U.S.

September 20, 2013

Military Intelligence – this week in history

Tags:
Ruth Quinn, Staff Historian
USAICoE Command History Office
Photo property of the U.S. Army
Sidney Mashbir was the commander of Allied Translator and Interpreter Service, SWPA G2.

Allied Translator and Interpreter Section activated

Sidney Mashbir was the commander of Allied Translator and Interpreter Service, SWPA G2.

Sept. 19, 1942
After the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7 1941, President Roosevelt declared war on Japan the next day. Three days later, Hitler declared war on the United States. Thus the American military was thrust suddenly into World War II, fighting in two different theaters, against vastly different enemies.

Gen. Douglas MacArthur, who had been commanding forces in the Philippines, arrived in Australia in March 1942 and was soon thereafter appointed as the supreme commander of all Allied forces in the Southwest Pacific Area, or SWPA.

The SWPA was constituted on April 18, 1942, by agreement among the Governments of Australia, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and the United States. On that date, MacArthur assumed command and proceeded to establish his General Headquarters at Melbourne.

MacArthur’s assistant chief of staff for Intelligence was Col. Charles Willoughby, who oversaw the complex intelligence network of the SWPA Theater.

Willoughby set up a number of Allied intelligence collection organizations under his direct control. The Central Bureau handled cryptologic functions. Human Intelligence came from the Allied Intelligence Bureau, whose mission was to collect intelligence through clandestine operations behind enemy lines, conduct sabotage operations and recruit aid from the natives. The Allied Geographical Section was formed to collect and assemble topographic information, and to prepare and publish reports and locality studies on areas of immediate tactical interest. The most productive single intelligence agency established under the G2 of the SWPA was the Allied Translator and Interpreter Service, or ATIS, which was organized on Sept. 19, 1942.

ATIS effectively neutralized the Japanese language barrier — one of the greatest advantages possessed by the Japanese, as it was almost as effective as a secret code. The G2 employed hundreds of second-generation Japanese-Americans, called Nisei, in linguist detachments under ATIS. They accompanied assault landing forces across the beachhead and on inland, conducted spot interrogations, translated captured maps and plans, and gave the psychological warfare planners excellent insight into the morale problems of enemy soldiers through the exploitation of letters and diaries. Other captured and translated documents revealed the enemy’s food and supply problems, his order of battle, the effects of Allied air attacks and the effectiveness of both Allied and Japanese weapons.

The Commander of the ATIS, Col. Sidney Mashbir, in his book “I Was an American Spy,” called the ATIS document translation process a “brain-power quantity production line.” He stated that by the end of the war, ATIS had interrogated 14,000 prisoners, translated almost two million documents, and published more than 20 million pages of Japanese intelligence.

The irony was that the Japanese kept scrupulous records, which they rarely encrypted, having absolute confidence in the security the language barrier afforded. ATIS used this to their complete advantage, compiling nearly complete sets of unit papers, including war diaries, organizational rosters, intelligence reports, pay books, postal-savings books, correspondence and personal possessions. Using these captured items, they slowly and patiently built up a mosaic picture of the enemy force.

By the time the American forces reached Manila in January 1945, Mashbir boasted that [ATIS] “literally knew more about the Japanese Army than most of its own officers, because, as a matter of fact, we had their records. This was equally true of the Navy and Air Force.” Over the course of the war, ATIS issued thousands of printed documents, providing intelligence of immediate operational importance as well as overall strategic value.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Lisa Ferdinando

Army releases latest policies on female hairstyles, tattoos

Lisa Ferdinando 1st Sgt. Aki Paylor won’t have any trouble recalling the Warrior Ethos. “For me, the Warrior Ethos — that’s who I am.” Since all of Paylor’s tattoos were done a number of years ago, he’s grandfathe...
 
 

Combined Federal Campaign now underway on FH

The annual Combined Federal Campaign, CFC, is currently underway and ends Dec. 1. The CFC is the world’s largest and most successful annual workplace charity campaign with more than 200 CFC campaigns throughout the country to help raise millions of dollars each year, officials say. This year’s theme is “We Make it Possible.” Donations made...
 
 

It’s a Thin Line for prescription use, misuse, abuse; dispose of unused drugs Sept. 27

SAN ANTONIO — Nearly one out of 20 Soldiers misuse painkillers, says the website Army Thin Line. The website is part of a campaign designed to educate Soldiers, their friends and Families and the provider community about the dangers of prescription drug misuse and abuse. Army Thin Line encourages safe and responsible decisions when using...
 

 
PatriotDay1_20140911_Hidalgo

Fort Huachuca Community remembers the fallen

Soldiers place the wreaths for the Patriot Day Ceremony at Brown Parade Field on Fort Huachuca Sept. 11. The wreaths honored all who fell during the 9/11 attacks on the U.S. Fort Huachuca firefighters raise the American Flag at...
 
 
Photos by Eric Hortin, NETCOM

NETCOM honors deceased members during special ceremony

Photos by Eric Hortin, NETCOM From left, Maj. Gen. John Morrison Jr., Network Enterprise Technology Command commanding general, Command Sgt. Maj. Stephfon Watson, NETCOM command sergeant major, and Spc. Kyle Baker, NETCOM Headq...
 
 

Army Reserve training brigade moves to Fort Huachuca

Headquarters, 1st Brigade (Military Intelligence) 100th Training Division (Operational Support) will possibly relocate from Providence, Rhode Island, to Fort Huachuca pending approval from the Department of the Army. If approved, this action will transfer 72 positions here. Fifty-eight of those positions will be part-time reservists who will only be here one weekend a month for...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin