Today, on March 7, 1942 (Japan in Burma):
The Imperial Army of the Japanese, along with the “Burma Independence Army” (BIA), which contained thousands of nationalists and the Thirty Comrades–the predecessor to the Burmese army, captured Rangoon on this day in 1942; ABDA (American, British, Dutch, Australian Command) and Chinese coalition forces retreated to the north and eventually regrouped in India. The Thirty Comrades had sought military training from the Japanese to fight for their independence from Britain, before Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. The BIA was formally created on December 26, 1941.
The Japanese focus was to capture Rangoon, both the capital and major seaport in the region–to better defend any gains made in Malaya and the Dutch East Indies. An interesting side note is that Japan did not have to fight Thailand, as they had a treaty with them, with allowed Japanese forces to move unhindered. In return, Japan agreed to let the Thais have the Kayah and Shan states of Burma, while Japan controlled the rest.
The ABDA coalition attempted to defend the city; however, they were not ready for war. Even after reinforcements arrived, the Japanese were able to hold off ABDA counterattacks and were able to take the city. This enabled the Japanese to look western, and focus their attention on India.
I know you want to know more: http://1.usa.gov/1cGEbcR