Thailand in WW2

Prior to the Second World War, the Kingdom of Thailand (Thai: ราชอาณาจักรไทย, Ratcha-anachak Thai), had always been a largely neutral country. The increasingly belligerent Japanese Empire would come to change this, however.

After the end of the First World War, the Japanese eagerly expanded their empire into China, creating the Manchukuo puppet state. The government of Thailand saw a great opportunity to be an ally with this new great power in the world, especially after increasing pressure from the USA and Britain after the 1932 revolution by People’s Party (คณะราษฎร). Plaek Phibunsongkhram, the newly elected prime minister, tried to balance western power by bringing the Empire of the Rising Sun into South East Asia (SEA).

This table shows the type of tanks, and numbers, operated by Thailand in WW2Prior to Thailand’s enrollment into Axis powers, and following hostilities, the Royal Thai armed forces ordered a number of armored vehicles from Great Britain. This included small numbers of one of the most common tanks in the world, the 6-ton Vickers Mk. E Light Tank. These were later bolstered by the Carden-Loyd Mk.VI Tankette.

Upon joining with the Japanese Empire, Thailand began to order weapons, tanks, and equipment from them. Most notably, a small number of Japan’s staple tank, the Type 95 Ha-Go were purchased.

Links, Resources & Further Reading

The National Archives of Thailand.

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