Operation Ichi-Go (“Number One”) was the largest ground offensive in Japanese history, with 500,000 troops, 800 tanks and massive logistics and artillery support. They used their tanks in armored divisions – the only time in the war they deployed such concentrations. Despite Japan's overall rapidly deteriorating position, the Japanese Army selected China as the target of their massive offensive. They had three broad objectives: • Open a land and rail route across China to their southern conquests in Indochina and the Dutch East Indies (and bypass the US submarine blockade along the Chinese seacoast), and; • Eliminate all the US bomber bases in China from which B-29s were targeting the home islands, and; • At a minimum, severely degrade Nationalist Chinese capabilities and in the best case, maybe even knock the Nationalists out of the war. Ironically, Japanese armies reached the goals that they set, but US airpower prevented them from using their overland supply route to any great extent, and US victories in the Pacific gave the US plenty of other airbases to attack the Japanese mainland. However, the offensive made a huge difference to postwar Asia. The Nationalists lost important territory, including scarce industrial capacity and rice-growing areas vital to their economy. They also lost military prestige and an enormous number of troops, perhaps as many as 750,000 casualties, weakening their ability to fight the Communists. And fatally, in order to do the offensive, the Japanese emptied Manchuria, leaving defenses against the Soviets there very weak, and from areas in China where they had been containing Communist guerrillas, creating a vacuum that the Communists quickly filled. Designer Ty Bomba tackles this challenging topic in his first published design for ATO!