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Book Review
Japanese Destroyers, Pt. I
Imperial Japanese Navy Destroyers 1919–45 (1), Minekaze to Shiratsuyu Classes
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]


Originally published on:
Model Shipwrights

Imperial Japanese Navy Destroyers 1919–45 (1), Minekaze to Shiratsuyu Classes
Series: New Vanguard 198
Author: Mark Stille
Illustrator: Paul Wright
Formats: Paperback, ePub and PDF eBook
Length: 48 pages
ISBN: 9781849089845


Introduction
This is the first volume to detail the history, weapons and tactics of the Japanese destroyers built before the war, including the exceptional Fubuki class (classified “Special Type” by the Japanese). All major navies designed successive destroyers to counter these revolutionary powerful destroyers, which were, when completed in the late 1920’s, the most powerful class of destroyers in the world. Three classes were constructed prior to the Fubuki and two classes were built afterwards.

The Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) used their destroyers as offensive forces 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 1919–45 (1), Minekaze to Shiratsuyu Classes is presented through 48 pages in 15 chapters and sections:
    CONTENTS

    INTRODUCTION

    JAPANESE NAVAL STRATEGY AND THE ROLE OF THE DESTROYER

    JAPANESE DESTROYER DESIGN PRINCIPLES

    JAPANESE DESTROYER WEAPONS
    • Torpedoes
    • Guns
    • Anti-aircraft Armament
    • Japanese Destroyer Radar

    MINEKAZE CLASS
    • Design and Construction
    • Armament and Service Modifications
    • Wartime Service

    KAMIKAZE CLASS
    • Design and Construction
    • Armament and Service Modifications
    • Wartime Service

    MUTSUKI CLASS
    • Design and Construction
    • Armament and Service Modifications
    • Wartime Service

    FUBUKI CLASS
    • Design and Construction
    • Armament and Service Modifications
    • Wartime Service

    AKATSUKI CLASS
    • Design and Construction
    • Armament and Service Modifications
    • Wartime Service

    HATSUHARU CLASS
    • Design and Construction
    • Armament and Service Modifications
    • Wartime Service

    SHIRATSUYU CLASS
    • Design and Construction
    • Armament and Service Modifications
    • Wartime Service

    ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSION

    BIBLIOGRAPHY

    INDEX
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 is data about the development and deployment of offensive torpedoes and their mounts, heavy guns and light defensive weaponry. Ranges, rate of fire, warhead size and other technical data is displayed in table format. The addition of radar is detailed including modifications of the masts the apparatus was mounted upon. The performance of the No.13 and No.22 Mod.4M are presented in a table with accuracy, range against specific targets, power output and other technical details. Group I and Group II ships are defined.

One thing I did not like is that inconsistent numerical values (both feet and meters) are used in weapons data tables, causing confusion to the inattentive reader. Another subject that I was hoping would be mentioned is the linoleum decking used on destroyers. It is briefly mentioned in a cruiser book but not here.

Each class receives attention including build dates; shipyards; powerplant outputs; ships in class; class specifications. Stability of some classes are reviewed, as is the reason that several IJN destroyers were badly damaged in a storm. Armament and gun mount modifications are noted plus a brief account of each ship's wartime service.

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. Yunagi at the Battle of Savo Island, August 1942: a Kamikaze-class destroyer in a private duel with destroyer USS Jarvis during the worst defeat suffered by the US Navy.

    2. Shigure at the Battle of Surigao Strait, October 25, 1944: a lucky ship faces the US battle fleet.

A three-quarter cutaway of HIJMS Hatsuyuki fills two pages. Thirteen components are keyed including her machinery room and both boiler rooms. Her configuration is depicted as she appeared during the Battle of Cape Esperence.

Five classes are displayed with nine profiles and planforms:

    1. Minekaze
    a. Minekaze pre-war
    b. Yukaze, 1945, with radar and enhanced anti-submarine and anti-air weapons
    c. Namikaze as a Kaiten carrier

    2. Mutsuki and Fubuki
    a. Satuki in 1944 with augmented AA and radar
    b. Special Type Fubuki as built, 1928

    3. Hatsuharu and Shiratsuyu
    a. Hatsushimo in 1945 when escorting super battleship Yamato
    b. Yudachi when sunk off Guadalcanal, November, 1942

Photographic support is exceptional as well. Even though many of the photos were taken by enemy 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.

Several tables deliver statistics and data as discussed above.

Conclusion
Imperial Japanese Navy Destroyers 1919–45 (1), Minekaze to Shiratsuyu Classes is full of excellent photographs, artwork, profiles and tables which support authoritative text and information. I am not overly concerned with the inconsistent numerical values used in data tables.

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 part two. 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.
_______
Sources

* Osprey
SUMMARY
Highs: Excellent photographs, artwork, profiles and tables. Authoritative text and information.
Lows: Inconsistent numerical values (feet then meters) used in weapons data can confuse the inattentive reader.
Verdict: This is an excellent primer about Imperial Japanese destroyers. Historians, modelers and illustrators should appreciate the level of detail.
Percentage Rating
96%
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: ISBN 9781849089845
  Suggested Retail: $17.95, £9.99
  Related Link: USN Destroyer vs IJN Destroyer, The Pacific 1943
  PUBLISHED: Apr 29, 2013
  NATIONALITY: Japan / 日本
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 87.00%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 90.20%

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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 ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


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