It was amusing to read an official Japanese report in the papers, issued from their HQ in Canton, reporting this raid over HK. It was obviously issued for home consumption and publication in other Japanese areas and I think it got into our local papers by mistake, for it claimed that at the approach of the American bombers, Japanese fighters immediately went up to intercept, shooting down three or four (at least – I cannot now lay my hands on the newspaper) and dispersing the others in such confusion that they hastily jettisoned their bombs into the sea, thus causing no damage at all. All the Japanese planes returned unscathed to their base.
From this fabrication, one gets a good idea of how much to believe of other fantastic claims the Japanese are constantly making of the operations in progress in Burma, New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and other areas. In these places they often claim to have shot down as many as 40% to 50% of an attacking force, while their own losses are always so small that the whole thing becomes palpably absurd and unreal. Also, the percentage of enemy planes that their ground forces claim to shoot down (compared with the figures they publish of even German claims) are quite fantastic. This sort of propaganda is altogether too clumsy to be at all convincing.
From time to time their newspapers (reporting in English) adopt or coin a new English phrase: with regard to naval actions the latest phrase which constantly occurs is ……… “instantaneously sinking”…… or……… “which sank instantaneously,” and it is extraordinary how many British ships seem to sink instantaneously these days. The invariable phraseology for announcing the small Japanese air losses is as follows, “Of our planes, two (or perhaps even four) deliberately crash dived into enemy objectives or failed to return to their bases.” However, I believe it is quite true that many of the Japanese airmen are completely wreckless of life and limb and will dive their plane, with its load of bombs, straight at an enemy ship or important target.