Thursday, July 24, 2008

Book Review : Japanese Tanks 1939-45 by Steven J Zaloga

Osprey produce many interesting books on less obvious subjects at a handy price and this book is one of their New Vanguard series which focuses on weapons of war, and in this case Japanese tanks of World War 2, an aspect of the war much less covered than tank warfare in the west. Though the book is a bit misnamed, as the period covered stretches from early Japanese tank developments just after the First World War onwards.

The Japanese were the largest manufacturer of tanks in the 1930s outside of Europe, their early designs based on imported British and French tanks and steadily developed thanks in some part to combat experience in the 1930s in China. At the start of WW2 they were pretty much on a par with European and American designs and led the way in the incredible Japanese advance across the Pacific proving that tanks could be used through jungle terrain and played a full role in actions such as the capture of Singapore.

However their development and production stagnated as the Japanese navy and airforce took the priority so when the Allied fightback against the Japanese later in the war began the Japanese tanks were outclassed and had been left behind by armour and weapon advances and suffered accordingly.

This is an interesting read on the less well known aspect of tank warfare in WW2, gorgeously illustrated as with all Osprey books with some fine colour artwork. The writing by Stephen Zaloga is up to his usual high standard and covers the history of development and combat experience. My only real criticism is the book is a bit short but that is the case with all of the New Vanguard series which could be better served with a few more pages.

Republished from my tech blog

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