This, the penultimate book in the series of five in the 18-volume official History of the Second World War that deal with the war against Japan, is primarily the story of ‘the forgotten army’. The 14th Anglo-Indian army, commanded by Lt. Gen. Sir William ‘Bill’ Slim, was the force that wrested Burma from the harsh hands of its Japanese conquerors in a hard-fought campaign from August 1944 to May 1945. Japan had overreached itself earlier in 1944 when the Allies had defeated its attempt to capture Imphal. Without giving the enemy time to recover, Slim, supported by the RAF, advanced deep into Burma, braving the monsoon season, covering 600 miles from Imphal, and crossing the Chindwin and Irrawaddy rivers to reach the gates of Burma’s capital, Rangoon. It is, as the authors proudly say, ‘an epic story’; a victory made possible by careful planning, flexibility, foresight, improvisation and the command of the skies established by the RAF. The authors describe both the jungle fighting, and detail the daunting problems of supply and logistics which were triumphantly overcome by the campaign’s planners. They also describe the political problems faced by the Supreme Allied Commander in South-East Asia, Lord Louis Mountbatten, in fending off attempts by his American and Chinese allies to bleed away the 14th Army’s support and supplies for their own use. The text is supported by 27 appendices on logistics, and fully illustrated by 13 main maps, 21 sketch maps, and 92 photographs.
Major-General S. Woodburn Kirby with Brigadier M.R. Roberts, Colonel G.T. Wards, and Air Vice-Marshal N. L. Desoer (authors).
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2004 N&M Press reprint (original pub 1965). SB. xxii + 568pp with 34 maps and sketches,and numerous contemporary photos.