Japan's Last Bid for Victory: The Invasion of India 1944, Robert Lyman

Japan's Last Bid for Victory: The Invasion of India 1944, Robert Lyman

The Japanese invasion of India in 1944 was one of the last major offensives carried out by the Japanese during the Second World War (the other came in China). The Japanese hoped that if they could break through the British defences between India and Burma then a great revolt might break out in India, threatening or destroying British rule and isolating China by cutting the last Allied supply lines to that country.

Lyman makes great use of eye witness accounts of the fighting. British accounts are fairly common, but here there are also some good Japanese sources and an invaluable section of accounts from the Nagas, the inhabitants of the area the battles were fought in.

The Japanese sources are of particular interest for the light they shed on the attitude of the individual Japanese soldier. Once the tide of battle turned against them and they were on the defensive their morale was clearly much worse than their Allied opponents would have believed, but poor morale, a lack of food and even very short supplies of ammo didn't prevent them from fighting desperately. With surrender not seen as an option, and no practical way to retreat, there was often simply no alternative other than fighting on.

Many books focus on the battles of Kohima and Imphal, but few really place them in context. Lyman does an excellent job of doing just that, covering the British and Japanese plans for 1944, the events that led up to the crucial battles, the hard fighting after the Japanese went onto the defensive and the eventual pursuit of the defeated Japanese army.

This is an excellent account of a series of very hard fought battles that helped prepare the way for the British re-conquest of Burma, and that was one of the first major land defeats suffered by the Japanese.

1 - The Offensive Begins
2 - Crossing the Chindwin
3 - Kohima Besieged
4 - War Comes to the Nagas
5 - The Defence of Imphal
6 - The Chindits
7 - The Battle of Kohima
8 - The Battle for Imphal
9 - Armageddon

Appendix 1 - British Infantry Structure
Appendix 2 - Indian and Ghurkha Infantry Regiments of the Indian Army
Appendix 3 - Major Combat Formations & Units, March to July 1944
Appendix 4 - Common Abbreviations and Usage
Appendix 5 - British and Indian Rank Structures

Author: Robert Lyman
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 297
Publisher: Praetorian Press
Year: 2011

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