“A well-detailed account of the [World War II] raid, which badly stung the Royal Navy but which the Japanese failed to exploit to a strategic advantage” (Seapower).
In early April 1942, a little-known episode of World War II took place. Said by Sir Winston Churchill to be “the most dangerous moment of the war,” the Japanese made their only major offensive westwards into the Indian Ocean. As historian Sir Arthur Bryant said, “A Japanese naval victory in April 1942 would have given Japan total control of the Indian Ocean, isolated the Middle East and brought down the Churchill government.”
Having crippled the American fleet at Pearl Harbor, the Japanese turned their sights on the British Eastern Fleet based at Ceylon. Occupation of Ceylon, now Sri Lanka, would not only provide the Japanese a springboard into India but also control of the essential convoy routes to Europe and the Western Desert. And aside from the British Eastern Fleet, the Indian Ocean lay undefended.
In April 1942, a Japanese fleet led by six aircraft carriers, four battleships, and thirty other ships sailed into the Bay of Bengal. In the ferocious battles that followed, the British lost a carrier, two heavy cruisers, and many other ships; however, the Japanese eventually turned back, never to sail against India again. John Clancy, whose father survived the sinking of HMS Cornwall during the battle, “masterfully combines the strategic overview, the tactical decision making and many personal experiences to bring this episode of the war to life” (WWII Today).
“Absolutely enthralling.” —Books Monthly
“Well researched . . . a balanced view of men acting under the stress of war during a critical time.” —WWII History