J-aircraft.com Book Review 
Dave Pluth

Title: Aichi D3A1/2 Val

Author: Peter C. Smith

Publisher: Crowood press, Aviation Series

Pages: 192pgs/Hardcover

ISBN: 1 86126 278 7

Price: $36 (from Roll Models)


          I was really excited when I first opened this book.  Finally a book about Japanese Aircraft that was written in English!  As I paged through the book I got more and more exited about the photos and the detailed history (I'll get to that in a minute). 

         The book opens with a history of dive-bombing and the Imperial Japanese Navy.  It's basically a summary with some interesting details of the original dive-bombers and works its way up to the Val.

         You are then given a history of Aichi Kokuki Corporation.  From it's beginnings as the Aichi Clock and Electic Company all the way through the changes during the war years.

         You then get a behind the scenes look at how the Val design came about.  How many different influences came together to design and build one of the most successful dive-bombers of WWII.   For the modeler, there is a greatly detailed description (complete with many photos) of the Val itself and the Val's distinguishing characteristics.

         Once your technical briefing is over, you get a look at the Val's operational use.  A detailed history that takes you through China, Pearl Harbor, Wake Island, the Philippines, Port Darwin, South-West Celebes and Java, the Indian Ocean, Battle of the Coral Sea,  Midway, The Aleutians, Guadalcanal, New Guinea, and the Philippine Sea.  Finally, there is a chapter on the final mission, the Kamikaze. 

         There are a couple of downsides to the book.  There are a couple of photos that are mislabled (or possibly the wrong photos), and there are times when you do get a bit lost in the detail.

         Overall, the information and the presentation overcome any of the shortcomings (not to mention again that it's in English!).  Get this book!  For the $36 (from Roll Models) it's an excellent value.

         My thanks to Crowood Press for the review copy.

-Dave Pluth

Contribute a book review (you can even review a book that has been previously reviewed) by clicking here

Return to Book Reviews Main Page

Return to J-aircraft Main Page