Fun Friday Fact #6

In the absence of tanks of their own, or indeed of anti-tank weapons, Japanese soldiers would position themselves in ‘foxholes’, triumphantly bearing a bomb above their heads, ready to detonate it when an Allied tank rolled overhead.

They would also throw themselves under the tracks of a tank, strapped with explosives, of course. That’s when they weren’t lobbing coconuts at the tanks… This fact, fun as it is, demonstrates a real point – that the Japanese were not ready to fight a modern war like the war that found them in 1943-45. Early naval victories over the Allies in the pacific were cancelled out by the emergence of a new super power in the form of the USA. The Japanese, however brave were their troops, were not an equal match for what in two short years had surpassed the Germans as the most modern fighting force in the world. Let’s not forget that in her rise to the top of the food chain (1941-43), America had overtaken nations that had been gearing for war for 8-10 years. That is an astonishing achievement. Japan, on the other hand, was fighting with rifles that had been used in 1903. Indeed their men still trained with bows and arrows. Their soldiers were expected to work miracles with no resources whatsoever, and the most startling thing of all is that quite often they did! But the Second World War was a war of technology. The Japanese had no answer to the Anglo-American bombing campaigns, and the war in the pacific was over long before the Atomic bombs fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

I’m hanging here people; this is the best I can do. Give me a break alright. There’s no need to be so pushy.



Filed under The Second World War - Fun Friday Facts, Trivia

6 responses to “Fun Friday Fact #6

  1. You may already know this, but the Russians tried to do something very similar with dogs. They trained the dogs to run under tanks in order to find food (Using the best Pavlovian conditioning principles) and then sent them off into battle with anti-tank mines strapped to their backs. The irony is that they used Russian tanks to train the dogs and,since German tanks looked and sounded quite different, the dogs ran under the Russian tanks instead of the German ones.
    Incidently, I feel you can tell a lot about a country by looking at it’s mine clearing techniques. The British invented the electronic mine detector, while the French at one point, used farm animals. In Nazi Germany they used inmates from psychiatric hospitals and concentration camps, while the Red Army just used their infantry.
    These days there’s a campaign to ban land mines altogether. Obviously there’s resistance, but you can still take that as a sign of progress if you need something to cheer you up.

  2. Yes I was aware of the Russian method, but not of the mine related banter. Very interesting indeed.

  3. And they were ruthless. My friend suggested I read a book about it and I couldn’t get through the beheadings in the first 30 pages!!
    Launching coconuts wasn’t in there! Too funny!

  4. You are full of fascinating information. I bet you’re awesome at games like Trivial Pursuit and Cranium.

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