World War II Japanese Tank Tactics by Gordon L. Rottman and Akira

World War II Japanese Tank Tactics by Gordon L. Rottman and Akira Takizawa is another booklet in Osprey’s “Elite” series, which explores the history of military forces, artifacts, personalities, and techniques of warfare.  The book is 63 pages, including a few pages of additional commentary at the back of the book.

The book is divided into the following parts: Introduction (covering the creation of the first armored unit in the Imperial Japanese Army in 1934 to 1941); Unit Organization (the most common unit was the regiment); Doctrine (from infantry support to spearheading assaults); Tactics (attack and formation movements at the various unit levels); Tank Troops (selection and training); Communications and Maintenance (radio and other methods of communication and maintaining the armored forces); and Battle History (examples of battles involving Japanese armor).

Any aficionado of armor warfare will appreciate this book.  The details in tactics and types of armor in the Imperial Japanese Army are excellent.  For example, there are diagrams detailing the various attack movements of platoon and company formations of tanks.  These visual aides, in conjunction with the text, help the reader have a better understanding of how the Japanese military leaders thought about the role of tanks in battle.

The authors argue that the Japanese Imperial Army never really embraced or understood the full potential of the tank.  A majority of the early battles that their tanks were in were against infantry, not armor.  Thus, the Japanese tank development never incorporated thicker armor.  As a result, when the Japanese did encounter armor later in the war, their tanks were sorely outmatched.

In addition to the detailed text, the book is full of color diagrams and black and white photographs (many from Japanese archives – never seen by Western publishers).

This book is an excellent reference for knowing and understanding how Japanese armor was used in World War II.

About the author

Kevin Holtsberry

I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season - oh, and watching golf too).

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2 Comments

  • After googling for may hours I didn’t manage to find any evidence of Japanese tankers aces. It looks VERY strange since Japan was a major player in that war. No records, no names. Anyone can point out the right sources?

  • After googling for may hours I didn’t manage to find any evidence of Japanese tankers aces. It looks VERY strange since Japan was a major player in that war. No records, no names. Anyone can point out the right sources?

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