Great Britain never built a vessel as fast or as deadly as the E-boats, instead, fielding many types of MTB and motor gunboats. After a slow start, the Royal Navy helped by construction in the USA, Canada and India, built an extraordinary catalogue of excellent small boats, supported by larger vessels which gave serious firepower and, using the characteristics of each boat to maximum effect, fielded mixed formations supported by destroyers or powerful gun equipped LCTs. They generally fought at night and using radar and radiotelephone, coupled with RAF and fleet air arm support and even secret information from intercepts they fought the Kriegsmarine to a standstill and by 1944, with hugely superior numbers and technological advantage truly ruled any waters which they chose to dominate.
Between the wars Japan reassessed its position with its navy, building the world’s first purpose-built aircraft carrier, the Hosho in 1921 and inventing its deadly fast and powerful type 93 24’’ oxygen fuelled torpedoes. They also decided that as their industrial might could not match that of the west, then they would have to have sharp, training tactics and a crew of superior quality to their foe, and for a while, achieved just this.
Their battleships and cruisers were of excellent quality and their growing fleet or aircraft carriers would, after Pearl Harbor, give them the edge in the opening phase of the Pacific War. Excellent training, use of the Long Lance torpedoes and aggressive use of nighttime fast attacks with their destroyers also gave the allies a bloody nose before they learned to counter these attacks.
Imperial Japanese Navy Fleet
Cruel Seas focuses on the cat and mouse hunts that happened nightly in the Philippines, Guadalcanal and the Solomon’s. They could be IJN sub chasers stalking a crippled US submarine, or mine layers playing their trade at night. Most commonly it will be Japanese barge convoys defending themselves in shallow water against rapacious PT boats. Turning the tables, a late war game could be played out with American landing ships and the terrifying Shin’yo Kamikaze craft.
The IJN, therefore, is an interesting mixture of the very sophisticated and the very amateur, boldness being a connecting factor whether in battleships or tiny craft. It is a do or die force, get in close and things will go well, dither or maintain the range of the allied technology and firepower will overreach you.
The Imperial Japanese Navy Fleet Contains:
- 6 x T-14-class MTBs (metal)
- 3 x Maru-Ni kamikaze boats (metal)
- 3 x Shin-Yo kamikaze boats (metal)
- 4 x large Sampan (resin and metal - two of each canopied boat)
- 1 x Escort Type Hei minesweeper (resin & metal)
- 1 x Aichi D3A 'Val' (metal)
- Ship Cards
- Plastic Torpedo markers
Models supplied unassembled and unpainted