USMC vs IJA one on one

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oneshooter
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USMC vs IJA one on one

Post by oneshooter » 13 Jan 2005 05:32

The difference in training, control/command, individual initiative. Which was the better? Why?

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Post by oneshooter » 14 Jan 2005 00:40

Lets get this started. the average Japanese had 3-5 weeks of basic training, the Marine basic was 3 months.

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Post by Eden Zhang » 14 Jan 2005 12:05

In terms of individual initiative, the Japanese soldier was willing to die for his Emperor at any time. This no doubt made them a very tenacious and ferocious enemy.

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Post by oneshooter » 14 Jan 2005 15:56

This is true, however the initiative of the commen Japanese soldier to die for the Emperor is often offset by the willingness of their officers to allow them to do so. The Japanese command structure was too rigid to allow the common privates to show any individual initiative. Altho this was true, to a much lesser extent, in the Marines, the individual could, and often did, take individual command when the SOP would not work. The Marines were taught that they were not expected to die for their country, but to allow the enemy to die for his. A basic difference in philosophy that comes from the systems in which they were brought up.

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What was the difference in the handling and use of the rifles issued to each army?

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Post by mars » 14 Jan 2005 16:40

Compare to USMC, the sieze of Japanese Marine force was small, the only large scale US vs Japanese Marine combat was the battle of Tarawa (Nov 20-23 1943), the Japanese Marine garrison on this island were 2600 strong, and they were enforced by 1000 Japanese Navy engineers who equal to American "See Bea" units, those enginese received very little combat training and had few weapons,there were also 1200 Korean forced labors on the island, those hapless Koreans were usually(and wrongly) counted as part of Japanese garrison ! the American force included the 2nd Marine Division nearly 20,000 men,nearly all of those Japanese died and US marine suffered 3000+ casualities in this battle, so for every dead Japanese Marine, there were at least one US Marine casuality.

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Post by oneshooter » 14 Jan 2005 17:31

Check the heading. IJA Imperial Japanese ARMY

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USMC vs IJA one on one

Post by Joe Henry » 15 Jan 2005 13:48

A couple of thoughts:

Firstly, in many cases, my comments could be equally said of the US Army as of the US Marines.

I believe Guadalcanal would have been the first battlefield when the US Marines and the Japanese Army came face to face: someone may be able to fill me in on the opposing forces at Wake Island.

At Guadalcanal, the Marines would have been pretty green, I think the baptism of fire for most. The Japanese troops, in the main, would have seen service on the Asian mainland, Malaya and possibly other theatres.

Although Guadalcanal was the start of the long road back for the US and the marines were, theoretically,the attacking force, effectively, it was the Japanese that were the attackers with the marines resisting from "set" defences. In many ways, and with the exception of Buna, this was mirrored throughout the Pacific Campaign until Tarawa, when the US forces were truly the attacker and the Japanese the defender.

The difference in attitude of the basic troop meant that a good marine lived to fight another day: a good Japanese soldier fought to the death. Thus, a Marine improved his soldiering skills while his opponent was a different body who fought the same old way.

Though a marine at Guadalcanal would have thought his weaponry was lacking, by comparison with his Japanese opponent, he was well armed. The marine tactics also placed great importance of the weight of firepower: the marines relied on overwhelming firepower while the Japanese relied on overwhelming numbers.

Though it might be correct that the marines underwent a longer period of basic training, I believe that most of the Japanese troops would have been schooled in a quasi-military fashion from their earliest school days.

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Post by oneshooter » 15 Jan 2005 17:11

Quote: Though a marine at Guadalcanal would have thought his weaponry was lacking, by comparison with his Japanese opponent, he was well armed. The marine tactics also placed great importance of the weight of firepower: the marines relied on overwhelming firepower while the Japanese relied on overwhelming numbers.


The Marines at the Canal were armed with the .30cal Springfield rifle. This rifle was in general issue from 1906 to 1942. This was the rifle they trained with and were very confident in. The Marine doctrine was, and still is, rapid AIMED fire. The Battle of the Tenaru River and Bloody Ridge both proved the wisdom of this training. The BAR (500rpm,20rd per mag ) was issued at a rate of 2 per platoon, this added a tremendous amount of firepower at the platoon level. Later in the war the BAR was issued at a rate of one per squad!

Quote: At Guadalcanal, the Marines would have been pretty green, I think the baptism of fire for most. The Japanese troops, in the main, would have seen service on the Asian mainland, Malaya and possibly other theatres.

The Marines at Guadalcanal were old line troops. Many,especially the NCO's had seen action in Haiti,the Dominican Republic,and other brush wars of the late 20's and 30's. They were the best trained and experenced troops available at that time.

Still no answer to the Rifle Question? :)

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USMC vs IJA one on one

Post by Joe Henry » 16 Jan 2005 03:38

Thanks, Oneshooter, for rounding out the information about Marine weaponry and prior training.

My recollection that the Marines would also have had 30 cal machine guns, if not some 50 cal.

With regard to rifles, I am unaware of the comparison of between the Marine Rifles and Japanese weapons. Apparently the Japanese used smokeless gunpowder in their rifle ammunition. The Australians on the Kokoda Track and both the Australians and Americans at Buna-Gona- Sanananda found great difficulty in locating the location of Japanes fire because of this. The Japanese rifle was also longer than the .303 Lee Enfield used by the Australians. Theoretically, that would have made the rifle a more cumbersome weapon to use in jungle terrain. I am not aware of any evidence, however, that this caused concern to the Japanese.

I assume, as a consequence that the Japanese rifle would also have been longer than the Marine weapon.

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Post by oneshooter » 16 Jan 2005 05:14

The Machine guns,both 30 and 50 cal belonged to the heavy weapons platoon. They also operated the 60mm and 80mm morters.
The standard for all militaries at this time was smokeless powder. Check the links below for spec's on the small arms.

Japanese Type 99 Arisaka http://www.surplusrifle.com/arisaka/index.asp

American A3-03 Springfield http://www.surplusrifle.com/03a3/index.asp

Commenwealth Enfield M1#4 http://www.surplusrifle.com/no4/index.asp


Still no answer on the diffrence in training and use of the rifle!! :D

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Post by Peter H » 16 Jan 2005 08:26

One comment on Tarawa:
Tenacious and fearless fighters that they were,it was a curious fact that,once deprived of leadership,the Japanese soldier soon became disorganized and disillusioned.They lacked the Marines' ability to re-group with other unfamiliar units or to act individually.
Tarawa 1943,Derrick Wright

Some details on Marine training can be found in Fighting Techniques of a US Marine 1941-45 by Leo Daugherty.

Recruit Training(up to 1944)
A seven week schedule:

Physical training 100 hours
Drill 44 hours
Interior Guard 9 hours
Guard 2 hours
Military Courtesy 3 hours
Bayonet Instruction 8 hours
Musketry 2 hours
Rifle Instruction 3 hours
Field training 72 hours

Riflemen and BAR men completed a 12 week(720 hours) course of instruction in total

Antitank gunners,mortarmen and machine gunners did the 7 weeks plus 484 hours of weapons handling and employment classes
Last edited by Peter H on 16 Jan 2005 08:50, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Peter H » 16 Jan 2005 08:39

The Marines also had a Points Rotation system,like the ETO,which meant that while men were in for the duration,they did not have to face years of endless campaigning.This helped morale and efficiency.Not many 'Old Breed' members of the 1st Marine Division served past Guadalcanal or New Britain--they had their points accrued or they were just too sick(75% of the Division members contracted malaria while serving in the SWP).
The Point System, as the plan was commonly known, applied to both officers and enlisted men. Each Marine received one point each month of service from 16 September 1940; one point for each month served overseas or afloat from 16 September 1940; five points for the first and each additional award of the Medal of Honor, Navy Cross, Distinguished Service Cross (Army), Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Navy and Marine Corps Medal, Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal, Purple Heart, and Bronze Service Star, and 12 points for each child under the age of 18, up to a limit of three children.
85 points were needed to rotate back to the CONUS.There further deployment,rehabilition, or training,or being allocated to a newly raised combat formation was possible.

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Post by Peter H » 16 Jan 2005 08:45

This observation on Japanese marksmanship from a USMC veteran on another forum:
I think they were good marksmen but had very inferior equipment with their 25 cal. weapons against our 30 cal weapons and with their bolt action we could probably fire 4 shots with an M1 or maybe 10 with a BAR while they might only be able to crank out one with the bolt action they had. Our weapons were useful at a greater distance than theirs also because of the powder load in our rounds. I would say the most efective weapon for them was the MG and the light MG, the Nambu (if that is the right spelling) but our superior firepower is what helped to win many battles for the Marines. Their rifle was about as powerful as our carbine which about everyone who carried one hated because it wasn't lethal enough at about any distance.

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RE: Marines versus Japanese Army

Post by Galahad » 16 Jan 2005 11:00

Joe Henry writes: "I believe Guadalcanal would have been the first battlefield when the US Marines and the Japanese Army came face to face: someone may be able to fill me in on the opposing forces at Wake Island."

The landing on Wake was conducted by the Japanese equivilent of the US Marines.....the Special Naval Landing Force.

The first time US Marines fought Japanese Army troops was in April 1942, when the 4th Marine Regiment opposed the Japanese troops landing on Corregidor.

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Post by oneshooter » 17 Jan 2005 01:09

The difference in the training between the forces is simple. The rifle was the principle arm of the Marines, the Japanese concidered the BAYONET as their principle arm. This showed in the diffrent styles of combat.

Wake Island was the first combat between the IJM and the USMC. Despite being outmanned and outgunned the Marines gave better than they recieved. Marine gunners,using outdated WW1 artillery managed to damage one cruiser,two destroyers and sink another destroyer! They recieved 57 casulities and inflicted over 800.

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