Avonmore's Pacific Profiles Vol 1

Author/Artists: Michael Claringbould




$36.95 MSRP from Casemate


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 104 pages, softbound, profiles and photos.
ISBN: 978-0-6486659-1-5

The air war in the Pacific was unlike war in Europe or North Africa. The Pacific war was a battle over islands that were separated by fairly large stretches of water. There were not large armadas of bombers nor was the fighter opposition very large either. The Japanese were constantly plagued with a poor supply line that often meant no spares to get planes up. For the Allies, missions meant long periods of time over water, not a very friendly area in which to be forced to ditch.

The southwestern theater of operations was, for the Japanese, had various areas given to either the Army or the Navy to provide air support. The Solomons were delegated to the Navy and New Guinea to the Army. Of course, there was some intermixing as this was inevitable. It is not surprising that the IJAAF was not exactly happy about having to operate in New Guinea. They realized that the conditions there were minimal for aircraft operation and the pathetic supply situation was something that plagued the Japanese throught the war.

This book covers IJAAF fighters during the time they were operating in New Guinea from 1942-44. As such, this meant the Ki-43, Ki-45, and Ki-61. The majority of types were the Ki-43. The Ki-61, given its engine problems, was not the right aircraft to send far away, and only a few, early Ki-45s operated in this area. A part of theater operation was the huge distances these planes had to go to get there. A fair percentage of these aircraft were lost on the trip. As time went along, units were fairly wiped out in terms of planes and pilots lost with a lot of planes lost from B-25 attacks.

What makes this a book that I really liked about this book is that in addition to a nice general background history of the air war in this region, it goes unit by unit in terms of the aircraft used, the various personalities and a brief history of each unit's time in theater. This is a great book in terms of looking at the various camouflage schemes worn by these aircraft as well as information on the unit markings. Unlike the Germans, the Japanese did not keep photos taken during the war and so finding images of the various unit markings/schemes is mostly from US images taken when the Allies overran Japanese air bases. Each unit has at least a half dozen full color profiles of each unit's aircraft, all based on extant photographs.

It is a book that will definitely be used over and over again for reference. This is book that modelers will find extremely useful. I very much look forward to additional volumes and I can most highly recommend this one to you.

January 2021

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