Japan’s Last Bid for Victory

The Invasion of India, 1944

Published Sep 2011 by Pen & Sword Military

ISBN: 978-1848845428


Robert Lyman’s deep knowledge and understanding of the war in Burma, and the great battles at Kohima and Imphal in 1944, are well known. In this book he uses original documents, published works and personal accounts to weave together an enthralling account of some of the bitterest fighting of WWII. Not only does he use British sources for his research but he has also included material from the Naga tribes of north-east India, on whose land these battles were fought, and from Japanese accounts, including interviews with Japanese veterans of the fighting. Thus he has been able to produce what is arguably the most balanced history of the battles that were pivotal in ending the Japanese empire.

Fergal Keane, journalist and author of Road to Bones: The Siege of Kohima 1944 wrote to the author saying ‘What a triumph! I finished it last night. You have done a wonderful job. I only wish I’d read it before writing my own book!’ He goes on to say ‘Robert Lyman is one of the great writers about men and war and in this book he has succeeded in conveying the courage, genius and folly of an epic struggle. I cannot think of a writer engaged in the subject of the Second World War who can match Lyman for his integrity or the soundness of his judgments.’

There have been many books on the Burma Campaing and Louis Allen, whom I had the pleasure to know, set a very high standard.
What does your book add? A great deal.
You have combined strategic outlines with close details of the fighting, the horror, the personal witness. And a vivid description of the fearful terrain. It is very real. You have looked closely at the Japanese commanders. You have given extra coverage of the air component (Thank you for the picture of Tulihal airstrip; so many memories.)
You have given the first full account of the operations of 23 Brigade.
You have given a magisterial summing up of the whole operation.
Thank you for putting it all to bed. This is surely the last word on a war as savage as any, and which, because of books like this, is no longer forgotten.

Excerpt from letter from Richard Rhode James veteran of the Chindit Operation