Australia–Japan Research Project at the Australian War Memorial In order to prepare for landing and fighting in New Guinea, Japanese troops received various levels of training depending on their expected roles.
The human face of war
The soldiers who were going to land in New Guinea for the Port Moresby attack were to carry all their provisions (including 12 kg of rice) as well as their full equipment. Thus, their main training in Rabaul was to march with heavy loads on their backs. KANEMOTO Rinzô, a member of the supply company, recalled that soldiers spent many days marching with sacks stuffed with volcanic ash in their backpacks.
In contrast, 1st Class Private ISHIGURO Kiyoichi, who was captured near Papaki Bridge by the Allies in November 1942 only ten days after landing in New Guinea, listed a comprehensive range of training he had received in Sumatra. In addition to routine training in marching and handling arms, his training included rifle firing in various positions and range practice. Drills to handle gas masks were also carried out. They also went through assault exercises of attacking an enemy who has taken cover. Furthermore, in Sumatra, his company had comprehensive training on how to attack the enemy, including: bayonet and hand-to-hand fighting, daylight raiding exercises, dummy-grenade throwing, machine-gun firing and night and day landing operations.
YAMADA Kazuo was a 1st Class Private and pack-horse leader. When in Palau in May 1942, he received no training ashore, but had ship-board drills against submarine attack. After he arrived in Rabaul in June 1942, his training included climbing up the volcano in Rabaul with pack-horses.
TAMURA Hikoichi was a 22 year old Superior Private who was captured in Oivi on 11 November 1942. He was a member of 55th Engineer Regiment 1st Company which was attached to the 144th Regiment. The main training he received was in trench digging and road building. He said that bridge building was left for older soldiers with longer service. He told Allied interrogators that in spite of receiving drills with rifle and bayonet, his training was for defence rather than for attack.
In spite of various levels of training, the Japanese troops did not have the sufficient knowledge or skill to adapt to jungle warfare in New Guinea. They found it difficult to cope with the problems which were caused by disease and scarce supplies.
Contributed by Keiko Tamura (AJRP)
Interrogation Reports No. 19, 21, and 30 in [Allied Translator and Interpreter Section, South West Pacific Area] Interrogation Reports Nos 1–50 (AWM55 6/1).
Kanemoto Rinzô, Nyûginia senki (Battles in New Guinea), Tokyo: Kawade Shobô, 1968, p. 90.
Printed on 11/24/2020 02:45:45 PM
In order to prepare for landing and fighting in New Guinea, Japanese troops received various levels of training depending on their expected roles.