Asiatic Land Battles: Japanese Ambitions in the Pacific

As with the other books in the series this one is very well done. It summarizes quite well what happened in the Pacific theater. There are a lot of photos included. Following are some of the most interesting things I found in the book:

1. Japan as a country was short of raw materials and needed to import them. They led them to want to gain control over parts of Southeast Asia where such resources were available.

2. Japan wanted to move quickly to take over such areas and to establish a strong defensive perimeter that would keep out any enemies. The process didn't work, of course, as during the war that perimeter grew smaller and smaller.

3. The Japanese made a serious mistake early in the war by not taking over Midway. This later led to their naval disaster which they never really recovered from.

4. The Japanese soldiers had been brought up to never surrender. Prisoners were thus regarded as having failed to live up to this code and were treated with total disrespect and violence. One example of this was the Bataan Death March.

5. In relation to Guadalcanal, some 25,000 Japanese soldiers were killed in battle and15,000 more died from diseases and starvation. 1,700 Americans died in the battle.

6. The book discusses Mac Arthur's plan which involved bypassing really strong Japanese forces and taking over more weakly held areas. This left many Japanese forces surrounded by American forces and they ended up effectively neutralized.

7. In the battle for Saipan 27,000 Japanese were killed and 2,000 were taken prisoner. 3,500 U.S. soldiers died.

8. The New Guinea campaign resulted in 35,000 Japanese deaths compared to 2,500 American deaths.

9. The battle for Iwo Jima resulted in 7,000 American deaths. The number of Japanese killed was at least 21,000.

10. There were 350 suicide boats ready to meet the Americans during the Okinawa campaign but they Americans took over the island that had the boats on them so they couldn't be used.

11. 130,000 Japanese were killed in the Okinawa campaign. The Americans lost 13,000 dead, many due to kamikaze attacks on the ships.

I've bought three of these books and they are all quite good.

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