The information available on Japanese parachute troop equipment is somewhat
sketchy as compared to the report of German equipment, analyzed
in Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 13, p. 45. The following
report regarding Japanese equipment gives certain details that follow
substantially the same outline as in the case of the German report.
a. Personal Equipment
Information from Timor has been received indicating that uniforms worn
by Japanese paratroops were green and buttoned all the way up to the neck. Rubber
boots were worn. As part of their personal equipment, key sets and
compasses were carried; the latter, strapped to the wrist. In the
Netherlands East Indies the following uniform equipment was
observed: buff-color crash helmet with ear flaps and chin
strap, very light canvas webbing equipment, and water bottle.
Another report dated September 1941 indicates the following uniform equipment
provided for officers, NCOs, and privates. All men wore flying
jacket and trousers, and flying helmet with glasses. Officers carried an
electric torch and a haversack with maps and writing utensils. NCOs and privates
carried a haversack with corn, a complete change of clothing, an extra pair of
boots, and one mug.
The following arms and ammunition were observed during operations in
the Netherlands East Indies as part of the Japanese parachutists' personal
A pistol with 1 clip of rounds and 13 rounds loose; an unstated number
of clips for rifle or light machine-gun ammunition—each clip
containing 5 rounds; 5 or 6 hand grenades; and bayonet.
At Timor, emergency rations were observed, carried in cellulose wrapping
and consisting of rice and dry compressed fish.
In the Netherlands East Indies, parachutists were observed to be carrying
glucose sweets, minor medical supplies (iodine, bandages, and so
forth), cigarettes, and rum flask.
b. Unit Equipment
Information is unavailable beyond those observations made at Timor: section
commanders' parachutes were blue, and platoon commanders' parachutes were red.
The only information obtainable from the source reporting with reference
to parachute containers was that at Timor it was observed that apparently no
containers, either for arms or supplies, were used.
Information dated September 1941 with regard to unit rations for parachute
troops indicated that a 3 days' food supply for each man consisted of:
Rice -- 2 kg - 250 grams (21 lbs 4 oz)
Fish -- 2 tins
Meat -- 2 tins
Tea -- 1 oz
In view of the weight of the above-mentioned food supply, it would not
seem practicable for the individual parachutist to carry this as part of his
personal equipment; in other words, it would seem more probable that these
rations were either dropped in containers, or provided from the air or ground
by other means. The following extract from a report dated July 7, 1942, is
submitted as further information pertaining to rations for Japanese parachutists.
Parachutists in Sumatra and Celebes had to carry food in large quantities,
which, however, had to be as low in weight as possible. Colonel Kawashima
spent 17 years in research on this problem and the following is taken from his
"Iron rations for parachutists are in wafer form and consist of ground
rice and wheat with a content of sesame. In addition to this, they are fed on
extract of mussel-flesh, dried plums, preserved ginger, crushed bean meal and
nori (a typical Japanese product used as a foodstuff for hundreds of years, made
from dried seaweed and containing alkaline substances, soda, and iodine). One
meal of these rations weighs 200 grams. The wafer form was chosen, as tins
or boxes carried by parachutists can get damaged on landing and they constitute
superfluous weight. These iron rations stand up to the climatic conditions in
eastern Asia, and have been thoroughly tested by experts in Malaya, East Indies,
the Philippines, China, Manchuria, and Siberia. All foreign army iron rations
were tested before the selection of this type as most suited to the Japanese