Imperial Japanese Navy Light Cruisers 1941-45
Osprey Publishing continues expanding its New Vanguard series. This is installment #187 and it focuses on the Japanese Light Cruisers (the 5,500 ton class). Even when the title refers to the WWII period, the book covers the development and modifications to that class since the early 1920s.
The Light Cruisers were designed and launched as Destroyer Flagships or Submarine Squadron Flagships. As such, aerial reconnaissance, anti-aircraft protection, and space for squadron staff were specific requirements in this class, in addition to the standard offensive armament consisting mainly of torpedo tubes.
As it played out, by the onset of WWII, several of these ships were outclassed – both in speed and offensive armament – by the destroyers they were supposed to lead. Therefore, several ships in this class were converted into other roles, which they performed well, but were not outstanding in them, either.
The book covers the eight classes of this ship category as follows: the Tenryu class, the Kuma class, the Nagara class, the Sendai class, the Yubari class, the Agano class, the Oyodo class, and the Katori class.
Each class has its own chapter, which is broken down into Design and Construction, Armament, Service Modifications, and Wartime Service. The book is amply illustrated with pre-war and wartime photos, plus full color profile drawings of the main ships in each class.
Given the large number of period photographs, I would highly recommend this book to any history buff with an interest in Japanese design and naval doctrine and tactics, as well as ship modelers.
I would like to thank Osprey Publishing and IPMS/USA for the review sample.