Doctrine Handbooks

This page is meant to supplement my Signals Tactics and Doctrine page found at


It consists of a series of booklets that I prepared in the 1970s for use by historians and war gamers. All of the materials in these books are derived from original sources. The IJN book, consisting of three sections, was ready to publish but fell through the cracks. The USN book is complete except for the appendices of the kind found in the IJN book. The USN appendices were never started. There was also a very rough draft of an IJN carrier doctrine booklet which I may post at a later date.   

This document is based on translated original sources which I have edited for sake of brevity. It together with item 2 is a fairly comprehensive of IJN doctrine in 1944.  From a signalling standpoint there are a number of items of note. First in the battleship and cruiser sections there are speed signals which can be signalled by speed cones as well as flag signals. Standard distance is noted for both types. This can be changed using signals in the "Complete Signal Book". Signal flags can and would be used to designate the type of action; e.g. Day action Ko; Method 1. The same would true for Squadron and Fleet fire distribution. Some of the pages are out of order (!) There are several pages with Alert Cruising Orders followed by Night Operations Doctrine. The Night Operations Force Doctrine pages should be after the Approach Dispositions, some of which are in the following section. The correct order is 1-14; 24-27; 15-23; 28-35. There is some overlap between Doctrine1 and Doctrine2 in this page counting. SORRY! Will correct eventually.

 Continuation of IJN 1 above. In the Diversion Attack Force Doctrine the method for creation of an order for cruising under alert can be found. Th flag sequence would be as outlined: 1. Type of Order, etc The same applies to Approach Orders with prefix "F" and fill in the blanks: Those who have Kaigun will recognize the Night OperationsForce Fighting Disposition with a few changes.

 These appendices are based on the best information available in the 1970s. They will not be revised.

This document is based on original sources from 1939-1944. For those who may have followed some of my postings on "parade ground" maneuvers the section on Maneuvers of a Battleship Fomation should be of interest. Some of these maneuvers are included in the "Surface Action Game" which is linked below.

Continuation of USN 1 above:

Maneuvering Board Sheet and text: Here is an example of a maneuvering board taken from Naval Operations: ManuveringBoardSheet.pdf The next link is a text on Maneuvering Board Use: ManeuveringBoardbyTomSparkman.mht

Surface Action Game. This game was "played" by me and Bob Weymouth in the 1970s. All of the formations, maneuvers, battle plans and the like are from the above IJN and USN Doctrine booklets:

Though on the "Signals Tactics and Doctrine" page the "Complete Signal Book" is also included here for quick and easy reference: Complete Signal Book

One very interesting contrast is the way the two navies built formations. For those familiar with the USN method using maneuvering board the Japanese method is very different. In the maneuvering board method ships are placed on the circles of a maneuvering board. Thus in the USN section Cruising Dispositon 4R we find station 1.5270 as the position of the flagship of one of the battleship division. This translates as 1500 yards and bearing 270 from the center of the formation (which is empty) as plotted on a maneuvering board. See the Maneuvering Board Links above. By contrast the Japanese used drawings of formations and dispositions for each type formation, thus;

Alert Cruising Order: The Standard Order for Cruising Under Alert can be used to create a formation not covered in the specific Orders that follow. There follows a series of specific Orders beginning with Y-21. Also note that in the Alert Orders each drawing has a horseshoe ahead of each division. This represents the direct destroyer escort stations for destroyers assigned to that division. The Standard Direct Escort Disposition is used to construct the destroyer screen. Destroyers are deployed on surface action stations in the approach and night operations Orders. In an Alert Cruising Order the assumed threat is submarine.

Approach Orders: The Standard Order of Approach can be used to create a formation not covered in the specific Orders that follow. There follows a series of specific Orders beginning with Approach Disposition Y-31. As noted in the above paragraph the order of the pages is confused here.

Night Operations Force Orders: The Scouting Dispositions are for Night Operations Force Orders.  The Standard Scouting Disposition is used to create a Scouting Disposition that is not in the specific Orders that follow.