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Pacific World War II Book Review  
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by Ikuhiko Hata, Yasuho Izawa, Christopher Shores
Grubb Street Press  2002
Hardcover
400 Pages
Photographs
Units Lists
Aircraft Profiles
ISBN: 1902304896
Cover Price: $36.75
Language: English

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Japanese Army Air Force Fighter Units
And Their Aces 1931-1945

With little published in English on the Japanese Army Air Force (JAAF) side of the war in the Pacific, this book fills a great void. We applaud Grubb Street for publishing such an important book for english readers to enjoy.

The co-authors Hata and Izawa have also written a book on Japanese Naval Aces and Fighter Units, as well as a books on JAAF and IJN bombers, published in Japanese. The book is translated from Japanese by Christopher Shores, and is an in-depth review of the fighter units of Imperial Japan.

JAAF Historical Overview
The book begins with a history of Army aviation, from the first aircraft acquired in the early 1930's thru its rise in the early years of the war in the Pacific.   Learn about aircraft like the Ki-43 Oscar and Ki-61 Tony dominated the skies over Japanese occupied areas. 

As the tide of war changed with superior Allied aircraft and island hopping tactics, the Army's ridged command structure and lack of fore site saw JAAF fighter pilots decimated in areas like New Guinea.  Despite these losses, there were outstanding Army units that equaled their Allied counterparts, in Burma and flying home defense.  In the later stages of the war, outstanding aircraft like the Ki-84 equaled the best allied planes, but arrived too late to impact the war.

References & Resources
The history section of the book is followed by detailed descriptions of each JAAF Sentai (unit), including commanding officers, bases, aircraft and history.  Also, side views of Sentai aircraft, showing their camouflage patterns and markings. Of particular merit is an alphabetical listing of JAAF aces with biographies.  The best feature for researchers is an amazing appendix listing every major air combat and every JAAF pilot lost in from 1931-45.

This book is an indispensable volume for anyone interested in the history of JAAF in english, it is probably the only such book in currently in print. 

Review by  Justin Taylan

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018


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