The majority of combat aircraft in Imperial Japanese Army were part of large units called Dai Sentai, but the army also created a large number of smaller units, with some coming into existence during the fighting in China and others as the war in the Pacific changed the demands on the army's air service. This author has already produced books on the Dai Sentai, and in this book he fills the gap, looking at each of the categories of smaller units.
Each section covers a particular unit type. They begin with an overview of the purpose and history of that particular type of unit and a translation of the unit name. We then move on to the individual unit histories. Each of these has a text that gives a history of the unit (most are fairly short, but some of the more active units get sizable write-ups), a table lists the unit's identification system and main aircraft and finally at least one colour illustration of an aircraft from the group. These are side views and their main purpose is to show the paint schemes and identification marks used.
The units covered here performed a wide range of duties. Most unit types covered here have a fixed role - reconnaissance, army cooperation or training - but some are more varied. Many of the operational fighter training units actually served in combat while the Independent Aerial Companies covered in the first chapter included bomber units, fighter units and reconnaissance units.
Inevitably this is something of a varied book. Some of these smaller units performed fairly mundane duties or had very short live spans. Others, in particular amongst the Independent Aerial Companies and fighter training units actually saw a significant amount of action, against the Russians, Chinese and later against the Western Allies in the Pacific. There are enough of these units to make the book interesting, while the less active units make it a useful reference work.
Dokuritsu Hiko Chutais (Independent Aerial Company)
Chokkyo Hikotais (Direct Aerial Cooperation Units)
Kokugun Shireibu Hikohan (Air Army General Headquarters Aerial Group)
Hikoshidan Shireibu Hikohan (transport)
Hikodan Shireibu Teisatsu Chutai (reconnaissance)
Kyodo Hikoshidan Hikotai (divisional flight schools)
Rensei Hikotai (Operational Fighter Training Units)
Kyoiku Hikotai (operational fighter training units)
Kyoiku Hiko Rentai (training units)
Dokuritsu Hikotai (Independent Aerial Units of the Headquarters)
Author: Eduardo Cea
Publisher: AF Editions