Avonmore's Pacific Profiles Vol 8
|$42.95 MSRP from Casemate|
134 pages, softbound, 100 profiles and dozens of photos.
During the 1930s, the Japanese put forth considerable effort developing float planes. This was somewhat true of other major nations as floatplanes were used on capital ships to help with spotting and with reconnaissance. However, the Japanese also developed types for fairly long range reconnaissance as well as for some fleet defense.
Unable to build airfields with much speed, it was not uncommon for seaplane bases to be established in forward areas. This was particularly true of the Solomons campaign, as the Japanese Army moved down the chain early in the war. These aircraft were generally ones that were based on seaplane tenders, though not always the case. Tenders could be used as floatplane transports as well, bringing replacement aircraft or units from Japan as needed.
Thanks to the additional weight and drag of the floats, even floatplane fighters were not the equal of Allied fighters of the early war, though these were useful against larger aircraft. Their ability to land on water made them useful for scouting as well, for the IJN put a lot of emphasis on range with their strictly recon types.
Floatplane units of the South Seas area are not well documented and the frequent redesignation of units makes research more difficult than usual when dealing with Japanese units in the theater. However the author has done a remarkable job of clearing up what is, at times, a fairly muddled situation. This is not helped by a relative dearth of photographic evidence.
The book follows a fairly standard format for the series, starting with an introduction that includes pre-war markings and a description of the R-Area force. We then get into the various units. Each of these units are covered in greater or lesser detail, depending on how long they operated in theater. Not surprising is that many of these are the units based on tenders.
As usual, there are full color profiles associated with each unit. Each full color profile provides information on that particular aircraft. No lengthy pilot stories or background history on this as it concentrates on the aircraft and units involved in the conflict. The book also includes some nice art work spread throughout the book. There is also a section on miscellaneous units as well as those planes assigned to capital ships.
It all makes for a superb reference book for the modeler and enthusiast and well worth the price of admission. I very much like this series and look forward to each new volume. Most highly recommended.
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