Mushroom Model Magazine Special - Red Series, No. 5013 By Tadeusz Januszewski ISBN 83-716327-2-5 £9.99, Softbound
Buy this book if you are at all interested in Japanese naval or aviation history as it is the best single source on its subject that I have found. There are minor problems with it as regards its internal consistency and the author uses the term "Yokosho" Yokosuka Kaigun KO-SHO - "Yokosho" for short) for what we are more used to seeing as "Yokosuka" (Yo-Kos Ka). Some of the phrasing is also distractingly awkward due, probably, to English not being the author's cradle tongue. These are, however, very minor negatives and they in no way diminish the book's overall value.
The Imperial Japanese navy was the only naval power to include airplane carrying submarines in their strategic planning for WWII. The authors set out for us in great detail the development and deployment of this weapon-system. In this well researched and crafted book he surveys eight airplane types:
KARL KASPAR U-1: Two purchased by IJN from Germany in 1923. USA also purchased one. Usually identified as Caspar-Heinkel U-1.
YOKOSUKA 1-Go: IJN built one derivative of the U-1 in 1927 powered by a Gasuden-LeRhone rotary engine.
YOKOSUKA 2-Go: Kawanishi Type 91; E6Y1 based on the British Parnall Peto. Ten were built in 1929, the last of which was retired in 1943.
WATANABE E9W1: "Slim". 34 were built in 1934/37 and served in early WWII operations as scouts.
WATANABE E14W: One built in 1937 for competition, which was won by the "Glen".
YOKOSUKA E14Y: "Glen",one prototype and 138 production airplanes were built starting in 1938. Served with fleet through most of WWII as scouts and light bombers.
AICHI M6A1 SEIRAN: 26 were built in 1943/44 for medium bomber and torpedo duties from the Sen-Toku class submarines.
AICHI M6A1K NANZAN: Two prototypes were built in 1943 with wheeled undercarriages as trainers for Seiran crews.
KUGISHO OHKA 43 Ko: None of these extended range "Baka" suicide bombs were actually built following the construction of a mockup in 1945.
Not mentioned is the SUZUKI 18 SHI, MXS12 single place bomber designed to carry two torpedoes. The second prototype, at least, of this 4,470 kg MTOGW plane actually flew from a submarine catapult and dropped torpedoes during testing in may of 1945. No MXS12's, beyond the prototypes were built. I will endeavor to produce a general arrangement drawing of the MXS12 and a table of its leading particulars for inclusion in the SPRUE BITS section of the August issue of this magazine.
The author also addresses eleven types of Japanese aircraft carrying submarines:
JUNSEN 1M: One built to test operations with the Yokosuka 2-Go in 1932. It was active in WWII sans an airplane.
JUNSEN 2M: One built to test operations with the Watanabe E9W Slim in 1935. It, too, was active in WWII.
JUNSEN 3M: Two built in 1937 to develop the strategies, tactics and procedures of operating airplanes from submarines J3Ms carried either two Slims or two Glens. These boats were also active in WWII.
KO-GATA A(1): Three built in 1941/2 to carry one Slim or one Glen.
KO-GATA A(2): One built in 1944 to carry one Glen.
KAI-KO-TAKA (A): Two built in 1944/5 to carry two Seirans.
OTSU-GATA B(1): 20 built in 1940/3 to carry one Glen. Of this class I-17 shelled oil derricks near Goleta, California; I-25 shelled Fort Stevens at the mouth of the Columbia river near Astoria, Oregon and later her Glen made two bombing sorties to drop Thermite bombs in the forests near Brookings and Port Orford, Oregon and I-26 shelled the lighthouse at Estevan Point on the west coast of Vancouver Island, Canada.
NB: I have used the Roman letter "I" for the Kana symbol, pronounced "EE", in the submarines' individual ship's numbers.
OTSU-GATA B(2): Six built in 1943/4 to carry one Glen.
OTSU-GATA B(3): Three built in 1944 to carry one Glen.
OTSU-GATA B(4): Eight were ordered and canceled in 1943. they would have carried one Glen each.
SEN-TOKU: Five of these were laid down in 1944/5. Two were canceled, one was converted to a tanker and the remaining two, I-400 and I-401, were intended to launch three, and maybe four, Seirans each against the Panama Canal locks. Deteriorating Japanese fortunes caused their initial operation to be directed against the US anchorage at Ulithi instead in company with I-14, but the war ended whilst they were enroute and the three boats surrendered at sea after destroying their airplanes. These were the largest submarines built during WWII and were not exceeded in size until the building of nuclear subs during the Cold War
Hindsight shows that the IJN did not use their large fleet of fine, modern, submarines very well in WWII. They were far too cautious and kept control of submarine operations focused at too high a level of command rather than doing what the German, British and US navies did, which was to essentially turn their submariners loose with instructions to, "Go get 'em."
Submarines bearing airplanes is a fascinating subject. I got interested in it back in 1994 when built a model of I-25 and her Glen based on the Fujimi 1:700 scale kit. That's when I began to research the subject more thoroughly than usual, including visiting Brookings, Port Orford and Fort Stevens in Oregon. In 1997 I wrote an article for the IPMS-Seattle newsletter on the subject prompted by having read the obituary of Nobuo Fujita who piloted the Glen that bombed the US.
Kit wise, we modelers are well served in regards this subject. Fujimi offer the Otsu-Gata B(1) sub, of which class was I-25, as a 1:700 scale waterline kit. Nichimo offers an even better 1:200 scale Otsu-Gata b(1) and pit Road/Sky Wave offer a double kit of Sen-Toku class subs, which kit includes markings for both I-400 and I-401. The publisher of this magazine tells me I'll be doing a "Build" article on my Fujimi I-25 for a future issue. As to the airplanes - Fujimi has the best 1:72 scale Glen. Shun MPM's Glen as it lacks detail and is inaccurate. Tamiya offer the Seiran and Nanzan in both 1:48 and 1:72 scales and all four kits are excellent. Again, shun MPM's offerings of these two types as they have overly long, at least two scale feet, fuselages and other inaccuracies. Tamiya got theirs right because they aided in the restoration of the Seiran at the NASM.
The 128 pages of this book are very well printed on glossy paper stock of good weight. The glossy card stock cover is printed in color with a profile of the Seiran on the front and a color photo of the NASM's Seiran, in the restoration shop at Silver Hill, on the back.
By the numbers, here's what you get in this valuable book: 53 color photos, 63 B&W photos, 11 general arrangement three (or more) view drawings, 14 perspective drawings, 3 shaded drawings, 4 drawings of submarines, 9 color profiles, 1 three-view color rendering, 6 two-view color renderings and one map. All of this, plus the generally readable text, provides just about all the information on the subject that an enthusiast reader could want. If you are a scholar specializing in the subject, you'll have to go to original sources for more information.
To repeat the advice with which I started this review - buy this book.
Further Reading Suggestions:
SILENT SIEGE III: Bert Webber, Webb Research Group Pubs., Medford, Oregon, 1997, ISBN 0-936738-73-1.
SUBMARINES OF THE IMPERIAL JAPANESE NAVY: D. carpenter and N. Polmar, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, ISBN 0-87021-682-1.
THE JAPANESE SUBMARINE FORCE AND WORLD WAR II: C. Boyd and A. Yoshida, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, 1995, ISBN 1-5570-080-0.
MONOGRAM CLOSE-UP 13, AICHI M6A1 SEIRAN: Robert C. Mikesh, Monogram Aviation Pubs., Boylston, Massachusetts, 1975, ISBN 0--914144-13-8.
Our thanks to Mushroom Model Publications for the review sample. This title is available from the publishers at 36 Ver Road, Redbourn, Herts AL3 7PE, UK.