Imperial Japan's campaigns of conquest in late 1941/early 1942 were launched in order to achieve self-sufficiency for the Japanese people, chiefly in the precious commodity of oil. The Netherlands (or Dutch) East Indies formed one of Japan's primary targets, on account of its abundant rubber plantations and oilfields - the latter, in particular, was highly prized, given that the colony was the fourth-largest exporter of oil in the world. Japan itself lacked any form of domestic production.
The Japanese despatched an enormous naval task force to support the amphibious landings over the vast terrain of the Netherlands East Indies. The combined-arms offensive was divided into three groups: western, centre and eastern. Borneo was struck first in mid-December 1941, and assaults on Celebes, Amboin, Timor, Java, Sumatra, Ambon and Dutch New Guinea followed. Allied forces in the NEI comprised British, Australian, Dutch and American personnel. A combined theatre headquarters (ABDACOM) was established on 15 January 1942 in an effort to counter the Japanese offensives. The isolated airfields and oilfields were, however, picked off one by one by the Japanese, in the rush to secure the major islands before major Allied reinforcements arrived.
This superbly illustrated title describes the operational plans and conduct of the fighting by the major parties involved, and assesses the performance of the opposing forces on the battlefield, bringing to life an often-overlooked campaign of the Pacific War.