In 1941, Britain was an imperial power with colonies across south and south-east Asia. In December 1941, Japan attacked British territories in Hong Kong, Malaya, Singapore and Burma.By February 1942, Japanese forces had occupied Malaya. They then launched a new attack against the strategic island of Singapore, at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula. On 15 February 1942, British forces in Singapore surrendered to the Japanese. Prime Minister Winston Churchill would later call the surrender ‘the worst disaster…in British history’.
By June 1942 the Japanese had driven British, Indian and Chinese forces out of Burma. In February 1943 3,000 British and Nepalese Gurkha troops mounted a long distance raid behind Japanese lines. These troops, known as ‘Chindits’, were commanded by the deeply eccentric Brigadier Orde Wingate.
In spring 1944 Japan launched an invasion of India. It aimed to capture Imphal, a garrison town in the Indian border province of Manipur, and so prevent a British return to Burma. In order to isolate Imphal from a large supply base at Dimapur, Japanese troops attacked the small village of Kohima, which became the scene of ferocious fighting.
In 1943 the Fourteenth Army was formed in India. Under the command of Lieutenant-General Bill Slim, the Army’s task was to retake Burma from the Japanese. Slim’s generalship combined effective defensive tactics with imaginative and daring offensives. He was immensely popular with the Indian, Gurkha and British troops under his command.
While land forces were fighting the Japanese in Burma, the Royal Navy’s British Pacific Fleet took part in naval operations in the Pacific Ocean.
In the days following the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, and later of Nagasaki, the Japanese government debated whether to surrender. American aircraft could destroy Japanese cities at will, the Soviet Union had invaded Japanese-occupied Manchuria, and the Japanese home islands were also threatened with invasion. On 15 August, Emperor Hirohito announced Japan’s surrender.
WAR AGAINST JAPAN 1941- 1945 ATLAS UNITED KINGDOM MILITARY SERIES: OFFICIAL CAMPAIGN HISTORY
A full assembly of all 223 maps and sketches from UNITED KINGDOM MILITARY SERIES: OFFICIAL CAMPAIGN HISTORY – THE WAR AGAINST JAPAN. The maps are in chronological order and include the famous such as “Imphal” and “The Irrawaddy”, and the not so famous such as “The action at Slim River”.
The maps are full size and faithful to the original cartography in all respects, allowing the reader to follow the Second World War in the south-east Asian theatre, its battles, campaigns, assaults, skirmishes,and retreats, as the fighting and its various phases developed month by month, and year by year. This is a very impressive map collection that should be part of every serious military scholar’s collection.