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by Robert C. Mikesh
Naval Inst Press  1993

199 pages
Index, photos
ISBN 1557500835
Cover Price: $29.95
Language: English

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Broken Wings of the Samurai
Destruction of the Japanese Air Force

This book covers the history of the rise, and fall of Japan's Air Forces in WWII. Divided into several sections, the book includes chapters on the war years, and an overview of the main types of Japanese fighter and bombers.

The next part of the book deals with the collection of over one hundred captured japanese aircraft for technical evaluation and shipment back to the United States by occupation forces in Japan. After evaluations, most of these were scrapped, but a handful of these aircraft survived and were later donated to the Smithsonian Institute's Air & Space Museum, making up a large portion of their WWII Japanese collection.

A few American Army personnel photographed the Japanese aircraft wreckage, including 1st. Lt. James P. Gallager whose photographed what he termed 'Meatballs and Dead Birds'. While others picked over the wrecks for souvenirs.  Afterwards, by occupation orders, every other remaining Japanese military aircraft was burned.

This book is fascinating for its text, describing what was found at Japan's largest airbase at the end of the war, and for the stunning photographs, of aircraft that had only just before been feared weapons of the enemy before they were destroyed forever.

The final chapter of the book details two interesting topics: the disposition of remaining Japanese aircraft around the world, in museums and collections. Also, former Japanese aircraft in foreign air forces used after the war and until the end of the 1940's.  Air Forces equipped with Japanese planes included the Chinese, Thai, Indonesian and French Air Force (in Indo-China).

Illustrated with stunning photographs of a wide variety of both familiar and unfamiliar Japanese aircraft types, these black & white photos form the last glimpse at an Air Force.  As both a photo book, and important text, this book is recommenced reading.
Review by  Justin Taylan  

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Last Updated
November 25, 2022

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