US Navy fleet train of WW2

At the end of World War I, US naval planners assessed the naval operations of that conflict and came to the conclusion that a fleet lost 10% of its combat capability for every 1,000 miles (1600 km) it operated away from its base. The implications of this assessment were then compounded by the fortifications clause …

The Japanese conquest of Timor (II)

Switch to guerrilla tactics By the end of February, the Japanese were in control of most of Dutch Timor and the area round Dili in the north-east. The Australians remained in the island’s south and east, however. The 2/2nd Independent Company was trained for stay-behind operations and had its own engineers and signallers, although it …

The Japanese conquest of Timor (I)

The Battle of Timor resulted in the Japanese seizure of the island of Timor, on which the colonial powers were the Netherlands and Portugal, to the north-west of Darwin in the Australian Northern Territory. The Japanese invaded the island on 20 February 1942 and were resisted by a small Allied force. This Sparrow Force comprised …

The Japanese conquest of Hong Kong

At the beginning of World War II, Hong Kong was a British possession on the south-west coast of China to the south-east of Canton in the Pearl River estuary. The Chinese had ceded Victoria island to the UK at the end of the 1st Opium War (1839/42), and the New Territories on the mainland were …

Japan’s greatest Pacific base – Truk atoll

The US geographical (rather than operational) codename for Truk atoll in the Caroline islands group of the central Pacific between 1941 and 1945 was originally ‘Anaconda’ and then ‘Panhandle’. A group of hilly islands, the tips of drowned mountain peaks, surrounded by a large barrier reef with five passes, Truk is a large atoll lying …

The Raduga Kh-22

Succeeding the turbojet-powered Raduga KS-1 Komet and K-10S (AS-1 ‘Kennel’ and AS-2 ‘Kipper’) subsonic and supersonic missiles in the stand-off role against major surface forces, especially those centred on an aircraft carrier, the Raduga Kh-22 is known to NATO as the AS-4 ‘Kitchen’. This substantial long-range missile is still in service, and in an air-launched …

Amphibious Warfare – The Tank Landing Ship (III)

For a transoceanic passage, the LST Mk 2 could carry one landing landing craft (LCT Mk 5 or LCT Mk 6) for side-launching, and this was a feature which was sometimes also used for the carriage of LCTs to the vicinity of an amphibious assault. In LST beaching operations, a satisfactory manner to bridge the …

The anti-aircraft cruiser – the US ‘Worcester’ class

The world’s first powered, sustained and controlled aeroplane flight had been made only in 1903 by the Wright brothers. Furthermore, technical developments were made only slowly up to the start of World War I (1914/18),where many pioneers foresaw the emergence of the aeroplane as a weapon. The potential of the aeroplane as a war machine was …

Operation ‘U’ – The Japanese attempt to take Imphal and Kohima

A history of Operation ‘U’, the Japanese offensive against Imphal and Kohima in north-east India in 1944, with details of the major battles and consequences for the Japanese as well as the Allies.