Before the Second World War commenced, Western nations very naively and foolishly deceived themselves into believing that the Japanese fighting-man was inconsequential. Believing their own propaganda, America and Britain, in particular, were subjected to a very harsh awakening as to the aggressive tenacity of Japanese military forces. Japan, too, was guilty of willfully under-estimating the Western troops, and this proved to be much more fatal.
The Japanese military proved to be one of the most ruthless and deadly adversaries ever faced by Western nations. This book focuses on the army that Japan deployed against its enemies. Even at the level of the individual soldier, the Japanese demonstated a shocking capacity for fanatical and aggressive action in battle, incredible endurance, and an unbelievable ability to endure pain, fatigue, and all manner of suffering on campaign.
Collectively, Japan's military displayed a number of unusual contrasts. The naval and aviation elements were equipped with state of the art ships, aircraft, and technology at the beginning of the war. However, Japan equipped its personnel with small-arms that were better suited for the previous World War. Japanese fighting men in battle utilized deadly and brilliant tactics, but some of the strategies instituted by the leadership proved to be fatally unsound. Ground forces seemed to put more emphasis on infantry assets, neglecting the potential of developing armor and artillery support.
This is a good introductory text, and the author has presented us with enough information to entice one to want to know more. There is an enormous quantity of literature on all facets of German military topics, relating to World War II, but the resources pertaining to Japan are quite rare in comparison. Books abut the Italian segment of the Axis forces, are even more scarce.
My only complaints with this book, are that it seems to have been a bit rushed in completion, and could have been more detailed on the topics contained within. There seems to be some discrepancies in some of the information. Nevertheless, I did find it to be very useful. I would have liked to see more detailed information on the methods and general program of training for personnel, as well as more data on the weapons in general. There is more coverage of artillery and crew-served weapons, than small-arms.
There are many interesting photographs inside. The book has a detailed list and description of the vehicles employed, and some surprising information on that topic. I was not previously aware that Japan was developing heavy-armor, namely, the prototype 4 CHI-TO tank which was armed with a 75mm gun.
There is a chapter on tactics, which is fasciniating, as it compiles a number of practices which are alluded to in passing in other books. Once again, my only real complaint is that this book is not thicker than it is.