Imperial Japanese Navy Battleships 1941-45
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
Review Date: 1 Aug 2008
I am a WW2 history enthusiast, I do not think there is much room for doubt with that. My particular interest in naval forces, I think, began when I saw the Japanese movie Rengo Kantai in the early 1980s. After that, I remember flipping through books at the library to find out about the names of Japanese warships, and I even built a model of the Yamato-class battleship Musashi.
Fast forward many years to today, I do not think my interest in naval matters diminished, particularly in the Japanese Navy. That was why when I picked up Osprey's Imperial Japanese Navy Battleships 1941-45, even knowing this 40-some page book could only offer a quick glimpse at each battleship, I was fairly anxious to crack it open.
The author Mark Stille provided some background on the development of the Japanese naval forces during the inter-war period, and then went on to spend about 5 or 6 pages on the five major battleship classes that took part in the Pacific War: Kongo, Fuso, Ise, Nagato, and Yamato. For each class, a brief history was given, along with technical specifications, photographs (several were from the Yamato Museum in Japan which I had not seen before), war-time modifications (with particular stress on deployment of radar on some of the ships), and each battleships' end. While the details were understandably lacking, this small book still achieved the goal of providing a primer to the awesome surface fleet that ultimately accomplished little.
Although I had not built any models of a great many years now, looking at the color plates for each class, including some cutaways, I imagine that this book would be a great resource for modelers. The single-page appendix on the paint schemes of Japanese WW2-era battleships would likely be a great niche reference.
Imperial Japanese Navy Battleships 1941-45 is by no means comprehensive, but it is still an interesting book nevertheless. The casual naval enthusiasts would likely enjoy the book greatly.
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General Douglas MacArthur at Leyte, 17 Oct 1944