on 17 June 2011
There are larger naval books with more information than this book but I still gave this book five stars for Mr Stille, a long term naval officer and prolific author, has squeezed as much useful information into this 44 (net) page book as humanly possible. Staying completely focused on IJN Cruisers, there is not "one ounce of fat" or straying from subject matter.
The author's previous book, "USN Cruiser vs IJN Cruiser", has some similar information but there is more info on ships and different photos in this book and despite the duplication its worth having both books.
In the brief introduction the development of Japanese naval strategy is explained and how much thought was given specifically to defeating the US if war broke out. Night battle tactics using powerful, long running torpedoes with heavy cruisers leading the charge were developed and taught for years. When war finally did break out, the Japanese had the advantage in tactics and training. A good example being the Japanese attack off Savo Island on August 9th, 1942 where US and Allied ships were soundly defeated.
There are five cruiser classes and eighteen cruisers described in this book. After discussing each class, a summary table is included that describes specifications, construction data, radars, gun and torpedo armaments. Also in the narrative, modifications are described as new boats are commissioned as well as modernizations to the older ships. I found this later aspect especially interesting but wished greater depth could've been given.
While there is brief mention of a few engagements, it was cursory and you will wish for more but with the page confinement it wasn't meant to be.
There are many fine photos and color illustrations to view and with the informed captions, you will also learn from the photos.
There is a poignant Analysis and Conclusion section describing the strengths and weaknesses of the Japanese cruisers. The IJN concentrated on firepower but was delinquent on ship stability and armor protection. While the Japanese had the advantage at the beginning of the war, it quickly fell behind against the rapid development of better ships and weapons by the US as the war evolved. There is a list of 16 ships showing how they met their demise but there are no dates or locations. Clearly this book could have been better; this and other examples could have had greater depth but it would need more pages.
There are no Notes but a nice reading list and index are included.
The targeted audience is probably new students and casual readers but collectors and old sea dogs could probably profit some from this book as well.
on 4 March 2011
In only 48 pages Mark Stille has packed a lot,each class of heavy cruiser is described followed by a brief history of each individual ship,most of these met violent ends,the few survivors to damaged to warrant repair,did the Japanese have the resources to carry out repairs and to what end.IJN heavy reliance on torpedoes,later to rebound as American air power became overwhelming coupled with poor gunnery,inadequate anti aircraft weaponry are all explained in a clear straightforward way.The photographs are very sharp-not always the case regarding Japanese images of ww2.Photographs taken by American aircraft are included,one shows IJN Nachi her bow and stern blown of sinking,another of one of the Myoko class shows the huge amount of smoke produced by her own anti aircraft guns,the Japanese Chemical and munitions industry in trouble?.The artwork is first class,only the cutaway of IJN Takao is spread across two pages also some of the photographs could be a little larger, the painting of IJN Kumano is not of a immobile ship,these are minor niggles,the book ends "The fighting record of the IJN Heavy Cruiser force was unmatched by any other navy in ww2,maybe but our British and Commonwealth cruisers did not do so bad,neither did the USN cruisers.A very very good addition to the Osprey stable.
on 22 January 2012
I like this book. It contains some excellent photographs, some of them are aerial and very detailed, and some very good profiles. On the whole, it is more than enough for a modeller in 1/700 scale, but it's a bit tight for one in the 1/350 scale.