if the USN said she needed to remain in theatre, I think she could have been capable of doing that after a patch up! Just how long she was actually under repair in Bombay would be interesting to know,
Even in the reports of the East Indies Fleet, all I can find about her in time in Bombay is that she was 'undergoing repairs at Bombay' plus the dates we already know from elsewhere.
There's apparently a full report on Fold3 but a subscription is needed to view it.
According to this page, she was quite badly damaged:
Grounding had damaged the Boise on 21 January so badly that she was beyond repair by available facilities. She was accordingly cannibalized - stripped, for the benefit of her sisters - of all ammunition and stores and sent limping off to Ceylon.​
I suspect that with damage that bad, she wouldn't have been repaired much quicker at Singapore, given that base's other priorities, and would still have been returned to the USA as she was OTL.

But this is all a bit ancillary to your story now - my apologies for going down the rabbit hole perhaps a bit too far...
 
Even in the reports of the East Indies Fleet, all I can find about her in time in Bombay is that she was 'undergoing repairs at Bombay' plus the dates we already know from elsewhere.
There's apparently a full report on Fold3 but a subscription is needed to view it.
According to this page, she was quite badly damaged:
Grounding had damaged the Boise on 21 January so badly that she was beyond repair by available facilities. She was accordingly cannibalized - stripped, for the benefit of her sisters - of all ammunition and stores and sent limping off to Ceylon.​
I suspect that with damage that bad, she wouldn't have been repaired much quicker at Singapore, given that base's other priorities, and would still have been returned to the USA as she was OTL.

But this is all a bit ancillary to your story now - my apologies for going down the rabbit hole perhaps a bit too far...
EM Garnett Moneymaker>Ltjg Moneymaker>Dr. Moneymaker (Anesthesiologist post war) UNM Albuquerque library holds Wartime Diaries
A Snipe aboard the USS Boise CL-47 Summer 1941-November 1942(?) so he did the battle of Savo Island and the yard periods @ MINSY( NEI) and PNSY (Savo Island)
This is off of Notepad, so if you have MS Office, you can get a better readout. I have Office, but the PWD goes to a former phone. Grrrr. Hope it helps though.

I added some comments in Bold

Start 21 JAN 41

Wed. 21. We are preparing for battle. We are going through the Makassar straits and will probably be in battle about 16:00. We have the Marblehead and 6 destroyers with us. We will join the Houston. While making a short cut we ran over a coral reef and did a lot of damage to our bottom. They seem to think we ripped quite a bit of it out. The ship really did some tall jumping around, our speed was 22 knots. We know the pit log (pitometer for measuring speed) is broken off or bent at right angles. No battle. We are going in some cove, transfer fuel to the other ships and send over a diver in the A.M. to see how much damage is done.

Thurs. 22. Divers were over the side practically all day. Both screws are OK. Under #2 Fire Room (how many fire rooms? four or eight? If four then #2 is second compartment aft. If eight then first compartment aft, port 1,3,5,7 and starboard 2.4.6.8. Engine Room large compartment aft of fire rooms. My Conway 1922-46 says that there were eight (8) B&W boilers, four (4) shafts. See URL Below) there are two big holes and in two different places rivets are sheared off for a distance of 6 ft. Under #3 & #4 Fire rooms there are quite a few large holes and in one place rivets have been sheared off for 15 ft. The Port side just has several big dents in it and the pit log is bent up against the hull. Both bilge keels are mashed quite a bit. We are apparently going to Java and see where we are to go. I surely hope it is a dry dock in the States. I finished the chess board and I hope it dries OK.


Fri. 23. The damn green border around the board will not dry. We get paint like that once in a while. We are still going West so we should be in Java sometime tomorrow. The Captain or the Navigator is liable to get relieved (Rocks and Shoals). We had to transfer the Admiral and he was making some good changes. The Boise certainly is always messing up.

Sat. 24. We stand a pretty fair chance of going back to the States to get our bottom [fixed]. We will get in tomorrow so I am hopeing [sic] for the best. The green paint is nearly dry so Fleer and I played a game of Chess. He won. Hope we do not hit any rough weather cause if we do we are liable to break in the middle.

Sun. 25. I can’t seem to find the name of this place that we are anchored in now. We got here about 08:50. We put in a new pit log shaft. Just knocked the other one clear through the bottom. (If you pressurize the compartment, the ocean will stay out. This was performed according to the DBFers for xducer replacements. Not BuShips idea, but maybe it worked) We had GQ about 02:15 this morning and secured at day break. Several of our destroyers attacked a Jap convoy in the Makassar Straits and did quite a bit of damage but they did not get but little damage themselves.

Mon. 26. Mazur and I checked all four shaft revolution transmitters and reset them. Every chance we get (at anchor) we go over all the IC circuits. We are getting liberty here but it is a whole lot like Darwin from the way people are talking. I rate liberty tomorrow. I have the 20:00 to 2400 security watch tonight. There still is not any dope out as to where and when we are going. Guess we will be here for a few days though.

Tues. 27. Went ashore. It sure is a small filthy place. About all the natives can speak is “money”. It is hard to try to find a halfway clean place to eat. Finally ended up by going in the back of one of the joints and cooking my own ham and eggs. If you order a fish or chicken they catch them and it takes quite a time to kill, clean and cook them. I baught [sic] some chocolate. The name of this place is TJILATJAP.

Wed. 28. Nothing going on today. I have the 20:00 to 2400 security watch. Eating all the time from liberty parties coming back.

Thurs. 29. I have shore patrol today. But then I will not get it again for quite a while. Did not have much trouble. Had to drag one drunk back to the ship and take him to the brig. Boy taking a drunk down four decks by yourself is really a good job. I had a good chow on the beach.

Fri. 30. We loaded the bilges of the #4 Fire room with rock. To hold the deck plates down. We have a new skipper. Commander Moran made Captain so he relieved Robinson.

Sat. 31. I rated liberty today but did not go over. This is a hole. I would like to make a civilized port.

Feb. We transferred OFF 1200 rounds of 5 3 A m m u n i t i o n a n d 6 0 0 o f 3 3 . A l s o m o s t o f o u r
S u n . 1 . G S K [ g e n e r a l s t o r e k e e p e r ] s t o r e s . W e h a v e e n o u g h s u p p l i e s f o r 6 w e e k s . S o u n d s l i k e s t a t e s f o r u s , I h o p e .
G u e s s J o h n r e a l l y f e e l s l i k e a m a n n o w .

M o n . 2 . W e l e f t T J I L A T J A P t h i s m o r n i n g . T h e n e w s kipper passed the word that we are going to Colombo. Guess we will go in dry dock there. We at least know where we are going. Chow is really getting bad. We are getting beans, spuds, rice and stew. The stew is awful and I do mean awful.

Tues. 3. The commander gave us the word that the ships force would do all the work on the ship. So that means lots of turn to. We will be there approximately a month. Hope we take on supplies. We will go right into battle as soon as we get out. Not even any stew today. Guess we can last out until we get to Colombo. Hope there are some white people there.

Sun. 8. Looks like my small pox vac is going to take. We were paid today I drew $12. We will get paid again in rupees when we get in port, tomorrow. I have to draw off $150 check form. That will only leave me $90 but guess that will run me for awhile I hope. I have about $50 with me in case I ever abandon ship. Might as well be optomistic [sic]. 18:35 we are in precautionary GQ sighted a destroyer. All our guns are ready to fire. We are getting ready to challenge said ship. Hope she answers friendly. If no answer we are supposed to open fire. “Stand by to make full speed”. “What ship” we have challenged. She answered “Enterprise”. We are still standing by. There is no knowledge that the “Enterprise” is out here. It has been verified as “HMS Enterprise”, a cruiser and not our air craft carrier. Everything is OK. So we will secure in a few minutes and get a little sleep after condition II has been set.

Mon. 9. We anchored in Colombo 9th. There are two entrances to the harbor. Just as soon as a
thru ship comes in or out they close the sub nets. It would be a calamity if this harbor were

Fri. 13. bombed. The merchant ships tie up two alongside and then in rows. There are at least 75
ships in here, including 6 British warships and several (5) large troop ships. The USS West Point was here and on her way to Singapore. Looks like the Japs are going to take that island. This is not a very good city for liberty. But any place where they are having blackouts is not very good, everything closes up at sunset and the streets are dark as pitch. The place is overrun with Rickshaws but they are reasonable and most of the pullers can talk a little bit of English. They have pretty good movies here, American, and there are quite a few of them that I have not seen. Practically all labor is by the natives and every fourth one is asking for alms. War is hitting this place hard and the people are practically living from shipments from Australia and America. India never did have very much food and now they are not exporting anything. The town has quite a few evacuees from it and there have been three of the Empress ships in here loaded with them. We can still get pretty good chow but prices are jumping from day to day. I bought mother a star sapphire for Rs.30 being it is her birthstone. You can get most any kind of jewels there are, but there is not any way of telling if you have been taken or not. We are still waiting to enter dry dock and [it] looks like we will be here for at least a month to come. It would be a calamity if this place were bombed.

Sat. 14. We had personnell [sic] inspection Sat A.M. and I rated 1300 liberty. Just went over and
thru fooled around. (Mr. Smith would not let Daniels, Fleer, & Clark go to Kandy Sunday

Tues. 17. because they had stained spots on their jumpers. Boy that takes the cake. Here we are at war, very little liberty and they treat us like that. There are no more whites in small stores. We have to wash our own white uniforms, laundry tears or dirties them up. The wash room is only open at 3 two hour intervals per day for 1,000 men. You just try to get clothes scrubbed. Then most of the time we have to press our own whites. Boy there is plenty of growling going on and if it keeps up, well you can expect most anything. To the devil with such regulations and the people that enforce them at such times as these. We are getting underway Wed. morn. We have not had any repairs made on the ship. This is a private owned dock and it does not give warships preferance [sic] over merchant ships. In other words we have wasted a good 11 days while Singapore has fallen.

Wed. 18. Underway at 08:00 for Bombay. We met the USS Mount Vernon about 11:00 full of U.S. Troops going to Colombo.

Thurs. 19. We have not run into anything and I do not think we will. There has been a lot of speech making about the fall of Singapore from England but she isn’t & can’t do much about it. U.S. aid is just beginning to show itself out here, but Japan has also got her situation well in hand, we will just have to wait and see.

Fri. 20. Dochnahl and I had a pretty good run in this A.M. We had a general mix up on emergency steering, he called me a liar over the telephone so I handed it back to him. After GQ I went up to his room and he was nice as pie about it slapped me on the back smiled and said to forget about it that it was all over. About ten o’clock (A.M. still) Griggs came down and told me I was on the spot. Was I surprised I told him that I wasn’t, and what Dochnahl had said. He said that I was being transferred to the shop and would wait further developments. If Dochnahl thinks I am going to ask him to leave me in the IC gang he has got me down wrong, to hell with him and his stabbing in the back policy. How does the old saying go “My head is bloody but unbowed”. He busted little Byers and kept him on the “Pan” so he will probably do the same to me. Soon as someone shows a little sense, initative [sic] and a willingness to leave [sic] his own life, and make his own decisions, there is Dochnahl with his thumbs down, but a smirk on his puss.
Sometimes I think I am going batty. But I will be myself if it kills me. We will anchor in Bombay tomorrow A.M.

Sat. 21. So far I have made three liberties in Bombay and it is fair. There is not much I can tell as
to far as writing is concerned. I am getting transferred to the shop, so guess Dochnahl is

Thurs. 26. satisfied. I had patrol Monday. Henning and I went swimming Tuesday.

Mar. Entered dry dock this A.M. There is quite a bit of damage to the ships bottom that will
Tues. 3. take about a month to fix.

Apr. Left dry dock this A.M. A month really slips by fast. I went ashore practically every day

Thurs. 2. I rated liberty. Get a good chow and go to a movie. It was a relief to take life easy for a change. I received a letter from John dated Feb. 1st on March 31st. First letter I have received since I left Pearl Harbor Nov 19, 1941. I sent $200 check to mother March 28th & wrote John, mother & Clarks a letter April 2.

I gained 15 pounds in Bombay. All I did was eat. At the rate I am going I will lose it in short order.

Fri. 3. Underway from Bombay to Fremantle, Australia it will take us about 2 weeks. We are going at 18 knots quite a good speed. I am in the shop now. I have the 0000 to 08:00 watch in shop tonight.

Sat. 4. We had precautionary GQ this A.M. Now I have the 08:00 to 12:00 watch in steering gear this A.M. Not much sleep for me today.

Sun. 5. We have increased our speed to 25 knots. Seems like we are in a big hurry to get to
Easter Australia. We are keeping one plane up from A.M. to P.M. Not much like Easter.
Sun. I haven’t been to church for so long I feel like a heathen. I have started back to studying again. Just read and played bridge in Bombay. Colombo was bombed this A.M. by 60 Jap planes. The British shot down 27 of them. We are on the lookout for a Jap carrier.

Mon. 6. Received word to stay in the vicinity off the Malavis [Maldive] Islands to wait on a convoy from Bombay. Saw a lot of debris, bales of cotton & 50 gallon tanks floating by all afternoon. We are not waiting for convoy any longer.
 
Last edited:
From The One Ship Fleet: USS Boise 1938-45 by Phillip Parkerson:
on 21 January 1942, she struck an unchartered reef off the island of Timor, ripping a huge gash in the hull. Thus, the cruiser had to put into Colombo, British Ceylon (modern-day Sri Lanka) for repairs. [...] where it remained for 11 days (9–18 February) awaiting a berth for repairs. When no room for her was found in Colombo, Boise departed on 18 February for Bombay (Mumbai), British India, where she went into dry dock.​
When temporary repairs were completed, Boise got underway from Bombay on 4 April 1942 and made for Mare Island Navy Yard at San Francisco, California, where she underwent an overhaul and refitting for war.​
So it seems that the damage, although enough to stop her proceeding with the mission she was on at the time, was not bad enough to stop her sailing long distances. There might be more in the Boise's own war diaries, but I don't have access to those.
This falls under the idea that the damage was not that large, but IMO, may have compromised multiple watertight compartments, and if so the Boise was, in modern terminology, missioned killed until patched.
 

Fatboy Coxy

Monthly Donor
But this is all a bit ancillary to your story now - my apologies for going down the rabbit hole perhaps a bit too far...
Hi Friendly Ghost, thank you for this, and no its not a bit ancillary for me, it helps provide me with the realistic options I have in writing the Boise in my ATL.
 

Fatboy Coxy

Monthly Donor
EM Garnett Moneymaker>Ltjg Moneymaker>Dr. Moneymaker (Anesthesiologist post war) UNM Albuquerque library holds Wartime Diaries
A Snipe aboard the USS Boise CL-47 Summer 1941-November 1942(?) so he did the battle of Savo Island and the yard periods @ MINSY( NEI) and PNSY (Savo Island)
This is off of Notepad, so if you have MS Office, you can get a better readout. I have Office, but the PWD goes to a former phone. Grrrr. Hope it helps though.

I added some comments in Bold

Start 21 JAN 41

Wed. 21. We are preparing for battle. We are going through the Makassar straits and will probably be in battle about 16:00. We have the Marblehead and 6 destroyers with us. We will join the Houston. While making a short cut we ran over a coral reef and did a lot of damage to our bottom. They seem to think we ripped quite a bit of it out. The ship really did some tall jumping around, our speed was 22 knots. We know the pit log (pitometer for measuring speed) is broken off or bent at right angles. No battle. We are going in some cove, transfer fuel to the other ships and send over a diver in the A.M. to see how much damage is done.
Hi Nevarinemex, thank you for this, a great find. Love all the little details about Tjilatjap, yes it was a small port with few facilities, but we'll meet her sometime in the future, when I discuss what was happening there. Then Colombo is mentioned, wow, that's a crowded port!, and lastly Bombay, both clearly impacted on by the falling of Singapore. I also loved the internal ship complaints. And just an inquisitive question, I take it Capt Robinson must have faced a court martial, and commander Moran presumably commanded until they reached stateside.
 
I take it Capt Robinson must have faced a court martial, and commander Moran presumably commanded until they reached stateside
I cut out this bit from the quotation from The One Ship Fleet in my earlier post as I didn't think it was relevant at the time (sorry!):
While en route to Colombo, the ship made a stop at the Javanese port of Tjilatjap (current spelling Cilacap) on 28 January 1942. There, the executive officer, Commander Edward. J. “Iron Mike” Moran, USN, was promoted to captain and relieved Captain S. B. Robinson, USN, as the Boise’s commanding officer (CO). The ship then proceeded to British Ceylon​
If USN regulations were like those of the RN's then yes, the captain at the time would have been court-martialled. I don't know for sure that the change of command was due to that, but I expect it was, as Capt Robinson would have had to go elsewhere for the CM.
Here's the list of the COs of the ship from 1940-43 (also from The One Ship Fleet, Appendix II):
Captain Stephen B. Robinson, USN August 1940–January 1942​
Captain Edward J. “Mike” Moran, USN January–December 1942​
Commander Burnett K. Culver, USN 1942–1943​

Capt Moran became famous (in the USN at least) for his words at the start of the engagement which made the Boise herself famous. Here's an extract from the Time magazine article (which is well worth reading completely):
It was a dark night, with long swells running. The U.S.S. Boise, knifing along at 25 knots, was part of a cruiser column, screened by destroyers, sent to head off a Jap landing force in the Solomons. Suddenly there were enemy ships to starboard.​
Over the Boise's telephone jut-jawed Captain Edward J. ("Mike") Moron spoke to the spotter in No. 1 position: "How many ships have you spotted?"​
"I have five in sight, sir."​
"Pick out the biggest one and fire."​
In the next 27 minutes she sank six Japanese ships and managed to survive herself - worthy of the One Ship Fleet epithet!
 
Hi Nevarinemex, thank you for this, a great find. Love all the little details about Tjilatjap, yes it was a small port with few facilities, but we'll meet her sometime in the future, when I discuss what was happening there. Then Colombo is mentioned, wow, that's a crowded port!, and lastly Bombay, both clearly impacted on by the falling of Singapore. I also loved the internal ship complaints. And just an inquisitive question, I take it Capt Robinson must have faced a court martial, and commander Moran presumably commanded until they reached stateside.
I'm not sure that Capt. Robinson faces a Courts-Martial. More likely a Board of Inquiry. BOI. Three senior officers determining your fate. Believe me, it's unpleasant for all parties who are involved in the proceedings.

The 75th Anniversary Volume of The Java Sea Campaign NHHC USN describes the underwater obstruction off Kelapa Island as a pinnacle rock. Unlike a shoal or reef, there may not be any fouling waves or lighter water appearing to forewarn a ship. It's dark. At best a quarter waxing moon, traveling at 20 or so knots after sunset.

After sunrise, you can shoot your location with sextant or get fixes off shore and dead reckon. You're going to be there a while. It might be interesting to see the navigation plots, deck log, QM's log of the incident. I would hazard a guess they were microfiche and converted digitally at some time. FOIA anybody?

If it's daytime, your float plane may be able to give a warning of a reef. Since the damage appears to be to the keel area, not near the waterline, that may be moot. The draft on a Brooklyn Class cruiser is 20 feet. If you are in a combat load out there may be a deeper draft depth. The tip of the rock may never appear on a chart, even today

I don't believe that Capt. Robinson's career advancement potential is any greater than zero, as he's now hit his pinnacle. Although the Dept. of the Navy cited that the grounding was accidental, I'm guessing that there is a comfortable desk somewhere in the Annex for him.

Captain Moran went on to greater things. He was Boise skipper at Cape Esperance and brought her to PNSY for repairs and refit. Received the Navy Cross. Retired as a RADM.

BTW. The EM's (Electrician's Mate) diary is at LOC.gov
 
Last edited:

Fatboy Coxy

Monthly Donor
Ok, I'm working ahead on some of my stories, and looking at potential battlefields. And I've noticed that both Northern Malaya and the Thailand part of the Kra Isthmus, as well as Burma have a lot of padi fields. Now this is VERY different from jungle, and both sides might not chose to defend in this area, let alone attack across it. Much of my fighting will be in a jungle environment, and I can use historical actions from Malaya, as well as the Kokoda trail, along with others to help frame my battles. But for padi, all I have is vague memories of US troops in Vietnam on patrol.

So lets have it, thoughts and ideas on fighting across padi fields. Initially I'd ask, when are they wet, when dry, when harvested, can tanks ever cross them. what cover might you have, can you only attack across them at night. How well do artillery and mortar rounds work, do many just bury themselves? And has the working of padi fields changed much in the last 80 years, are they bigger now, two harvests instead of one. The few maps of age that I have to work on merely show an area marked as padi, but this must be interlocked with ditches to flood and drain the fields.

All thoughts welcome, oh and if we wander off into the making of rice pudding, my nan used to put a bit of nutmeg on top, lovely❤️
 
I was on a walking holiday in Thailand (quite a few years ago) in April and the paddy fields seemed to be baked hard. One had been cleared and was being used as a football field and wasn't fun to slip onto. This was in a fairly high area (not too far from Chiang Mai). The river was low that year and some rice barges couldn't go all the way down river either.
So, at that time of year I'd think mortar/artillery rounds would burst on the ground just fine. Tanks? maybe? Suspect ok but I'm no engineer.
(And of course conditions would be very different at other times of the year but if the campaign drags on, who knows?)
 

Driftless

Donor
I was on a walking holiday in Thailand (quite a few years ago) in April and the paddy fields seemed to be baked hard. One had been cleared and was being used as a football field and wasn't fun to slip onto. This was in a fairly high area (not too far from Chiang Mai). The river was low that year and some rice barges couldn't go all the way down river either.
So, at that time of year I'd think mortar/artillery rounds would burst on the ground just fine. Tanks? maybe? Suspect ok but I'm no engineer.
(And of course conditions would be very different at other times of the year but if the campaign drags on, who knows?)
No clue, only a guess that that some of the lower elevation surface is hard pan and underneath is probably pretty boggy (close to the normal water table - which will be somewhat above river levels). If the paddys are more upland terraces, no clue at all.
 
From some of my old combat engineer manuals. Paddy fields when growing rice or after a short time after being flooded before planting should be avoided by any vehicles because you don't know how the mud is in the paddy. One paddy could have easy way across because of the type of mud in it, but another one could let a water buffalo sink down into it. If you look at the pictures of even the ones way back you can see the trails and roads are on the dikes themselves. The small dikes that cross the paddies usually have small tracks or trails that might have room for two people to pass on them or a water buffalo without a cart or implement behind it. The larger dikes would have a road on them that was made to be as much all weather as possible to let carts up to small trucks go across them and in some cases you might have a railroad crossing them in an arrangement of both dike and trestle arrangement to cross them.
Wet or dry they can make good cover for infantry units, back in the Vietnam war the VC would use them because they could setup 4 to 5 men and ambush the US and South Vietnamese Army troops then get away. You are limited in crossing them to trails or the roads unless you want to slug across the paddies in the mud if they are flooded for crops and makes it easier for the defenders to know that if they go to ground in the paddies you get a chance to get up and move to another position and have another unit cover you if the enemy get up to attack you. Imagine having a couple of mortars set up in a tree line with direct line of sight able to fire where the enemy goes to ground.
 

Coulsdon Eagle

Monthly Donor
My (late) old man saw service in Korea. His patrol had to dive into a padi field to avoid enemy fire and discovered what they used as fertilizer. Whole company gave the squad a very wide berth!

So, as well as Vietnam, you can look at the Korean War too.
 
Soft/flooded paddy can have an attenuating effect on impact or delay fused artillery, especially high angle fire by frequently causing the round to bury itself in the muck before the fuse functions. To offset this in the pre-proximity/VT days, time fuze shells can be used for airburst effect, exploiting the lack of natural overhead cover in a paddy field.

Direct fires are going to have to overcome deadspace limitations imposed by the dikes and berms in the paddies. Grazing fire outside deadspace in paddy areas is only limited by ballistics and topography. Given time to identify deadspace and plan fires to cover them, direct fire weapons can achieve complementary effects with mortars and other high angle fires by fixing infantry and other troops for destruction. Dry season paddies may be trafficable by armor and even wheeled vehicles (dikes may need to be breached), but provide limited cover. In the wet season, vehicles can be canalized along roads and wider dikes into engagement areas.

Woodlines and built up areas along paddy edges are likely areas for defending or overwatching positions. However, these areas are also likely targets for any prep fires because of that. With time, units can establish firing positions in these areas then occupy hides further away from the likely impact areas, using combat trails to rapidly occupy the firing positions. Paddy dikes themselves provide good cover against direct fire, and can be improved as infantry fighting positions if time allows. The challenge is effecting movement or withdrawal from them, but dikes and ditches can be improved into commo or crawl trenches to help with that. For combat engineers, mining the far side of a dike can help deny cover to the enemy and drive them back into the envelope of direct fires.

Aerial observation and fires against units in paddies are extremely effective. Anti-aircraft fires can provide cover either by denial of the airspace over friendly forces using a barrage, or by denying air avenues of approach to force attackers into unfavorabl approaches. However, this is most likely to be of limited effect.
 
Soft/flooded paddy can have an attenuating effect on impact or delay fused artillery, especially high angle fire by frequently causing the round to bury itself in the muck before the fuse functions. To offset this in the pre-proximity/VT days, time fuze shells can be used for airburst effect, exploiting the lack of natural overhead cover in a paddy field.
A force that knows it will be defending a paddy area can prepare while still in forested/jungle areas by building overhead/sidewall shelter-covers made of short sections of tree trunk, lashed together, to set over fighting positions on the reverse side of dike-berms. These can provide protection against mortar/artillery fragments and other-than-direct-hit blast, including attackers' grenades, and therefore considerably stiffen the prepared defense against ordinary infantry assault. The side and rear protection afforded by such shelters also is sufficiently bullet-resistant that a second defensive line can fire at will against infiltrators that have worked their way between and behind the first line's positions, without overly worrying that their fire against those infiltrators will hit their own first-line guys in the back.

Such shelter-covers can be set in place over each dugout fighting hole, located by sledgehammer-driven stakes.

Camouflage against air observation in a paddy area is fairly straightforward, consisting of a cover of dike-mud-dirt and local vegetation. The log structure can be waterproofed with tent-canvas before application of the camouflage, providing the fighters stationed there with some protection from rain and also holding out moisture from overhead mud.
 
A force that knows it will be defending a paddy area can prepare while still in forested/jungle areas by building overhead/sidewall shelter-covers made of short sections of tree trunk, lashed together, to set over fighting positions on the reverse side of dike-berms. These can provide protection against mortar/artillery fragments and other-than-direct-hit blast, including attackers' grenades, and therefore considerably stiffen the prepared defense against ordinary infantry assault. The side and rear protection afforded by such shelters also is sufficiently bullet-resistant that a second defensive line can fire at will against infiltrators that have worked their way between and behind the first line's positions, without overly worrying that their fire against those infiltrators will hit their own first-line guys in the back.

Such shelter-covers can be set in place over each dugout fighting hole, located by sledgehammer-driven stakes.

Camouflage against air observation in a paddy area is fairly straightforward, consisting of a cover of dike-mud-dirt and local vegetation. The log structure can be waterproofed with tent-canvas before application of the camouflage, providing the fighters stationed there with some protection from rain and also holding out moisture from overhead mud.
Yep- going into a a deliberate defense is much easier than attacking through a paddy. The level of defense is going to be heavily determined by time available. According to engineer field data, planning factor for a two soldier position with overhead cover (what you’d want against medium artillery and infantry guns) is about 11 man hours to construct (or two soldiers working 5 hours; assuming material, pioneer tools, and site survey are available (at least doubled if not using pioneer tools and doubled again if having to prep your material (other than filling sandbags). An MG position requires about 12 man hours, a mortar 14. Double apron barb wire is 59-71 man hours per 300m (1-1.4mt of material) depending on how strongly supported you want it with tanglefoot taking another 59 man hours per 300m (1mt of material)- it’s only 30 man hours per 300m for triple standard concertina (2.4mt of material), though (easier to work with). It’s about the same for an 11 row anti-vehicle obstacle. A log crib can take 120-240 man hours for a standard road. A 300m frontage AP disruption minefield (.5 mines per meter) requires 60 (bounding)-150 (blast type) AP mines and will be between 6 and 18m deep- emplacement will take anywhere between 10-15 minutes per mine, plus marking and recording-less surveying, etc (about two hours for an engineer platoon supported by a company mine dump and transportation). This is just labor, and doesn’t include rehearsals, surveying, etc. The mines will require a 3cwt truck to move in one lift

To give an example, an infantry platoon (36 men, 3 BREN, 1 2in mortar) is tasked to defend a generic 300m sector of frontage and given 24 hours to prep. Driven hard and assuming tools and materials, a unit screening their front, plus a site survey in advance, this likely gets them the following: every man in a hastily camouflaged 2-3 man fighting position with overhead cover; fields of fire cleared, hasty fighting positions (skirmishers trenches/scrapes) on supplementary positions (cover an alternate enemy avenue of approach from the expected); a completed and rehearsed fire plan (including any artillery or mortar targets allocated) for both the primary and supplementary positions to include sector stakes, deadspace identification/coverage, and range markers; engagement, movement, and counterattack rehearsals; adjacent unit coordination, wire to higher, and local security patrols with an LP/OP established with a rehearsed re-entry plan. Likely the platoon sergeant has a designated tree and area for personal necessities as well. That‘s the bare minimum for a deliberate defense, and about as quickly as you can do it. If they get help with the digging (demo, labor, etc), they might be able to get some protective wire or other obstacle in to stack the enemy up just outside hand grenade range and maybe a few trip flares or cans with rocks in them on the most likely approaches.

Given another day, you could expect comprehensive camouflage, fully dug and covered supplemental positions, an ambush patrol forward, and definitely protective wire, and maybe some tactical wire or obstacles. Three days likely gets you an alternate set of hasty fighting positions, and the beginnings of crawl trenches as well as more tactical and maybe some supplementary obstacles. At four days, I’d expect crawl trenches; protective, tactical, and supplementary wire and obstacles; and maybe some dug in prestocks of extra ammo and water. Given a week, the platoon should have a full set of primary, alternate, and supplemental fighting positions with crawl trenches; protective, tactical, and supplementary wire and obstacles; be conducting regular security patrols and ambush patrols forward of its position; stocks of ammo and water dug in, and have dug latrine, sleeping, and eating areas to alllow them to maintain themselves in their position under fire.

Terrain based positions like paddy dikes or ditches are going to shave some time off of this, but the reality is dirt still needs to be moved. At this point, it’s going to come down to how well the engineers and maneuver commanders surveyed the ground before hostilities commence. This will drive the efficiency with which limited assets are utilized in the time available before contact with the enemy.
 
Last edited:
Attacking across a paddy (dry or wet) is ill advised. They are ready made engagement areas. If the attacker can fix the defender and bypass or turn them out of such a position it is preferable. Otherwise, attacking in limited visibility to seize a shallow set of objectives after rolling back any patrols or outposts may at least offer the defender the opportunity to close with the attacker. Tactically, this looks like the approaches made by some IJA units or the 6th Rangers at Cabanatuan with prolonged low crawling to occupy assault positions within hand grenade range with no artillery prep. If you must attack during the day, the. concentrating on a narrow point of penetration and employing feints. air, artillery, and direct fires to suppress the enemy and neutralize his artillery and heavy weapons is about the only thing you can hope for. Ideally, the ground will permit the use of tanks, which also means they’ll need engineer support to deal with any existing or reinforcing obstacles.
 
Last edited:
Top