[Lone Sentry: Supply, Japanese Warfare]
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Japanese Warfare: A Summary
Military Intelligence Service, Information Bulletin No. 16, May 20, 1942
[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from a WWII U.S. War Department Information Bulletin. 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.]

Section IX: SUPPLY


The Japanese supply system for jungle warfare is marked by simplicity. Impedimenta have been lightened, thus enabling troops to move fast and with great ease. In all of their fighting the Japanese have carried simple, compact rations; light, small-caliber arms and ammunition; and light clothing; and they have employed a minimum of transportation. In many instances the transportation for units as large as a company was carried out by natives impressed into service as carriers or by fifth columnists.

34. FOOD

Each Japanese soldier usually carries on his person sufficient food to sustain him for 5 days in the field, and some who infiltrated have fought for a week without recourse to food or ammunition supply trains. All have shown marked ability to live off the country; in fact, captured Japanese orders point out the necessity for this in order to conserve regular supplies. In some instances individuals and small infiltration units killed and cooked dogs, goats, and other small animals to supplement their emergency rations. The 5-day emergency ration includes:

a. One-half pound of hard candy;
b. One can of coffee;
c. One package of concentrated food;
d. Vitamin pills;
e. One package of hardtack;
f. One 5-inch-long sack of rice.

Each soldier is responsible for his own cooking, but generally the men of a squad cook on a cooperative basis. No special cooking stove or other cooking apparatus is carried. Often food is cooked in the morning to last for the day. Sometimes only rice and salt are available. Sugar, considered a luxury, is procured locally. Looting is condoned.

When men on the front lines are pinned down for considerable periods, ration details follow the simple expedient of tossing them rice balls wrapped in straw.


Normally this is earned to the front lines in large canteens strapped on the backs of supply-unit soldiers. In addition, for refilling the canteens of men in firing positions, some soldiers are individually equipped with a fairly large-sized water-bag having a small hose attachment. The arms of all these carriers are free to help them over rough terrain or through jungles. For the purpose of purifying water, each soldier carries a miniature listerbag, shaped like a three-fingered glove. He also carries chlorine for purifying his drinking water.


The individual soldier carries quinine, which he takes to prevent malaria, and laxative and digestive pills. Japanese medical personnel also have used the leaves of the chirata plant (found in southern Asia) to combat malaria. They have used Nepalese herbs to prevent dysentery and various tropical diseases.


This is carried in boxes as shoulder packs, thus leaving the carrier's arms free for negotiating difficult terrain and permitting greater freedom of action under fire.


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