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Japanese and Allied Air Forces in the Far East Please use this forum to discuss the Air War in the Far East.

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  #1  
Old 4th April 2005, 18:24
Jim P. Jim P. is offline
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Jim P.
War over SE Asia part deux

To continue what started as a good discussion but got somewhat fractured:

Dan's Ford's excellent book was, at least at one time, considered controversial here in the States. The 'Flying Tiger' vets in particular were up in arms about it because it challenged their claims (300 claimed vs ~100 actual. I remember the magazine 'Air Classics' went so far as to have R.T. Smith do their published review of the book. Not a pretty picture.

Another set of books that do a very nice job covering the early months in SE Asia is the 2-volume set 'Bloody Shambles' by Shores/Izawa.
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  #2  
Old 5th April 2005, 05:12
Don Clark
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Re: War over SE Asia part deux

Bloody Shambles Vol 1, 2 are shortly to be joined by Vol 3. All fundamental as secondary sources but like all Shores' work, with many detectable errors of detail. Having said that, the difficulties of the primary sources are well documented.

For interest, here is a selective list of other fairly readily available reference material (all secondary sources too) primarily focussed on the RAF and RAAF in: 1942/42 Far East, Netherlands East Indies or South West Pacific Area air operations; or on RAF 1944 Burma air operations. Most of these are at least as reliable as Shores.

Australia in the War of 1939-1945: Series 3 Air
Vol I RAAF 1939-1942 D Gillison (AWM 1962)
Vol II Air War Against Japan 1943-1945 G Odgers (AWM)
Battle for Palembang T Kelly (Hale 1985)
Beaufighters Over Burma: No 27 Squadron RAF, 1942-1945 DJ Innes (Blandford 1985)
Catalina Dreaming A McMillan (Duffy & Snellgrove 2002)
Chasing After Danger: A Combat Pilot’s War Over Europe and the Far East Terence O’Brien (Collins 1990)
Darwin's Air War 1942-1945: An Illustrated History Aviation Hitorical Soc NT 1992
Flat Out: The Story of 30 Squadron RAF JF Hamlin (Air Britain 2002)
The Fourth Ally: Dutch Forces in Australia in WWII D Hurst (Canberra 2001)
The Flying Elephants: History of No 27 Squadron RFC RAF 1915-1969 C Bowyer MacDonald 1972
The Forgotten Air Force H Probert (Brasseys 1995)
Glory in Chaos ER Hall, Sembawang Assn (1989)
Hurricanes Over Burma MC Cotton (Crawford House 1995)
Hurricanes Over Singapore B Cull (Grub Street 2004)
Last Flight From Singapore AG Donahue (Macmillan 1944)
Main Fleet to Singapore R Grenfell (1987)
The Moonlight War: The Story of Clandestine Operations in SE Asia 1944-45 T O'Brien (Arrow 1989)
Nor the Years Contemn Air War on teh Australian Front 1941-1942 JD Rorrison (Palomar 1992)
Out of the Blue: A pilot with the Chindits T O'Brien (Collins 1984)
The RAAF Hudson Story Book One D Vincent (Vincent 1999)
RAAF in the SWPA 1942-1945 (RAAF Air Power Studies Centre RAAF History Conference 1992)
RAAF Flying Boats at War: The Way it Was J Leach (Aus Military History Publications 1999)
Rats of Rangoon L Hudson (Leo Cooper 1987)
Scorpions Sting: The Story of No 84 Squadron RAF D Neate (Air Britain 1994)
Silently Into the Midst of Things A Sutherland-Brown (Trafford 2001)
So Long, Singapore: RAFA Tung Song December 1941-March 1942 H Campbell, R Lovell (Hobart 2000)
Their Last Tenko: 242 Squadron RAF in the Far East James Home (Quoin 1989)
Three Times Lucky J Woodward (Boolarong Publications 1991)
Unsung Heroes of the RAF: The Far East Prisoners of War Stubbs & Stubbs (Barny Books 2002)
War in Burma 1942-1945 J Thompson (Imperial War Museum 2002)
War Without Glory JD Balfe Macmillan (1984)
Why Singapore Fell H Gordon Bennett (Angus and Robertson 1944)
Winged Bomb: History of 39 Squadron RAF Ken Delve (Midland Counties 1985)
Wings For Victory S Dunmore (M&S 1994)
Wings Over Burma K Hemingway (Quality Press 1945)

Official sources: published
Royal Air Force 1939-1945
Vol II The Fight Avails Richards and Saunders HMSO 1954
Vol III The Fight is Won Saunders HMSO 1954

Wings of the Phoenix Air Ministry (HMSO 1949)

London Gazette Dispatches: available in library holdings and on line
Operations in the Far East 17 Oct 1940 to 27 Dec 1941 ACM Sir R Brooke-Popham London Gazette Supplement, Jan 1948
Report on Air Operations During the Campaigns in Malaya and Netherlands East Indies Dec 1941–Mar 1942 AVM Maltby; London Gazette Supplement, Feb 1948.
Air Operations in Burma and the Bay of Bengal 1 Jan to 22 May 1942 General Wavell London Gazette Supplement, Sep 1946
Air Operations in SE Asia 16 Nov 1943 to 23 May 1944 ACM Peirse London Gazette Supplement, Mar 1951
Air Operations in SE Asia 1 Jun 1944 to Occupation of Rangoon 2 May 1945 ACM Park London Gazette Supplement, Apr 1951

Official sources, other
RAF Narrative – The Campaigns in the Far East
Vol. II – Malaya, Netherlands East Indies, Burma (Air Historical Branch RAF) [AWM220/25]

Last edited by Don Clark; 5th April 2005 at 05:42. Reason: Omitted references
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  #3  
Old 6th April 2005, 00:15
JoeB JoeB is offline
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Re: War over SE Asia part deux

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Clark
Bloody Shambles Vol 1, 2 are shortly to be joined by Vol 3. All fundamental as secondary sources but like all Shores' work, with many detectable errors of detail. Having said that, the difficulties of the primary sources are well documented.

Most of these are at least as reliable as Shores.


[AWM220/25]
I'll save that list, thanks. But many seem likely to be from strictly an Allied perspective, (which ones on the list by the way extensively use Japanese sources?, skimming none seem to be Japanese works). So I'm curious what you mean by at least as reliable as Shores, since the two volumes mentioned attempt to cross check claims and losses of both sides. For one who is not a researcher planning to do this himself, but a casual reader without the language skills read secondary sources of both sides (assuming ones exist covering the exact same topic), this puts any such work way ahead of one sided ones unless riddled with really serious errors, IMO.

Re: Ford as mentioned people picked at his book very publicly; some errors pointed out by AVG vets seems to be correct, but overall the book was still IMO many miles ahead of anything previously written about the unit, just from giving the correct OOB of the Japanese units opposing the AVG (instead of "zero's"), even if there is room for genuine debate about taking surviving Japanese records at face value as correct and complete as far as their losses. I'm not sure if there is a good argument not to take them at face value. I've never seen a non self interested argument to that effect. In the AVG/Ford case the people arguing that clearly wanted to sustain a higher proportion of Allied claims (including their own personal ones) than appear to check out in the records such as are known; but perhaps there is a good argument.

Related to this or not, what are the well documented problems in primary sources related to Shores' book and where are they documented?

Joe
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  #4  
Old 6th April 2005, 01:55
Don Clark
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Re: War over SE Asia part deux

You're welcome. Further to your remarks:

"But many seem likely to be from strictly an Allied perspective"
As stated, firmly so: "primarily focussed on the RAF and RAAF".

"Which ones on the list by the way extensively use Japanese sources?"
Virtually none. Most are individual or collected accounts of participants. Unsung Heroes calls in part on the TNA/PRO collection of Japanese PoW cards.

"none seem to be Japanese works"
None. Not intended as an exhaustive list, but selective from the perspective as stated.

"At least as reliable as Shores"
Shores' account of RAF and RAAF activities calls on some primary and secondary published material and upon on later recall of participants. Flaws in detail are too many to enumerate. One example will have to suffice: the account of the Tung Song evacuation of 200+ RAF and RAAF personnel ex-Tjilatjap 2 March 1942. For a correct account of this and other vessels in the RAF evacuation see So Long Singapore. Shores is never-the-less (and as stated) fundamental, however, but expect errors and with some frequency.

"what are the well documented problems in primary sources related to Shores' book and where are they documented?"
For Malaya and NEI Air Operations 1941/1942, much primary source material (casualty signals and original operational etc records of Squadrons, individual personnel logs, letters, photos and diaries) was lost in the field. See Shores' own Preface; Maltby; and Jefford's Introduction to his RAF Squadrons: A comprehensive Record of the Movement and Equipment... (his notes on Formation and Disbandment, and on Movements, are instructive).

I aimed to offer a reading list for interest, rather than a critique of each cited work.
Don Clark

Last edited by Don Clark; 6th April 2005 at 09:56.
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  #5  
Old 17th April 2005, 18:48
John Beaman John Beaman is offline
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Re: War over SE Asia part deux

I had some interesting conversations with Dan Ford regarding his book on the AVG and the controversy it generated among the AVG veterans. Interestingly, he says that at recent meetings or other venues where the pilots were there, their claims are now approaching 600!

It is unfortunate that as they age, the veterans cannot enjoy their deserved fame without casting dispersions on those who try to write good history like Dan Ford. They should be pleased he verified as many as he did.

Reminds me of our own US Revolutionary War history myths: i.e., the Americans cleverly hid behind the rocks and trees and shot the British, who were foolishly in straight ranks and wearing bright red uniforms, to pieces. i.e., the old "militia rifleman" myth. When I ask these people that if that were the case, how did the British win all but 4 battles and it took us 8 years to get them to leave, the look on their non-plusses faces is worth it.
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  #6  
Old 21st April 2005, 03:19
klemen klemen is offline
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Re: War over SE Asia part deux

Shores' books: This is the first time I hear that Volume 3 is on its way. What it is going to be about, Don? New Guinea and New Britain?

242 Squadron RAF: Terrence Kelly is preparing a new book, a sort of official history of 242 Squadron RAF in the Far East in 1941-1942. It should be published in the coming weeks by Sword & Pen. That is if it is not already. It has been while since I was looking at their website.

Japanese accounts: I myself am looking for any accounts of Japanese airmen over Malaya and Dutch East Indies 1941-1942. Can anyone recommend me any books. Any Japanese aviators, who flew in that period (besides Saburo Sakai) and by some chance published their memoires or accounts after the war? Or any other books?

BTW: Why I am not allod to use Copy and Paste with my Mozilla browser?

lp,

Klemen
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  #7  
Old 21st April 2005, 05:51
marsyao marsyao is offline
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Re: War over SE Asia part deux

klemen: volum 3 of Mr shores's Bloody Shambles will be dealt with air war over Burma 1942-1945, here is the introduction:
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.
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Old 21st April 2005, 14:46
klemen klemen is offline
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Re: War over SE Asia part deux

To Marsyao: Oh, it's Burma again. Still thank you for your most exhausted reply about the book. If nothing else I am at least happy to hear that the book (like the other two) will be based on official sources, log books, war diaries, interviews et cetera. But I am wondering - Does anyone know if this time there will be included also any Japanese accounts or interviews? I would like that very much. I was missing that in the second volume at least for those campaigns that I was most interested.

But if anyone ever come upon any Japanese accounts from Sumatra, Java or Borneo I would be much appreciated if that person would let me know this and the title of the book or magazine.

Klemen

Last edited by klemen; 21st April 2005 at 14:49.
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