Rikugun - Guide to Japanese Ground Forces 1937-1945 - Volume 2: Weapons of the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy Ground Forces, Leland Ness

Rikugun - Guide to Japanese Ground Forces 1937-1945 - Volume 2: Weapons of the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy Ground Forces, Leland Ness

This is the second part of Ness's study of Japanese ground forces, following on from volume one, which looked in detail at the units deployed by the Japanese Navy and Army. This second volume covers the weapons used by those units, and covers an equally wide range of topics. 

In general books on military technology fall into two camps - those that cover entire types of weapons in a narrative that helps explain how the different models related to each other or those deal with each individual model one by one, giving lots of detailed information but not really placing them in context. Here the author has taken both approaches. Each section thus begins with an overview of the weapon type, looking at the development process that led to each of the weapons, how they were used, production levels and so forth. This is then followed by a weapon by weapon section that provide the more technical details of the individual items. I find this an effective technique - placing the technical details in amongst the overall narrative rather disrupts the flow, while focusing too much on the technical aspects means you don't always understand why a particular weapon was developed or replaced. 

Ness covers an unusually wide range of equipment. Perhaps the most unusual are the various types of sound locators, which look remarkably antiquated, with their massive horns looking like exaggerated versions of the listening horns from early gramophones. There are also interesting sections on river crossing equipment (including rather nifty three part foot bridges as well as the larger vehicle bridges), chemical weapons (both legal non-lethal smoke generating devices and illogical nerve gases) and communications equipment, as well as the more usual sections on individual hand weapons, artillery, anti-aircraft equipment and armoured vehicles.

This is an excellent reference work for anyone interested in the Japanese ground forces of the Second World War, providing well researched and well presented information on an impressively wide range of topics.

1 - Submachine Guns
2 - Rifles & Grenade Launchers
3 - Machine Guns
4 - Grenade Dischargers
5 - Assault Weapons
6 - Mortars
7 - Anti-Tank Weapons
8 - Infantry Guns
9 - Pack Artillery
10 - Light Artillery
11 - Medium Artillery
12 - Heavy Artillery
13 - Artillery Rockets
14 - Light Anti-Aircraft Guns
15 - Heavy Anti-Aircraft Guns
16 - Anti-Aircraft Devices
17 - Anti-Aircraft Detection
18 - Coast Artillery
19 - Armored Vehicles
20 - Chemical Warfare Equipment
21 - Mine Warfare Equipment
22 - River Crossing Equipment
23 - Signal Equipment

Author: Leland Ness
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 340
Publisher: Helion
Year: 2015

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