Pen & Sword's Images of War: Burma Victory 1944-45

Author/Artists: Jon Diamond


Pen & Sword


$28.95 from Casemate


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 240 pages, softcover, 7.5 x 9.5 inches
ISBN: 978-1-399008536

This addition to the Images of War series concentrates on the last two years of the war in Burma. After the Japanese fairly quickly overran the country, they pretty well stopped to hold what they had. Fighting in Burma was never easy, due to several factors. One is that the monsoon season brought heavy rains and made mass movement pretty well impossible. Another is that the eastern and western part of the nation was fairly heavy jungle. The combination of heavy rain and jungle was perfect for insects and disease. It is not surprising that these combined to reduce the number of effective soldiers on both sides.

Burma was at the end of a fairly long supply line for the Japanese and as the war progressed, getting supplies became less as less easy. Despite this, the Japanese planned additional offensive actions in an attempt to get a foothold into India. Not surprising is that much of the war effort was in the northern part of the country. Here the Allies (mostly Indian and Chinese troops) were working to remove the Japanese to open the land route to China. This is also where the Allies set up military bases behind Japanese lines with the Chindits, a plan that was fairly successful if not short lived.

The book begins with a background to the war, including the 1942 and 1943 operations with the British being forced out and the Allies response in terms of holding the line in India. Then it goes into the various major operations by both of the Allies and Japanese in 1944 as well as the final Allied push in 1945 to open access to the Burma Road into China and the eventual defeat of the Japanese. Each of the six major sections is preceded by a short history of the section along with maps of the various operations where needed. This works very well as one can easily see how the operations went and is something I'd like to see in future editions of a similar type. There is also a section on the leaders of the various sides that is quite informative.

Of course, the meat of the book consists of photos. In this case, these are actually germane to the section of the book being covered, something that some of the earlier books did not do so well. With a monsoon season in which practically all movement stopped, the war in Burma was not an easy one for either side and many casualties were caused by disease as much as by enemy action. This is another very nice offering in this interesting series and is one that I can easily recommend to you.

July 2022

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