|Air raids occurred at night as well as during the day. Those night raids were dangerous, but could be as fascinating as fireworks – as we see in the next two sections. There is no strong sense of hatred towards the enemy planes, and TAMURA occasionally expresses admiration towards them.
On a sleepless night, I stayed up in my bed, thinking.
I could hear the continuous anti-aircraft fire from our troops, but the attack did not have much effect on the enemy planes. They flew around two or three times and dropped bombs.
When the bombs exploded with a loud bang, the ground shook. The sky lit up. It was all so close. I did not bother to enter the air-raid shelter but stared at the sky. The bullets and shells that came from the enemy planes and our artillery glowed in the dark beautifully and looked like grand fireworks.
Even though our ground artillery fired shells as rapidly as they could, it was unconvincing and none seemed to hit the plane. The plane just seemed to jaywalk across the sky. (p.21a)
Through the quiet of the night, we could hear the sound of a plane engine. I gradually woke up, wondering what time it was. The guard shouted “Air raid!”
Soon, enemy planes approached above us and searchlights lit up the sky.
The anti-aircraft gunners started to open fire. The special music of the night began to play.
Fine continuous rain, characteristic of the tropical rainy season, keeps falling. It seems it is raining hard as we listen to it beating on the jungle leaves.
However, the enemy planes dare to fly in this weather to bomb our position.
The sound of the explosions becomes quite numbing and the next one shakes the ground and the sky. Boom! Boom! We can hear the explosions one after another.
Here they come!
We have experienced many air raids since our landing. We are no longer surprised by them and think, “Oh, it’s just another air raid”. However, this attack was executed so beautifully that we cannot help admiring the enemy.
When the enemy plane flew over us, we anticipated a direct attack and bombs to fall down. Yet, none of us got out of bed. All the soldiers were very much relaxed and I was impressed with their boldness.
Finally, we felt relieved when the dawn came and the sky began to grow light. We did not know the extent of the damage, but we could hear the morning reveille. We celebrated that we were beginning another day uninjured.
I believe people back at home are really lucky, as they can sleep through the night with their heads on pillows. It clearly reflects the great power of the nation. The soldiers are engaged in protecting the future of the nation. (p.20b)
In the jungle
Night air raids
Mountain highland trip
Highs and lows
Click images to enlarge.
Diary of TAMURA Yoshikazu, page 21a
Diary of TAMURA Yoshikazu, page 20b