A Bowl of Rice Too Far: The Burma Campaign of the Japanese Fifteen Army
Technical Report,05 Jul 2015,26 May 2016
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE FORT LEAVENWORTH KS FORT LEAVENWORTH United States
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In 1942 the Japanese Fifteenth Army overwhelmed the Allied forces defending Burma. However, in just two short years the Allied forces, spearheaded by the British Fourteenth Army, shattered the Fifteenth Army. The purpose of this study is to examine how and why the situation in Burma radically changed. The investigation frames the Burma campaign, using the three criteria of massed effects at the decisive point, air superiority, and operational reach. The elements are used to assess quantitative changes to the Japanese Fifteenth and British Fourteenth Armies and to evaluate the Japanese decision to conduct Operation U-Go. The study concludes that the Japanese decision to launch Operation U-Go was detrimental to the Fifteenth Armys Burma campaign, and presented FM Slim an opportunity for victory in the theater. It describes how advantages in the three criteria transitioned from the Japanese possession in 1942, to the British in 1944. Furthermore, the study underscores the importance and relationship of elements of operational art to military operations. The Fifteenth Armys campaign demonstrates what can result when military planners fail to appreciate the linkage between the elements of operational art and their effect on combat operations.