The Darkest Hour

Volume 2: The Japanese Offensive in the Indian Ocean 1942 - The Attack against Ceylon and the Eastern Fleet

Michal A Piegzik

This book presents the Japanese navy offensive in the Indian Ocean area in March-April 1942. Its main goal was to destroy the Royal Navy in the Far East and achieve domination on the Eastern flank of the Pacific War on the eve of the battle of Midway.
Date Published :
August 2022
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Series :
Illustration :
47 b/w photos, 1 b/w & 5 color maps, 16 color profiles & figures, 18 tables
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781804510230
Pages : 80
Dimensions : 11.75 X 8.25 inches
Stock Status : Available


The Darkest Hour presents the Imperial Japanese Navy offensive in the Indian Ocean area in March–April 1942, the main goal of which was to destroy the Royal Navy in the Far East and achieve domination on the western flank of the Pacific War on the eve of the Battle of Midway. The bold operation by two Japanese task forces (Kido Butai and Malay Force) in the Indian Ocean would only be possible with the fall of Singapore in February and the Dutch East Indies in early March 1942.

From the strategic point of view, the Japanese offensive in the Indian Ocean was the only moment in the Second World War when the Axis forces could coordinate their efforts to severely threaten the position of the British Empire in the crucial Middle Eastern and Indian theaters.

Volume 2 of The Darkest Hour describes the movements of the invincible Kido Butai, consisting of five aircraft carriers and their escorts, that expected to crush the British bases on Ceylon and once and forever destroy the main core of the Eastern Fleet. The chaos provoked by the Kido Butai would then become a great opportunity for the Malay Force to cut off the British shipping routes in the western part of the Bay of Bengal.

The Darkest Hour is the first systematic attempt to describe this less-well known part of the Pacific War by researching both British and Japanese archive documents and other sources published in many countries, including the United Kingdom, Japan, and India.

The second volume examines the Japanese aerial assault upon the British bases on Ceylon, and the attacks against the carrier HMS Hermes, cruisers MS Cornwall and Devonshire, and the destroyer HMAS Vampire. The Darkest Hour Volume 2 includes extensive tables detailing the composition of the Japanese air attacks and is illustrated with photographs and with color artworks of the ships and aircraft involved.

About The Author

Michal A. Piegzik is a Polish Ph.D. in law, living and working in Japan as a researcher, bringing new light on the Pacific War campaigns. In his academic career, he was awarded the Japanese Ministry of Education (MEXT) scholarship for exceptional research results and putting in practice the modern approach in science: presenting significant issues to the general audience, yet deeply investigating the Western and the Japanese archives sources and publications. Graduating from the Faculty of Law, the University of Wroclaw in 2015, he is currently researching Japanese family law at the Tokyo Metropolitan University. The Pacific War is his life’s passion which also remarkably influenced his academic skills and career path. He lives in Sagamihara (Kanagawa prefecture), spending free time traveling around Japanese cities and the countryside with his wife. He is an author of five monographs and over 20 articles related to Japanese law and to the Pacific War.


"The two volumes comprising the Japanese naval offensive into the Indian Ocean during World War II are by far the most comprehensive and detailed account of these often minimized or neglected military actions. The use of Japanese, British, Australian, and American archival sources is a real plus, indicative of dedicated scholarship."

- Naval Historical Foundation

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