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Book Review
Japanese Destroyers, Pt. II
Imperial Japanese Navy Destroyers 191945 (2) Asashio to Tachibana Classes
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Imperial Japanese Navy Destroyers 191945 (2) Asashio to Tachibana Classes
Series & No.: New Vanguard 202
Author: Mark Stille
Illustrator: Paul Wright
Formats: Paperback; ePub; PDF eBook
Length: 48 pages
ISBN: 9781849089876


Introduction
This is the second history volume of Japanese destroyers of WWII. It covers the history and some weapons of the Japanese destroyers built just before and during the war, including the famous Kagero and Yugumo classes. The success (or lack of) of these designs are presented and are compared to comparable Allied destroyer designs. All major navies designed successive destroyers to counter these revolutionary powerful destroyers, which were, when completed just before WWII, the most powerful class of destroyers in the world.

The Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) used their destroyers as offensive weapons and their primary weapon was the torpedo. Extensively trained in night fighting with superb optics that usually bested American radar, IJN destroyer night torpedo attacks almost always ravaged Allied surface forces of any composition everywhere they were encountered into mid-1943.

Content
Imperial Japanese Navy Destroyers 191945 (2), Asashio to Tachibana Classes is presented through 48 pages in 15 chapters and sections:
    CONTENTS

    INTRODUCTION

    JAPANESE DESTROYER DESIGN PRINCIPLES

    JAPANESE NAVAL STRATEGY AND THE ROLE OF THE DESTROYER

    ASASHIO CLASS
    Design and Construction
    Armament and Service Modifications
    Wartime Service

    KAGERO CLASS
    Design and Construction
    Armament and Service Modifications
    Wartime Service

    YUGUMO CLASS
    Design and Construction
    Armament and Service Modifications
    Wartime Service

    SHIMAKAZE
    Design and Construction
    Armament and Service Modifications
    Wartime Service

    AKIZUKI CLASS
    Design and Construction
    Armament and Service Modifications
    Wartime Service

    MATSU/TACHIBANA CLASS
    Design and Construction
    Armament and Service Modifications
    Wartime Service

    ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSION

    BIBLIOGRAPHY

    INDEX

Note that Shimakaze was not a class but rather a single experimental high-speed destroyer, bristling with torpedo launchers.

Author Mark Stille has crammed a great deal of data and information into this concise book. No doubt he could fill a hundreds of pages with the war record of IJN destroyers. In this book he strikes a good balance between information and readability. Presented with detail in the first title were Japanese destroyer weapons and tactics:

    Torpedoes
    Guns
    Anti-aircraft Armament
    Japanese Destroyer Radar

Thus these topics are not discussed in this volume.

As in that first book, each class receives attention including build dates; shipyards; powerplant outputs; ships in class; class specifications. Armament and gun mount modifications are noted plus a brief account of each ship's wartime service. Some of the accounts are fascinating: what was the longest torpedo strike of the war; did an IJN destroyer really survive having its bow and stern blown off by torpedoes; what DD hit three enemy DDs with a single torpedo salvo?

Again the authors summarize the fortes and foibles of these classes of destroyers. Were they effective anti-submarine platforms? How well did they screen carriers with anti-aircraft fire? Were the torpedo batteries as effective as desired? When one considers the quality and functionality of their weapon systems as part of the overall war, the results are not surprising.

The final section demonstrates the fate of the ships in a table listing the number of each class sunk, and by what cause.

Art, photographs, graphics
Artist Paul Wright is one of my favorite naval artists and this book contains many of his excellent illustrations. These include two single-page battle paintings with descriptive sidebars:

    1. Kagero at Pearl Harbor, December 1941: class namesake in heavy seas sneaking up to Pearl Harbor.

    2. Suzutsuki During Operation Ten-Go: taking a bomb hit during the death ride of superbattleship Yamato, April 1945.

A three-quarter cutaway of HIJMS Yugumo fills two pages. Twenty-one components are keyed including her machinery room and both boiler rooms. Her configuration is depicted as she appeared during the Battle of Vella Lavella.

Six classes and Shimakaze are displayed with 12 profiles and planforms:
    1. Asashio & Kagero
    a. Asashio, 1941
    b & c. Yukikaze, Kagero-class, April 1945, with radar and enhanced anti-submarine and anti-air weapons.

    2. The Yugumo Class and Unique Shimakaze
    a & b. Yugumo-class Kishinami at Leyte Gulf, October, 1944, with augmented AA, ASW and radar fit.
    c. Shimakaze, October 1944. An experimental high-speed destroyer, bristling with torpedo launchers.

    3. The Akizuki Class
    a & b. Teruzuki in 1942 in early-war configuration.
    c. Shimotsuki in 1944 with augmented AAA and radar.

    4. The Matsu and Tachibana Classes
    a & b. Hinoki in the late-war Matsu configuration.
    c. Tachibana as completed in January 1945.

    Photographic support is exceptional as well. Even though many of the photos were taken by Allied cameras during battle the majority of the photos are sharp and well developed. There are several "studio" photos of these ships at anchor and at speed. One particularly interesting view is a September 1945 shot of damaged Suzutsuki with a long timber footbridge crossing the bay to her. Another is the wreck of Okinami in Manila Harbor.

    Several tables deliver statistics and data as discussed above.

    conclusion
    Imperial Japanese Navy Destroyers 191945 (2), Asashio to Tachibana Classes is full of excellent photographs, artwork, profiles and tables which support authoritative text and information. It perfectly compliments the first book.

    I have been very impressed with Mr. Stille's New Vanguard series on Imperial Japanese ships. This title does not disappoint and I look forward to his next one.

    No tactics and only a few Japanese destroyer weapons are reviewed in this volume. Without access to the first book the reader will lack the ability to fully understand these ships. That is a compromise for the format length of New Vanguard titles.

    This is an excellent primer about Imperial Japanese destroyers. Historians, modelers and illustrators should appreciate the level of detail. I enthusiastically recommend it.

    Please remember, when contacting vendors or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here - on ModelShipWrights.
SUMMARY
Highs: Excellent photographs, artwork, profiles and tables. Authoritative text and information.
Lows: One requires the first book for Japanese destroyer weapons and tactics.
Verdict: This is an excellent primer about Imperial Japanese destroyers. Historians, modelers and illustrators should appreciate the level of detail.
Percentage Rating
93%
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: 9781849089876
  Suggested Retail: $17.95
  Related Link: Japanese Navy Destroyers 191945, Pt.I
  PUBLISHED: Nov 18, 2013
  NATIONALITY: Japan / 日本
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 87.00%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 90.20%

Our Thanks to Osprey Publishing!
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About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)
FROM: TENNESSEE, UNITED STATES

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright 2017 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Model Shipwrights. All rights reserved.


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Comments

Fred, thanks for the review. I read through in a day (thanks to you) and was really surprised at the small numbers built. It was also interesting to see how they were used, especially those that were wasted in the suicide missions. I liked the color profiles, too.
NOV 18, 2013 - 08:23 AM
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