Book Review
Japanese Navy Submarines
Imperial Japanese Navy Submarines 1941-1945
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by: Mark R. Smith [ GUNNY ]

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Combining details of the impressive design and development of Japanese submarines, with highlights of their successes and failures, this new book from Osprey gives the reader a unique insight into the IJN submarine force.

New Vanguard Series, #135

7.25" x 9.75"
48 pages ttl.
40 B/W photographs
7 Color Plate Illustrations
Written by Mark Stille
Illustrated by Tony Bryan

Dating back to 1904, The Imperial Japanese Navy's interest in submarines was omnipresent, and during WWII, most notably The Pacific Theatre, their submarine technology could not be matched by any foe. These vessels were by far the largest pre-nuclear age submarines in the world, some capable of carrying and launching float plane bombers.

Operating along side fast combat vessels, and hunting with midget submarines, all of which were supplied and equipped with the latest and best torpedo's and arms available, The IJN should have been the prevailing and dominant force in the era, but surprisingly, quite the opposite.

This new addition to Osprey Publishing’s New Vanguard Series fine "point of reference" manuals tells the story of the development of the IJN submarine force, but only the I and RO classes are covered in these pages, due only to the sheer number of volumes that would be needed to include all classes and types of vessels of the IJN submarine force.

1.) Origins
~Birth and Control of the Imperial Navy's submarine force
2.) Development and Operational History

3.) I Series Submarines
4.) RO Series Submarine
5.) The Imperial Navy's Submarine Force-a post mortem
6.) Bibliography
7.) Color Plate Commentary
inside the pages. . .

This new book from Osprey packs a large amount of reference information in its 48 pages, taking the I and RO series IJN submarines, and explaining each vessels specifications in separate "gray block" style charts, for each vessel discussed. These charts list the number of units in class, vessel displacement, dimensions, machinery, speed, range, operating depth, and crew number.

A short synopsis of general vessel information follows the table, which also includes an armament listing, and a war service record. Black and White photo's complement the text throughout, and add a valuable aid in connecting the information together for a greater understanding of each type and variety.

The center of the book holds a nice addition, a collection of wonderful color plates drawn by Tony Bryan, showing Fleet Submarines, Cruiser Submarines, "Monster" Submarines, and RO Submarines, all in full color regalia. A two page centerfold, "cut-away" style view of the B1 type submarine, holds a wealth of technical information with all pertinent details numbered and labeled. . .very nice!

There are also two really nice "action" illustrations, one depicting I-370, a 12 D1 type transport submarine with Kaiten human torpedoes on board, and the other of the September 9, 1942 attack of the US mainland off the Oregon coast, showing a type B1 type I25 surfaced launching a single E14Y1 floatplane (either (or both!) of these illustrations would look fantastic on my hobby room wall!).

The writing continues next with a discussion of The Imperial Navy's submarine force in "post-mortem", raising some interesting points, and then wraps up the edition with a full color plate commentary. packed with information and descriptive text on each of the color illustrations in the books center section.
author, and illustrator. . .

This book was written by Mark Stille, a retired US Navy commander who currently works in Naval Intelligence. He has devoted much of his life to the research and study of the IJN, and its vessels.
Tony Bryan is a freelance illustrator of many years experience, who lives and works in Dorset. Tony has produced many illustrations for multiple publications, including many titles in the Osprey "New Vanguard" series.
Highs: Good technical coverage for the manuals physical size, good historical photo's and color illustrations
Lows: Although a good point of reference for the modeler, not a complete thesis of the IJN submarine (which would take many volumes)
Verdict: Overall, a good value for the money, although as a modelers reference, a bit lacking in descriptive photography. Definitely a good point of reference, recommended.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: Other
  Mfg. ID: 1 84603 0900
  Suggested Retail: $15.95 US
  Related Link: Official Osprey Website
  PUBLISHED: Jun 21, 2007
  NATIONALITY: Japan / 日本

Our Thanks to Osprey Publishing!
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About Mark R. Smith (Gunny)

I have been building models of all sorts all of my life, concentrating mainly on the coolest one's when I was younger, but now I focus directly on all military subjects, from armor to warships. After years of counting rivets, I put away the calipers, dial indicators, and micrometers and now just ha...

Copyright ©2021 text by Mark R. Smith [ GUNNY ]. 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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