The Japanese Armed Forces began their conquest of Asia in 1931, with the invasion of China and Manchuria. It took another 10 years for the Japanese threat to materialize on western countries, in the form of the infamous attack on Pearl Harbor, 1941. This was an unforgivable attack on the part of the Allies, and it ultimately brought the Japanese into the Second World War. This book by Osprey gives the reader an in-depth look at the command, organization, uniforms, equipment and much more about the Japanese Army during the war years.
Before a critical analysis of this book can be made, it must be noted that this is the second book on the subject, the author notes that in the first book (The Japanese Army 1931-45 (1): 1931-45) goes into much more detail on the background, character, organization and weapons than can be sensibly duplicated in the present book. Disappointing yet understandable.
- 48 page Paperback
- 8 pages of colour plates(depicting 24 soldiers in uniform)
- 37 B&W photographs with detailed captions
- 3 charts of rank insignia
- 1 table of information
The first section of the book gives chronologies of major campaigns, giving a brief summary of the many battles and locations at which the Japanese Imperial Army fought. The next section takes a look at the organization of both armoured and infantry units, giving approximate strengths of men, numbers of artillery, mortar and small arms equipment available to each division/brigade.
Next is the deployment section of the book, which consists of a table showing the theatre of service for each infantry brigade, garrison unit, tank regiment or special unit. There is a large section of the book dealing with information regarding special units (such as the Kempei-Tai, Naval Landing forces etc.) plus a section on Foreign Auxiliaries. The Kwangtung Army is addressed, as are Japan’s preparations for an Allied invasion.
The next part of the book comprises of many coloured artworks of Japanese soldiers in various uniforms. These plates are very well drawn, and highlight the diversity of both uniforms and equipment in accordance with different theatres and branches of service.
The rest of the book gives detailed information on various uniforms, equipment and rank insignias. An accompanying description of each colour plate can be found at the end of the book.
A large number of black and white photographs sourced from numerous collections are included in the book. An interesting point is that each photo has been given a very detailed caption to describe it, far beyond the normal standard.
Although the book is very brief in its description of the JIA’s military background, organization and character (due to that information being kept within the series’ previous installment), its brilliant artwork coupled with detailed descriptions is a treasure trove for any modeller interested in the subject. The book’s information on lesser known branches of service, plus the handy campaign summary, makes a very useful modelling reference.