Burma Victory 1944-1945
...more Images of War from Pen & Sword
Title: Burma Victory 1944-1945
Author: Jon Diamond
Publisher: Pen & Sword
Another new addition to the popular Pen & Sword Images of War series from author Jon Diamond. A 239-page soft-cover book in the standard style of the series, covering the initial Japanese invasion and then the fight back, a period of success against the Japanese army.
The book is divided across 6 chapters, each one beginning with some pages of text, most also including a map or two, to set out what happened where, and what units were involved on both sides. They start with the IJA (Imperial Japanese Army) conquest of Burma in 1942, and the Allied response in 1943. That leads into both Wingate's Operation Thursday and Stilwell's assault on Myitkyina in 1944. A slight interlude then to look at the Commanders and Combatants of both sides. In chapter 4 it is the British and Indian defence of Imphal and Kohima, preventing the IJA 15th Army getting deep into India. From that there are the Allied advances across Burma from India, before finishing off with the Allied drive South of Myitkyina plus the construction of the Ledo/Stilwell Road, before a closing Epilogue.
Each chapter follows the opening text with a series of photos, all of which have much more detail within the extensive captions. The mix of photos offer a wide variety of references. As well as the difficult terrain and plentiful rivers to cross, there were troops from a wide variety of nations, including the UK, the IJA, Indian, Chinese, African and Ghurkha troops. As well as an interesting mix of bridging equipment, some wood while there are Bailey bridges as well. There was deployment of paratroopers, gliders, landing craft and a mixture of AFVs, trucks and artillery. Amidst the commanders we see well known names such as Stilwell, Wingate, Slim and others, and one I had not realised was there, Sir Keith Park (ex-commander of 11 Group during the Battle of Britain). As well as lots of detail images of uniform and equipment for all sides, I was particularly taken by a couple of photos showing Universal Carriers fitted with oil-drums as flotation devices. One shows it in the water and I have to say I'm not sure I would have felt 'safe' in it. Not a factory modification but a great inspiration for any modeller looking for an unusual carrier variant.
Even today, the war in the Far East doesn't seem to attract the level of attention that other theatres of WW2 manage to do, and perhaps this help a bit to address the idea of the British troops of the 14th Army being considered the 'Forgotten Army'. A good addition to the series I think.
Thanks to Pen & Sword for the review copy.