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Enemy Air-Borne Forces, Military Intelligence Service, Special Series No. 7, December 2, 1942
[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the wartime U.S. War Department publication. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]


Japanese parachute troops are not only capably trained but intelligently equipped for combat employment.

a. Clothing

All ranks are provided with special clothing: fur-lined jacket and trousers, and a hood with goggles. Buff-colored crash helmets, with ear flaps and chin straps, and light canvas-webbing equipment (inside the helmet) were worn in the Netherlands East Indies operations. Japanese parachutists landed at Koepang in green uniforms.

b. Officer Accessories

Each Japanese officer carries a flashlight, a wallet containing maps, and writing material. At Palembang officers wore after landing a green khaki cap, similar to a baseball cap, with an orange star at the front, and green khaki shirts and shorts. Each of them carried a 32-caliber automatic pistol (with cleaning rod), a Leicatype camera, field glasses (calibrated on the right lens only), and a haversack containing such articles as leather gloves, cigarettes, several small liquid-filled vials, and packages of concentrated food.

c. Haversack

The noncommissioned officers and men are equipped with a haversack containing a complete change of underclothing, an extra pair of shoes, and ordinary and emergency rations.

d. Food

The 3-day ration carried in the haversack consists of 2 1/4 pounds of rice, 2 tins of canned fish, 2 tins of canned meat, and 1 ounce of tea. The iron ration for parachutists is made in wafer form of ground rice and wheat, with some sesame seed. In addition, they use an extract of mussel flesh, prunes, preserved ginger, crushed bean meal, and norwi (dried seaweed containing alkali, soda, and iodine). Such rations have been tried out successfully in the climates of Malaya, the East Indies, the Philippines, China, Manchuria, and Siberia.

e. Weapons

Japanese parachute troops carry pistols and daggers or knives, used to cut the parachute shrouds upon landing. The individual sometimes wears a small radio receiving set on his belt. Other radios, machine guns, light mortars, entrenching tools, and so on, are frequently dropped separately from the men. Troops are usually equipped with submachine guns and light folding bicycles. The majority of the Japanese dropped at Koepang were armed with either submachine guns or automatic rifles.

f. Parachutes

With the Japanese export market for silk largely cut off since Pearl Harbor, it will be logical to expect the Japanese to produce an almost indefinite number of high-quality parachutes with their abundant silk. At the start of the offensive against Sumatra in early 1942, each man carried a spare parachute for use in emergency. Normally the Japanese parachute opens after 3 seconds and then checks the falling rate to 16.5 feet per second. Since the average Japanese soldier is lighter than the American, he can theoretically carry down relatively more equipment. In Japanese maneuvers, the parachute of a section leader, who jumps first, is often dyed a special color to enable other members of the section to watch for signals from him during the descent and after landing.

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