US Navy Ships vs Kamikazes 1944–45

Published on
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
Mark Stille
Other Publication Information
80 pages, softbound with 60 BW images and 16 color images and plates.
Product / Stock #
DUE 76
Company: Osprey Publishing - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Osprey Publishing - Website: Visit Site
Front cover

Note: This book is also available in two other formats, eBook (Pub) and eBook (PDF).

Osprey Publishing in their Duel Series and Mark Stille, along with illustrations by Jim Laurier, have published an excellent book on US Navy Ships vs Kamikazes 1944–45. Mark Stille, a retired US Navy Commander., has a BA in history and a MA from the Ward College.

What you get is a softcover book covering 80 pages with high resolution black and white glossy, detailed historical photos. Cockpit images and illustrated maps in color are also included. The book is divided into11 sections.

  • Introduction: Here the author summarizes the advent of the Kamikazes with their desire to die in battle rather than be dishonored in defeat; the use of the Kamikaze pilots in the Pacific and how their use threatened the US Navy during the war effort.
  • Chronology: The author gives a useful chronological record of the Japanese use of the Kamikaze in a one page illustration detailing dates from October 1944 to the surrender of the Japanese war machine on 15 August 1945. If the reader refers to this one page record while reading the book, one can get a good understanding of the time periods involved.
  • Design and Development: In this section the author gives the reader a great understanding of the first Kamikazes, the adoption of the Kamikaze tactics, and the tactics the US Navy used to combat the Kamikazes. Although this tactic did not start until late in 1944, there were several instances of Japanese pilots deliberately crashing their aircraft into warships. Due to the ineffectiveness of air attacks by the Japanese, especially at the Battle of the Philippine Sea, the Japanese decided that suicide missions could change the course.
  • Technical Specifications: Within this section the author describes the types of aircraft the IJNAF used to perform the Kamikaze tactics. Aircraft such as the G4M, the AGM Type O Carrier Fighter or commonly known as the “Zeke” or “Zero”. The author also gives the reader numerous tables and color plates of the Japanese aircraft. Also within this section the author describes the use of Essex-Class Carriers and the Fletcher Class Destroyers with their antiaircraft weapons.
  • The Strategic Situation: The situation for the Japanese was in dire straits, especially with the loss of carriers and numerous aircraft in 1944 off the coast of the Mariana Islands. While reading this section, the reader can obtain a good understanding of what the Japanese were facing and the American’s difficulty in ascertaining what would be the next attack. To further give the reader an understanding, the author includes a two page overleaf showing the Japanese air bases along with the areas of the heaviest Kamikaze attacks.
  • The Combatants: The author in this section describes the psyche of the Kamikaze pilots along with their backgrounds. Included within this section is a great color plate of the cockpit of the A6M5C/7 Zero-Sen. It is interesting to note that most of the Kamikaze pilots were between the ages of 20 to 25 and highly educated.
  • Combat: The author in this section, by far the most pages, describes the advent of the Kamikaze and the results of unleashing the Kamikaze. Also within this section is a good historical background on Vice Admiral Takijiro Onishi who is generally credited with the inception of the Kamikaze operations
  • Statistics and Analysis: Was this Kamikaze tactic effective? The author provides in this section a summary of the statistics of casualties on both sides by the use of this tactic. The author’s analysis concludes that this tactic was not successful. Their goals were not met and they were insufficient to stop the American invasion.
  • Aftermath: During the aftermath, the Japanese decided to cease operations and preserve their aircraft for the inevitable attack on the homeland. In this section the author also discusses what the Americans foresaw as a result of the Kamikaze attacks ceasing operations and the possible buildup of the IJNAF.
  • Further Reading: Within this section the author list several books and publications one can refer to.
  • Index:

In conclusion. Although this book isn’t a comprehensive reference book on the Kamikazes during the Pacific War, it does provide a synopsis of their history and usage along with the US Navy’s role and tactics. This reviewer was given a further understanding of how the use of the Kamikaze attacks could have influenced the outcome of the war if they were effective. I highly recommend this book as a good reference.

Thanks to the Osprey Publishing and to IPMS/USA for allowing me to review this book.


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