The Darkest Hour

Volume 1: The Japanese Offensive in the Indian Ocean 1942 - The Opening Moves

Michal A. Piegzik

The book presents the Imperial Japanese Navy offensive in the Indian Ocean in March-April 1942 and the British attempt to stop the enemy's advance towards India.
Date Published :
June 2022
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Series :
Illustration :
75 b/w photos,1 color ill, 24 color profiles, 4 maps, 31 tables
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781915070616
Pages : 98
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 (Kidō 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 1 of The Darkest Hour describes the strategic planning and opening moves of both sides in February–March 1942, including the Japanese navy projections on the final steps of the first stage of the Pacific War, and the Royal Navy’s hopes to halt the enemy advance without taking any significant risks. The Japanese offensive in the Indian Ocean began in March 1942 with the invasion of the Andaman Islands and Christmas Island. By securing both vital positions, the Japanese navy planned to establish its advanced bases in the eastern part of the Bay of Bengal.

In the next step, the invincible Kidō Butai consisting of five aircraft carriers and their escorts, was 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 Kidō 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 first volume examines events up to the capture of the Andaman Islands and Christmas Island in early March 1942, and is extensively illustrated with photographs and color artworks of the ships, aircraft and men 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, while deeply investigating Western and Japanese archives sources and publications. Graduating from the Faculty of Law at 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 the Pacific War. The presented book is his debut in British historiography.


"This book uses extensive accounts from the Japanese and offers considerable balance to the usual books that center on English-language exemplary account of the early operations and the forces involved."

- Historical Miniatures Gaming Society

"Piegzik has presented an incredibly detailed account of the first part of Japanese naval actions in the Indian Ocean in 1941 and early 1942. He provides the latest information obtained from British, American, and Japanese archives – something no other writers have been able to include...far and away the best detailed account of the action."

- Naval Historical Foundation

"...will provide the reader with a vast and clearer knowledge and understanding of this aggressive operation."

- Model Shipwrights

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