MMP Books' Japanese Anti-Submarine Aircraft of the Pacific War


Ryusuke Ishiuro and Tadeusz Januszewski


MMP Books




Scott Van Aken

Notes: 248 pages, hardbound, A4 Format

I always look forward to the next release from Mushroom Models Publications. They have secured themselves a reputation for well researched and interesting books. This one is no exception. Rarely to historians think much about the aerial anti-submarine mission and when they do, the Japanese effort is often not considered at all. However, American submarines were sunk by dedicated ASW units and the Japanese did put considerable effort into ASW, albeit rather late in the conflict. This book looks at the aircraft, tactics and the hardware used during this effort.

We start out the book with the variety of tactics and some of the equipment used. The Japanese did have MAD gear (the KMX system), though like most nations, this was in its infancy at this time. They also used special frequency radar and relied on the radar probably more than the KMX system. Often, the aircraft used were unable to carry both radar and the MAD system, so it was that various formations and tactics would be used so that multiple aircraft, flying at specific intervals would provide the coverage needed. Of course, Mk.1 eyeballs were equally as important as a submarine near the surface was quite visible from the air. I actually found this initial introduction to be one of the most interest.

We then get into the various aircraft used. The book divides this into Navy and Army types. Not surprisingly, many patrol aircraft were really current or obsolescent types, mostly bombers and other multi-engine types. So it is not surprising that we see types like the G3M or the Ki-49 or B5N or Ki-76 included in the mix. Late in the war, the Army operated converted cargo ships with flight decks to operate STOL types like the Ki-76 or even the Kayaba autogyros, though these aircraft did not carry the sophisticated electronics of the larger types.

There were a few dedicated ASW aircraft, the cover art Q1W 'Lorna', being the prime example. Each of the nearly two dozen types that were used in this service are covered. You are provided a full history of each type as well as its operational use in their specific missions. This is really a nice bonus as with each aircraft you get some excellent drawings as well as a very nice selection of period photos of the planes in question when operating in the ASW mode. Many of these photos were brand new to me. I particularly liked all the info provided on some of the more unusual types such as the Ki-54, the autogyro and the Q1W as you simply do not find a lot about these aircraft from other sources.

In addition, there are sections on the electronics used, the weapons developed, and the Army escort carriers, another subject rarely covered. This latter section also includes some welcome drawings. Finally, over 20 pages of large, full color profiles. This is not a quick read, but it is a superb reference to this largely unknown part of Japan's efforts in the Pacific War. It is another superlative publication and one that I most highly recommend.  

August 2018

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