghouse06 Feb 2019 10:00 p.m. PST

Glad you like it my friend!. (smile)


Legion 407 Feb 2019 6:57 a.m. PST

Yes, interlocking FOF/LOS, mutual supporting primary and alternate and supplemental fortified/well dug in positions. Obstacles to slow movement and channelize into kill zones. Pre-plotted FA and mortar support. Mines/booby traps, etc. … All part of a well planned defense.

But the IJFs, tended to die in place on many occasions. Or just banzai into allied heavy fires. Can't effectively counter-attack if you are dead … evil grin

Blutarski07 Feb 2019 8:58 a.m. PST

Agreed, L4. OTOH, the later evolved Japanese island defense tactic of conceding the shoreline and landing beaches in favor of an inland defense in difficult interior terrain from mutually supporting bunkers and pillboxes makes some sense. Any body of troops exposing/revealing itself (in daylight especially) by conventional fire and/or movement would invite a massive deluge of American ground support weapons and naval gunfire and tactical air. Another problem for the Japanese was that, since they effectively had no really effective answer for American tanks, they preferred to set up shop in areas inaccessible to the tanks.

The Japanese were capable, when opportunity permitted, of building sophisticated defensive schemes that incorporated all the techniques you earlier mentioned. A good example of this in action is covered in the book "Killing Ground on Okinawa The Battle for Sugar Loaf Hill" by James Hallas. It took the Marines seven days, eleven separate attacks and 2,000 casualties to capture the position a hill barely 50 feet high. Highly recommend the book; it is a sobering story.


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