This book looks at the series of light and medium tanks developed for and used by the Japanese army during the long war in China and the Second World War.
This is a very wide ranging book, starting with the light tanks based on British and French models of the 1920s and ending with the most advanced models under development in 1945. Zaloga also looks at the special naval tanks and at the self propelled guns based on tank chassis produced when the small guns on existing Japanese tanks became obsolete.
The sections on the use of the tanks is equally ambitious, covering the entire period from Japan's first involvement in China, through the period of conquests in 1941-42, including the fighting in the Philippines and in Malaya, before moving on to look at the fighting in Burma, on the Pacific islands and against Russia in 1945.
The three main chapters are roughly equal in length, and give a rougly equal balance between the technical and development history of the tanks and their combat careers.
This is a particularly well illustrated book, even by Osprey's standards. Of especially good value are the side and top photos of most of the early tanks, which make clear the unusual asymmetrical layout of Japanese tank turrets, many of which had a rear-facing machine gun position. The 3D cutaway drawing is of the Type 95 Medium Tank, and gives a good view of the interior of the turret and crew positions.
This is a good introduction to a large subject that is not well served in English language publications. Zaloga finishes with a very useful bibliography that will be of great interest to anyone who wants to read more.
Prewar Development and Deployment
World War II Development and Deployment
Tank Combat of the Great Asian War, 1941-45
Color Plate Commentary
Author: Steven J. Zaloga