Marine Germany

What made Japan to not improve their army in ww2?

They got beaten by a militia in Australia. Something the Germans could of handled in a matter of minutes. When faced against western allies and Russians they always lose more men than their opponents so their soldiers weren't good. A lot of them were equipped with simple bolt action rifles and would often miss their targets ie American marines. Germany was also low on natural resources but they almost won the war.

I think your generalization is too broad. The Japanese army at times and in certain contexts could be highly effective. Their conquest of the Malay peninsula was surprisingly rapid, and they also effectively liquidated the cut-off American garrison on the Philippines. Particularly when entrenched with adequate supplies, they could inflict heavy casualties on U.S. troops (consider the one-third casualty rate U.S. forces suffered taking Okinawa). In the case of the approach to Australia, the Australian forces fought ferociously in some of the nastiest jungle warfare ever seen in what amounted to a large holding operation. Australia, in actuality, was saved because of Japan's strategic setback at the battle of Coral Sea.

Japan's chief limitation was that it didn't have the potential for a large enough industrial base to develop both a large, high-powered army and navy. It had to make choices, and it chose a naval strategy. Japan's army suffered from inferior and outdated rifles, field artillery, and especially tanks. Nonetheless, they were more than a match for any Asian power they would have to contend with and were even a substantial threat to the Soviet Union in a two-front war (Japan's 1939 defeat on the Manchuria border not withstanding).

On the other hand, Japan at the start of the global war in 1941 had some of the best warships in the world, including some excellent aircraft carriers. The Japanese zero at the start of the war also was arguably the best tactical fighter, and the Japanese also had an excellent dive bomber. However, Japan lacked the industrial basis to continue to develop improvements in these systems quickly during an ongoing war. Japan's entire limited industrial base was devoted simply to producing sufficient munitions and replacement materiel for the navy and army.

The chief reason that Japanese lost more total casualties than the Americans is due to their strategic situation. The Japanese empire was largely spread across Pacific islands in sizable but isolated garrisons. There was no 'depth' to these defenses, which meant that if they only had 20,000 defenders but Americans landed with 60,000 troops (as was often the case) then the outcome was a foregone conclusion. The Americans were guaranteed eventually to win, it was only a matter of how long the defenders could hold out. In the early weeks of such island battles, the Japanese often inflicted very heavy casualty rates on the attacking Americans. But once their key positions were broken up into isolated pockets, they could be liquidated piecemeal. Most other armies, at such a time, simply would have surrendered -- but Japanese forces usually held out to the bitter end, suffering vastly higher losses. For example, at several times in 1944-45 (or 1943, in North Africa), German armies of more than 200,000 surrendered in whole to the Allies. When Japanese surrendered, it was usually only badly wounded handfuls of survivors.

It is worth noting that the U.S. military never fought a major set-piece main battle against a Japanese army group in East Asia, certainly nothing even close to the kinds of field battles they fought against huge German armies in North Africa and Western Europe. All American land battles against the Japanese were contained "island hopping" campaigns. In the fall of 1945, however, the U.S. had planned for "Operation Olympic" to invade the home island of Kyushu with 9 divisions -- which would have made it the largest amphibious invasion in history, even bigger than D-Day. The atomic bombs forestalled the invasion and (eventually) brought about Japan's surrender, but the Japanese had been prepared for an all-out defense (Operation Tetsugo) with over 12 divisions. We'll never know now, but it is far from clear the U.S. even could have successfully taken Kyushu against those odds.

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