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The German blitzkrieg stunned the world in 1939-1940, and so too did the Japanese "blitzkrieg" of 1941-1942 in the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaya, and Burma. However, the remarkable Japanese land offensive involving operations of equivalent scope and complexity has received only a fraction of the attention. This is the story of that campaign.
One of the few histories that tells the story of the Pacific War from the Japanese side, this is the long-awaited overview of the years when the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) was conducting its seemingly unstoppable ground campaign in the Far East. It includes extensive background and biographical information on Japanese commanders, including Homma and Yamashita.
In just eight weeks following December 7, 1941, the IJA pushed the Americans out of the Philippines, and defeated the British to captured Manila, Hong Kong, the Malay Peninsula, and the great bastion at Singapore--called the "Gibraltar of the East." They also forced the capitulation and occupation of Siam and the occupation of Burma. A month later, the Japanese had added the Netherlands East Indies, with an area and depth of natural resources more than twice that of Japan, to their trophy case.
In The Imperial Japanese Army, author Bill Yenne recounts how the IJA faced and surmounted technical challenges that the Wehrmacht did not have--transportation. Whereas most of the German conquests were reachable by highways or rail lines, all of the IJA operations required ship transport, and most required amphibious landings. For example, in the Malay Peninsula campaign, the IJA famously used bicycles for the drive on Singapore.
Unlike most histories of the Pacific War that focus on the Allied experience, The Imperial Japanese Army examines the year of victory from the Japanese perspective, when the mighty Japanese naval and ground forces swept all before them both throughout the Pacific and on mainland Asia.