Sinking Force Z 1941
...The Day the Imperial Japanese Navy killed the Battleship, from Osprey Books
Title: Sinking Force Z 1941
Author: Angus Konstam
Publisher: Osprey Books
Given that the sub-title for this one is 'The Day the Imperial Japanese Navy Killed the Battleship' you might be forgiven in wondering about this being number 20 in the Air Campaign series from Osprey. The story is very much split between the naval aspects of the Royal Navy battleships Prince of Wales and Repulse and the Japanese bombers which marked a significant change in the conduct of naval power.
A 96-page soft-cover book, in a style that Osprey fans will be so familiar with. Not just informative text, but maps, archive images and top class artwork all add together to tell the story. It is split across 7 main sections, from the Introduction and Chronology to set out the scene, through consideration of both the Attackers and the Defenders Capabilities, then the Campaign Objectives, and the Campaign itself, which gives a detailed blow by blow account of what happened before being rounded off by an Analysis and then hints for further reading.
I liked this one not just for the detailed account of events, but the clear explanation of the Japanese tactics of high level bombers combining with low level torpedo attack. It also provides some excellent context of factors surrounding the loss of these 2 major Royal Navy warships. They were sunk just 3 days after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The battleships had no air cover, but if a carrier had been there, might she have suffered the same fate? Political influences had caused the ships to be there, the Japanese assault on Malaya had made them wary of the danger presented by the 2 battleships. Considerations of the defences on the ships, both in armour and AA weapons, as well as gun control equipment and simply the decisions from the commanders on both sides. Lots of lessons all round and presented here in a very readable format. Well worth reading.
Thanks to Osprey Publishing for our review copy.