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The Japanese Submarine Force and World War II (Bluejacket Books) Paperback – January 15, 2013


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Product Details

  • Series: Bluejacket Books
  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press (January 15, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1557500150
  • ISBN-13: 978-1557500151
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,073,448 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Harry Eagar VINE VOICE on December 11, 2006
Format: Paperback
In the early days after Pearl Harbor, 25 Japanese fleet submarines surrounded the Hawaiian Islands. Off the East Coast at the same time, a mere five German U-boats crated havoc with merchant shipping.

In the North Pacific, however, after a few vessels plying between the West Coast and the Hawaiian Islands were surprised early in December, the Japanese submarine threat was negligible.

Authors Carl Boyd, an American professor, and Akihiko Yoshida, who is on the staff of the National Institute for Defense Studies in Tokyo, attempt to explain why the large and capable Japanese submarine force did not do more damage to its enemies.

It was purely a matter of doctrine. Though eventually outnumbered, the Imperial Japanese Navy's undersea fleet was comparatively ineffective even in the early days when it could have had the upper hand.

This was because the Japanese remained committed longer than any other navy to using the sub as an arm of the battle fleet. The true role of the slow diesel submarine was as a commerce raider, and in the Pacific war the American subs massacred the Japanese merchant navy.

Had the Japanese navy followed a similar logic, Maui might have been a much hungrier place in 1941-45, as Malta was.

As it was, although the Japanese made a strategic mistake with their submarines, their tactical successes in 1942 were impressive. 'The Japanese submarine force has frequently been misrepresented in Western literature' as a complete failure, write Boyd and Yoshida.

The U.S. Navy had only six fleet carriers in the Pacific in 1942, and Japanese submarines torpedoed three of them (the Saratoga twice) and the threat of Japanese subs had a lot to do with the loss of a fourth carrier, the Lexington.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By J. Stapleton on August 14, 2007
Format: Paperback
The authors do a good job covering the subject of Imperial Japanese Submarine operations in World War 2. Despite limited personal accounts from Japanese submarine crews, the authors make good use of available sources of information.

Presented in a mainly generalized format, the main stratagies employed by the Japanese for their submarine fleet are well covered. I was a bit disappointed as major and minor campaigns rarely received more than a page or two, and sometimes just a few paragraphs. Perhaps source materials did not allow a more in depth presentation of these battles, but I felt as if many operations received a cursory discussion at best.

The authors refer to the Japanese strategic operations plan for submarines developed in the decades prior to the war (the last being 1934) many times throughour the book. However, the actual plan is contained in appendix 1. A recommendation to the reader - read appendix 1 before reading he book. This will allow you to see submarine operations and strategies through the eyes of the Japanese commanders who were raised on this doctrine. It will make the seemingly random movements of assets by Japanese commanders more clear and put you squarely in tune with their line of thinking.

Despite these shortcomings, the book does a fine job shedding info and insight into a difficult and elusive subject.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Robert E. Jastrow on January 23, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a fairly detailed review of Japanese submarine warfare in World War II. Although it does not list every sortie it does tell of the major missions and their successes and failures as well as listing the losses. There is an appendix that does give the fate of all submarines in the Japanese Navy including cause of loss, if available. The book is a relatively easy and interesting read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Beck on April 28, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Again, an overview by Americans after the fact. Interesting, but no first hand accounts by Japanese commanders. Still well worth the read.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By William K. Taylor on January 24, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book does a good job explaining how how ineffective their submarine forces were despite having superior numbers and large subs. They do a good job on describing the technical aspects of the subs and the men who served on them.
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