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USN Destroyer vs IJN Destroyer: The Pacific 1943

USN Destroyer vs IJN Destroyer: The Pacific 1943 Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review July 2013 Title USN Destroyer vs IJN Destroyer: The Pacific 1943
Author Mark Stille Publisher Osprey Publishing
Published 2013 ISBN 9781849086233
Format 80 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $18.95


This illuminating installment in Osprey's acclaimed "Duel" series recaps four vicious night actions between US Navy and Imperial Japanese Navy destroyers in late 1943.

The fierce fighting ultimately pitted superb Japanese training against superior American technology – notably radar.  In the end, aggressive American tactics – and improved torpedoes – tipped the balance.  The Solomons combat crippled Japanese destroyer operations.  And growing US air and naval strength finally forged Allied superiority.

After a helpful overview with chronology, coverage courses through competing designs and doctrines.  Text next turns to the overall strategic setting – before tackling technical specifications for ten US and eight Japanese destroyer classes.

After an informative discussion of "combatants", contents hit crescendo with accounts of the four critical clashes:

  • The Battle of Vella Gulf
  • The Battle off Horaniu
  • The Battle of Vella Lavella
  • The Battle of Cape St. George

Maps outline actions.  Photos and extended captions sweeten sections.  And charts conveniently distill details – like key differences between Japan's Type 93 and America's Mk15 destroyer-launched torpedoes.

Ian Palmer's competent digital illustrations also proficiently portray armament and equipment.  And Giuseppe Rava's action art capably captures the ferocious fighting.

Statistics, analysis and "aftermath" conclude core coverage.  And a list of secondary sources with index brings things to a tidy terminus.  Maybe it's my academic background, but until the books final chapters, the dearth of annotations proved troubling.

Nonetheless, I enjoyed USN Destroyer vs IJN Destroyer.  Stille's study nicely complements other Osprey titles – including his recent Imperial Japanese Navy Destroyers 1919–45 (volume 1, New Vanguard 198) and Dave McComb's two-part set on US Navy WWII destroyers (New Vanguard 162 and 165).

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My sincere thanks to Osprey Publishing for this review sample!