The mainstay of the Imperial Japanese Navy’s carrier dive-bomber force from 1941 onwards, the Aichi Type 99 Carrier Bomber (D3A), code-named ‘Val’ by Allied Intelligence, sank more Allied warship tonnage than any other Axis aircraft during World War Two.

Aichi 99 Kanbaku Val units 1937-42

Aichi 99 Kanbaku Val units 1937-42

With its fixed, spatted undercarriage and external dive brakes, the D3A possessed a superficial resemblance to that other great dive-bomber in the Axis arsenal, the Junkers Ju-87 Stuka and, as reflected in a wartime Allied ditty, ‘Val’ was indeed ‘the Stuka’s pal’.

First entering service in China in late 1939, the 99 Kanbaku figured prominently in all the great carrier battles of the IJN during the first full year in the Pacific War, from Pearl Harbor through the Indian Ocean to Coral Sea and Midway. Such were the finely honed skills of its crew that, during the Indian Ocean operation of April 1942, the 99 Kanbaku scored the highest hit ratio in combat of any dive-bomber in history by sinking the Royal Navy’s heavy cruisers HMS Cornwall and Dorsetshire and the light carrier HMS Hermes.

Full of pictures of the aircraft but also the pilots and the results of Val attacks, this book is divide  into eight chapters + Appendices:

–          Chapter 1: Dive-bombing in the IJN

–          Chapter 2: China – First blood

–          Chapter 3: Prelude to Pearl Harbor

–          Chapter 4: ‘To-Ra, To-Ra, To-Ra’

–          Chapter 5: Southern advance

–          Chapter 6: Zenith in the Indian Ocean

–          Chapter 7: Coral Sea – The Carriers clash

–          Chapter 8: Midway and the Aleutians

–          Appendices: colours plates commentary + Index.

In the middle of the book you will find 5 pages with 3 color profiles of ‘Vals’ on each.

Aichi 99 Kanbaku Val units 1937-42

Aichi 99 Kanbaku Val units 1937-42

As always, Osprey is doing great job with this book that is an unavoidable source of documentation not only for modelers but also for everyone interested by the IJN, the WWII and the combats in the Pacific. Get your sample book here!

Daniel Clamot 

Special thanks to Osprey for sample publication