||Shizuo Fukui, Christian W. Beilstein
||Naval Institute Press
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In December 1941 when Imperial Japan made war against the Allies, she boasted one of the mightiest and finest navies afloat. Its core was ten battleships and nine aircraft carriers of the Combined Fleet, soon to be joined by three more carriers and the Yamato and Musashi, the largest and most heavily armed battleships ever built. The fleet's principal weapons were superb carrier aircraft, including the famed Zero fighter, big naval guns, and the Type 93 oxygen-powered "Long Lance" torpedo, the finest in the world. By August 1945 a desperate Japan, cut off from her overseas possessions, faced imminent invasion. The Combined Fleet no longer had a single warship larger than a light cruiser. The few remaining capital ships were confined to the several large navy yards, and most of them had already sunk into shallow harbor mud. The combat power of the Imperial Navy was vested in its suicide-attack forces: aircraft, midget submarines, human torpedoes, explosive motorboats, and, operating from underwater bunkers, a phalanx of frogmen carrying pole charges. It is this much-altered naval force that is examined in Shizuo Fukui's Japanese Naval Vessels at the End of War.