In his monumental work Bloody Shambles, Volume Two, Christopher Shores described in detail the British retreat out of Burma, culminating at the end of May 1942. The monsoon then brought operations on land and in the air virtually to a halt for several months as the British and Indian forces prepared to re-take Burma. The Japanese however, had very different ideas. Air War for Burma picks up the story from the beginning of June 1942 and follows the hardfought campaigns through to the end of the war in August 1945. Here the activities of the RAF and USAAF during the desperate fighting of 1942-44, resulting ultimately in victories at Imphal and Kohima, are fully recounted. No less a forgotten air force than was the 14th ‘Forgotten Army’, the RAF particularly was denied the most modern and effective aircraft until late in the fighting, struggling to survive with obsolescent equipment against frequently superior Japanese machines. Described herein are the operations during the First and Second Arakan Campaigns; support for the Chindits in their long-range penetrations deep into enemy-held territory; the savage sieges of Imphal and Kohima; and the final victorious advance across the plains of Central Burma to Mandalay and Rangoon. Detailed also are the activities over the Indian Ocean and the East Indies of the Royal Navy’s aircraft carriers and the aircrews of the Fleet Air Arm. Painstakingly researched from official sources, log books, letters and interviews, this is far and away the best reference work on the subject, and completes the set.
Air War for Burma