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by Koji Takaki
& Henry Sakaida
Index, photos, artwork
Order now at amazon.com
|Osprey Aviation Elite 5
B-29 Hunters of the JAAF
Little is written about the Japanese air defense of the the home islands at the end of WWII. This story is told in with vivid pilot profiles, mission histories and stunning photographs. History and accounts from both the Japanese and American sides of the campaign allow the reader to understand the vicious aerial combat that occurred in the skys over Japan, from late 1944 until the end of the war.
Like so many other defensive battles of the Pacific, the defense of the home islands was fanatical. Although marred by operational problems, and stiff resistance, B-29 raids succeeded in bringing the war home to Japan, and the county to its knees. This is the story of the pilots who defended Japan, and the stories of the B-29s they destroyed.
Three Phases of American Strategic Bombing
After reading the accounts of the Japanese pilots, their courage and determination can not be denied. Many preformed daring attacks at all odds, and some preformed, and survived several ramming attacks. Ramming pilots were hailed as heroes by the government and newspapers, and as the war continued, more aircraft were designated for ramming, further validating the tactic. As is often the case in air war, their claims by both sides were often inflated or exaggerated. But, the impact of Japanese fighters on the attacking B-29 formations, and losses they inflicted were undeniable.
The brunt of the the aerial defense was preformed by Japanese Army Air Force fighters, including the Ki-44 Tojo, the twin engine Ki-45 Dinah, Ki-61 Tony, and Ki-84, among others. Like their American counterparts, the Japanese aircraft also had operations and performance issues with their planes in high altitude interceptions. Often, aircraft would strip out all unnecessary equipment for extra altitude performance.
The book is unique in its detailed documentation of both the Japanese and American sides of many of the B-29 fighter losses, where crews managed to survive. This is a real credit to the collaborative efforts of the book's authors. Each aircraft is illustrated with many WWII photos, of the aircraft, its crews, and in many cases their crash site, and haunting photographs of the 'death' of stricken B-29s from the air and from the ground.
The book also explore the plight of B-29 POW's of the Japanese, and their brutal treatment by the Kempi-Tai, execution in military trials for bombing civilian targets, or brutal internment. This unforgettable record saw only 53% of B-29 POWs survive the war.
For anyone interrested in the aerial battles, over Japan, or the Japanese defense against B-29 mission this book is an essential release that you will want in your aviation book library.
Review by Justin Taylan
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