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Comment: Cover clean with light wear. Little to no marks found inside. Binding tight. Book condition is good or better unless otherwise noted. Paperbacks, especially mass market paperbacks, will have spine creasing and may have age toned pages and curled covers. Binding will be intact, no major splits unless otherwise noted. We do our best to describe each book accurately. Any discrepancy between what is described and what is pulled will be noted in an email. If you would like a detailed description beyond what has been provided, please ask.
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Hong Kong 1941-45: First strike in the Pacific War (Campaign) Paperback – June 17, 2014

4.2 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Very interesting insights into a somewhat overlooked facet of WWII.” ―Toy Soldier & Model Figure

“The author does a superlative job of telling the story of this entire campaign, especially the influence of the resistance after the British surrendered. It is pretty obvious that the author is either a resident or very familiar with the area as he is able to provide insights that others would not. It makes for a great read and combined with period photographs and excellent art work, is a gripping tale. A book that you will very much enjoy reading and one I can highly recommend.” ―Scott van Aken, www.modelingmadness.com (August 2014)

“Tells the story of Japan's action against Hong Kong, the British surrender, the years of Japanese occupation, and the eventual reestablishment of British control over the colony when the war ended in 1945. It provides a very compelling look at how the defenders--and later prisoners--faired at the hands of the Imperial Japanese Army. This book is highly recommended to those interested in WWII history in general and the Pacific War in particular. It is a very interesting and educational read.” ―IPMS/USA

“Recommended!” ―Cybermodeler Online

About the Author

Benjamin Lai was born in Hong Kong, educated in the UK, and went on to serve as an officer in the British Territorial Army in the 1980s and 1990s. Fluent in both Chinese and English, he currently works as a development and business consultant in China. The author lives in Shanghai, China.
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Product Details

  • Series: Campaign (Book 263)
  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing; First Edition edition (June 17, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1782002685
  • ISBN-13: 978-1782002680
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.3 x 9.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #262,542 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By HMS Warspite TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 23, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As the Second World War approached in the late 1930's, the British colony of Hong Kong was generally considered indefensible against its most likely opponent, Imperial Japanese forces already operating in eastern China. On December 08, 1941, Japanese air, ground and naval forces struck at a variety of allied targets in the Far East, including Hong Kong. The British garrison of the colony, including local volunteers and two just-arrived Canadian Army battalions, put up a gallant and desperate defense, holding out for 18 days against superior forces. This is their story.

"Hong Kong 1941-45" is a new Osprey Campaign Series book, authored by Benjamin Lai, with illustrations by Giuseppe Rava. It follows the usual format, with an upfront comparison of the opposing commanders, their forces, and their plans. The heart of the narrative is a detailed recounting of the actual fighting, from the assualt on Hong Kong's border redoubt to the reduction of its last ditch holdouts on Hong Kong Island itself. The story is an exciting one, and told in a relatively even-handed manner. The author does not avoid the topic of alleged Japanese atrocities, but limits the details in favor of staying on topic. The aftermath of the fighting, in which Chinese Communist Forces cooperated with a British liaison group to rescue prisoners of war and other detainees, makes for a fascinating conclusion. Recommended for its insight into a largely overlooked part of the Second World War.
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These publishers produce a number of similar-looking books which include different themes. One is devoted to specific warships, vehicles or weapons of war and another provides comparisons between opposing sides such as German soldier vs. Russian soldier or two types of warship and so forth. Another topic within this arrangement is specific battles such as, for example; “The Naval Battles of Guadalcanal.” The one outstanding feature from all these works, however, is the excellent artwork provided by different artists. This particular book is written by Benjamin Lai and illustrated by Giuseppe Rava - both of whom are new to me.

Having served in Hong Kong with 7th Gurkha Rifles (1979-1981), I found certain elements of the book particularly fascinating - if only because I had been to the site in question. That, however, is no precondition for anyone wishing to similarly enjoy this excellent work.

On the day after Pearl Harbour, Imperial Japanese Forces issued instruction for the invasions of the Philippines, Thailand, Malaya and the tiny British Colony of Hong Kong. Because of its relative lack of importance, the occupation of Hong Kong is largely overlooked. This work, however, provides a full appraisal of those dark days and of the brutality which became synonymous with Japanese military behaviour throughout WW2. I deliberately mention this aspect because the author provides a potted account of the sinking of the Lisbon Maru. Of the 1,834 (British and Commonwealth) POWs who were captured in Hong Kong and placed aboard that ship, only 716 eventually survived!

In a well-thought-out work, we commence with an Introduction and Chronology of Events which combine perfectly to set the scene for the detailed descriptions which follow.
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It is amazing how much bungling went into the British planning, and execution of the defense against the Japanese in this campaign. The one bit which was contrary to the standard mismanagement was a group of geezers, of which the youngest was about 55 years of age, and some with combat experience back to the Boer War, fighting tooth and nail with their enemy. That part of the book was a real eye-opener!
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Excellent overview of a little-known campaign. The Japanese earned this victory with imagination, daring and considerable courage. The British forces, far from folding up as is implied in most general histories of the war, gave it their utmost and the actions, reactions and interactions of both sides are well documented here.

The period of the occupation and the events of liberation at war's end get much shorter treatment. For clandestine activities during the war we must apparently await further declassifications.

It is a typical Osprey book in that it is thin and well illustrated. For all that, it falls nearly alone into an empty niche. The Japanese capture of HK is dismissed in most histories in a single clause in a single sentence about the initial campaigns of the Pacific War. A lot of things happened here in late 1941 that deserve to be remembered and studied.
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I wanted to like this, as my library did not have a stand-alone volume on the fall of Hong Kong. Yet, I ended up disappointed. The writing is erratic, and at times weak, with a strange tendency by the author to use exclamation points way too much. In addition, there are some issues that make one question just how much Mr. Lai understands the forces of the Pacific War. For example, he consistently refers to shot down American pilots as having the rank of "Flight Lieutenant." Over the years I've seen the Osprey Campaign Series' quality improve. Yet this is something of a step back, requiring basic proofreading and editing.
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