Rising Sun at War. The Japanese Army 1931-1945


...more in the Images of War series from Pen and Sword


Title: Rising Sun at War. The Japanese Army 1931-1945

Author: Philip Jowett

Publisher: Pen and Sword Books

ISBN: 978-1-47387-488-6

The latest title in the Images of War series by author Philip Jowett examines the story of the Japanese Army from 1931 through to the end of WW2.  Sometimes we think of WW2 for the Japanese being the start of the war with America, following the infamous attack on Pearl Harbour in December 1941, whereas for the Japanese Army is had already been going on since 1931, with their war in Manchuria.

The story is told with introductory text at the beginning of each of the 10 chapters and, as is always the case with this series, a fine collection of archive photos to illustrate each element, and with well written caption that give more information to the story as it unfolded.  After an introduction, the chapters cover Manchuria (1931-32): Japanese Aggression in China (1932-36): The Outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War (1937): Nomonhan - Japan's war with the Soviet Union (1938-39): Japan Strikes South - Hong Kong and Malaya: The Offensive Continues - Burma, Philippines and the Dutch East Indies (1941-42): Burma (1943-5):Japan on the Defensive in the Pacific (1942-45): and finally, Japan's Defeat (1944-45).

The selection of photos in each section, all with more information in the captions, shows the Japanese Army through Victory to final Defeat.  It also shows them in action in all sorts of conditions, from snow and thick winter coats in Manchuria to lightweight summer uniforms in Burma and the Dutch East Indies.  There is even one with the troops wading across a river with their trousers and boots hung around their necks as the move through the water.  As a modeller there is so much to be gleaned from a photo collection like this.  Obviously there is a lot of detail of uniforms, rank badges etc as well as the personal weapons and then the different conditions in which they were operating.  Winter snow, mountains, island beaches and cities such as Singapore.  Compared to the archives of the war in Europe, there are very few involving lorries, more with equipment being man carried, or using the likes of both Camels and Elephants, which offer an interesting alternative for modellers.  There are though plenty of photos showing Japanese light and medium tanks in operation, even armoured cars, tankettes, and very early on, a Whippet and FT-17.  So much to be seen, and with a particular interest in the war in the Far East, author Philip Jowett has done another interesting Images of War title.