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"The Origins of Disaster" Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP11 Dec 2020 8:12 p.m. PST

"The Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) placed little importance on dedicated anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capability. The IJN strategic emphasis was on decisive battles early in the war; thus dedicated ASW ships had no role. IJN first line destroyers carried almost no depth charges at all, and the few ASW escorts that were available only carried 12 to 18 depth charges. The lack of equipment was further complicated by poor tactics in responding to any attacks by US submarines. The IJN strategy saw no need to change early in the war as the US submarine fleet's torpedoes were horribly ineffective. That changed in mid-1943 and the Japanese were completely unprepared. The IJN responded in November of 1943 by ordering newly dedicated ASW ships, but their arrival in 1944 was too little, too late. Ultimately, the IJN ASW ships proved to be most effective at rescuing the sailors of the ships they were supposed to protect.

This 48-page book contains two color paintings by Paul Wright along with a substantial description. The first painting is of Torpedo Boat IJN Hiyadori versus USS Amberjack which is also featured on the front cover. The second Paul Wright painting depicts Task Force 38 Avengers attacking a tanker while CD-35, an IJN Type C escort, tries in vain to fight back against the TBM Avengers. CD-35 took three bombs and ended up on the seafloor. I counted 21 tables, 40 black and white pictures. Paul Wright also contributes twelve color profiles along with a keyed cutaway color illustration of an IJN Number 1 Class (Type C) ASW Escort.

Mark Stille provides a revealing look at the evolution of the IJN ASW capabilities that occurred during World War II. The introduction covers the IJN ASW strategy, tactics, ship design, and weapons. A significant weakness for the ASW ships was the lack of capable depth charges. US Submarines could go down to 400 feet, but the IJN depth charge maximum setting was 295 feet. Complicating the IJN use of depth charges was the rather basic nature of their ASW sensors. The ‘meat' of the book is a description of the individual ASW classes. Each class description includes a section on ‘Design and Construction', a table detailing the individual ships and units they served with, ‘Armament and Modifications', ‘War Service', and a table of the class specifications. Most of the classes are also represented with color profiles…"

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