Book Review
Japanese Navy Light Cruisers
Osprey Publishing LTD Imperial Japanese Navy Light Cruisers 1941-45
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by: Randy L Harvey [ HARV ]


** The Imperial Japanese Navy went to war with 17 light cruisers and another three cruiser-sized training ships. Of these, most were 5,500-ton ships designed to act as destroyer squadron flagships. This made them much different in capabilities and mission from their American counterparts. During the war, the Japanese built another five light cruisers, all but one of which maintained the design premise of being able to serve as destroyer squadron flagships. These light cruisers were active throughout the Pacific, performing many missions in addition to their flagship duties. **

** Authorís words quoted from the back cover of the book.


Osprey Publications Ltd has released Imperial Japanese Navy Light Cruisers 1941-45 as Number 187 in their New Vanguard series. It is a paperback book with 48 pages. Included with the text are black and white photographs, color illustrations, information charts and detailed captions. It has a 2012 copyright and the ISBN is 978-1-84908-562-5. As the title states, the book covers Imperial Japanese Navy Light Cruisers from 1941-45.

Dedication: This book is dedicated to Fred Wilson, veteran of the Pacific War.


- Introduction
- Japanese Light Cruiser Development
- Japanese Naval Strategy And The Role Of The Light Cruiser
- Japanese Light Cruiser Tactics
- Japanese Light Cruiser Weapons
o Main Guns
o Torpedo Armament
o Heavy Antiaircraft Armament
o Light Antiaircraft Armament
o Radar
- The Light Cruiser Classes
o Tenryu Class
o Kuma Class
o Nagara Class
o Sendai Class
o Yubari Class
o Agano Class
o Oyodo Class
o Katori Class
- Analysis and Conclusion
- Bibliography
- Index


The text in the book is well written and contains many excellent details of Imperial Japanese Navy Light Cruisers from 1941 to 1945. I didnít notice any spelling or grammar errors as I read through the book. Stille researched the light cruisers the Imperial Japanese Navy used from 1941 through 1945 during World War II and provides a very well written and accurate history of them. He discusses very well the Imperial Japanese Navy light cruisers and their participation and involvement in the World War Two naval battles that shaped history. Anyone interested in the Imperial Japanese Navy light cruisers used during the naval battles of World War Two will find this book very informative and interesting and a worthwhile read.


There are a total of 42 black and white photographs. The majority of the photographs will be of interest to the navy and World War Two Japanese Navy enthusiasts well. However the majority of the photographs are from a distance away from the ship and therefore lack details which would have helped the military naval modeler. Many of the photographs have an out of focus look to them and some appear to be too dark, and some appear too light, which is typical for photographs of that period of time. Many military photographs are actually stills taken from video so that could be one reason as well as the fact that the photographs are close to 70 years old. With that said the quality of the photographs is of no fault of the author and take away nothing from the book. One thing that I was appreciative of with the photographs is that a good majority of them are not overused photographs that tend to turn up in numerous publications. Stille has stuck to the title of the book and chose photographs that are of Imperial Japanese Navy Light Cruisers and did not include photographs that strayed from the main subject of the book.


There are 7 color illustrations by illustrator Paul Wright that are very well done, nicely detailed and cover:

- HIJMS Sendai (1943)
- The Kuma Class
- The Nagara Class
- Cruiser Yubari departing Simpson Harbor, Rabaul
- Yahagi under attack by US carrier aircraft in April 1945
- The war-built cruisers
- The Tenryu and Katori Classes


There are no maps included in this volume.


There are 25 informational charts throughout the book that are very well done, nicely detailed and provide information on:

- Japanese Light Cruiser Main Guns
- Japanese Light Cruiser Heavy Antiaircraft Guns
- Type 96 25mm Gun (1936)
- Japanese Light Cruiser Radars
- Tenryu Class Construction
- Tenryu Class Specifications
- Kuma Class Construction
- Kuma Class Modifications (final configuration when lost)
- Kuma Class Specifications
- Nagara Class Construction
- Nagara Class Modifications (final configuration when lost)
- Nagara Class Specifications
- Sendai Class Construction
- Sendau Class Modifications (final configuration when lost)
- Sendai Class Specifications
- Yubari Class Construction
- Yubari Class Specifications
- Agano Class Construction
- Agano Class 25mm Gun Fit
- Agano Class Specifications
- Oyodo Class Construction
- Oyodo Class Specifications
- Katori Class Construction
- Katori Class Specifications
- Losses of IJN Light Cruisers by Primary Cause


The captions are well written and are very detailed and explain the accompanying photographs in detail eliminating any doubt as to what is shown in the accompanying photograph. I didnít notice any spelling or grammar errors as I read through them. They detail things such as the specific light cruiser shown, its location, ship names, the date of the photograph, and what the ship is doing or involved in.

This book was provided to me by Osprey Publishing Ltd. Please be sure to mention that you saw the book reviewed here when you make your purchase.




Osprey web site:

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Highs: Well researched, written, and detailed text and captionsNicely detailed illustrations and useful photographs
Lows: The quality of some of the photographsNo color photographs
Verdict: This is a very nice reference book of Imperial Japanese Navy Light Cruisers of 1941 through 1945 that is well researched and written
Percentage Rating
  Scale: Other
  Mfg. ID: ISBN 978-1-84908-562-5
  Suggested Retail: $17.95 US/£9.99 UK/$18.95
  PUBLISHED: Mar 22, 2012
  NATIONALITY: Japan / 日本

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About Randy L Harvey (HARV)

I have been in the modeling hobby off and on since my youth. I build mostly 1/35 scale. However I work in other scales for aircraft, ships and the occasional civilian car kit. I also kit bash and scratch-build when the mood strikes. I mainly model WWI and WWII figures, armor, vehic...

Copyright ©2021 text by Randy L Harvey [ HARV ]. 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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