A map is taken from the body of a dead Japanese officer -- what does it represent? The
ability to read and interpret such a map on the spot may mean the difference between
victory and defeat.
In many ways, Japanese maps, although generally similar to our own are
puzzling. The symbols upon them frequently resemble ours, but often are
strange, and again, familiar but having a different meaning from ours. A
broad-leafed tree, for example, is represented by in
both systems, but -- suggestive
of an apple hanging on a branch -- means an orchard tree (or "private
a spring, a foundry
and a statue; elongate the zero into capital O,
and "statue" becomes "isolated tree." The symbol for a road (more than three meters
wide) is two parallel lines but
if the lower line is broken it discloses
that significant military detail, "Road impassable to
carts," and , "Road
under construction" differs
from an 18-foot country
road. The Japanese symbol for a railroad rather suggests a canal. The military symbols are
even more confusing, as they seem to be a badly digested combination of the American
and German systems -- for example, an observation post in German
is ; in
Japanese, a battalion OP is ; an AT gun in
German is ; a Japanese rapid
fire gun . Occasionally, a few curious figures are found, as in a photostat of
an ex-British area marked with a symbol , apparently meaning "airport", although
the character suggests a rapid-fire gun or a battalion OP, and the usual
airport symbol is . Later in this article, military symbols will be discussed
in more detail.
In view of these differences, it is believed worth while to examine Japanese
maps and both their topographical and military symbols with a view of presenting
in a condensed form enough information to enable a combat officer with little time
or energy for detailed study to grasp the essentials of any Japanese map that would
be likely to fall into his hands. Much has been deliberately omitted -- the symbols
for fences, for example, are limited to those having military significance -- stone
walls that provide bullet-proof protection and bamboo fences and "living tree" hedges
that may either give cover or hide the terrain beyond. Hereafter is shown
a number of the more frequent Japanese terrain symbols. Several types of terrain
are illustrated by cuttings from un-retouched maps such as figure 1, which shows
an urban area, part of Kyoto sheet, and figure 2 cut from another part of the sheet
are flat rice-lands. Ordinary countryside and mountainous areas are mapped in
figures 3 and 4. On page 43 is a selection of military symbols, and
figures 5, 5A, and 6 are examples of actual Japanese combat maps from
Attu and Guadalcanal, reproduced as faithfully as possible.
Many Japanese maps are printed in an eye-straining small type. When working with a
Japanese map, even in a good light, a 4-inch magnifying glass is
extremely useful. For the benefit of American readers, the printed maps here
illustrated are enlarged to almost twice their original size. It will be noted that
these maps show an extraordinary amount of detail -- far too much to try to
memorize. Symbols might be found that represent a prefectural office, district
(gun, pronounced "goon"), municipal, village, MP, police, revenue, monopoly and
meteorological offices; a factory, foundry, granary, lime kiln, lumber yard, metal
works, powder magazine, store house, temples of various faiths and an "orthodoxy
bell tower" -- whatever that may be. Practically anything anyone might wish to
locate is shown, except a comfort station. Occasionally symbols are thrown in
which may be obvious to a Japanese but not to a westerner, without the usual careful
explanation -- in Japanese script -- on the margin. Finally, symbols may vary with
the scale of the map, with one set for a 1 to 50,000 and another for 1 to 200,000. Only
the more useful symbols are therefore included.
COMMON JAPANESE MAP SYMBOLS
*From figure 6, Guadalcanal
*It is frequently very difficult to distinguish between a badly printed "masonry
wall" symbol and a "wooden fence." The "wall" is apt to have white spaces.
**Inverted picks indicate abandoned mine.
***Frequently looks like simple cross lines.
b. Japanese Topographical Maps
(1) General Observations
Japanese official topographical maps are published on standard
scales 1 to 10,000, 1 to 20,000, 1 to 50,000, and so on. As
the 1 to 50,000 is the most usual, and employs the standard symbols, parts
of maps in this scale are here
reproduced for illustration. Sometimes the scale will be stated at the bottom as
a fraction in Arabic numerals, sometimes not. However, there is a distance scale
at the bottom of the sheet in meters and ri, the Japanese "statute mile," actually
a one-hour walk, or league, of approximately 2.5 U.S. miles. The meter scale is
recognizable by its marking in thousands, and by the Japanese
the left, which in small print is apt to look like an asterisk. The meter-scale is
apt to be on top, the ri-scale below. From the meter scale, the mathematical scale
of the map may be quickly calculated by the following method: A meter is approximately
39 inches. Therefore, measure off from the metric scale a convenient
number of thousand-meter units to correspond with the inch-scale of the ruler, multiply
the thousand-meter units so measured by 39,000 and divide by the number
of inches spanned. For example, in the scale below as shown on a Japanese map, the
total length of the metric scale, including the fraction-scale, to the left of
zero, is four inches; therefore 5,000 meters equals 4 inches; 1,000 meters equals
39,000 inches; 39 x 5,000 = 195,000; divided by 4 the result is 48,750, or
approximately 50,000; hence, the scale is 1 to 50,000.
Somewhere, the contours will be marked in Arabic numerals -- a typical example, the
sheet used in figure 4, has the 100-meter contours in heavy lines, and
intermediate unnumbered lighter lines representing 120, 140, 160 and 180-meter
contours are printed in finer lines. As to symbols, on the left there may
be a column of symbols which is frequently helpful although explained in
Japanese. However, as will be noted in the following discussion of the map of
Kyoto, occasional unexplained symbols occur.
(2) Map of a City
Figure 1 represents the NE portion of the city of Kyoto, situated on the
largest Japanese island, Honshu, southwest of Tokyo, and about 25 miles north of
the important port of Osaka. Three miles northeastward lies the beautiful lake of
Biwa (Biwa Ko) from which Kyoto draws water through a gravity tunnel large
enough to accommodate market boats. The city was the ancient capital of Japan
and has many historic shrines and temples. Today it is one of the centers of
silk, embroidery, weaving, porcelain and lacquer industries which ten years ago
supported a population of over a million. Upon the map, a reference grid has
been drawn, the lines lettered from north to south and numbered from west to
east. It may be read quite simply, down and to the right. Distances south of
lettered lines are indicated by numbers. For instance, the bath-tub-shaped symbol
of the prefectural office is at E.8, 1.9. A question may be raised as to why a
city is included in such an article as this, but plenty of fighting has occurred in
cities, and it may be convenient to be able to recognize and direct gun-fire quickly
on such strategic points as telephone exchanges or power sub-stations.
|[click to enlarge]|
Following the double-track (electric) railroad, possibly of 4 foot 8 1/2 inches
European gauge, that enters the grid from the northeast, it will be seen that the
right-of-way crosses two 18-foot roads, one of which leads to a local station.
Westward, at A.9, 6.2 will be seen the single dark line of a three-foot, push-cart
path, which joins the road just west of the depot and, running SW parallel to
the tracks, till, as it crosses a small branch of the Biwa Lake Canal it connects
with another 18-foot road. This branch canal enters the map at D.6, 7.0 and
circles northwest to A.1, 4.3 thence southwestward to B. 8, 1.3. In its course, it
apparently passes under the small stream at A.7, 5.5 in a siphon or over it on an
aqueduct--it is difficult to say. At B.1, 2.9 and further on, siphons or culverts
are also indicated. Returning to the railroad, and 18-foot road at B.4, 6.1, the
road winds eastward, crossing the double tracks apparently on grade. South of
the road are dry-rice-field symbols and a small embankment.
The railroad proceeds southwest to another station, north of which at B.9, 5.2, is
the cog-wheel symbol of a factory. The light shading of the houses indicates
light construction, heavier shading, heavier construction, not population density.
At C.7, 4.5 will be seen the thin capital X of a police station. Just east of the
terminal is the swastika symbol of a Buddhist temple. South of the terminal at
E.0, 4.6 will be seen the circle of some sort of a local city office, and SW of the
office at E.4, 4.3, the "little boy" symbol that indicates a school. Near the
terminal there should be a post office, and one will be found at E.8, 5.6 with the
line-and-T-in-a-circle symbol indicating that there is telephone and telegraph
service as well. A telegraph-and-post
be found at H.6, 1.9 next
to a school. No example of the "envelope"
been found. The
"city hall" (inner and outer rings) will be found at G.4, 3.6 and at H.6, 1.4 west
of a school, may be made out the star representing "regimental & defense Hq.," perhaps
an armory. There are several items of interest in the E, F, 6, 7 quadrangle, including
an obvious triangulation station numbered 102.6 or 102.6 meters elevation, a
Shinto "heavenly gate" shrine-symbol just above it, the three-tined-pitchfork
symbol of an imperial tomb just south of "0" in 102.6. At E.9, 6.8 is a small
black square symbol for which no interpretation is known. In the quadrangle below
is another odd symbol, like a carpet tack, point up, in an inverted U which may be
a grave monument (the tack) in an enclosure, the inverted U.
At the northwest corner of the grid, a high-tension power line enters the
city, terminating at a power-house (converter?) in a rice field. (In the diagonally
opposite corner of the grid at G.8, 6.4 is another powerhouse). Four quadrangles
south, at E.2, 1.2, in the middle of a city block un-built on the north, the telephone
symbol, somewhat like a desk-set, may be found -- probably an exchange. At F-1, 1.6 is
a Y-shaped symbol of unknown meaning. An isolation hospital can be
identified at A.8 on line 5. If the top line were double, the shield-and-cross symbol
would indicate a general hospital.
In the center of the city is an imperial palace -- the building not shown, perhaps
for religious reasons -- two large, walled enclosures, set among groves
(the "bird-in-flight" symbols) and the whole park surrounded by a tree-crowned
embankment or a moat -- it is difficult to tell which. There is a temple-lantern
(small circle-with-four-arms) at E.5, 3.5. In the street half way between F and
G, a streetcar line with station, runs east and west. Careful inspection of the
map shows no iron-cross (or crossed dumb-bell) symbol of a jail. The toy-Christmas-tree symbol
of a court of appeals may be found at F.6, 3.2, south of the car line.
There is no symbol for a fire-engine house, although some of the circles might
house fire fighting equipment. The circle surmounted by three small vertical
lines in the south-west corner of the large park F.2, 2.5, is interpreted as "government
office, domestic." A tiny statue-symbol may be picked out at F.8, 4.5, just
diagonally south-west of the cogwheel factory symbol. West of the statue is the
diamond-shaped symbol of a tax office. Clearly marked at F.2, 3.6, east of the
park is the cross of a church, and what seem to be two others—missions perhaps -- may
be seen faintly at F.4. 1.1, just above the street car station. Resembling a sheaf
of wheat, the symbol for a bank may be found at 2.9 just above the H line. Across
the small brook that runs out of the grid at A.0, 2.4, may be seen two bridge
symbols, one at A.7, 2.7 of a type not explained in the margin, but from its heavy
inking, probably of masonry; the other, at B.8, 3.2 might be masonry or steel, as
the characters for masonry and steel bridges are almost identical. At the bottom
of the map at H.6, 5.1 will be seen a small Buddhist temple with several
out-buildings, perhaps shrines, facing the street and car-line, enclosed on
the north and east by a masonry wall; and, on the top of the cut bank on the
south side, an embankment planted with a hedge of trees -- much useful information
packed in a very small space. The Japanese cartographer is thorough.
An examination was made of a map of the harbor-front area of Yokohama to
determine whether a figure of such an industrial and shipping section should
be included. Practically nothing was discovered of military value not discussed
(3) Flat Country-Side
In figures 2 and 3, are shown two fairly representative types of countryside -- 2, flat rice
lands bordering on the lake, Biwa Ko, near Kyoto, and a small coastal
village, 3, with an anchorage and hills behind.
Figure 2 presents a very tricky problem in map reading that will make
an expert look twice -- the problem of the difference between a dike and a dry stream.
Pick up the double-track railroad on line G at 1.5 and follow it north-east over
an 18 foot road, through rice fields dotted with pine trees to the westward, and
crossed by a three-foot cart track on a small embankment. At F.2, 1.5 will be
seen a small family burial plot with a marker. The railroad now crosses another
push-cart track, which to the westward, follows the line of a small drainage ditch.
Crossing a highway and an 18-foot country road, the line disappears under what
appears at first glance to be a stream bed. The faint parallel marks of a tunnel
do show up under a glass. The embankment may be recognized by the tiny
arrow-head-shaped dots pointing outward, and by a road on top. There is, however,
another line of faint dots north of the road symbol, and further on, on what might
be mis-read as the opposite bank of the "stream" is another double row of dots.
The correct reading is an embankment, with two ridges on each side of it, perhaps
the elevated, dry bed of an old canal, but in any event, a military obstacle providing
defilade, a protected parapet, and an excellent place to dig in machine guns or AT weapons.
|[click to enlarge]|
In the village that is strung out along the highway paralleling the railroad, may
the - a
postal-telephone-telegraph office, a village office, and
between them a Buddhist temple. Next the town hall is a survey marker showing
96.77 meters elevation, and just above the "6", a police station. East of the police
station is an oval suggesting a sub-prefectural office. North of that is a Shinto
shrine, and beyond the shrine, a recognizable chimney with smoke coming out of
it, attached to a good-sized building of very light construction -- perhaps some
sort of a drying shed. In the fields at D.4, 5.2 is an "isolation hospital" -- here
probably not isolation but a small local hospital perhaps of a few rooms for
lepers or insane patients -- and just above it the half-a-cog-wheel symbol of a
small watermill. The presence of the water mill -- possibly a "fileature" for
reeling silk and the shed-and-chimney suggests that the latter may be a building
in which cocoons are kept. High and low-tension power lines may be noted east of
the railroad, distinguished by the two dots, sometimes looking like a cross-bar
of the high tension line. Numerous drainage ditches and small, diked-in ponds
without any outlet would suggest very flat land and a high water-table, which is in
fact the case as the lake is a very short distance off the map to the west. One
feature on the map is the presence of vegetable gardens, indicated by shading at
B.1, 5.0 or B.2, 7.0. These gardens are apt to be surrounded with fences or trees
and provide cover for snipers. At line B.0, 5.0 the railroad crosses another double
embankment, and beyond, before it reaches the railway, a fill is indicated by the
outward-pointing dashes. It is not high. If it were, the height would be marked
as at F.8, 1.7, and again on the embankment at E.3, 6.0, where the
figure "9.1" (meters?) appears.
A curious symbol looking like single and double road-barriers can be
seen at the road fork, B.8, 8.3 and others occur at the northern and eastern exits
of the village at C.8, 3.7. These do not fit any Japanese symbol shown on the symbol
list printed on the map sheet, and are believed to be some indication of road
width, tentatively, six and twelve meters. Another unknown very small symbol, perhaps
a tiny, circular pond, can be seen at the right of the road "barrier" at C.6, 3.9.
At D.2, 4.8 can be seen two symbols that appear to be mounds, perhaps
ancient burial mounds. This may well be as the area has been settled for
thousands of years. Inside the pencil circle at F.6, 3.4 may be seen dots suggestive
of the tea-symbol, three dots in a triangular pattern. Tea "gardens" however, are
apt to be planted on hills. None has been identified on this map, nor the
tiny "K" symbol of mulberry trees. The zig-zag dot-and-dash lines such as may be
found at C.8, 1.3 are village boundaries.
(4) Hilly Country-Side
Turning to the hill-country area, figure 3, we find an attractive seaside
village near Kaimondake (Mt. Kaimon) at almost the southern tip of Kyushu, one
of the main islands of Japan proper. A small anchorage is indicated in the bay by
an incomplete anchor. Inland, the pine-covered hills rise sharply to the 1,200 foot
saddle-back west of the lake, which is marked as having an elevation of 126
meters. It must be a picturesque country, as just off the map about four miles
rises the almost perfectly symetrical, 3,000-foot peak of Mt. Kaimon, evidently
an extinct volcano of the circular, pointed "Fuji" type. Along the water-front
may be noted, reading around to the left from the point, on line E at 7.7, a small-boat
ferry, indicated by a figure of a boat; a rocky shore, the post office, and an
improved highway following the shore line to the road fork leading inland. Here,
at the shore line, may be noted two oddly-shaped symbols like three flowers in a
bowl, indicating mineral springs. There is another north-east of the lake. Just
west of the second spring, at D.1, 6.6 will be found the terminus of a 3.5-foot
gauge railroad (standard for Japan), under construction -- two parallel lines joined
at intervals by bars, Just above the spring is a small tunnel, with another a short
distance further on, before the railroad crosses the highway on a bridge. A path
continues from the turn of the road along the shore.
|[click to enlarge]|
Following west from the bay on the road running inland, a hospital can be
noted to the south, before the second settlement is reached. This is apparently
not an organized village, as it lacks a post-office, village hall, or any sort of
temple or school--which is quite unusual. The settlement clusters around the
building marked with the horizontally-divided-diamond sign listed in TM 30-480, p. 281
as a "monopoly bureau factory" -- perhaps tobacco -- although no example
of this symbol has been observed on the Japanese symbol sheets studied in the
preparation of this article.
South of the road opposite the police station is a rice field, the double
upright marks on a base being a variation of the usual parallel-line rice
symbol -- certainly one of the characters one would expect to find
entirely standardized. There is nothing noteworthy in the second village.
Following any path uphill to the northward, it may be noted that the 300
and 200 meter contours are marked, but not the 100, with the intermediate contours
lightly printed. The odd little three-line symbol means "waste land." At "300", between C
and D in the 1 column is a well-marked cliff or escarpment. Along the
steep bluff that surrounds the little lake may be seen broad-leaf tree symbols and
a few K-shaped mulberry trees.
It is to be noted that no Buddhist shrines appear on this map or in the general
area. There seems to be a tendency for the townspeople to be Buddhist, and the
old-fashioned country people to cling to the ancestor-worship of the Shinto faith.
(5) Mountain Terrain
Figure 4 shows a more mountainous section of the same general area. As
many of the Japanese mountain maps are a monotonous tangle of contours with
little detail of interest, an area south and west of figure 3 was selected to illustrate
the Japanese portrayal of mountain topography.
|[click to enlarge]|
Beginning with the tip top of Mt. Kaimon in the extreme south-west corner,
an odd symbol is immediately encountered -- the downward-pointing line starting
from the circle just below the survey bench-mark, 924.0. Obviously it must be a
flagpole, statue, or marker -- but it is not. Two inconsistencies are to be
noted -- one, that the bench-mark, which should represent the highest point is not in the
circle, or obvious top-contour; second, that the line points downward from the
circle; and finally, a detail revealed in the original map only by a glass, the line
is actually an arrow, with its head inside the circle. The fact of the matter is, that
the circle represents a tiny hollow, probably the remains of the old crater, and the
arrow is used to call attention to it. This data is explained in an appropriate marginal
note on the original, but an arrow-circle is apt anywhere to mean a depression. The
arrow at C.8, 3.9, however, merely connects the Japanese lettering above, beginning
with the cross in the square, which is a place-name.
Another unusual item may be noted in four types of contour
lines -- "numbered," "measured intermediate," "intermediate," and "helping." The first
two are obvious; the intermediate, with broken contours may be seen just south
of "120" at E.8, 1.2, and "helping" at C.7, 2.5 where an "intermediate" contour
fades into a "helping." Making it more complex, a practically identical faint
dotted line apparently indicates some sort of an enclosure, as in the F, G, 2, 3 quadrangle.
Vivid chasm symbols occur at H.8, 3.4 and along the stream that runs
south from F, between 5 and 6, and an equally illustrative "crumbling cliff" at
B.6, 1.7. At the same point an operating mine is indicated by the crossed miners' picks,
upright. If reversed, the mine would be closed. The shaded circle indicates
silver -- an open circle would be gold. (Gold mines occur a few miles further north, off
the map.) It must be a small mine, since no improved road goes near it nor
does the high-tension power line which crosses the center of the map send in a
feeder cable. There are about thirty houses in the nearby camp giving some idea
of the number of hands employed in the diggings. Just east of the settlement, the
small circles of different sizes without tree-trunk stems probably show a cut-over
area suggestive of mine props. At F.0, 4.5 is a grove of mulberry trees, and a
shallow, swampy pond appears at C.3, 4.6. From the crest of the flat topped hill
at D.2, 6.2, dotted lines expanding northeast probably indicate divisions between
crops or types of vegetation. Large slide-tracks are indicated by fine, straight
lines cutting across the contours, not shown on these illustrations.
c. Military Maps
Military maps, naturally, are far simpler than topographical sheets. For
example, the military railroad symbol is the same as our
than the complex civilian symbol. This simplification is offset by a somewhat
illogical and very complex set of military symbols -- see page 43. The following
instructions to map makers has been highly condensed from a translation
of "The Applied Tactics of the Japanese Army."
* * *
(a) General Instructions
The title of the map is written on top (from right to left) and the date in smaller print underneath.
Lakes, ponds, streams and also the disposition of Japanese forces are colored blue, enemy dispositions in red.
The location of commanders is shown by the headquarters symbol.
The location of an artillery OP is not necessarily shown if close to the guns.
The position of the same units at different times is indicated, when necessary, by
shaded symbols. [It
is thought that the shaded symbols indicate the last position occupied.]
Road spaces and intervals of marching troops are drawn as far as possible to scale.
The disposition of outposts, the positions, and that of the reserves, to the
patrols and sentry posts must be indicated in detail. The outpost line of resistance
must be indicated by a continuous line in blue.
The direction of a counterattack (on a hostile force) is indicated by an arrow.
In the map of a defensive sector, the direction of the anticipated main
hostile attack will be differentiated from subordinate attacks, and both types of
anticipated attacks indicated by red arrows. If main attacks are anticipated in
two or more directions, both will be indicated, but the more important attack
(d) Deployment for Attack
In a meeting engagement, it is necessary to indicate clearly the line of
battle, and whether the attack will be piecemeal or coordinated.
To indicate the enemy situation when attacking an organized position, the
probable and actual situation will be shown. The probable situation will be indicated as such.
(e) Artillery Positions and Preparation
Enemy lines and probable artillery positions will be shown, also the direction
of both our own [Japanese] and hostile attacks, and our own front line. Main
fire direction zone will be shown; position of all unit commanders, OP's, ammunition
trains, routes leading to forward positions, routes of advance and if necessary, means
of concealment, positions of artillery observers and the communication
net will be indicated. When a change of position is anticipated, the route to be
taken and the time will be indicated.
On maps showing artillery preparation, the type of gun, the number of
batteries, and the area to be covered by fire will be indicated. The preparatory
fire prior to the infantry advance and that to be delivered thereafter will be indicated.
* * *
(2) Military Symbols
Military symbols are particularly confusing since they do not always
follow a well-thought-out pattern as do our own, or the German. A "unit," for example,
is ; an
infantry unit, , but
a field artillery unit is represented
by the symbol for a
the expected symbol would
be , a
character which represents not an artillery unit, but a field artillery ammunition
associated with "machine gun," when combined
with the gun symbol
into , means
not machine-cannon, but long-range field
gun. These discrepancies could be multiplied indefinitely. It must be clearly
understood, and never forgotten, that to read Japanese symbols by combining
them according to a reasonable and natural system may lead to highly erroneous,
and even dangerous, conclusions. A symbol must be either known, or if not
known, interpreted with extreme caution. Of over 300 symbols listed in "Applied Tactics
of the Japanese Army," some of those believed to be the more useful to a field
officer are listed below, together with the abbreviations used on maps. Like the
symbols, they are at times illogical and confusing.
Common Japanese Military Symbols and Abbreviations
*The symbol is
not "artillery unit," but, "field artillery ammunition
train." The symbol is irregular -- compare, "Tank am train," below.
**Symbol shown on map of Shemya Island.
Abbreviations sometimes used instead of symbols are usually in English letters, but
the Japanese are often careless in the matter of capitalization.
|A|| ||Army, also field artillery|
|AA||Antiaircraft artillery and/or AA position|
|biA||Infantry battalion gun unit|
|c||Company, troop, battery|
|F||The enemy -- foe, foeman (cf. Feind--German)|
|Fc||Air squadron (Japanese, not enemy)|
(F, in combination, loses its "enemy" significance)
|FeA||Heavy artillery |
|HMA||AA machine cannon (artillery)|
|HMG||AA machine gun |
|iA||Infantry gun unit |
|iB||Infantry brigade |
|iK||Infantry cannon (gun) |
|K||Cavalry (cf. Kavallerie--German)|
|LG||Light machine gun -- (cf. leicht--German)|
|LM||Light trench mortar unit (not light trench mortar)|
|M||Mortar -- also ammunition section (platoon)|
also used as adjective "Medium." (cf. Mörser--German)
|MA||Machine cannon unit|
|MG||Machine gun unit|
|MM||Medium trench mortar unit|
|MW||Grenade discharger, rifle (cf. Minewerfer--German)|
|P||Engineers (cf. Pioniere--German)|
|PW||Armored car unit|
|RiA||Regimental gun unit|
|RSt||Regimental ammunition train|
|S||Independent -- see figure 7, PS = Independent engineer units, in company
areas 1 and 2; (Note: S = "independent." Always follows unit
abbrev.) Also, march casualties collecting unit; also, heavy (cf. schwer--German) used
as adjective -- see below.|
|SA||Heavy (U.S. medium) field artillery |
|Se||Shipping, as in SeP, below|
|SeP||Shipping engineers regiment, see Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 43 p. 9, Japanese Use of Military Barges par. c.|
|SM||Heavy trench mortar unit|
|TA||Rapid-firing gun unit|
|TAS||Independent AT unit|
|TK||Tank unit -- also Tank|
|TL||Signal company, wire (telephone or telegraph) unit|
|Z||Chemical warfare unit|
|Zid||Automatic gun unit|
*Where interpretations or abbreviations differ from those in current TM's (as
in "LM") the former represent the most recent revisions.
Roman numerals -- battalions
Arabic numerals -- other units
Example -- III 2i - 3d Battalion, 2d Infantry; 18 P - 18th Engineers.
Note -- on figure 7, will be found in the company areas -- the
of the unnumbered Independent
Engineers, which is two squads out of the 16 squads of the unit. As there
are 16 squads in a company, the Independent Engineer unit was a company.
(3) Two Examples of Japanese Combat Maps
Two examples of Japanese combat maps are shown in figures 5 and 6, with
interpretations in figure 5A, and (c) below. The first represents a small
island near Attu, the other a Japanese sketch of an American position on Guadalcanal.
(a) Shemya Island
In figures 5 and 5A are shown the map of an island believed to be Shemya, one
of the several tiny Semichi Group which lies just east of Attu. It was apparently
held by the 1st, 2d and 4th companies of a Japanese battalion, and fortified to
cover an expected attack from the south, supported by airplanes from the
eastward. The script at the top reads, "S Island Garrison Unit Distribution Sketch." Under
the island, the text is, "Zone of expected enemy landing;" and at the
right, "The battalion will place its strong-point on the southern edge
of S Island and will annihilate the enemy at the shore which (when it?) will
attempt to land. Second Lieutenant Odajima." Lt. Odajima was presumably an adjutant.
The symbols are rapidly sketched, and in some cases, do not conform to
official examples. Machine guns are indicated, for
instance, by not the
Moreover, the communication net, shown by the solid and waved lines forming
a rough diamond, are extremely deceptive, forcibly illustrating the point
previously made that Japanese map symbols can not be read by a non-expert in the
light of pure reason or logical deduction. The regulation symbol for a telephone
line is a thin, solid line, interspersed with
symbol. The symbol for a radio net is dotted lines and radio symbols. Here we have the solid
line marked not by the of
the telephone, but by the of the
radio. Furthermore, the wavy line, immediately suggestive of radio vibrations, is marked
with the telephone symbol not the radio character. The explanation apparently is, that
the maker of the original map rapidly ruled in the radio-net lines without
bothering to make them dotted, being sure that those who used the sketch would
interpret the solid line correctly because they connect radio symbols. The waved, running
line connecting the telephone symbols represents not radio vibrations
but, "insulated wire."
The light lines running out to sea among the off-shore wire entanglements
are believed to indicate a shelving beach, suitable for hostile landing craft, but may
be submerged obstacles. In the oval of the 1st Co. defense area is an unaccounted
for inner shaded oval corresponding to what may be the topmost contour. It may
mean shelter area. The usual interpretation of such a symbol is "billeting area." At
several points on the map are symbols that are quite similar to our own
searchlight symbol, , placed where AA searchlights might possibly be
expected. These are also quite deceptive, as they mean, "occupied position." No
searchlight symbol appears on the map. The symbol for AAC artillery position
may indicate the presence of one gun, or more. At the bottom of the map, below
the broad arrow, main-expected-attack symbol, colored red in the original, is the
letter F meaning enemy -- Feind (German). No meaning is known for
the faint, originally red, large character at the right resembling the figure 3. It
may be an accidental scrawl.
|[click to enlarge]|
|[click to enlarge]|
(b) Guadalcanal Map
Figure 6 is a very careful copy of an original Japanese sketch of the
American position on the Lunga River in Guadalcanal. Unfortunately, the original
was too faint for photographic reproduction. The key to understanding this
situation is the light curved line at 47,500--49,500 which is the "Front line of
friendly (Japanese) units," drawn originally with a blue pencil. The American positions
were in red. Obviously the terrain is rather rough, with a "cliff" marked
at 49,300--49,150 and patches of long grass scattered through the jungle. Three
antiaircraft positions are indicated, as well as numerous small defense areas
with what appear to be slit trenches -- two actually inside the Japanese front
line. The emplacement
the usual symbol for "field artillery
protective works." For heavy artillery, the line would be doubled. The "jungle"
not shown in the lists of Japanese symbols available, or
in TM 30-480 but the symbol given in figure 6 will shortly appear in a
revised training manual. The "A three meals and B one meal," see below, is presumed
to refer to the type ration carried by the assault troops. "A" ration is
rice, "B", hardtack. Some of the circles which are scattered over the area were
colored red and some were not, possibly indicating unoccupied or alternate positions.
|[click to enlarge]|
(c) Translation of Japanese Characters on Guadalcanal Map
1. Time of assault 22.17 (10.17 PM).
2. "A" ration, rice, three meals; "B" ration, hardtack, one meal.
3. Material for construction of airfield has been landed at this point. This
is the best anchorage in this island since it is protected from the wind.
4. Transmitting station.
5. Grassland -- used as dummy airfield provided for hostile bombing.
6. HYO -- Leopard.
8. Power plant No. 2.
9. Remains of reef (across the river).
10. There are fording areas at various places. Flow of river is somewhat rapid. Light
river-crossing equipment must be carried.
11. KUMA -- Bear.
12. SHISHI -- Lion.
13. Lunga River.
15. Shelter for fighter planes.
16. Two pieces of 12-cm howitzers (literal trans).
17. Both banks are 2 to 6 meters above water level. River bed is sand and gravel.
18. This hill, 20 to 30 meters in elevation, is flat at the top and commands the area to the north.
19. This hill is 20 to 30 meters in elevation. From it may be seen the airfield. The grass of the
lowland is a little over shoulder high.