Japanese Tanks and Armoured Warfare 1932-45
...a Military & Political History, from Fonthill Media
Title: Japanese Tanks & Armoured Warfare 1932-45
Author: David McCormack
Publisher: Fonthill Media
A very different topic for author David McCormack after his two books of a guide to Berlin, this time he has turned his attention the Use of Japanese Armour in the Far East. Equally, it takes it back to 1931, when Japanese forces were fighting in China, as well as up to the Russian border. This is not just the facts and figures of Japanese tanks, their armour and armament, but about how they were used in combat and what effect the attitudes of traditionalists amidst the Japanese military thought about it.
In 160-pages, a hardback book explains the use of tanks by the Japanese military over the course of the period from 1931 until the end of the WW2 in 1945. It spreads it over 14 chapters plus another 16 Appendices with more specific detail. Part of the story is not dissimilar to that in the UK and other European countries, and how armour should be used just to support the infantry. Successful combined arms tactics were ignored by many officers, though others did use them with some success. Japanese tanks were light or medium tanks, with poor armour protection and weapons. Nevertheless, the book explains where the Japanese had some success with their armour, in China and later in Malaya, as they approached Singapore overland. Further chapters tell us how they were used, or misused, in the early island campaign, such as on Guadalcanal, and then later on Tarawa, Saipan, Iwo Jima and later Okinawa. There were changes in their tactics and a realisation that the sacrifice of infantry Banzai charges were an utter waste against powerful US forces. US tanks, particularly the Sherman, were simply too strong for Japanese tanks. Things might have been different had the Japanese had to defend their home islands, with new, better armed medium tanks waiting, but the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki led to their surrender before they were used.
I learnt a lot from this one, and a really interesting read. The appendices hold the specifications of the main Japanese tanks, plus much more, and there is a block of archive images in the middle of the book as well. For anyone interested in Japanese armour during WW2 I think you'll find this a good read.
Thanks to Fonthill Media for the review copy.