I’ve just finished reading Kangzhan, a guide to Chinese ground forces from 1937 to 1945, a book by Bin Shih and Leland Ness. Well, to be more truthful, I’ve finished reading some of it. It’s a solid book, coming in at 576 pages and weighing a lot more than you’d expect for its size, and I loaned it from the library. Someone else had it on order, but it’s so good that I’ll get my own copy to finish off the bits that were of less interest to me.
As far as I know, this book is unique in providing an English-language source of information on the organisation and equipment of the Chinese armies in the period between the two World Wars and in the Sino-Japanese War (Kangzhan – the War of Resistance – in Chinese) that formed part of the Second World War. While various sources give snippets and orders of battle, none have anything even remotely approaching the depth and detail of this book. Even better, its remarkably readable for the type of book and subject matter.
If you are a wargamer or historian interested in the Sino-Japanese War, it is essential reading. I’ve read pretty much everything on the subject in English that I could get my hands on over the last decade. Five minutes with this book told me more than all of them combined.