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The Darkest Hour, Vol.1

...from Helion & Co

Title: The Darkest Hour, Vol.1
Author: Michal A. Piegzik
Publisher: Helion & Co
ISBN: 978-1-915070-61-6

Number 31 in the Asia @ War series from Helion & Co, covering the opening moves of the Japanese naval offensive in the Indian Ocean in 1942. An 84-page soft-cover book in the usual style for this series, including the section of fine colour artwork in the middle of the book. This one is the first of 2 volumes covering the events of the Japanese Naval Offensive in the Indian Ocean in 1942, and explains the opening moves of this planned offensive.
The main objective was to defeat the Royal Navy units in the region, rather than US Naval forces, to open the route to Ceylon, the Bay of Bengal and the area of the Western Pacific. After the scene is set in the introduction, the 6 main sections explain the Japanese Strategic Plans in the Indian Ocean and the the British Defence Plans. These are followed by key elements in the story, with the Aircraft Carriers in the Indian Ocean. These include both the various Royal Navy carriers, such as HMS Indomitable, Formidible and Hermes as well as the aircraft types they carried, as well as the Japanese carriers of Akagi, Soryu, Hiryu, Shokaku, Zuikaku and Ryujo along with their aircraft as well, which grouped together were 'Kido Butai'. The story includes the Japanese invasion of both the Andaman Islands as well as Christmas Island, setting the stage for a Japanese assault on British bases in Ceylon.
Adding to the detailed text there are plenty of archive photos, tables with even more detail, such as the record of individual IJN reconnaissance patrols flown and a super selection of artwork in the centre pages. These include profiles of 2 RN and 2 IJN carriers, an assortment of IJN aircraft profiles, uniforms, a map of the region and my personal favourite, a page showing the individual deck markings of the 5 Japanese carriers. Ideal for modellers. An interesting read on this offensive, with the rest set to be told in volume 2.
Thanks to Helion & Co for the review copy.


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