JAPAN: Jumping-Off Place

Into the Indo-Chinese port of Saigon poured fresh, fighting-fit Japanese troops.

Trucks full of them rolled out toward the interior—and Thailand. Day after day the troops debarked and marched: 20,000, 30,000, 40,000 soldiers. They were not occupation troops. They were picked troops for fighting.

Behind them rumbled the machinery of war. Trucks shuttled back & forth between the docks and the encampments beyond the city. Aboard the trucks were munitions boxes, crated bombs, drums of gasoline, guns. Sweating Japanese labor battalions camped along the docks; they worked until their tongues hung out, then slept in relays in the tents. The harbor...

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