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Aichi 99 Kanbaku 'Val' Units: 1937-42 (Combat Aircraft) Paperback – December 20, 2011
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“This long-awaited title is #63 in the Osprey Combat Aircraft series and is certainly one to add to your collection... I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in Japanese Aviation, WWII, or aircraft in general. It is well done, and you can't beat it for the price.” ―Tim Hortman, IPMS
“There are a plethora of period photos of men and machines, many of which are new to this reviewer. This also includes several pages of full color profiles, but it is the combat operations that are by far the most interesting part of the book. It makes for a book about an aircraft that many in the West have heard of, but few knew anything about. It is most highly recommended.” ―Scott Van Aken, Modeling Madness
From the Publisher
Osprey's Combat series combines the best archival photography available with specially commissioned artworks and first hand accounts, making these books favourites amongst historians, modellers and aviation enthusiasts everywhere.
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Entering service in 1939, the D3A was soon combat-tested over China. Playing a leading role in the Pearl Harbor attack, the D3A spearheaded the IJN's subsequent sweep across the Pacific. Its expert crews, growing ever-deadlier, compiled a combat record second to none, culminating in their devastating April 1942 attacks on cruisers HMS Cornwall and HMS Dorsetshire along with aircraft carrier HMS Hermes, which saw the D3A squadrons scoring the highest hit ratio by dive-bombers in history. The Aichi squadrons added two American carriers to the total - USS Lexington at Coral Sea and USS Yoktown at Midway - but Midway spelled the end of Japan's victories.
The definitive book on the Aichi Type 99 is undoubtedly Peter Smith's AICHI D3A1/2 VAL, published by Crowood in 1999. However, Tagaya's book is a fresh, updated, eminently readable book tracing the D3A's devlopment and first years of combat. I wish Tagaya could have included more reminiscences from D3A crews but I doubt many survived the war!
The illustrations especially Jim Laurier's first-class color profiles of 15 D3As are a big plus. And I have to give a special nod to Mark Postlethwaite for his evocative cover art showing the D3A of LCdr. Kakuichi Takahashi posed over Ford Island about to roll in and deliver the first bomb of the Pearl Harbor attack. Very well-done, atmospheric artwork.
In short, fans of the Pacific air war, IJN air units or dive-bombers in general should find something of interest in AICHI 99 KANBAKU 'VAL' UNITS, 1937-42. Recommended.