Book Review: Desperate Sunset

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05 February 2020
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If there was one sight guaranteed to strike fear into the heart of sailors in the Pacific, it was that of a kamikaze pilot hurtling towards them.

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By 1944, the Japanese air corp was in a desperate state, short of experienced and skilled pilots. As a result the Tokubetsu Kogekitai, or Special Attack Units, were formed.


This hefty and very glossy book takes the reader through those desperate times, firstly introducing the tactics and aircraft used, then looking at the action in the Philippines, other theatres and at Okinawa. Initially pilots would fly at very low levels before popping up for a final dive into the ship. This required a degree of skill that disappeared as novice pilots were sent out.


There are plenty of stories here, amongst the technical details, the plans and schematics, with maps showing conflict areas and contemporary photos. It’s a very impressive and comprehensive look at the desperate Japanese tactics.


• Osprey Publishing 
• ISBN 978-1-4728-2941-2
• 356 pages • Hardback • £35

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By Mike Yeo

Reviewed in The Armourer March 2020 issue 

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