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by Henry Sakaida
Osprey Publishing  1998
Soft cover
300 pages
112 pages
Ace List
Color Plates
ISBN: 1-85532-529-2
Cover Price:
Language: English

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Japanese Army Air Force Aces 1937-45
Osprey Aircraft of the Aces 13

Author Henry Sakaida is also the author of Imperial Japanese Naval Aces, in this same aces series. Very little is written in english on the subject of Japanese Army Air Force (JAAF) specifically. This book presents us with what are in most cases an entirely new set of aces to admire for thier skill and bravery.  

The Army Airforce operated entirely independent of the Naval Aviation. The segregation of the two services meant they rarely collaborated on strategic aims. As with the Navy, the Army Air Force achieved excellent results early in the war, but as the months dragged on, found itself flying a difficult battle against more numberous enemy pilots and planes.

The book includes chapters that summarize the JAAF's involvment in China, Nomonhan Incident (Russan/Japanese border skirmish), China-Burma-India Theater, New Guinea and home defense. Profiles of the following aces are included, with their confirmed victory tallies along side their names unofficial tallies in italics:

Bunji Yoshiyama (20+) Iwori Sakai (15) Jyozo Iwahasji (21)
Masatoshi Masuzawa (15) Shogo Saito (25+) Hiromichi Shinohara (58)
Kenji Shimada (27) Bunichi Yamaguchi (19) Yukio Shimokawa (16)
Tateo Kato (18) Yukiyoshi Wakamatsu (18) Hiroshi Onozaki (14)
Hideo Miyabe (12+) Yasuhiko Kuroe (51) Yojiro Ofusa (19)
Satoshi Anabuki (39) Yohei Hinoki (12+) Isamu Sasaki (38)
Moritsugu Kanai (32) Ryotaro Jobo (30+) Kosuke Tsubone (10+)
Katsuaki Kira (21+) Kazuo Shimizu (18+) Shigeo Nango (15+)
Susumu Kajinami (8+) Shogo Takeuchi (30+) Teruhiko Kobayashi (5)
Yoshio Yoshida (6+) Tadao Sumi (6) Fujitaro Ito (13+)
Isamu Kashiide (9) Makoto Ogawa (9) Nobuji Negishi (6)
Chuichi Ichikawa (10) Nagao Shirai (13) Sadamitsu Kimura (8)

Masatoshi Masuzawa scrambled with other instructors and trainees over thier base, he engaged F6F Hellcats, and claimed one shot down, with the single 7.7mm machine gun of his Nakajima Ki-79. Almost all his comrades were shot down, but he returned from the action.

Each profile concludes with a bit about the pilots eventual fate. Like Shogo Saito, who died as an infantry man at Hollandia fighting on the ground after the American landing. Others are full of luck, like Yasuhiko Kuroe, who was shot down 3 times, wounded 3 times, and his plane hit over 500 times, but survived the war.

Despite the fact the JAAF aircraft were in most cases under armed and lighter than their Allied opponents, they did produce many incredible pilots and aces who overcame adversity to fly and fight against any challenge. This book is an exciting, unique read.

Read interview with Henry Sakaida

Review by  Justin Taylan

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Last Updated
May 23, 2017

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