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Japan Triumphant: The Far East Campaign, 1941–1942 (ePub)

Rare Photographs from Wartime Archives

Military WWII > Battles & Campaigns > Japan & the Pacific Front WWII > Photographic eBooks

By Philip Jowett
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Series: Images of War
File Size: 55.5 MB (.epub)
Illustrations: 200
ISBN: 9781526734365
Published: 3rd April 2019


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The Japanese offensive in the Far East in 1941-2 was extraordinary in its ambition for their aim was to advance across the entire region. They clashed with an array of forces in a series of lightning campaigns that included famous episodes like the raid on Pearl Harbor and the conquest of Singapore. Among the opposing armies were those of the Americans, Dutch and Filipinos as well as the British imperial forces which included the Indians, Malays and Burmese. Philip Jowett in this vivid photographic history covers the whole course of the offensive, portraying not only the Japanese military which achieved such incredible success but the armies they overwhelmed.

In a sequence of over 200 wartime photographs – many of which have not been published before – he focuses on the land, sea and air fighting as the Japanese occupied so much of the region. Rare images of the Japanese forces as they prepared for war and then made seemingly unstoppable progress are matched by a selection of images of the armies they surprised and vanquished. The book gives a powerful impression of the character of the war in the area and records the appearance, equipment and weaponry of the armies involved and the conditions in which they fought.

The book is a particularly valuable addition to the literature on the Second World War in the Far East because it draws attention to important events, like the conquest of the Dutch East Indies, which are often overlooked.

In 1943 Germany armies occupied most European countries and faced its nemesis Russia. In the east, Japanese armies had swept across the Pacific rim occupying islands 500 miles from Australia to the barren Aleutian Islands in the east; 800 miles from the American base Fort Randell in Alaska. Like a string of pearls, Sumatra, Java, Singapore, French Indo-China, Hong Kong, parts of China and the Philippines, countries abundant in rubber, tin, copper, minerals, and metals. All taken from America and European empires.

As Philip Jowett explains, the armies' successes stretched its logistics and lines of communication. leaving small groups on Pacic islands, isolated. The position grew worse when Japan lost major warships and aircraft carriers in clashes with the American and British fleets. While on land, they were faced with attacks from local guerrilla groups.

The author, Philip Jowett describers the Japanese triumphant landgrab and its defeat. The story, supported by some 200 images is a page turner. Images to be viewed many times and puts the action into perspective. One image which caught my attention, was a Japanese photograph of its troops trailing through the water and Kota Bahru beach at 00.45 on 8th December 1941, 70 minutes before Japanese planes attacked Pearl Harbour, This landing began the invasion of Malaya.

Richard Gough. Historian, Author, SOE Singapore 1941-1942, Escape from Singapore, Outposts of the Empire, The Jungle was Red and Tony Poe, CIA Paramilitary in SE Asia to be published shortly.

... it's a good value, wide-ranging look at war in the Far East.

The Armourer, April 2020

As featured by

Irregular magazine, Spring 2020

As featured in

IPMS Magazine, October 2019

This is a very solid account by Jowett, amply illustrated, as befits the Images of War series. I felt I learned a lot. A very useful resource.

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A Question Of Scale, Seb Palmer

Of all the World War 2 campaigns in which the British were involved the campaign in the Far East against the Japanese is by a massive margin the least recorded and mentioned. They used to call the British Army in Burma the “Forgotten Army” and the quantity of available literature in English reflects this situation.

Compared to other theatres literature on the campaign against the Japanese is sparse and this excellent book helps to rectify that situation. The main advantage of this book is the superb photographs it presents covering all combatants – British, Indian, Australian, American, Dutch and of course, the Japanese.

There is a good amount of background text which sets the context of the campaign and this text gives an overview of the situation. Although the text is very interesting it is not exceptionally lengthy and detailed, but this is a common feature of all “Images of War” volumes. Their main features are rare and exceptional photographs. In terms of pictures this book is superb with many photos giving close-up details of various items of interest.

I must say that the photos in this book are a treat for anyone interested in the early years of the Far East campaign. If you are a historian, uniform or equipment buff or re-enactor then these photos will spoil you. This is undoubtedly the volume to buy if you want to see highly detailed early Far East campaign photos and the author has done a splendid job in collating these excellent images.

Military Archive Research, Dr Stuart C Blank

Another documentary gem in the Images of War Series, which will delight the modeler dedicated to World War II.

Read the full Spanish review here

Miniaturas JM

One of the best book of images related to the Japan War machine that dominated the Asia and Pacific Theaters of War in 1941 thru 1942. Hundreds of images that clearly detail the path of their destruction and the forces arrayed against them.

Argunners, Christopher 'Moon' Mullins

A fascinating collection of archive images, the bulk of which I had not seen before, and they illustrate how the ground troops worked with equipment that was not up to the quality being used in Europe, though the Japanese Aircraft and Naval units were well equipped. Plenty of reference information for historians and modellers alike, with some light tanks and artillery that might inspire some dioramas thanks to the Dutch and Commonwealth units as well as the Japanese.

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Military Model Scene, Robin Buckland

In this book there are not only the usual outstanding images expected of this series, but coverage of a wider brief than most historians of this struggle. The main focus has been on Pearl Harbour, the fall of Singapore and the Japanese troops reaching into Indian territory, overlooking the other important events, including the actions in the Dutch East Indies. - Highly Recommended

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The book would will be of interest to anyone who wanted to increase their limited knowledge of the Far East War, and for a modeler with an interest in some unusual figures or dioramas.

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Army Rumour Service (ARRSE)

The Images of War series is one of the best Pen & Sword series and this book also proves it.
I think it's a great starting point to investigate the various campaigns of conquest of Japan in the first months of the war, and deserves to be on the shelf of every people interested in the Second World War and in the war in Asian theater.

Read the full Italian review here

Old Barbed Wire Blog

The text is well written and I appreciate the balanced way in which the author has covered the first year of combat against the Japanese who seemed to be unstoppable in these early stages... Great photographs covering the early years of war against the Allies and at an incredibly appealing price.

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As featured 'On The Shelf'

Wargames Illustrated, April 2019

About Philip Jowett

Philip Jowett has been writing military history since 1997. He has published many books on the armies of Asia in the first half of the twentieth century, and has made a special study of the armies of China. He has also published on the Russo-Japanese War, the Mexican revolution and the Italian and Japanese armies of the Second World War. His most recent books are China and Japan at War 1937-1945, Chiang Kai-shek versus Mao Tse-tung: The Battle for China 1946-1949, Japan Triumphant: The Far East Campaign 1941-1942 and The Battle for Burma 1942-1945.

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