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Imperial Japanese Naval Aviator 1937-45…
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Imperial Japanese Naval Aviator 1937-45 (Warrior)

by Osamu Tagaya

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Like the other booklets in this series, this title concentrates on the recruitment and training of the type of fighting man in question. Where Tagaya really shines is in providing a picture of the social conflicts that existed within the the aviator cadre from the perspective of the enlisted pilot, and the drag of misplaced elitism on the whole Japanese naval aviation effort.

The one topic that is strikingly not covered is that of seaplanes, as nothing is said about the training of pilots directed into that type of machine, and what it was like to be a pilot in a floatplane detachment on a warship or in a flying boat squadron. In particular, since Tagaya is concentrating on the experience of the enlisted pilot, does this mean that the pilots of flying boats were mostly commissioned officers? Not to mention that one wonders about the status of such pilots vis-a-vis the men assigned to carrier-based or land-based units. One could easily imagine the flying boat pilots to be something of an elite among the long-range aviators, but one doesn't know. This might have been a better use of space instead of the hypothetical vignette depicting the life of the typical pilot in the southwest Pacific. ( )
  Shrike58 | Mar 7, 2007 |
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