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During World War II, Germany, Japan, and Italy built approximately 2,000 small, inherently stealthy, naval craft to perform special operations and conventional naval missions. Much more numerous and more technically advanced than their Allied counterparts, they saw service worldwide, operating in the Pacific, Mediterranean, Black Sea, Indian Ocean, North Sea, and the English channel. Manned by courageous crews, these vessels made daring attacks on Allied ships in heavily protected anchorages using torpedoes and mines. Most notable were attacks against Gibraltar - launched from an Italian cargo vessel interred in nearby neutral Spain that had been converted into a clandestine support base and equipped with an underwater hatch - and Pearl Harbor. They were used against shipping in coastal waters and, near the end of the war, in desperate attempts to offset their opponents' overwhelming naval superiority during the US advance across the Pacific and the Allied amphibious landings in France and Italy. This volume will detail the history, weapons, and operations of German, Japanese, and Italian midget submarines.
Battles at Dogger Bank and Jutland revealed critical firepower, armor, and speed differences in Royal Navy and Kaiserliche Marine (Imperial German Navy) Battlecruiser designs.Fast-moving and formidably armed, the battlecruisers of the British and German navies first encountered one another in 1915 at Dogger Bank and in the following year clashed near Jutland in the biggest battleship action of all time. In the decade before World War I Britain and Germany were locked in a naval arms race that saw the advent of first the revolutionary dreadnought, the powerful, fast-moving battleship that rendered earlier designs obsolete, and then an entirely new kind of vessel - the battlecruiser. The brainchild of the visionary British admiral John 'Jacky' Fisher, the battlecruiser was designed to operate at long range in 'flying squadrons', using its superior speed and powerful armament to hunt, outmanoeuvre and destroy any opponent. The penalty paid to reach higher speeds was a relative lack of armour, but Fisher believed that 'speed equals protection'. By 1914 the British had ten battlecruisers in service and they proved their worth when two battlecruisers, Invincible and Inflexible, sank the German armoured cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau off the Falklands in December 1914.Based on a divergent design philosophy that emphasised protection over firepower, the Germans' battlecruisers numbered six by January 1915, when the rival battlecruisers first clashed at Dogger Bank in the North Sea. By this time the British battlecruisers had been given a new role - to locate the enemy fleet. Five British battlecruisers accompanied by other vessels intercepted and pursued a German force including three battlecruisers; although the battle was a British tactical victory with neither side losing any of its battlecruisers, the differences in the designs of the British and German ships were already apparent. The two sides responded very differently to this first clash; while the Germans improved their ammunition-handling procedures to lessen the risk of disabling explosions, the British drew the opposite lesson and stockpiled ammunition in an effort to improve their rate of fire, rendering their battlecruisers more vulnerable. The British also failed to improve the quality of their ammunition, which had often failed to penetrate the German ships' armour.These differences were highlighted more starkly during the battle of Jutland in May 1916. Of the nine British battlecruisers committed, three were destroyed, all by their German counterparts. Five German battlecruisers were present, and of these, only one was sunk and the remainder damaged. The limitations of some of the British battlecruisers' fire-control systems, range-finders and ammunition quality were made clear; the Germans not only found the range more quickly, but spread their fire more effectively, and the German battlecruisers' superior protection meant that despite being severely mauled, all but one were able to evade the British fleet at the close of the battle. British communication was poor, with British crews relying on ship-to-ship flag and lamp signals even though wireless communication was available. Even so, both sides claimed victory and the controversy continues to this day.
In 1916, in the seas near Jutland, two fleets of armoured dreadnoughts met in open battle. This book tells the story of the British and German battleships of these two great fleets - from their development as the first generation of fully- armoured warships - to their combat experiences. The differing weapon systems and crew training of the British and German fleets are examined in detail, as is the titanic struggle of Jutland, through an hour-by-hour, shot-by-shot, reconstruction. Finally, it analyzes the outcome of the struggle, explaining the successes and failures of these great battleships.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Osprey's study of the Battle of the Coral Sea of World War II (1939-1945), which is unique in the annals of naval history. It is the first battle in which enemy fleets never came within sight of one another. Instead, aircraft launched from carrier decks were sent out to attack the enemy with bombs and torpedoes. In May of 1942, the Japanese fleet moved on Port Moresby, the last Allied base between Australia and Japan. Forced to respond, the Americans sent two aircraft carriers to protect the base. In the ensuing battle, one American carrier was destroyed and the other severely damaged. However, the Japanese also lost a carrier and decided to withdraw. Although bloody, it proved to be an important strategic victory for the Allies as the Japanese were forced to attempt future attacks on Port Moresby over land. Using the latest research and numerous period photographs, retired USN Commander Mark O. Stille tells the story of this important and unique battle in the Pacific War.
The Guadalcanal campaign began with an amphibious assault in August 1942 - the US's first attempt to take the fight to the Japanese. It quickly escalated into a desperate attritional battle on land, air and sea, and by the time the Japanese had evacuated the last of their forces from the island in 1943, it was clear that the tide of the war had turned. The previously inexorable Japanese advance had been halted, and the myth of Japanese invincibility shattered. The fighting brought into sharp relief several crucial weaknesses of Japanese strategic planning and war economy, while the US was able to hone its Marine forces into the finest of points - ready for the devastating island-hopping campaign that would bring the war to Japan's doorstep. In this new study of the campaign, Pacific War expert Mark Stille draws on both US and Japanese sources to give a balanced and comprehensive account of a crucial, brutal conflict. Analyzing the three Japanese attempts to retake the island in the face of ferocious, and ultimately successful, American resistance, this book shows how the battle was won and lost, and how it would affect the outcome of the Pacific War as a whole.
The Imperial Japanese Navy was a pioneer in naval aviation, having commissioned the world's first built-from-the-keel-up carrier, the Hosho. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, it experimented with its carriers, perfecting their design and construction. As a result, by the time Japan entered World War II and attacked the United States at Pearl Harbor in 1941, it possessed a fantastically effective naval aviation force. This book covers the design, development and operation of IJN aircraft carriers built prior to and during World War II. Pearl Harbor, Midway and the first carrier vs carrier battle, the battle of the Coral Sea, are all discussed.
The Imperial Japanese Navy of World War 2 surpassed the Allied and Axis fleets in innovation and technology. This title covers the 12 Japanese battleships that saw service between 1941-45. Each class is considered in turn in light of its design and construction, its armament and wartime modifications. The author, Mark Stille, also uses first-hand accounts and dramatic photographs to tell the story of these mighty battleships at war, including major engagements during the raid at Pearl Harbor and the battle of Midway. He also examines the wider context of Japanese battleship development by looking at the naval strategy and cult of the battleship. This title will fascinate any naval enthusiast, and the detailed color plates will make it essential for modelers of the period.
During the Pacific War, arguably the most successful component of the Imperial Japanese Fleet was its destroyer force. These ships were generally larger than their Allied counterparts and were better armed in most cases. Armed with a large, long-range torpedo (eventually called Long Lance by the Allies), these ships proved themselves as formidable opponents. In the first part of the war, Japanese destroyers were instrumental in an unbroken string of Japanese victories. However, it was not until the Guadalcanal campaign that these ships fully demonstrated their power. In a series of night actions, these ships devastated Allied task forces with a number of daring night attacks using their deadly torpedoes. This volume will detail the history, weapons and tactics of the Japanese destroyers built before the war. This includes the famous Fubuki class (called "Special Type" by the Japanese, which were, when completed in the late 1920's, the most powerful class of destroyers in the world. This design forced all other major navies to follow suite and provided the basic design for the next many classes of Imperial Navy destroyers. This book will also cover the three classes built before the Special Type which were based on a German World War I design as well as two classes built after the advent of the Special Type. All of these ships had a rich history as they fought from the first battles of the Pacific War up until the very end when several accompanied the superbattleship Yamato on her death sortie. The final part of the book will be an analysis of the destroyer designs covered in the book which will include an examination of their strengths and weaknesses. The success (or lack of success) of these designs will be discussed and they will be compared to comparable Allied destroyer designs.
Designed with little more than a passing nod to the international naval treaties of the inter-war period, the Imperial Japanese Navy's heavy cruisers were fast and heavily armed. Like the other vessels of the Japanese Navy, the heavy cruisers were technologically superior to and far more innovative than their Allied rivals, whom they met in many of the major Pacific Theatre battles, including Midway and Leyte Gulf. Mark Stille continues his study of the IJN of WWII with this fascinating topic, addressing the design and development of all 18 ships in the six heavy cruiser classes, from pre-war construction and mid-war alterations, to their operational histories and eventual fates.
From the stunning victory at Pearl Harbor to its dramatic reversal at Midway, the Imperial Japanese Navy swept all before it in its numerous victories in the Pacific and Far Eastern waters. The Imperial Japanese Navy in the Pacific War pulls from many of Osprey's bestselling books on the subject in addition to the most recent research on the subject, including many sources from Japan, and is the most recent and accurate book on this fascinating force.Even after its setback at midway, the IJN remained a powerful force and inflicted sever setbacks on the US Navy at Guadalcanal and elsewhere. The Imperial Japanese Navy focuses on the Japanese ships which fought the battles in the Pacific including design details, where and when they were engaged and their ultimate effectiveness. In addition, the construction, design and service history of each ship from destroyer size on up is included. A comprehensive survey of the submarine force is also included. Modifications of each ship are covered making this a valuable reference source for Pacific War enthusiasts and historians, as well as ship modelers.A short history of the IJN during the Pacific War places all warship design and history in proper context. Finally, a chapter discussing the strengths and weaknesses of the IJN is included ultimately asking the question of whether the IJN really was a modern Navy which was fully prepared for the rigors of combat in the Pacific.
Like their heavy cruiser brethren, the light cruisers built by the Imperial Japanese Navy in the build-up to WWII paid little more than lip service to the international naval treaties that were intended to keep the naval powers on a level playing field. The eight classes of light cruiser developed by the IJN were fast, well-armed, and technologically superior to the fleets the Allied powers could bring to bear. Serving with distinction across the Pacific Theatre, the IJN's light cruisers were committed to such actions as Midway and Leyte Gulf. Mark Stille continues Osprey's coverage of the IJN of WWII, with this concise and complete study of all 25 ships of the 8 light cruisers classes, from their design and development through to their ultimate fates. Detailed Osprey artwork and rare period photographs from the Fukui collection held in Kure, Japan, illustrate this discussion and provide great visual references for some of the most advanced naval vessels of WWII.
The Imperial Japanese Navy in World War II possessed the most technologically advanced and varied submarine fleet in the world. Ranging from the largest pre-nuclear submarines in the world to manned torpedoes, with the fastest combat vessels and midget submarines operating alongside craft capable of carrying floatplane bombers, the fleet should have been an awe-inspiring and highly effective force. Yet, despite playing a crucial scouting role and being equipped with the best torpedoes available, the Japanese submarine fleet was surprisingly ineffective.With unique color plates, Mark Stille highlights the technical details of this diverse fleet, including the design successes and operational errors as well as investigating the underlying causes behind the failures of one of the greatest naval forces in the Pacific.
Often overlooked as a naval power of WWII, Italy's Regia Marina was, upon the declaration of war against France, the fourth largest navy in the world. Despite its numbers, the Italian fleet was made up of largely obsolete vessels, none being equipped with radar, and had a reputation for having inadequately-trained crews. Added to these drawbacks, the Italian commanders did not enjoy the discretion of command at sea that their counterparts in the service of other nations did, being directed closely by the Supermarina (Italian Naval Headquarters). Despite these obstacles, and the heavy losses inflicted upon the fleet by the Royal Navy while in harbour at Taranto, the battleships of the Italian Navy enjoyed a good reputation for being well-designed, and served with courage and determination at Punto Stilo/Calabria, Sirte, Cape Spartivento, and Cape Matapan. Mark Stille details, with the aid of many stunning photographs, including several from the Italian Navy's own archives, the battleships of one of the forgotten navies of WWII.From the Trade Paperback edition.
In 1993 Osprey Publishing released the 30th volume in its now legendary Campaign series, entitled, Midway 1942: Turning Point in the Pacific. Now, 17 years later, Osprey brings readers up-to-date with the latest scholarship on this important Pacific War battle of World War II (1939-1945). The new edition clarifies many of the myths of the battle. For example: - the contention that the Americans were outnumbered (overall true, but not where it mattered between the two carrier forces) - that the Aleutians operation was a diversion for the Midway operation - that the sacrifice of the American torpedo bombers was a key to victory - that the battle resulted in high Japanese aircrew losses - that the battle was a victory of superior intelligence - that the battle was the decisive battle of the Pacific War (Guadalcanal was a much more strategically important victory for the Americans) Campaign 226 gives an accurate order of battle for both sides. It provides a detailed description and critique of the Japanese plan and describes how it had a profound influence on the outcome of the battle. It also provides a fresh description and analysis of the weapons, aircrew, and doctrine of the opposing carrier air arms. The new book has a complete set of new pictures which are keyed to the narrative. Osprey's crack cartography team has provided three brand-new 3-D "birds-eye-view maps" that help readers visualize the air war like never before. And war illustrator, Howard Gerrard, has turned in three stunning new 2-page battle scenes depicting the attack on the USS Yorktown by Hiryu torpedo planes, the attack on Hiryu by American dive-bombers, and the US attack of Japanese heavy cruiser Mikuma.
The battle for Guadalcanal that lasted from August 1942 to February 1943 was the first major American counteroffensive against the Japanese in the Pacific, it also marks the high point of Japanese expansion and can justly be claimed as one of the major turning points of the Pacific War. While the troops of the US Marine Corps and later the US Army battled the Japanese occupiers on the densely jungled island of Guadalcanal, the US and Japanese naval forces fought a series of tightly contested battles in the waters nearby. The first of these, the battle of Savo Island on the night of 9 August 1942, saw the Japanese inflict a sever defeat on the Allied force, driving them away from Guadalcanal and leaving the just-landed marines in a perilously exposed position. This was the start of a series of night battles that culminated in the First and Second battles of Guadalcanal, fought on the nights of 13 and 15 November, that were narrowly won by US Naval forces and prevented the Japanese from reinforcing their troops on the island to any great extent, and heralded the turning of the tide in the battle for Guadalcanal. One further major naval action followed, the battle of Tassafaronga on 30 November 1942, when the US Navy once again suffered a severe defeat, but this time it was too late to alter the course of the battle as the Japanese evacuated Guadalcanal in early February 1943.This title will detail the contrasting fortunes experienced by both sides over the intense course of naval battles around the island throughout the second half of 1942 that did so much to turn the tide in the Pacific.
Santa Cruz is the forgotten carrier battle of 1942. Despite myth, the Japanese carrier force was not destroyed at Midway but survived to still prove a threat in the Pacific theater. Nowhere was this clearer than in the battle of Santa Cruz of October 1942. The stalemate on the ground in the Guadalcanal campaign led to the major naval forces of both belligerents becoming inexorably more and more involved in the fighting, each seeking to win the major victory that would open the way for a breakthrough on land as well.The US Task Force 61 under the command of Rear Admiral Kinkaid and consisting of the carriers Hornet and Enterprise, as well the battleship South Dakota and a number of cruisers and destroyers, intercepted the Japanese fleet, which boasted four carriers - Shokaku, Zuikaku, Junyo and Zuiho - as well as four battleships and numerous other ships, on 26 October. Though US aircraft managed to damage the Japanese carriers seriously, in turn Hornet was so badly damaged that shed had to be sunk, while Enterprise was hit and needed extensive repairs. Both sides withdrew at the end of the action.The Japanese were able to gain a tactical victory at Santa Cruz and came very close to scoring a strategic victory, but they paid a very high price in aircraft and aircrew that prevented them from following up their victory. In terms of their invaluable aircrew, the battle was much more costly than even Midway and had a serious impact on the ability of the Japanese to carry out carrier warfare in a meaningful manner.
The Japanese assault on Pearl Harbor is one of the most famous raids in history, if not the most famous. In the early hours of December 7, 1941, the carriers and aircraft of the Japanese First Air Fleet launched a sudden and unexpected attack on the US naval forces anchored in Pearl Harbor, hoping to cripple America's naval capabilities in one decisive blow.This new study by Mark Stille will address the build-up to, execution of, and fallout from the Pearl Harbor operation. Putting the raid in context, the political and military background will be addressed - Japanese expansion in the Far East, and American responses to it, and the steady increase in tensions between the two powers. The Japanese decision to launch an assault on Pearl Harbor will be considered in detail, from the time constraints faced in planning the raid, alternative operational possibilities, and the bold, stubborn leadership of Admiral Isoruku Yamamoto, who was the driving force behind the concept and planning, to the final adoption of the operation, and its place in Japan's national strategy. It is an illuminating new look at one of the most infamous events in modern history.From the Trade Paperback edition.
American Navy cruisers built prior to World Wat II saw extensive action throughout the Pacific War, in both surface actions like Guadalcanal, and carrier battles like Midway.Designed and produced under the regulations of the Washington Naval Treaty, the heavy cruisers of the Pensacola, Northampton, Portland, New Orleans and Wichita classes were exercises in compromise. While they possessed very heavy armament, the Pensacolas, for example, carrying a main battery of ten 8" guns, this came at the cost of protection - armor was the same thickness as a gun cruiser, and incapable of protecting the vessels from enemy 8" fire. As the classes evolved, these flaws began to be corrected, with the main battery being reduced, and increased protection being added to the vital areas of the ship. Despite these drawbacks, the pre-war heavy cruiser classes served with distinction throughout World War II.
US Heavy Cruisers provides a detailed, illustrated look at the wartime and post-war-built heavy cruiser classes of the US Navy of World War II.Fast and heavily armed, the Baltimore class was an evolution of the heavy cruiser designs from before World War II, but without the limitations imposed by the Washington Naval Treaty. Versatile vessels, the heavy cruisers of the Baltimore class, and their successors in the Oregon City and Des Moines classes, commonly acted as carrier escorts throughout World War II, but also performed bombardment duties in support of amphibious landings. Post-World War II, the heavy cruisers continued to see service, chiefly in Korea and Vietnam. Even after the heyday of the heavy cruiser had passed, the ships continued to serve - several were converted into the earliest examples of guided missile cruisers, and established an enduring legacy in the US Navy.
Dominating the seas during World War II, the US aircraft carrier played a crucial role in every major naval combat of the war. Development of the Essex class began in 1941, and was the largest class of carrier ever built. During the Pacific War it formed the backbone of any fighting force and became renowned for its mighty 'Sunday Punch' - the impressive offensive power of 36 fighter planes, 36 dive bombers, and 18 torpedo planes.The Independence class was a lighter and faster carrier, built after Pearl Harbor, to bring more ships into action as quickly as possible. Alongside the Essex class their crews saw a dramatic change in tactical deployment as they began to form the fast carrier task forces that were so effective in Pacific operations.Featuring an annotated cutaway and artwork detailing both the interior and exterior features of the ships, this book explores the design, development, and deployment of both the Essex and Independence class of light carriers. This sequel to US Navy Aircraft Carriers 1922-45: Prewar classes (New Vanguard 114), provides a detailed exploration of the carriers that were at the forefront of many actions in World War II, including the climatic battles of Phillipine Sea and Leyte Gulf in 1944.
Written by US Navy expert Mark Stille, this book offers a unique insight into the Standard-type classes of US battleships in World War II. It provides a detailed investigation into the histories of each of the individual vessels of the Standard-type battleship class, the first three of which, the Nevada, Pennsylvania and New Mexico, formed the US Navy's main force in the inter-war period. The Standard-types reflected a new design philosophy: by designing each class to meet common standards of maneuverability and handling, vessels of different classes could operate as a single tactical unit without being limited by the performance of the slowest and least maneuvrable ship. At the time of their construction, these ships incorporated the latest design features such as triple gun turrets. Although they were rendered increasingly obsolete by evolving naval doctrines and the ascendance of the fast battleship, they served with distinction throughout World War II in both the Pacific and the Atlantic. This study combines analysis of design features and an absorbing narrative of operational histories to offer a comprehensive picture of the Standard- type battleships, from the brutal destruction of the USS Arizona to the triumphant occupation of Japan.
The Imperial Japanese Navy was a pioneer in naval aviation, having commissioned the world's first carrier, which was used against the US fleet at Pearl Harbor. The Americans followed suit, initiating huge aircraft carrier development programs. As the Pacific war escalated into the largest naval conflict in history, the role of the carrier became the linchpin of American and Japanese naval strategy as these rival vessels found themselves locked in a struggle for dominance of this critical theater of war. This book provides an analysis of the variety of weaponry available to the rival carriers, including the powerful shipborne guns and embarked aircraft. Study the design and development of these revolutionary ships, discover the pioneering tactics that were used to ensure victory and "live" the experiences of the rival airmen and gun crews as they battled for victory in a duel of skill, tenacity and guts.
Although the war in the Pacific is usually considered a carrier war, it was the cruisers that dominated the early fighting. This thrilling duel presents the cruiser clashes during the crucial battles for Guadacanal in 1942, highlighting the Battle of Savo Island on the August 9 and the Battle of Cape Esperance October 11-12th , 1942. The first was an overwhelming Japanese victory that resulted in the loss of four Allied cruisers. However, in the latter, the Americans managed to successfully turn the tables despite the fact that the was fought through the night under dangerous conditions. This book presents a side-by-side view of the design and development of the opposing weapons systems, illustrated with newly commissioned digital artwork. It uses first-hand accounts to bring the desperate battles to life and explain why the American forces suffered early on, but eventually had their revenge.From the Trade Paperback edition.
This book will cover the fierce night naval battles fought after Guadalcanal between the US Navy and the Imperial Japanese Navy during late 1943 as the Allies advanced slowly up the Solomons Islands toward the major Japanese naval base at Rabaul. During this period, several vicious actions were fought around the American beachheads on the islands of New Georgia, Kolombangara and Vella Lavella in the central Solomons. These battles featured the most modern destroyers of both navies. Throughout most of 1942, the Imperial Navy had held a marked edge in night-fighting during the six-month long struggle for Guadalcanal. A key ingredient of these Japanese successes was their destroyer force which combined superior training and tactics with the most capable torpedo in the world, known to the Allies as the "Long Lance". Even into 1943, at the battles of Kula Gulf and Kolombangara, mixed Allied light cruiser/destroyer forces were roughly handled by Japanese destroyers. After these battles, the Americans decided to stop chasing Japanese destroyers with cruisers so the remainder of the battles in 1943 (with one exception) were classic destroyer duels. The Americans still enjoyed the technical edge provided to them by radar, and now added new, more aggressive tactics. After four more destroyer duels during the second half of 1943, the final result was the defeat of the Imperial Navy's finely trained destroyer force and the demonstration that the Japanese were unable to stop the Allies' advance.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku was the defining Japanese naval commander of World War II. Although by no means part of the militarist clique that dominated Japanese politics in the 1930s, when war came Yamamoto was completely committed to his country's cause and planned and executed the daring pre-emptive strike on Pearl Harbor that so damaged the US Pacific Fleet and ushered in the Pacific War.Yamamoto's career in the Imperial Japanese Navy started in the early years of the 20th century and he saw service in the Russo-Japanese War, being wounded in the battle of Tsushima in 1904, before going on to study at Harvard University and serve as a naval attaché in the inter-war years, an experience that was supposed to give him a unique insight into the American psyche. Despite his opposition to the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931 and war with China in 1937, as well as the tripartite pact with Germany and Italy, he retained his position as commander-in-chief of the combined fleet in the warlike Tojo administration and was it was in this position that he led the IJN to war in 1941.Despite the success of the Pearl Harbor operation, Yamamoto's subsequent handling of the Japanese combined fleet can be called into question. Seeking a 'decisive battle' against the US Pacific Fleet, Yamamoto took up an aggressive position in the Pacific and fought the US Navy at the battle of the Coral Sea in May 1942 and the battle of Midway. Midway can be said to be Yamamoto's 'hour of destiny' as he planned and executed the battle. Though unaware that the Japanese Naval code had been broken, he fatally divided his forces, leaving them vulnerable to piecemeal destruction. The final campaign commanded by Yamamoto was that around Guadalcanal, where Yamamoto's myth of excellence will be totally laid bare. Despite a considerable numerical advantage over the Americans, Yamamoto never brought this advantage to bear. The result was a devastating defeat for the IJN and, eventually, the death of Yamamoto himself.This title will use these key campaigns to analyze Yamamoto's command style and strategies, and assess how these impacted upon the course of the war in the Pacific and Japan's chances for success.
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