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Japanese Special Attack Aircraft & Flying Bombs

by Ryusuke Ishiguro and Tadeusz Januszewski

Mushroom Model Publications


S u m m a r y

Catalogue Number:

Book Review by Steve Zaloga:
Japanese Special Attack Aircraft & Flying Bombs
By Ryusuke Ishiguro and Tadeusz Januszewski
Mushroom (MMP Books)



Media: Soft cover; A4 - Pages - 264 (24 in colour)
Price: GBP £24.95 from Mushroom Model Publications
Review Type: First Read
Advantages: Extensive coverage of the numerous and little known special design aircraft ranging from crude home-builts through sophisticated jet-designs; well-executed profiles

A superb book and an absolute must for anyone interested in this fascinating aspect of World War II aviation.


Reviewed by Steve Zaloga

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F i r s t  R e a d

For anyone interested in Kamikaze aircraft, especially the special attack designs of 1945, Tadeusz Januszewski’s “Lotnicy smierci i ich samoloty” (Death pilots and their aircraft) published by Lampart in Poland in 1993 has remained one of the few sources of information except for some even more obscure Japanese publications. Fortunately, Januszewski has now collaborated with Ryusake Ishiguro in Japan on this much expanded book which will be far more accessible to more readers since it is entirely in English. This new Mushroom book is in large, A4 format soft-cover and clocks in at 264 pages of which over 20 pages are color profiles. It completely supersedes the earlier Lampart book both in detail, production value, and depth of coverage.

The first section (up to page 63) is about the more conventional Special Attack units which used conventional aircraft fitted with bombs for suicide attacks against US warships. There is some nice fresh material in this section not available in the usual English language sources. I would have liked to have seen more order of battle material and more detail on specific famous attacks, but I suspect that the average aviation reader will find the coverage to be fine.

The remainder of the books shifts to encyclopedia treatment of the many Special Attack Aircraft. This covers some conventional aircraft converted to Special attack configurations, not the commonplace “Zero-with-a-bomb”, but rather the bombers and other types that had more extensive modifications to enhance their lethality.

Probably the main attraction of this book for most readers will be the extensive coverage of the numerous and little known special design aircraft ranging from crude home-builts through sophisticated jet-designs. These sections are a nice blend of descriptive material along with scale plans that ought to keep most modelers happy. Photo coverage is good, but not great. Lets face it, photo coverage of this subject is never going to be very good and this book contains a fine selection of rare gems. On the other hand, I found coverage in some areas such as the Ohka to be a bit weak with too much reliance on copies of photos from poorly printed reports instead of the original photos.

Personally, I found the “paper project” portions of the book a bit stronger and more intriguing than the sections that deal with types that actually saw combat or came close to seeing combat. For example, the Ohka section is certainly competent, but having done a bit of research in this area, I found it a bit lackluster.

One of the real gems in the book is a superb section on Japanese air-to-surface missile design. This will probably be a bit obscure for most readers, but it was worth the price of admission as far as I was concerned.

The color plates are well executed and cover a variety of converted conventional aircraft as well as the special designs. I have mixed feelings about the “Kamikaze 1946” plates covering types such as the Ohka Type 43 which are shown in much more exotic color schemes than their more mundane (but real) ancestors.


C o n c l u s i o n


All in all, a superb book and an absolute must for anyone interested in this fascinating aspect of World War II aviation.

Americans readers (and those in Australia, NZ, etc.) may want to wait until a local source becomes available as the cost of the book (plus high European postage), makes it a good deal more expensive than it will be once it reaches the States. It is currently listed as being available from Amazon.com.uk

Thanks to Mushroom Model Publictions  for the sample.


All Mushroom Model Publications books are available direct from the publishers, who now accept credit cards (Visa, MC, Amex, Switch)  

North American distributors are MMD, Australian distributors are Platypus Publications. In Europe, the books are available from any good bookshop (via our UK distributors, Orca). Contact MMP direct in case of difficulties. 

Thanks to Roger at Mushroom Model Magazine  for the sample.

Review Copyright 2009 by Steve Zaloga
This Page Created on 26 May, 2009
Last updated 27 May, 2009

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