Thursday, May 28, 2015

The show must go on!

And I guess it will.

This is post 2164. Be the first kid on your block to read them all.

Anyway, yesterday I wrote about General Kuribayashi and reading up on him led me to another aspect of the Japanese side of the war.

Yesterday I started a book about some the stories of some of the survivors of the Japanese army in Burma. Only about 39% of them ever returned to Japan.

From what little I have gathered being a Japanese soldier, especially a conscript was no bed of roses. 

Bad food, shoddy equipment, brutal officers and noncoms were pretty much the norm. It strikes me that stern but compassionate officers like Kuriayashi were few and far between.

Either the Brits or the Americans wouldn't stand for treatment like that for a minute. The public would would not have stood for it for an instant and the troops simply would have mutinied. 

In fact there were a few small mutinies. The NCOs of Easy Company, 506th PIR said they'd turn in their stripes if Captain Sorbel wasn't relieved. Patton was almost relieved simply for slapping a shell-shocked GI.

The American public was willing to send their sons off to war but they made damned good and sure their boys were taken care of. Even the greenest of recruits had rights and was given a certain degree of respect.

Striking an enlisted man in the American army was a court-martial offense and was at least paid lip service. Although hands-on discipline existed in the American services (and still does to a point) it was not really widespread. Nor was it casually administered.

I just read that a horrendous number of Japanese military deaths were from disease and starvation. Damned few GIs died of starvation and routine immunizations and compulsory field sanitation coupled with excellent medical facilities kept GI disease deaths to a minimum.

American disease deaths have plummeted since the Civil War and by WW2 were way down. Most GI deaths during the war are likely attributed to accidents and combat.

The life of a Japanese soldier was probably pretty grim when you think about it. The average Japanese soldier was given little respect and were often referred to by officers as 'one cent men', (or the Japanese equivalent) being the price of the post card sent to them as a draft notice.

It must have been a horrible existence.

When I'm done with the book I might make another post on what I read.

Anyway, that's all for today.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

1 comment:

  1. "Although hands-on discipline existed in the American services (and still does to a point) it was not really widespread. Nor was it casually administered."

    When I went through Marine boot camp in 73, one year before DI's were forbidden to strike a recruit*, We sometimes got a "talking to" in the duty hut. Out of sight of any witnesses. Once I got a lesson in front of the whole platoon when one of the DI's took his sword, planted it firmly in my solar plexus and asked me if I wanted to be run through. Fun times. Of course I wouldn't trade a minute of it for anything in the world. They took a farm kid and turned me into the man I am today. I raise a glass to all of the DI's that help me learn some of life's most important lessons. Semper Fi.

    *in 1974, during pugil stick training, a DI beat a recruit to death. This brought about new rules about the handling of training exercises and laying hands on recruits.