Nakajima Ki-106

Nakajima Ki-106

Nakajima Ki-106

The Nakajima Ki-106 was a version of the Ki-84 Army Type 4 Fighter constructed with a wooden fuselage in an attempt to save light alloys. Three airframes were completed by Ohji Koku K.K. (Prince Aircraft Co. Ltd) during 1945. These aircraft were powered by a 1,990hp Nakajima Ha-45 engine, and had larger vertical control surfaces than the standard Ki-84. The thick coat of lacquer also meant that they had a noticeably smoother finish. Successful tests began in July 1945 but the war ended before the Ki-106 could enter production. The Ki-106 would have been slightly heavier (because of the lacquer) and slightly slower than the Ki-84.

Engine: Nakajima Ha-45 21
Power: 1,990hp at take off, 1,850hp at 5,740ft
Wing span: 36ft 10 7/15in
Length: 32ft 7 3/4in
Height: 11ft 9 5/16in
Empty weight: 6,499lb
Loaded weight: 8,598lb
Maximum speed: 385mph at 21,000ft
Climb to 16,405ft in 5 min
Service ceiling: 36,090ft
Normal range: 497 miles plus 1.5 hours combat
Armament: two 20mm Ho-5 cannon (four on first prototype)


Nakajima Ki-106 - History

Japanese Warplanes of the Second World War

Imperial Japanese Army Air Service &

Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service,

Aichi to Kawanishi

Data current to 2 January 2020. (RAF Photo)

Kawasaki Ki-45 Toryu fighter/ground attack aircraft, codenamed "Nick" by the Allies, of the 71st Dokuritsu Hiko Chutai being examined by an RAF Officer. This was one of a number of aircraft abandoned at Kallang Airport, Singapore, Sep 1945.

Air Technical Intelligence on Imperial Japanese Army Air Service and Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service Warplanes of the Second World War

During and after the Second World War British Commonwealth, American and French forces engaged in air technical intelligence (ATI) collection and evaluation of captured Japanese aircraft. Allied ATI units were established at Calcutta in India in 1943 and at Saigon in French Indo-China in 1945. The Calcutta unit collected and examined a number of badly damaged aircraft. A few relatively complete aircraft were acquired, including examples of the Mitsubishi Ki-21-Ia (Army Type 97 Heavy Bomber Model 1A), codename “Sally”, Nakajima Ki-43-1A (Army Type 1 Fighter Model 1A Hayabusa (Peregrine Falcon)), codename “Oscar”, Mitsubishi Ki-46-III (Army Type 100 Command Reconnaissance Plane Model 1), codename “Dinah”, and Kawasaki Ki-48 (Army Type 99 Twin-engine Light Bomber Model 1A), codename “Lily.” After the end of the war, collection continued and flyable examples of the Nakajima Ki-44-1a (Army Type 2 single-seat Fighter Model 1A Shoki), codename “Tojo”, the Mitsubishi J2M3 Interceptor Fighter Raiden (Thunderbolt) Model 11), codename “Jack”, the Mitsubishi G4M3 (Navy Type 1 Attack Bomber Model 11), codename “Betty”, and the Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52 Zero-Sen (Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter), codename “Zeke” were obtained and flown. The Saigon unit obtained a number of flyable aircraft that were on surrendered Japanese airfields in French Indo-China. Many of the aircraft collected ended up as museum pieces.

(IJNAF Photos)

Mitsubishi A6M3 Model 22 Zero-Sen (Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter), codename “Zeke” , coded UI-105, flown by Japanese air ace Lieutenant Junior Grade Hiroyoshi Nishizawa from the 251st Kokutai over the Solomon Islands 7 May 1943. The unit's aircraft have been hastily sprayed with dark green camouflage paint on the upper surfaces. Nishizawa is credited with 87 aerial victories (36 shot down, 2 damaged and 49 shared damaged), although he personally claimed to have had 102 aerial victories at the time of his death. He was lost as a passenger on a Nakajima Ki-49 Donryu (Helen) transport aircraft flying from Mabalacat on Pampanga on the morning of 26 Oct 1944 while being flown to ferry replacement Zeros from Clark Field on Luzon. The Ki-49 transport was attacked by two Grumman F6F Hellcats of VF-14 squadron from the fleet carrier USS Wasp and was shot down in flames. Nishizawa died as a passenger, probably the victim of Lt. j.g. Harold P. Newell, who was credited with a "Helen" northeast of Mindoro that morning.

Japanese War Prizes in England

Several impressive Japanese aircraft are displayed at the Aerospace Museum at RAF Cosford in the UK. The museum’s collection of Japanese aircraft comprises the only remaining Japanese aircraft transported to the UK after the Second World War. At the end of the war, towards the end of 1945 a number of aircraft made up of Japanese Naval and Japanese Air force planes surrendered at Tebrau, a Japanese wartime airstrip in Malaysia. The planes were flown by Japanese air-crews. The British applied nationality markings and the acronym Allied Technical Air Intelligence Unit - South East Asia (ATAIU-SEA).

(RAF Photo)

Mitsubishi A6M2 Model 21 Zero-Sen (Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter), codename “Zeke”, coded BI-I2, in flight with Allied Technical Air Intelligence Unit - South East Asia (ATAIU-SEA) markings. BI-12 was tested at Tebrau Air Base, Malaya, in 1946. Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52 Zero-Sen (Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter), codename “Zeke”, coded BI-05 and another coded BI-06 were tested at Tebrau Air Base, Malaya, in 1946.

Primarily an RAF unit, ATAIU-SEA was formed during 1943 at Maidan, India, operating as a combined RAF/USAAF unit before the USAAF personnel were transferred to the United States. By early 1946 ATAIU-SEA in Singapore had collected 64 Japanese Army and Navy aircraft, most in flyable condition, for shipment to the UK. However, lack of shipping space prevented this operation and only four eventually arrived in England to be put in display in museums. The unit was disbanded at Seletar, Singapore on 15 May 1946. (RAF Photo)

(Mark Harkin Photo)

Mitsubishi A6M3 Model 22 Zero-Sen (Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter), codename “Zeke” cockpit in the RAF Museum, Duxford, England, still carrying its ATAIU-SEA markings.

(Tony Hisgett Photo)

Mitsubishi Ki-46-III Army Type 100 Command Reconnaissance Plane (C/N 5439), 8484M, of the 81 st Sentai, 3 rd Chutai IJAAF, codenamed "Dinah", at RAF Cosford, England. In 1944-45, during the last days of the war, it was modified as a high altitude interceptor, with two 20-mm cannons in the nose and one 37-mm cannon in an "upwards-and-forwards" firing position. It was stationed at tested at Tebrau Air Base in British Malaya, before its shipment to England in 1946. 5439 is n ow on display at RAF Cosford, England.

(Paul Richter Photo)

(Aldo Bidini Photo)

Kawasaki Ki-100, RAF Museum Cosford, England.

(Fairlight Photo)

(Megapixie Photo)

Kawasaki Ki-100, RAF Museum Cosford, England.

At the end of the Second World War, 64 Japanese aircraft were selected for shipment to the UK, but due to limited shipping space only 4 made it to the UK. These four aircraft included a Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52 Zero-Sen (Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter) codename “Zeke”, (the cockpit is now in the IWM), a Mitsubishi Ki-46-III (Army Type 100 Command Reconnaissance Plane Model 1), codename “Dinah”, 5439, a Kawasaki Ki-100-1a (Army Type 5 Fighter Model 1A), and a Kyushu K9W1 (Navy Type 2 Primary Trainer Momiji), codename “Cypress” (scrapped after accidental fire damage). The Ki-46 and Ki-100 are today on display at the AMC. The aircraft were sent via ship to No 47 MU, Sealand, for crating and storage, in February 1947. In November 1985 they were transferred to RAF museum reserve collection RAF St Athan, before being moved to RAF Cosford in June 1989. These aircraft were: Kawasaki Ki-100-1b (Army Type 5 Fighter Model 1A) (Serial No. 8476M) Yokosuka MXY7 Ohka Model 11 (Tail Number I-13) Mitsubishi Ki-46-III (Army Type 100 Command Reconnaissance Plane Model 1), codename “Dinah” (Serial No. 5439) a Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52 Zero-Sen (Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter), codename “Zeke”, and a Mitsubishi A6M3 Model 52 Zero-Sen (Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter), codename “Zeke” (Manufacture Number 3685), Tail Number Y2-176). (Source: Steve Dodd, Cosford museum member)

Japanese Warplanes with RAF ATAIU-SEA markings

(RAF Photo)

Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52 Zero-Sen (Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter), codename “Zeke” in flight, RAF, Allied Technical Air Intelligence Unit, South East Asia. 'B1-12' is shown here bing operated by ATAIU-SEA at Tebrau, Malaya in 1946. Once thought to be applied by the British the tail number is now known to be IJN original and identifies IJN Air Group 381. A second Zeke marked 'B1-01' was a former 381 Ku Raiden in ATAIU-SEA ownership at Tebrau, Malaya.

(RAF Photo)

Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52 Zero-Sen (Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter), codename “Zeke” (Serial No. 1303), RAF, TAIC II, metal finish. This aircraft was captured on Saipan. The legend 'AI 2G . . .' appears beneath the 'Technical Air Intelligence Center' beneath the cockpit. This was the Air Ministry section responsible for German and Japanese air intelligence. This aircraft was scheduled for delivery to ATAIU-SEA in India but it was eventually sent to the USA.

(RAF Photos)

Mitsubishi G4M2 bomber, F1-11, codenamed "Betty", RAF, Allied Technical Air Intelligence Unit, South East Asia ATAIU-SEA).

(RAF Photos)

Mitsubishi J2M Raidens, codenamed Jack, originally from 381st Kokutai. Captured at Malaya, BI-0I and BI-02 were tested at Tebrau Air Base in British Malaya in 1946. These aircraft were flown and evaluated by Japanese naval aviators under close supervision of RAF officers from Seletar Airfield in December 1945. RAF, Allied Technical Air Intelligence Unit, South East Asia (ATAIU - SEA).

Captured Japanese Warplanes flown by the TAIU-SWPA in Australia

(RAAF Photo)

Mitsubishi A6M3 Model 32 Zero-Sen (Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter), codename “Zeke”. This aircraft was rebuilt and test flown by the Technical Air Intelligence Unit (TAIU) at Eagle Farm, Brisbane, Australia, using parts of five different aircraft captured at Buna, New Guinea. The completed aircraft was test flown in mock combat against a Supermarine Spitfire Mk. V. It was concluded that the “Zeke” was superior to the Spitfire below 20,000 feet. In late 1943 the “Zeke” was shipped to the United States aboard the escort carrier USS Copahee. It went to Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio, where it was flown and evaluated.

Other Japanese aircraft acquired by the TAIU in Australia included two Nakajima Ki-43-1A (Army Type 1 Fighter Model 1A Hayabusa (Peregrine Falcon)), codename “Oscar”, and a Kawasaki Ki-61-II (Army Type 3 Fighter Model 1 Hien (Swallow)), codename “Tony”. The “Oscars” were test flown in Australia in March and April 1944, and the “Tony” was shipped to NAS Anacostia later in 1944.

In June 1944 the US Navy personnel at the TAIU in Australia were transferred to NAS Anacostia and became the cadre for an expanded Technical Air Intelligence Center. Collection of Japanese aircraft continued in 1943, 1944, and 1945, for analysis by the US Navy and the USAAF. TAIUs operated in Southeast Asia, the Philippines, China, and, after the end of hostilities, in Japan. Personnel of the Royal Australian Air Force participated, as they had earlier in the war.

(USAAF Photo)

Mitsubishi G4M2 bomber, codenamed "Betty", found at the end of the war.

Captured Japanese airfields, particularly in the Philippines, were especially fruitful. Many of the aircraft were shipped to the United Stated by escort carriers. Their destinations were usually NAS Anacostia, Wright Field, or Freeman Field, Indiana.

(USAAF Photo)

Nakajima Ki-44-1a (Army Type 2 single-seat Fighter Model 1A Shoki), (Serial No. 2068), codenamed “Tojo”, in the Philippines in TAIU-SWPA S11, USAAF markings. It is shown here being tested by TAIU-SWPA at Clark Field in the Philippines in 1945 in natural metal finish with pre-war rudder stripes. The uncoded serial number of this aircraft was 1068 and it was manufactured in July 1944.

Japanese aircraft acquired during those years included examples of the Mitsubishi A6M7 Model 63 Zero-Sen, (Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter), codenamed “Zeke”, Kawasaki Ki-61-II (Army Type 3 Fighter Model 1 Hien (Swallow)), codenamed “Tony”, Nakajima Ki-44-1a (Army Type 2 single-seat Fighter Model 1A Shoki), codename “Tojo”, Kawanishi N1K2-J Shiden Kai Model 21 Navy Interceptor Fighter Shaiden KAI, codenamed “George”, Nakajima Ki-84-Ia (Army Type 4 Fighter Model 1A Hayate (Gale)), codenamed “Frank”, Mitsubishi J2M3 (Navy Interceptor Fighter Raiden (Thunderbolt) Model 11), codenamed “Jack”, and Kawasaki Ki-45 (Army Type 2 Two-Seat Fighter Model A Toryu (Dragon Slayer)), codenamed “Nick” fighters the Nakajima B5N2 (Navy Type 97 Carrier Attack Bomber Model 1), codenamed “Kate”, Nakajima B6N2 (Navy Carrier Attack Bomber Tenzan (Heavenly Cloud)) Model 11), codenamed “Jill”, Yokosuka D4Y1 (Navy Type 2 Carrier Reconnaissance Plane Model 11 Susei (Comet)), codenamed “Judy”, and Mitsubishi G4M3 (Navy Type 1 Attack Bomber Model 11), codenamed “Betty” bombers the Douglas DC-3 L2D2/5, codenamed “Tabby” transport, and the Mitsubishi Ki-46-III (Army Type 100 Command Reconnaissance Plane Model 1), codenamed “Dinah” reconnaissance aircraft. Some underwent flight evaluation.

After the conclusion of the Pacific War, most surviving Japanese aircraft were destroyed where they lay, usually by burning. Those machines in more isolated areas were simply left to rot, often stripped of useful components by the indigenous population. Some examples were shipped to Allied nations (primarily Australia, England and the United States) for technical study, but by the 1950s most of these had been sold for scrap. With the rise of interest in aviation history during the 1970s, the surviving examples of Japanese Navy Air Force (JNAF) and Japanese Army Air Force (JAAF) aircraft were often repaired, restored, and placed on public display. A few additional examples were recovered from former war zones and, in a few cases, renovated to high standards. There are doubtless many more still corroding in jungle areas or under the sea which may one day be recovered and restored.[1]

“The Japanese Army and Navy forces as organizations were progressively demobilized and disbanded as soon as practical after their surrender in August 1945. This short three-part article outlines the corresponding fate of their aircraft, a story beginning with the formation of Technical Air Intelligence Units (TAIUs) during 1943.”

“As in Europe, the Allies in the Pacific theatre were also keen to learn as much as possible about their opponents’ equipment. With Americans having the major involvement there, it was appropriate that they predominated in all such evaluation, particularly in respect of captured aircraft. It was agreed in this regard that the US Navy would lead a technical air intelligence joint organization which included USAAF, RAF and RN representatives.”

“Thereafter, the first TAIU was set up as a joint USAAF/USN/RAAF organization in Australia in early 1943. This particular unit absorbed a small team from the Directorate of Intelligence, HQ Allied Forces, who were developing the Code Name system for Japanese aircraft they had started in 1942. A second, known as the Allied TAIU for South East Asia (ATAIU-SEA), followed in Calcutta in late 1943 as a joint RAF/USAAF Allied unit. Then, in mid 1944, the USN personnel from the TAIU in Australia were withdrawn to NAS Anacostia, near Washington DC, to become the TAIC (Technical Air Intelligence Centre), whose purpose was to centralise and co-ordinate work of test centres in the United States with work of TAIUs in the field.”

“The operation in Australia was reformed to function thereafter as TAIU for the South West Pacific Area (TAIU-SWPA) and eventually moved to the Philippines in early 1945. Two other operations were also set up, TAIU for the Pacific Ocean Area (TAIU-POA) as a USN unit to trawl the various Pacific Islands for aircraft and TAIU for China (TAIU-CHINA) under control of Chiang Kai Shek’s Nationalists.”

“Aircraft test flown by the TAIUs before cessation of hostilities in August 1945:

TAIU (Australia) - approximately 5 TAIU-SWPA (Philippines) - over 20 ATAIU-SEA – None TAIU- POA - None, but 14 sent to TAIC TAIU-CHINA – 1 and, TAIC - at least 11.”

“When war ended the Allies felt it necessary to assess the state of technological development still remaining intact in Japan. Although work of other TAIUs ended speedily, that of ATAIU-SEA and TAIU-SWPA continued to gather selected material for further evaluation in order to do this the former moved to Singapore, with a flying unit at Tebrau in Malaya, and the latter to Japan itself.”

(USAAF Photos)

Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52 Zero-Sen (Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter), codename “Zeke”, painted in green cross surrender markings.

“There were two periods of so-called green cross flights by Japanese aircraft after capitulation. The first lasted from about 19th August to 12th September 1945, covering flights of surrender delegations and flights of surrendering aircraft to assembly points. The second period lasted from 15th September to 10th October 1945, covering general communications and taking surrender details to outlying forces. The longest survivors of these operations were probably those few that found their way into the Gremlin Task Force (see Part 3) the rest were destroyed.”

“By early 1946 ATAIU-SEA in Singapore had gathered some 64 Army and Navy aircraft, most in flyable condition, for shipment to the UK for further evaluation. An unknown number of these aircraft were actually test flown at Tebrau. Lack of shipping space prevented this shipment and only four eventually arrived in England for Museum purposes. In any event, funds for testing captured war material were by then severely restricted and most such work already stopped.”

“By the end of 1945 TAIU-SWPA teams had scoured the Japanese mainland and other territories to gather together in Yokohama Naval Base four examples of every Japanese aircraft type never previously tested by the Allies one of each was to be for the USAAF, USN, RAF and Museum purposes.”

“In the event, those for the RAF have not been accounted for and of the remainder some 115 arrived in America during December 1945, 73 to Army bases and 42 to Naval bases. Once again funds and interest for further testing were drying up rapidly and only six of the aircraft were actually flown there, four by the Army and two by the Navy. Out of the 115 total, plus 11 TAIC aircraft already there, 46 are in US Museums, about two thirds of the remainder were scrapped and the rest are probably still corroding away somewhere out of sight.”[1]

[1] Data from an article by Peter Starkings, originally published in JAS Jottings, 1/3, 1995.

USN and USAAF Air Technical Intelligence Units in the Pacific Theatre

The US Navy was also engaged in ATI in the Pacific Theatre[1]. A joint ATI group with members from the US Navy, US Army Air Forces, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), and Royal Navy was formed in Australia in 1942. Later, some US Navy personnel of the group were withdrawn to the United States where they formed a Technical Air Intelligence Unit (TAIU) at Naval Air Station Anacostia, near Washington, DC. The Anacostia TAIU was supported by other Navy air stations such as those at North Island, San Diego, California, and Patuxent River, Maryland.

(USAAF Photo)

Mitsubishi A6M2 Model 21 Zero-Sen (Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter), codename “Zeke” coded V-173, shown where it crash-landed on a beach en route from Taiwan to Saigon in 26 November 1941. This aircraft was removed by the Chinese forces and hidden until it could be assessed by Allied Intelligence, becoming USAAF EB-2, later EB-200.

Mitsubishi A6M2 Model 21 Zero-Sen (Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter), codename “Zeke”, captured, restored and parked on an airfield in China. On 26 November 1941, this A6M2, (Serial No. 3372), coded V-173 of the Tainan Naval Air Corps force landed near Teitsan airfield. It was made airworthy at Kinming by American engineers and flown in Chinese markings with the number P-5016. Coded EB-2, this aircraft eventually made its way to Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio, in July 1943, and was renumbered EB-200. (USAAF Photos)

Mitsubishi A6M2 Model 21 Zero-Sen (Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter), codename “Zeke”, captured, restored and parked on an airfield in China. On 26 November 1941, this A6M2, (Serial No. 3372), coded V-173 of the Tainan Naval Air Corps force landed near Teitsan airfield. It was made airworthy at Kinming by American engineers and flown in Chinese markings with the number P-5016. Coded EB-2, this aircraft eventually made its way to Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio, in July 1943, and was renumbered EB-200. (USAAF Photos)

Mitsubishi A6M2 Model 21 Zero-Sen (Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter), codename “Zeke”. (IJNAF Photos)

Mitsubishi A6M2 “Zeke” (Serial No. 4593), Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter Model 21, coded DI-108, as discovered at its crash site on Akutan Island, Alaska by USAAF forces. On 3 June 1942, Flight Petty Officer Tadayoshi Koga left the flight deck of the IJN Carrier Ryujo in his Mitsubishi A6M2 Model 21 fighter as part of a task force assigned to attack Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands. His A6M2, which had been built in February, was on its first operational mission. On his way back to the Ryujo, Koga found that two bullets had punctured his fuel supply and he informed his flight commander that he intended to land on Akutan Island, designated as an emergency landing field. Koga did not make the landing field and instead made a forced landing in a marsh. The aircraft flipped over, breaking the pilot’s neck and killing him. Five weeks later, a US Navy Consolidated PBY Catalina, making a routine patrol, discovered the Japanese fighter upside down in the marsh. (USAAF Photos)

Mitsubishi A6M2 Model 22 Zero-Sen (Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter), codename “Zeke”, coded DI-108, being recovered from its crash site on Akutan Island, Alaska by USAAF forces. This aircraft was designated TAIC 1. (USAAF Photos)

Mitsubishi A6M2 Model 22 Zero-Sen (Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter), codename “Zeke”, coded DI-108, (Serial No. 4593), Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter Model 21, coded DI-108, designated TAIC 1. North Island NAS, fall 1944, after the plane was flown back to California from Anacostia NAS, and used as a training tool by the ComFAirWest training operation flying against squadrons headed west. It was damaged at NAS North Island on 10 Feb 1945. (USAAF Photos)

This single-seat fighter was probably one of the greatest prizes of the Pacific war. Hardly damaged, it was recovered by US Navy personnel and shipped to Naval Air Station (NAS) North Island, California, where it was repaired and exhaustively tested. It was first flown at North Island in September 1942. Over the next several months it made mock combat flights against US Navy Grumman F-4F Wildcat and Vought F4U Corsair aircraft and USAAF Lockheed P-38 Lightning, Bell P-39 Airacobra, Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, and North American P-51 Mustang aircraft. The pilots of the USAAF aircraft were from the Proving Ground at Eglin Field, Florida. Information gathered during testing of the A6M2 prompted the American aircraft manufacturer Grumman, to lighten the Grumman F4F Wildcat and to install a larger engine on the Grumman F6F Hellcat.[3]

Mitsubishi A6M2 Model 22 Zero-Sen (Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter), codename “Zeke”, coded DI-108, (Serial No. 4593), Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter Model 21, coded DI-108. Koga's A6M2 Zero-Sen went to Anacostia, where it was restored and flown by the USN. Koga’s crashed aircraft, while resurrected temporarily, did not in fact survive the war. Following its tests by the Navy in San Diego, the Zero was transferred from Naval Air Station North Island to Anacostia Naval Air Station in 1943 (becoming TAIC 1). In 1944, it was recalled to North Island for use as a training plane for rookie pilots being sent to the Pacific. As a training aircraft, the Akutan Zero was destroyed during an accident in February 1945 at North Island. While the Zero was taxiing for a takeoff, a Curtiss SB2C Helldiver lost control and rammed into it. The Helldiver’s propeller sliced the Zero into pieces. Only small bits (instruments) still exist in museums in Washington and Alaska. (USN Photos)

[1] Data from an article by Peter Starkings, originally published in JAS Jottings, 1/3, 1995.

[2] Phil Butler, War Prizes, p. 165.

Japanese Warplanes of the Second World War examined by the USAAF and US Navy

Aichi D1A, Navy Type 94/96 Carrier Bomber, codenamed Susie. (IJNAF Photos)

Aichi D3A1 dive-bomber. (IJNAF Photos)

(Author Photo).

Aichi D3A2, codenamed "Val" on display in wrecked "as found" condition on display inside the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas.

(Alan Wilson Photo)

Aichi D3A2 Model 22_Val, (3179), Reg. No. N3131G. A currently under restoration at the Planes of Fame Museum in Chino, California.

Aichi B7A2 Ryusei, codenamed "Grace". (IJNAF Photos)

Aichi B7A2 Ryusei, codenamed "Grace", (Serial No. 816) captured by the US and test flown in 1946 by the US air intelligence unit ATAIU-SEA. Shipped to the USA it is shown here in USN markings, No. 52, USAAF FE-1204, currently in storage in the Paul E. Garber facility, Suitland, Maryland. Aichi B7A2, USAAF FE-1206 was scrapped at Middletown, Pennsylvania. (USAAF Photos)

Aichi E13A Navy Reconnaissance Seaplane, codenamed "Jake". In service with the Imperial Japanese Navy from 1941 to 1945. Numerically the most important floatplane of the IJN, it could carry a crew of three and a bombload of 250 kg (550 lb). Eight examples were operated by the French Naval Air Force during the First Indochina War from 1945-1947, while others may have been operated by the Royal Thai Navy. One example was captured by New Zealand forces and flown by the RNZAF personnel in theatre, but it after one of the aircraft's floats leaked, it sank and was not repaired. (IJNAAF Photos 1 & 2, IWM Photo 3)

Aichi E16A Zuiun (Auspicious Cloud), two-seat Naval reconnaissance floatplane operated by the Imperial Japanese Navy, Allied reporting name "Paul", shown here in USN markings. There do not appear to be TAIC or FE numbers alloctated for this aircraft. (USN Photos)

Aichi M6A1 Seiran (Clear Sky Storm or Mist on a Fair Day) Japan,ca 1944. (IJNAAF Photo)

Aichi M6A1 Seiran (Clear Sky Storm or Mist on a Fair Day) being examined by USN sailors at Nagoya, Japan, Sep 1945. (USN Photo)

Aichi M6A1 Seiran (Clear Sky Storm or Mist on a Fair Day) on display in the Paul E. Garber facility, Suitland, Maryland before being moved to the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. (Author Photos)

Aichi M6A1 Seiran (Clear Sky Storm or Mist on a Fair Day) on display in the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. (Eric Salard Photo)

The Aichi M6A Seiran (Clear Sky Storm or Mist on a Fair Day) was a submarine-launched attack floatplane. It was intended to operate from I-400 class submarines whose original mission was to conduct aerial attacks against the United States. A single M6A1 has been preserved and resides in the Udvar-Hazy Center of the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum. It is located in the Washington, DC suburb of Chantilly, Virginia near Dulles International Airport. The Seiran was surrendered to an American occupation contingent by Lt Kazuo Akatsuka of the Imperial Japanese Navy, who ferried it from Fukuyama to Yokosuka. The US Navy donated it to the Smithsonian Institution in November 1962. Restoration work on the Seiran began in June 1989 and was completed in February 2000. There does not appear to be an FE or T2 number for this aircraft.

Aichi M6A1-K Nanzan. (USN Photos)

Kawasaki Ki-10 A rmy Type 95 Fighter), codenamed Perry. The Ki-10 was the last biplane fighter used by the IJAAF, serving from 1935 to 1940. (IJAAF Photos)

Kawasaki Ki-45 KAIc Toryu Army Type 2 Two-Seat Fighter (code name Nick) in IJAAF service. (IJAAF Photos)

Kawasaki Ki-45 KAIc Toryu Army Type 2 Two-Seat Fighter (code name Nick) captured at Cape Glouster, New Britain in 1944. (USAAF Photo)

Kawasaki Ki-45 KAIc Toryu Army Type 2 Two-Seat Fighter (code name Nick) captured by US forces being prepared for flight testing at Clark Field in the Philippines. This aircraft is possibly (Serial No. 3303), TAIC-SWPA S14, designated USAAF FE-325 and later T2-325, which was scrapped at Freeman Field in 1946. (USAAF Photo)

Kawasaki Ki-45 KAIc Toryu Army Type 2 Two-Seat Fighter (Serial No. 3303), codenamed "Nick", TAIC-SWPA S14. This aircraft was captured at Fujigaya and later shipped to the USA. It was designated USAAF FE-325 and later T2-325. This aircraft was test flown at Freeman Field, Ohio until it was scrapped in 1946. (USAAF Photo)

Kawasaki Ki-45 KAIc Toryu Army Type 2 Two-Seat Fighter (Serial No. 3303), codenamed "Nick", USAAF FE-325 and later T2-325. This aircraft was test flown at Freeman Field, Ohio until it was scrapped in 1946. (USAAF Photo)

Kawasaki Ki-45 KAIc Toryu (Serial No. 4268), codenamed Nick, shipped to the USA and shown here at Middletown Air Depot in 1946. Designated USAAF FE-701, the fuselage of this aircraft is now on display in the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Centre, Chantilly, Virginia. (USAAF Photo)

(IJAAF Photo)

(Steven Duhig Photo)

Kawasaki Ki-45 KAIc Toryu (Serial No. 4268), USAAF FE-701, fuselage on display in the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Centre, Chantilly, Virginia. This is the only surviving Ki-45 KAIc. It was one of about 145 Japanese aircraft brought to the United States aboard the carrier USS Barnes for evaluation after the end of the Second World War. It underwent overhaul at Middletown Air Depot, Pennsylvania, and was test-flown at Wright Field, Ohio, and Naval Air Station Anacostia in Washington, D.C. The United States Army Air Forces donated the Toryu to the Smithsonian Institution in June 1946. Only the fuselage is currently on display at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, alongside the Nakajima J1N and Aichi M6A.

Kawasaki Ki-48 Army Type 99 Twin-engined Light Bomber, codenamed "Lily", IJAAF. (IJAAF Photos)

Kawasaki Ki-48 Army Type 99 Twin-engined Light Bomber, codename "Lily" captured by US forces. This is possibly one of two Ki-48 shipped to the USA. USAAF FE-1202 scrapped at Middletown or FE-1205, which was scrapped at Park Ridge, ca. 1950. (USAAF Photo)

(ROCAF Photo)

Kawasaki Ki-48, captured and placed in service with the Republic of China Air Force, Taiwan.

(Calflieer001 Photo)

Kawasaki Ki-48 in Chinese Liberation Army Air Force colours on display in the China Aviation Museum in Datangshan, China. Some of the parts of the airplane are reproduced.

Kawasaki Ki-48, reported to be on display in the Indonesian Air Force Museum.

(Mike1979 Russia)

Kawasaki Ki-48-II replica on display in the Great Patriotic War Museum, Moscow, Russia.

Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien Army Type 3 Fighters. (IJAAF Photos)

Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien Army Type 3 Fighter captured with flight test markings. (USAAF Photo)

Kawasaki Ki-61-1-Tei Hien Army Type 3 Fighter, captured and flown by USMC VMF 322 at Okinawa in May 1945. This aircraft is painted in a very colourful finish of dark blue and white with the USMC emblem in red on the vertical fin. The rudder and fin are painted in red. (USMC Photo)

Kawasaki Ki-61-1a Ko Hien Army Type 3 Fighter (Serial No. 263), codenamed Tony. This aircraft was originally seizou bangou 263 captured at Cape Gloucester and test flown as 'XJ 003'at Eagle Farm, Brisbane, Australia and designated TAIC 9, before being shipped to the USA. Although seizou bangou (?) is often referred to as a 'serial number' the term means, literally, 'manufacturer production series number' and as stencilled on the airframe was coded by one of three known methods to provide a level of deception about how many aircraft had been produced. This aircraft was shipped to the TAIU at Anacostia in the USA. Of the three Ki-61s brought to the USA in 1945, USAAF FE-313 and FE-316 were scrapped at park Ridge ca. 1950, and TAIC 9 crashed at Yanceyville, North Carolina on 2 July 1945. (USAAF Photos)

Kawasaki Ki-61-1a Hien Army Type 3 Fighter (Serial No. 263) assigned USAAF code number XJ003 and TAIC 9, test flown in the USA post war. (USAAF Photos)

Kawasaki Ki-61-1a Hien Army Type 3 Fighter (Serial No. 2210), This aircraft was the last remai ning Tony in Japan and was put on display at Yakota Air Base, which is still a functioning USAF base today. It was initially set up on the base in Japanese markings after being captured at Yakota at the end of the war. Sometime in 1947, it was deemed offensive to American personnel and repainted in bogus USAF markings (with the new red bar used in USAF flashes after 1 January 1947). Apparently it was easier to mark them as American at that time than to dispose of them. In 1953, the Tony was returned to the Japanese people through civilian representatives of the Japan Aeronautic Association (Nippon Kohkuh Kyohkai). They moved it to Hibiya Park in Tokyo near the Imperial Palace for display. (USAAF Photos)

(Hunini Photos)

(TRJN Photo)

Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien (Tony), Kobi Port terminal, Japan.

(Goshimini Photo)

Kawasaki Ki-61-II-Kai (Serial No. 5017 ) is on static display at the Tokko Heiwa Kaikan Museum in Chiran Kagoshima Prefecture, Kyushu, Japan.

Kawasaki Ki-61-II-Kai (Serial No. unknown). owned by Kermit Week’s Fantasy of Flight museum at Polk, Florida. It is currently stored and in need of restoration.

Kawasaki Ki-61-I-Otsu (Serial No. 640), being restored to flying condition and will become part of the Military Aviation Museum collection in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Kawaskai Ki-96 Experimental Twin-engine single-seat fighter. (IJAAF Photo)

Kawasaki Ki-102b "Randy". This aircraft has the number 106, which may refer to the loading number for the aircraft carrier that brought it, as one of three Ki-102b which were shipped to the USA. Ki-102b USAAF FE-308 was scrapped at park Ridge ca. 1950 Ki-102B FE-309 was scrapped at Middletown in 1946, and Ki-102b FE-310 was scrapped at Newark in 1946. (USAAF Photos)

Nakajima Ki-106, No. 302, a wooden airframe version of the Ki-84. (IJAAF Photos)

Nakajima Ki-106, No. 301, a wooden airframe version of the Ki-84, shipped to the USA where it was designated USAAF FE-301, later T2-301. This aircraft was an new production prototype produced by Tachikawa in 1945. (USAAF Photos)

Kawanishi N1K1 Kyufu (strong wind) floatplane, IJNAF. (IJNAF Photos)

Kawanishi N1K1 Kyufu (strong wind) (Serial No. unknown). One shipped to the USA after the war was designated USAAF FE-324. It was scrapped at Park Ridge, ca. 1950. (USN Photo)

Kawanishi N1K1 Kyufu (strong wind) (Serial No. 565), when it was on display at NAS Willow Grove, Pennsylvania. This aircraft is now with the National Museum of Naval Aviation, Pensacola, Florida. (USN Photo)

Kawanishi N1K Kyofu (strong wind), Allied reporting name “Rex”, on display in immaculate condition at the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas. (Author Photo)

Kawanishi N1K4-J Shiden Kai, IJNAF, prototype. (IJNAF Photo)

Kawanishi N1K2-J Shiden (Serial No. 5511), test flown by the TAIU-SWPA, TAIC (S) 7, in USAAF markings. This aircraft crashed at Clark Airfield, Luzon, Philippines, 1945. (USAAF Photo)

Kawanishi N1K2-J Shiden (Violet Lightning), (Serial No. 7102), code-named George, TAIC-SWPA, S9, at Clark Field, Luzon, Philippines, 1945. (USAAF Photo)

Kawanishi N1K1-J Shiden (Serial No. 7287) and (Serial No. 7317) were captured and taken to United States on the carrier USS Barnes. The Kawanishi N1K1-J Shiden was an Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service land-based version of the N1K1 floatplane. Assigned the Allied codename “George”, the N1K1-J was considered by both its pilots and opponents to be one of the finest land-based fighters flown by the Japanese during the Second World War. The N1K1 possessed a heavy armament and, unusual for a Japanese fighter, could absorb considerable battle damage.

Kawanishi N1K2-J, USAAF markings being run up with the assistance of Japanese workers. (USAAF Photo)

At least three Kawanishi N1K2-J Shiden Kai Model 21 aircraft survive in American museums. Kawanishi N1K2-J Shiden Kai (Serial No. 5128) is in the National Museum of Naval Aviation in Pensacola, Florida. Kawanishi N1K2-Ja Shiden Kai (Serial No. 5312) , a fighter-bomber variant equipped with wing mounts to carry bombs, is on display in the Air Power gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force, at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio. The N1K2-Ja is painted as an aircraft in the Yokosuka Kokutai, an evaluation and test unit. Kawanishi N1K2-J Shiden Kai (Serial No. 5341), USAAF FE-305 is on display at the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.

(Goshimini Photo)

( Valder137 Photos)

Kawanishi N1K2-Ja Shiden Kai Model 21 (Serial No. 5312) on display in the National Museum of the USAF.

(Greg Goebel Photo)

( Dick Jenkins Photo)

Kawanishi N1K2-J Shiden Kai Model 21 (Serial No. 5128), USAAF FE-306 on display in the National Museum of Naval Aviation, Pensacola, Florida.

(Bouquey Photos)

Kawanishi N1K2-J Shiden Kai Model 21, on display in the Shikoku Museum, Japan. This is an authentic N1K2-J Shiden-Kai from the 343 squadron. After the aircraft was damaged in battle, its pilot landed on 24 July 1945 in the waters of the Bungo Channel, but he was never found by the time of the aircraft’s recovery from the seabed in the 1970s, he could be identified only as one of six pilots from the 343 squadron who disappeared that day.

Kawanishi H6K Type 97 seaplane, code-named Mavis wearing green cross surrender markings. (USAAF Photo)

Kawasaki Ki-100-1b Type 5 fighter. Four were shipped to the USA, Ki-100-1b designated USAAF FE-312 was scrapped at Park Ridge, ca. 1950, Ki-100-1b (Serial No. 13012), FE-314 was broken up at Patterson AFB in 1959, FE-315 was scrapped, and FE-317 was scrapped at Park Ridge ca. 1950. One was shipped to the UK. (IJAAF Photos)

(Aldo Bidini Photo)

Kawasaki Ki-100-1b Type 5 fighter, RAF Museum Cosford, England.

Kawasaki Ki-108 Experimental High Altitude fighter, codenamed Randy. (IJAAF Photo)

Kugisho P1Y1-C Ginga, IJAAF. (IJAAF Photos)

Kugisho P1Y1-C Ginga in USAAF markings. Three Kugisho (Yokosuka) P1Y1 were shipped to the USA in 1945, USAAF FE-170 and FE-1701 were scrapped at Newark. Kugisho P1Y1 (Serial No. 8923), FE-1702 is stored with the NASM. (USAAF Photo)

Kyushu J7W1 Shinden, found at the factory where it was built in Japan in 1945. One J7W1 Shinden was shipped to the USA, USAAF FE-326. This aircraft is preserved in the Smithsonian Institution. (USAAF Photos)

Kyushu Q1W1 patrol bomber, codenamed Lorna. IJAAF. (SDA&SM Photos)

Kyushu Q1W1 patrol bomber, codenamed Lorna. IJAAF. (IJAAF Photos)

Kyushu Q1W1 patrol bomber, codenamed Lorna in USAAF markings. Four Kyushu Q1W1 were shipped to the USA for flight testing in 1945. Kyushu Q1W1, USAAF FE-4800 was scrapped at Park Ridge ca. 1950, FE-4805 was scrapped at Middletown, FE-4810 and FE-4811 were scrapped at Newark. (USAAF Photos)

Kokusai Ki-86A (Allied code name "Cypress") in 1945. This plane was a German Bücker Bü 131 Jungmann which was licence-produced in Japan. Approximately 1037 Ki-86s were built for the Imperial Japanese Air Force and 339 Kyushu K9W1 for the Imperial Japanese Navy. (USN Photo)

Kyushu K9W1 Navy Type 2 Primary Trainer Momiji, codenamed “Cypress” built for the Imperial Japanese Navy. One was collected by the RAF and flown at the ATAIU-SEA airfield at Tebrau, Malaya in 1945. It was scrapped after accidental fire damage.

Kawanishi H8K2 Type 2 flying boat. (IJNAF Photos)

Kawanishi H8K2 T ype 2 flying boat (Serial No. 426) in Washington State post war. Four H8K2 aircraft survived until the end of the war. One of these, an H8K2 (Serial No. 426), was captured by U.S. forces at the end of the war and was evaluated before being eventually returned to Japan in 1979. It was on display at Tokyo's Museum of Maritime Science until 2004, when it was moved to Kanoya Air Base in Kagoshima. (USN Photo)

(Max Smith Photo)

(Miya.m Photos)

Kawanishi H8K2 T ype 2 flying boat (Serial No. 426) on display at Kanoya Air Base in Kagoshima.

The submerged remains of an H8K can be found off the west coast of Saipan, where it is a popular scuba diving attraction. Another wrecked H8K lies in Chuuk Lagoon, Chuuk, in Micronesia. This aircraft is located off the south-western end of Dublon Island.

Axis Warplane Survivors

A guidebook to the preserved Military Aircraft of the Second World War Tripartite Pact of Germany, Italy, and Japan, joined by Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Bulgaria, and Yugoslavia the co-belligerent states of Thailand, Finland, San Marino and Iraq and the occupied states of Albania, Belarus, Croatia, Vichy France, Greece, Ljubljana, Macedonia, Monaco, Montenegro, Norway, Cambodia, China, India, Laos, Manchukuo, Mengjiang, the Philippines and Vietnam.


Khufu

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Khufu, Greek Cheops, (flourished 25th century bce ), second king of the 4th dynasty (c. 2575–c. 2465 bce ) of Egypt and builder of the Great Pyramid at Giza (see Pyramids of Giza), the largest single building to that time.

Khufu’s reign and that of his son Khafre were represented by the Greek historian Herodotus as 106 years of oppression and misery, but this was belied by Khufu’s posthumous reputation in Egypt as a wise ruler. Herodotus’s story of Khufu’s prostitution of his daughter in order to raise money for his building projects is clearly apocryphal.

Although few written sources remain, it is known that Khufu was the son and successor of King Snefru and his queen Hetepheres and was probably married four times: to Merityetes, who was buried in one of the three small pyramids beside his own to a second queen, whose name is unknown to Henutsen, whose small pyramid is the third of the group and to Nefert-kau, the eldest of Snefru’s daughters. Two of his sons, Redjedef and Khafre, succeeded him in turn.

The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica This article was most recently revised and updated by Adam Zeidan, Assistant Editor.


Tachikawa Ki-74 (Pat / Patsy)

In the realm of World War 2 Japanese Empire aviation, Tachikawa certainly does not carry the same weight as do names such as Mitsubishi and Nakajima. However, the company was responsible for a family of aircraft using the "Ki" designator that dated back to the two-seat biplane trainer "Ki-9" of 1935. During the war years the company also lent its expertise in the design, development, and production of other aircraft including its own "Ki-74", a long-range reconnaissance bomber of the war and appeared in just sixteen examples.

For this product, Tachikawa engineers elected for a twin engine layout, consistent with other high-speed platforms of the period - namely the famous British de Havilland DH.98 "Mosquito". These powerplants would be fitted into streamlined nacelles located along the lead edges of each monoplane wing. To squeeze every bit of speed out of the airframe, a well-streamlined fuselage was designed. The tail unit utilized a conventional single-finned layout with low-set horizontal planes. The undercarriage was of the "tail-dragger" configuration with two single-wheeled main legs (under the engine nacelles) and a diminutive tailwheel at rear.

Developed of the Ki-74 was primarily for the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force (IJAAF), the air arm of its massive land army. The long-range reconnaissance /bomber role was an ongoing requirement of the military as its many conquests across Asia and the Pacific would require a long endurance thoroughbred. As such, the aircraft was in the design stage as soon as 1939 but other military commitments by both the IJAAF and Tachikawa ensured that a first flight was not made until March of 1944.

The original prototype was outfitted with Mitsubishi Ha-211-I radial piston engines of 2,200 horsepower output but this switched to Ha-211 radials that were turbosupercharged in the following pair of prototypes. After technical issues prevented their long-term adoption, the Mitsubishi Ha-104 Ru, a turbosupercharged 18-cylinder air-cooled radial of 2,000 horsepower output, was selected instead (driving four-blade propeller units). This engine outfitted the next thirteen airframes that were to serve in the preproduction role ahead of finalized production models.

As built, the Ki-74 carried a crew of five personnel throughout its deep fuselage. it displayed a length of 58 feet, a wingspan of 61 feet, and a height of 16.8 feet. Empty weight was listed at 22,490lb with a gross weight nearing 42,770lb. Power from the Ha-104 radials provided a maximum speed of 355 miles per hour with a cruising speed in the 250-mile range. The aircraft's service ceiling reached 39,370 feet and range was out to 4,970 miles.

As a high performance, high speed mount, the aircraft was modestly armed with a sole 12.7mm Ho-103 heavy machine gun - its best defense was outrunning any ground-based fire or incoming interceptor. It was also designed to carry a bombload up to 2,200lb to fulfill its secondary bomber role.

Despite the work put into the Ki-74 product, it never materialized beyond the aforementioned sixteen prototypes and preproduction aircraft. The war situation in Japan grew to the point that only emergency programs were furthered and war materials rationed to the extreme. The Ki-74 entered into the final stages of its development when the war with ended the Japanese surrender in August of 1945 - leaving the aircraft to not see any operational service in the conflict and a rather low-profile history overall.

When word of the Ki-74's development had reached Allied ears, it was assigned the nickname of "Pat", authorities believing it to be a high speed fighter type. However, as more information became available and the true role of reconnaissance / bomber came to light, the name was revised to "Patsy". None of the airframes survive today.


Japanese Aircraft of WWII

Ki-84-I
The Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate (Gale) was numerically the most important fighter serving with the Japanese Army Air Force (JAAF) during the last year of the Pacific War, and was probably the best Japanese fighter aircraft to see large-scale operation during this period of the war. The Hayate was fully the equal of even the most advanced Allied fighters which opposed it, and was often their superior in many important respects. It was well armed and armoured, was fast, and was very manoeuvrable. Although it was generally outnumbered by Allied fighters which opposed it, it nevertheless gave a good account of itself in battles over the Philippines, over Okinawa, and over the Japanese home islands. So desperate was the need for Ki-84s in the last months of the war, Japan was building underground factories with a planned rate of 200 aircraft per month.

The history of the Ki-84 can be traced back to just after the beginning of the Pacific War between Japan and the United States. Just three weeks after Pearl Harbour, the Koku Hombu instructed the Nakajima Hikoki K.K. (Nakajima Aeroplane Co Ltd) to begin the design of a replacement for the Ki-43 Hayabusa, which itself had just entered service with the JAAF. The JAAF wanted a general-purpose long-range fighter that would be superior to those that were then under development in the USA and Britain. The specification called for an aircraft with the manoeuvrability of the Ki-43 Hayabusa coupled with the speed and climb of the Ki-44 Shoki. In addition, the aircraft was to be provided with armour protection for the pilot and was to be fitted with self-sealing fuel tanks.
The aircraft was to have a maximum speed of 398-423 mph, and was to be capable of operating at combat rating for 1.5 hours at distances as far as 250 miles from its base. The wing loading was not to exceed 35 pounds per square foot. The manoeuvrability requirements were relaxed somewhat as compared to those of the Ki-43, but were to exceed those of the Ki-44 which had been designed strictly as a bomber destroyer. The engine was to be the Nakajima Ha-45 eighteen-cylinder double-row air-cooled radial. The armament was to be two 12.7 mm Type 1 (Ho-103) machine guns and two 20-mm Ho-5 cannon.

T. Koyama was named as the project engineer, and work on the Ki-84 began in early 1942 at Nakajima's Ota plant in Gumma Prefecture. The first prototype was ready in March of 1943. The aircraft was a fairly conventional low-wing monoplane that bore an obvious family resemblance to the Ki-43 and Ki-44 fighters that preceded it. The 1800-hp Nakajima Ha-45 engine that powered the Ki-84 was a JAAF version of the Navy's NK9A Homare. Experimental models of the Homare engine had been test run as early as May of 1942, but the development of the Homare was long and difficult, and few Homares were available until August of 1943, and experimental production did not begin until late 1943 at Najajima's Musashi engine factory.

A big exhaust collector pipe was mounted on each side of the engine behind the cowling gills. The all-metal airframe followed the common Japanese practice of building the wing integral with the central fuselage in order to save the weight of heavy attachment points. The fuselage was of oval section, with flush-riveted stressed skin. The two-spar wing carried metal-framed, fabric-covered ailerons and was provided with hydraulically-operated Fowler flaps. A total of 220 US gallons of fuel was carried in tanks aft of the cockpit and in the wings. The engine mounting and cowling incorporated the oil cooler and intakes for the carburettor and supercharger. The three-part canopy had an aft-sliding central section. All three undercarriage members were hydraulically retractable. The main gear retracted inward and horizontally into the wings and was fully covered with flush-fitting doors. The non-steerable tailwheel retracted into the fuselage and was covered by a flush-fitting door. The rudder was of metal construction but was covered with fabric.

The tailplane was set well ahead of the vertical surfaces. Two 12.7 mm Ho-103 machine guns with 250 rpg were mounted in the upper cowling, and a 20-mm Ho-5 cannon with 150 rounds was mounted in each wing outboard of the main undercarriage leg. The pilot was protected by a 70-mm armoured windshield and by 13-mm armour plate in the rear and floor of the cockpit. Provision was made under the fuselage centreline for a single drop tank.

The Ki-84 prototype flew for the first time from Ojima Airfield in April of 1943. The second prototype flew in June. The first prototypes were assigned to the JAAF for trials at the Tachikawa Air Arsenal under the direction of combat-experienced pilots, and the modifications recommended were incorporated into the fourth prototype. The fourth prototype had a maximum speed of 394 mph at 21,800 feet, and could achieve a speed of 496 mph in a dive.

The test program went well, and a service trials batch of 83 machines were ordered in August of 1943. These were built between August of 1943 and March of 1944. The pre-production machines differed from each other in minor details, but fuselage changes were incorporated to ease production, and the area of the fin and rudder was increased to improve control on takeoff.

A few service trials machines were handed over to the Tachikawa Army Air Arsenal. JAAF pilots commented favourably on the machine, although its maximum speed was below the requirement. The aircraft had a maximum speed was 388 mph, could climb to 16,405 feet in 6 minutes 26 seconds, and had a service ceiling of 40,680. This made the Ki-84 the best-performing Japanese fighter aircraft then available for immediate production.

A few service-test Ki-84s were fitted experimentally with a ski undercarriage. The legs retracted into the normal wheel wells, with the skis lying flat underneath the wing roots. These aircraft were tested in Hokkaido during the winter of 1943-44. The ski installation increased the maximum weight, and thus had an adverse effect on maneuverability and reduced the maximum speed by 8 mph. Consequently, skis were not incorporated on production machines.

The Ha-45 engine entered full-scale production in April of 1944 as the Type 4. Production of the Type 4 engine was hampered by many setbacks, most of which were due to inadequate preparation, with shortages of jigs, tools, and skilled personnel being significant problems.

Service tests of the Ki-84 began in Japan under operational conditions in October 1943. The type was accepted for production as the Army Type 4 Fighter Model 1A Hayate (Gale) or Ki-84-Ia.
A second pre-production batch of 42 Ki-84s was started in April of 1944. These were built between March and June of 1944. These were built in parallel with the first production aircraft, which began to roll off the production lines in April of 1944. Both types were fitted with individual exhaust stacks, which provided some thrust augmentation, and could increase the maximum speed by some 9-10 mph.

Each of the two wing racks could carry a 44 Imp gall drop tank or a 551-pound bomb. Some of the aircraft of the second service test batch were tested with wings of increased span and area to serve as development aircraft for the projected Ki-84N and Ki-84P projects.

Early production machines had the 11 and 12 models of the Ha-45 engine, with takeoff ratings of 1800 hp and 1825 hp respectively. Later models had the model 21 version of this engine, delivering 1990 hp for takeoff. These engines were rather unreliable and were subject to numerous quirks.

Sudden loss of fuel pressure was a constant source of difficulty, and this was addressed by the adoption of the Army Type 4 radial Model 23 ([Ha-45]23) for even later production machines. This Model 23 engine was a modification of the Model 21 engine fitted with a low-pressure fuel injection system.

The Ki-84-Ia was followed on the production line by the Ki-84-Ib Army Type 4 Fighter Model Ib. In the Ki-84-Ib, the fuselage-mounted machine guns were replaced by a pair of 20-mm Ho-5 cannon, giving the aircraft a total armament of four 20-mm cannon.

The Ki-84-Ic was a specialized bomber destroyer variant armed with two 20-mm Ho-5 cannon in the fuselage and two wing-mounted 30-mm Ho-105 cannon. Only a small number of this version were built.

In March of 1944, the experimental squadron that was conducting the service test trials of the Ki-84 was disbanded, and its personnel transferred to the 22nd Sentai. This unit was re-equipped with production Hayates and transferred to China where it entered combat against the USAAF's Fourteenth Air Force in August of 1944. The Ki-84-Ia quickly established itself as a formidable foe that compared favourably with the best Allied fighters then available. The Hayate had an excellent performance and climb rate, and had none of the shortcomings of the earlier generation of Japanese fighters, being well armed and possessing adequate armour protection for the pilot. In addition to the penetration and interception roles, the aircraft was used as a fighter-bomber and dive bomber. The 22nd Sentai was later moved to the Philippines, where it was joined by the 1st, 11th, 21st, 51st, 52nd, 55th, 200th, and 246th Sentais.

Following encounters with the Ki-84-Ia, the Allied Technical Air Intelligence Unit (ATAIU), commanded by Colonel Frank McCoy, assigned the code name FRANK to this fighter. This code name had previously been assigned to a fictitious aircraft known as the "Mitsubishi T.K.4", which was erroneously believed to be under development in Japan. When the T.K.4 failed to materialize, Colonel McCoy decided to name the new Ki-84-Ia after himself.

The FRANK later appeared in the battle for Okinawa, serving with the 101st, 102nd, and 103rd Hiko Sentais. Two new Sentais, the 111th and the 200th were activated with Hayates. The Hayates were used for long-range penetration missions, fighter sweeps, strafing, interception and dive-bombing missions with considerable success. The Ki-84 proved faster than the P-51D Mustang and the P-47D Thunderbolt at all but the highest altitudes. At medium altitudes, the FRANK was so fast that it was essentially immune from interception. The climb rate was exceptionally good, 16,400 feet being attained in 5 minutes 54 seconds, which was superior to that of any opposing Allied fighters.

The Ki-84 had a close resemblance to the Ki-43 Hayabusa, which caused many Allied fighter pilots to confuse it with the earlier Nakajima fighter during the stress of combat. Many an American pilot, having sighted a Japanese fighter he believed to be a Ki-43 and salivating at the prospect of a quick and easy kill, suddenly found he had latched onto a different bird entirely. The Ki-84 even did well at the fighter-bomber role. On April 15, 1945, a flight of eleven Hayates from the 100th Sentai made a surprise air attack on American airfields on Okinawa, damaging or destroying a substantial number of aircraft on the ground. However, eight of the Hayates were destroyed in the attack, and one made a forced landing on a small islet near Kyushu.

Although the Ki-84 was intended for the offensive, penetration role, Hayates were assigned to the defensive role over the Japanese home islands during the last few weeks of the war, operating with the 10th Division responsible for the defence of Tokyo. The units assigned to home defence included the 47th, the 73rd, the 111th, and the 112th and the 246th Sentais. Since the Hayate was regarded as being essential for the interception role, relatively few were expended in Kamikaze attacks.

The Hayate was simple to fly, and pilots with only minimal training could fly the type with relatively little difficulty. However, the aircraft did have have certain poor control characteristics to which a veteran pilot could easily become become accustomed but which could be deadly in the hands of an inexperienced pilot. Taxiing and ground handling were generally rather poor. On takeoff, once the tail came up, continual pressure had to be maintained on the starboard rudder pedal to counteract a tendency to swing to port caused by the high engine torque. In flight, the controls were sluggish in comparison with those of the Hayabusa, and the elevators tended to be heavy at all speeds. The ailerons were excellent up to about 300 mph, after which they became rather heavy. The rudder was mushy at low speeds for angles near neutral.

However, most of the defects with the Ki-84 can be laid to poor quality control during manufacture, especially during the last few months of the Pacific war. When the Ki-84 was being designed, emphasis had been placed on ease of production, and the manufacture of the Ki-84 required less than half the tooling needed by the Ki-43 and Ki-44 which preceded it. However, many experienced workers had been drafted into the military, and this loss, acting in concert with the accelerated rates of production ordered by the Japanese Ministry of Munitions, resulted in a steady drop in quality standards of both the engine and the airframe of the Hayate as the war progressed.

The performance and reliability of production Hayates was seldom as good as that of the service test machines. As the quality of the workmanship steadily deteriorated, the performance of the Hayate steadily declined as production progressed, with later machines having successively poor and poorer performance and mechanical reliability. The hydraulic and fuel pressure systems were both poorly designed and were subject to frequent failures. The wheel brakes were notoriously unreliable, and the metal of the landing gear struts was often inadequately hardened during manufacture, which made them likely to snap at any time. This caused many Hayates to be written off in landing accidents, without ever having been damaged in combat.

Engine shortages and delays were a constant problem for the Hayate. Although the Ha-45 engine had been plagued with production difficulties all throughout its life, most of the delays in deliveries were caused by frequent visits of 20th Air Force B-29s to the Musashi engine plant during the last year of the war. This plant was hit by B-29 raids on no less than twelve occasions between November 24, 1944 and August 8, 1945. Production was able to continue at the Musashi plant until April 20, 1945, when it was finally put out of business for good and all production came to a standstill.

Operations were transferred to an underground plant at Asakawa. and to a new plant at Hamamatsu, and a trickle of engines still continued to flow, but the supply of engines never reached the previous peak. Because of the production delays and components shortages, the quality of the Ha-45 engines delivered steadily deteriorated as the months passed, and later engines were considerably less powerful and less reliable than those initially delivered. By June of 1945, the lowering of manufacturing standards had cut the climb rate of the fighter so severely that the aircraft was virtually useless at altitudes over 30,000 feet.

A total of 1670 Hayates were built during 1944, making the aircraft numerically the most important Japanese fighter in production at that time. However, this was still far below JAAF requirements. Orders for 1944 alone totalled 2525 machines, almost a thousand more than were actually delivered. This shortfall was partly a result of the failure of subcontractors to deliver components on schedule, but became increasingly caused by Allied air attacks on Japanese industry as 1944 neared its end. On February 19. 1945, Nakajima's Ota plant was attacked by 84 B-29s, which seriously damaged the plant and destroyed some 74 Hayates on the assembly line. Further attacks on the plant by US carrier-based aircraft further damaged the plant to such an extent that an extensive dispersal program had to be carried out, with an accompanied sharp drop in production.

In May of 1944, Nakajima opened up a second Hayate manufacturing line at its Utsonomiya plant. This facility had built 727 fighters by July of 1945, less than half the number scheduled during this period. Construction of the Hayate was also assigned to the Mansyu Hikoki Seizo K.K. (Manchurian Aircraft Manufacturing Company), which started production in the spring of 1945 at its Harbin plant in Manchuria. However, only a hundred or so Hayates were built at Harbin before the end of the war brought production to an abrupt end. Total production of the Hayate by all factories was 3514, including prototypes and service trials aircraft.

In 1946, a captured late-production Hayate was restored and tested at the Middletown Air Depot in Pennsylvania. At a weight of 7490 pounds, the aircraft achieved a maximum speed of 427 mph at 20,000 feet, using war emergency power. This speed exceeded that of the P-51D Mustand and the P-47D at that altitude by 2 mph and 22 mph respectively. These figures were achieved with a superbly maintained and restored aircraft and with highly-refined aviation gasoline, and were not typical of Japanese-operated aircraft during the later stages of the war.

Specification of Nakajima Ki-84-1a:
Engine: One Army Type 4 eighteen-cylinder air-cooled radial (Nakajima Ha-45). The following engine models were used: [Ha-45]11 rated at 1800 hp for takeoff and 1650 hp at 6560 feet. [Ha-45]12 rated at 1825 hp for takeoff and 1670 hp at 7875 feet. [Ha-45]21 rated at 1990 hp for takeoff and 1850 hp at 5740 feet. [Ha-45]23 rated at 1900 hp for takeoff and 1670 hp at 4725 feet.
Performance (early production): Maximum speed 392 mph at 20,080 feet, cruising speed 277 mph. An altitude of 16,405 feet could be reached in 5 minutes 54 seconds. An altitude of 26,240 feet could be attained in 11 minutes 40 seconds. Service ceiling 34,450 feet. Normal range 1053 miles, maximum range 1347 miles.
Weights: 5864 pounds empty, 7955 pounds loaded, 8576 pounds maximum. Dimensions: Wingspan 36 feet 10 7/16 inches, length 32 feet 6 9/16 inches, height 11 feet 1 1/4 inches, wing area 226.04 square feet. Armament: Two fuselage mounted 12.7-mm Type 1 (Ho-103) machine guns and two wing-mounted 20-mm Ho-5 cannon (Ki-84-Ia). Two fuselage-mounted 20-mm Ho-5 cannon and two wing-mounted 20-mm Ho-5 cannon (Ki-84-Ib). Two fuselage-mounted 20-mm Ho-5 cannon and two wing-mounted 30-mm Ho-105 cannon (Ki-84-Ic). External stores included two 551-pound bombs or two 44-Imp gall drop tanks.

Ki-84-II Hayate Kai
The Ki-84-II or Hayate Kai was an attempt to conserve valuable supplies of aluminum by employing large numbers of wooden components in the manufacture of the Hayate. The rear fuselage, certain fittings, and modified wingtips were made of wood, with all the wood work being carried out at a shadow factory at Tanuma. The engine was the Nakajama [Ha-45] 21, 25 or 23 with low-pressure fuel injection. Armament consisted of four 20-mm or two 20-mm and two 30-mm cannon. The designation Ki-84-II was actually a Nakajima designation, the aircraft in JAAF service retaining the Ki-84-Ib or -Ic designation, depending on armament.

Specification of Ki-84-II:
Engine: One Army Type 4 eighteen-cylinder air-cooled radial (Nakajima Ha-45). The following engine models were used: [Ha-45]21 rated at 1990 hp for takeoff and 1850 hp at 5740 feet. [Ha-45]23 rated at 1900 hp for takeoff and 1670 hp at 4725 feet. [Ha-45]25 rated at 2000 hp for takeoff and 1700 hp at 19,685 feet.
Performance: Maximum speed 416 mph
Weights: 8495 pounds loaded.
Dimensions: Wingspan 36 feet 10 7/16 inches, length 32 feet 6 9/16 inches, height 11 feet 1 1/4 inches, wing area 226.04 square feet. Armament: Two fuselage-mounted 20-mm Ho-5 cannon and two wing-mounted 20-mm Ho-5 cannon. Alternatively, the two wing-mounted 20-mm Ho-5 cannon could be replaced by two 30-mm Ho-105 cannon. External stores included two 551-pound bombs or two 44-Imp gall drop tanks.

Ki-84-III
The Ki-84-III was a high-altitude version of the Hayate powered by a Ha-45 Ru engine with a turbosupercharger in the fuselage belly. This version was still on the drawing board when the war ended.

Ki-106
The Ki-106 was an all-wood version of the Ki-84 Hayate designed by Tachikawa Hikoki K.K., with the goal of achieving further savings of aluminium. Three airframes were built for Tachikawa by Ohji Koku K.K. (Prince Aircraft Co, Ltd) at Ebetsu, in Ishikari Prefecture on Hokkaido. The use of wood made it possible to employ lots of unskilled labour in the manufacture of the airframe. The Ki-106 was powered by a 1990 hp Nakajima [Ha-45] 21. The Ki-106 retained the external configuration of the Hayate, but the vertical surfaces had increased area and the skin was of plywood with a thick lacquer coating. The armament was four 20-mm cannon on the first Ki-106, but was reduced to only two cannon on the second and third prototypes to save weight.

Flight tests started in July of 1945. The use of wood rather than metal had raised the normal loaded weight to 8958 pounds (an increase of some 600 pounds), and this had an adverse effect on climb rate and manoeuvrability. An altitude of 26,240 feet could be attained in 13 minutes 5 seconds, this being nearly a minute and a half greater than that for the standard Hayate. However, because of the aircraft's exceptionally fine finish, the maximum speed of 384 mph at 24,000 feet compared closely to that of the standard metal Hayate.

During trials with the first prototype, the plywood skinning failed during a test flight and began to rip away. The aircraft managed to land safely, and steps were taken in order to anchor the skin more firmly to the airframe. Although the flight tests were quite satisfactory, the end of the war brought the Ki-106 project to an abrupt halt.

Specification of Nakajima Ki-106:
Engine: One Army Type 4 eighteen-cylinder air-cooled radial (Nakajima Ha-45/21) rated at 1990 hp for takeoff and 1850 hp at 5740 feet. Performance: Maximum speed 385 mph at 21,080 feet. Cruising speed 310 mph at 20,100 feet. An altitude of 16,405 feet could be reached in 5 minutes. Service ceiling 36,090 feet. Normal range 497 miles plus 1.5 hours of combat.
Weights: 6499 pounds empty, 8598 pounds loaded.
Dimensions: Wingspan 36 feet 10 7/16 inches, length 32 feet 7 3/4 inches, height 11 feet 9 5/16inches, wing area 226.04 square feet. Armament: Two fuselage-mounted 20-mm Ho-5 cannon and two wing-mounted 20-mm Ho-5 cannon. External stores included two 551-pound bombs or two 44-Imp gall drop tanks.

Ki-113
The Ki-113 was a version of the Ki-84-Ib partially built of steel. It was an attempt to conserve light alloys by using steel in place of aluminium in as many sub-assemblies as possible. It employed steel sheet skinning and the cockpit section, ribs, and bulkheads were made of carbon steel. The aircraft retained the Ha-45 Model 21 engine and had an armament of four 20-mm cannon.

The Ki-113 was designed in the autumn of 1944, and a single example was completed in early 1945. However, it never flew since it was decidedly overweight.
Specification of Nakajima Ki-113:
Engine: One Army Type 4 eighteen-cylinder air-cooled radial (Nakajima Ha-45/21) rated at 1990 hp for takeoff and 1850 hp at 5740 feet. Performance (estimated): Maximum speed 385 mph at 21,325 feet. An altitude of 16,405 feet could be reached in 6 minutes 54 seconds. 33,800 feet service ceiling. Normal range 621 miles plus 1.5 hours combat.
Weights: 6349 pounds empty, 8708 pounds loaded.
Dimensions: 36 feet 10 7/16 inches, length 32 feet 6 9/16 inches, height 11 feet 1 1/4 inches, wing area 226.04 square feet. Armament: Two fuselage-mounted 20-mm Ho-5 cannon and two wing-mounted 20-mm Ho-5 cannon (Ki-84-Ib). External stores included two 551-pound bombs or two 44-Imp gall drop tanks.

Ki-116
No effort on the part of Najajima seemed to succeed in turning the Ha-45 engine into a truly reliable powerplant, so the JAAF began to look for other sources of engines for the Hayate. In view of the successful adaptation of the Kawasaki Ki-61-II Hien airframe to take the Mitsubishi Ha-112-II air-cooled radial engine, the JAAF thought that the Ha-45 engine problems might be solved by replacing this engine with the Mitsubishi Ha-112 in the Ki-84.

The designation Ki-116 was applied to the fourth Mansyu-built Ki-84-I adapted to take a 1500-hp Mitsubishi [Ha-33] 62 (Ha-112-II) driving a three-bladed propeller. This engine was borrowed from a Ki-46-III twin-engined reconnaissance aircraft. This engine was substantially lighter than the HA-45 that it replaced, and required that the engine mounts be lengthened in order to maintain the centre of gravity. In order to compensate for the additional length, the tail surfaces had to be enlarged. The Ki-116 weighted only 4850 pounds empty, a full 1000 pounds lighter than the standard Ki-84-Ia. The Ki-116 showed considerable promise and had a performance approximating that of the Ki-100. Test pilots were extremely enthusiastic about its capabilities, but the Japanese surrender brought an end to further development.

Specification of Ki-116:
Engine: One Army Type 4 fourteen-cylinder air-cooled radial (Mitsubishi Ha-33) rated at 1500 for take off, 1350 hp at 6560 feet and 1250 hp at 19,030 feet.
Performance: Maximum speed 385 mph.
Weights: 4938 pounds empty, 7039 pounds loaded.
Dimensions: wingspan 36 feet 10 7/16 inches, height 11 feet 3 13/16 inches, wing area 226.04 square feet.
Armament: Two fuselage mounted 12.7-mm Type 1 (Ho-103) machine guns and two wing-mounted 20-mm Ho-5 cannon.

Ki-84N
The Ki-84N was a projected high-altitude interceptor version of the Hayate powered by a 2500-hp eighteen-cylinder twin-row Nakajima [Ha-44] 13 (Ha-219) air cooled radial engine. The wing area was increased from 226 square feet to 249.19 square feet. The production version of the Ki-84N was assigned the Kitai number of Ki-117, and the aircraft was in the initial design stage when the war in the Pacific ended.

Ki-84P
The Ki-84P was another high-altitude interceptor version of the Hayate powered by the 2500-hp eighteen-cylinder twin-row Nakajima [Ha-44] 13 (Ha-219). The Ki-84P differed from the Ki-84N in having the wing area further increased to 263.4 square feet. The Ki-84P was abandoned in favour of the less-ambitious Ki-84R.

Ki-84R
The Ki-84R was a projected high-altitude version of the Ki-84-I Hayate powered by a 2000 hp Nakajima [Ha-45] 44 with a mechanically-driven two-stage three-speed supercharger. At the time of the Japanese surrender, the first prototype was eighty percent complete.


Post by Robert Hurst » 17 Sep 2003, 15:33

Mitsubishi Ki-67 Hiryu (Flying Dragon) - Pt 3

The Ki-67-I, code-named 'Peggy' by the Allies, was first flown in combat by the Army's 7th and 98th Sentais alongwith the Navy's 762nd Kokutai in torpedo attacks during the air-sea battle off Formosa (Taiwan), 12 October, 1944. From then on torpedo-carrying Ki-67 units of both Services were particularly active during the American landing on Okinawa. other campaigns and actions in which the Ki-67 participated included the Battle of the Philippine Sea, the Marianas, and Iwo Jima. In its original role of heavy bomber the Ki-67 carried out bombing raids over mainland China, and Hamamatsu-based Hiryus, using Iwo Jima as a staging post made repeated attacks against US B-29 air bases on Guam, Saipan and Tinian.

The production of the Ki-67-I was assigned the highest priority and in addition to the Mitsubishi's 5th Airframe Works at Nagoya (Oe-Machi) which had produced the first Hiryus, the following plants were included in the Ki-67 production programme: Mitsubishi's Chita and Kumamoto plants, Kawasaki Kokukai Kogyo KK at Gifu, Tachikawa Dai-Ichi Rikugun Kokusho at Tachikawa and Nippon Kokusai Koku Kogyo KK. Production changes were kept to a minimum but included the replacement of the single 12.7 mm (0.5 in) machine-gun in the tail by a twin-mounting, this starring with the 451st Mitsubishi-built machine, and the intended increase in bomb-load to 1,250 kg (2,765 lb), planned for the 751st and following aircraft. However, production was seriously impaired by Allied bombing and by the earthquake of December 1944 which particularly affected engine production and only 698 Ki-67s had been built when the war ended.

A number of Hiryus which became operational were converted to Type 4 Special Attack Plane (Ki-67-I KAI) configuration for Kamikaze missions. Kawasaki is said to have carried out 15 such conversions, and others were modified by Tachikawa. Used primarily in the final defence of Okinawa, the Ki-67-I KAI had all its guns removed and the turret faired over. two 800 kg (1,764 lb) bombs were carried internally and were detonated on impact by a nose-rod percussion fuze. The normal crew was reduced to three.

The colour drawing was taken from The Concise Guide to Axis Aircraft of World War II, by David Mondey.

Post by Robert Hurst » 17 Sep 2003, 16:16

Mitsubishi Ki-67 Hiryu (Flying Dragon) - Pt 4

Operating on kamikaze missions alongside the Ki-67-I KAI at Okinawa was another, and little-known, version of the bomber known as the Ki-167 or Hiryu To-Go. It had similar airframe modifications to the Ki-67-I KAI, and a four-man crew, but the notable difference was the weapon it carried. Known in Japanese as the Sakuradan bomb, it was a counterpart of the Thermite bomb developed in Germany, the plans for which were brought to Japan by submarine in October 1942. This fearsome device, built and tested in secret in Manchuria, was a 2,900 kg (6,393 lb) hollow-charge weapon 1.6 m (5 ft 3 in) in diameter. It resembled a large pressure cooker in shape. Inside, a parabolic wall focused its tremendous explosive and incendiary effect in one direction, over a range of 1 km (1,100 yds).

The Sakuradan was primarily envisaged as a weapon for use against capital ships and large transport vessels. In February 1945 the conversion of two Ki-67s as Ki-167 carrier aircraft was completed. The bomb was installed at the centre of gravity of the aircraft, behind the flight deck and above the wings, and was covered by a large plywood dorsal 'hump' fairing. The weapon was detonated electrically on impact, by a long rod projecting from the aircraft's nose. The 7th, 62nd and 98th Sentais were each equipped with two or three Ki-167s. The first operational sortie, and the only one of which anything is now known, was made by the 62nd Sentai on 17 April, 1945, though the result of this sortie is not known, and the Ki-167 may have been destroyed by a US Navy Hellcat before striking its target.

Several experimental or special versions of the aircraft were built or planned.

Ki-67-I glider tug: Standard Ki-67-Is used to tow the Kokusai-built Army Experimental Transport Glider Manazuru (Crane).
Ki-67-I with Ha-104 Ru: The 21st and 22nd Ki-67s were modified to test the turbosupercharged Ha-104 Ru radial engine rated at 1,900 hp for take-off and 1,810 hp at 7,360 m (24,150 ft) and intended for the Ki-109 heavy interceptor fighter.
Ki-67-I missile carrier: One specially modified Ki-67-I carrying the radio-controlled I-Go-1A anti-shipping missile under its fuselage.
Ki-67-II: Projected production version powered by two Mitsubishi Ha-214 radials, rated at 2,400 hp for take-off, 2,130 hp at 1,800 m (5,905 ft) and 1,930 hp at 8,300 m (27,230 ft) but not built the 16th and 17th Ki-67-Is were used to flight test this type of engine.
Ki-69: Projected escort fghter version of the Ki-67. Not proceeded with.
Ki-97: Projected transport aircraft uitilising the wings, tail surfaces, powerplant and undercarriage of the Ki-67. Accommodation for 21 passengers. Not proceeded with.
Ki-112: Projected multi-seat fighter. Not proceeded with.

Post by Robert Hurst » 18 Sep 2003, 12:12

Mitsubishi Ki-67 Hiryu (Flying Dragon) - Pt 5

JAAF: 7th, 14th, 16th, 60th, 61st, 62nd, 74th, 98th and 110th Sentais. Hamamatsu Army Bomber Flying School.

Manufacturer: Mitsubishi Jukogyo KK (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Co Ltd).
Type Twin-engined heavy bomber and torpedo bomber.
Crew (normal 6-8 suicide 3-4):
Powerplant: Two (all Ki-67s except for the following experimental machines) Army Type 4 (Mitsubishi Ha-104) eighteen-cylinder air-cooled radial engines, driving four-blade constant -speed metal propellers two (16th and 17th Ki-67s) Mitsubishi Ha-214 eighteen-cylinder air-cooled radial engines, driving four-blade constant-speed metal propellers two (21st and 22nd Ki-67s) Mitsubishi Ha-104 Ru eighteen-cylinder air-cooled radial engines, driving four-blade constant-speed metal propellers.
Armament: (1st, 2nd and 3rd prototypes) One flexible 7.92 mm (0.312 in) Type 98 machine-gun in each of nose, and port and starboard beam positions, and one flexible 12.7 mm (0.5 in) Type 1 machine-gun in the dorsal and tail turrets, (4th-19th Ki-67s) one flexible 7.92 mm (0.312 in) Type 98 machine-guns in each of the port and starboard beam positions, one flexible 12.7 mm (0.5 in) Type 1 machine-gun in the nose and tail turrets, and one flexible 20 mm (0.79 in) H0-5 cannon in the dorsal turret, (20th-450th Ki-67s) one flexible 12.7 mm ().5 in) Type 1 machine-gun in each of the nose and port and starboard beam, and tail positions, and one flexible 20 mm (0.79 in) Ho-5 cannon in the dorsal turret, (451st and subsequent Kik-67s) one flexible 12.7 mm (0.5 in) Type 1 machine-gun in each of the nose and port and straboard beam positions, twin flexible 12.7 mm (0.5 in) Type 1 machine-guns in the tail turret, and one flexible 20 mm (0.79 in) Ho-5 cannon in the tail turret. Bomb-load - normal 500 kg (1.102 lb), - maximum 800 kg (1,764 lb), - torpedo attack, one 800 kg (1,764 lb) or 1,070 kg (2,359 lb) torpedo, - suicide attack either two 800 kg (1,764 lb) bombs or (Ki-167) one 2,900 kg (6,393 lb) Sakuradan hollow-charge bomb.
Dimensions: Span 22.5 m (73 ft 9 13/16 in) length 18.7 m (61 ft 4 7/32 in) height 7.7 m (25 ft 3 5/32 in) wing area 65.85 sq m ( 708.801 ft).
Weights: Empty 8,649 kg (19,086 lb). loaded 13,765 kg (30,347 lb) wing loading 209 kg/sq m (42.8 lb/sq ft) power loading 3.6 kg/hp (8 lb/hp).
Performance: Maximum speed 537 km/h (334 mph) at 6,090 m (19,980 ft) crusing speed 400 km/h (249 mph) at 8,000 m (26,245 ft) climb to 6,000 m (19,685 ft) in 14 min 30 sec service ceiling 9,470 m (31,070 ft) range - normal 2,800 km (1,740 miles), maximum 3,800 km (2,360 miles).
Production: A total of 698 Ki-67s were built as follows:

Mitsubishi Jugoyo KK at Nagoya, Kumamoto and Chita: 606
Kawasaki Kokuki Kogyo KK at Gifu: 91
Tachikawa Dai-Ichi Rikugun Kokusho at Tachikawa: 1
Nippon Kokusai Koku Kogyo KK at Okubo: None (assembled 29 Mitsubishi-built Ki-67s).

Post by Robert Hurst » 18 Sep 2003, 12:55

Early in the war when Japanese fighter pilots were in control of the skies, the few Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses available in the Southwest Pacific area were the only Allied aircraft to challenge their superiority effectively. As the war developed in favour of the Allies, the longer-ranging Consolidated B-24 Liberators, better suited to the island-hopping war, replaced the B-17s. But for the Japanese the problem of attempting to destroy high flying, well protected and formidably armed bombers remained the same. The Koku Hombu were also aware of the US development of a still more formidable four-engined bomber, the Boeing B-29 Superfortress, and by 1943 they were feverishly studying every means of defence against this feared enemy aircraft.

In early 1943 the Mitsubishi Ki-67 heavy bomber then undergoing flight trials had proved that despite its size and weight it was fast and remarkably manoeuvrable. Consequently in November 1943, officers of the Rikugun Kokugijutsu Kenkyujo (Army Aerotechnical Research Institute) at Tachikawa suggested that the Ki-67 be used as the basis for a hunter-killer aircraft. The project received the designation Ki-109 and two versions were to be built: the Ki-109a, the killer was to mount in the rear fuselage two obliquely-firing 37 mm (1.46 in) Ho-203 cannon while the Ki-109b, the hunter, was to be equipped with radar and a 400 mm searchlight. However, soon thereafter, the project was re-directed at the instigation of Maj Sakamoto who suggested that a standard 75 mm (2.95 in) Type 88 anti-aircraft cannon be mounted in the nose of a standard Ki-67. It was hoped that with this large cannon the aircraft would be able to fire on the B-29s while staying well out of range of their defensive armament. As the Koku Hombu anticipated that, initially at least, B-29s would have to operated without fighter escort, the project was found sound and feasible and, accordingly, Mitsubishi were instructed in January 1944 to begin designing the aircraft, which retained the Ki-109 designation.

Modification of the Ki-67 to mount a 75 mm (2.95 in) Type 88 (Ho-401) cannon in the nose was entrusted to a team led by Engineer Ozawa and the first prototype was completed in August 1944, two months after the B-29s had made their first bombing raid over Japan. Except for its nose, in the lower part of which was mounted the Type 88 (Ho-401) cannon, the Ki-109 prototype was identical to the Ki-67 and retained the waist gun positions and dorsal and tail turrets of the bomber. Ground and inflight test firings of the heavy gun were effected by Maj Makiura of the Rikugun Kokugijutsu Kenkyujo and was sufficiently successful to warrant the placing of an initial order for 44 aircraft. The first twenty-four were each to be powered by two Mitsubishi Ha-104 radials rated at 1,900 hp for take-off, 1,810 hp at 2,200 m (7,220 ft) and 1,610 hp at 6,00 m (20,015 ft) but subsequent aircraft were to receive a pair of Mitsubishi Ha-104 Ru radials fitted with Ru-3 exhaust-driven turbosuperchargers and rated at 1,900 hp for take-off and 1,810 hp at 7,360 m (24,150 ft) to improve performance at the cruising altitude of the B-29s. These engines were actually tested on the second Ki-109 prototype, but no production aircraft were powered by Ha-104 Ru engines. Another attempt to im prove climbing speed was made when a solid propellent rocket battery was installed in the rear bomb-bay of the first prototype but this scheme was abandoned.

Starting with the third Ki-109, the dorsal turret and lateral blisters were dispensed with and no bomb-bay fitted. Fifteen shells were carried for the 75 mm (2.95 in) Type 88 cannon which was hand-loaded by the co-pilot, and the sole defensive armament consisted of a flexible 12.7 mm (0.5 in) Type 1 machine-gun in the tail turret. The rest of the airframe and the powerplant were identical to those of the Ki-67. Despite the lack of high-altitude performance the Ki-109 was pressed into service with the 107th Sentai but, by the time enough aircraft were on hand, the B-29s had switched to low-altitude night operations.

Manufacturer: Mitsubishi Jukogyo KK (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Co Ltd).
Type: Twin-engined heavy interceptor.
Crew (4): Pilot, co-pilot and radio-operator in forward cabin and gunner in rear turret.
Powerplant: Two Army Type 4 (Mitsubishi Ha-104) eighteen-cylinder air-cooled radial engines. driving four-blade constant-speed metal propellers.
Armament: One forward-firing 75 mm (2.95 in) Type 88 cannonn and flexible one 12.7 mm (0.5 in) Type 1 machine-gun in the tail turret.
Dimensions: Span 22.5 m (73 ft 9 13/16 in) length 17.95 m ( 58 ft 10 11/16 in) height 5.8 m (19 ft 1 1/32 in) wing area 63.85 sq m (708.801 sq ft).
Weights: Empty 7,424 kg (16,367 lb) loaded 10,800 kg (23,810 lb) wing loading 164 kg/sq m (33.6 lb/sq ft) power loading 2.8 kg/hp (6.3 lb/hp).
Performance: Maximum speed 550 km/h (342 mph) at 6,090 m (19,980 ft) range 2,200 km (1,367 miles).
Production:A total of 22 Ki-109s were built by Mitsubishi Jukogyo KK between August 1944 and March 1945.

The photo was taken from Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War, by Rene J Francillon.


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Request for permission to quote for publication should be addressed to the IEEE History Center Oral History Program, IEEE History Center, 445 Hoes Lane, Piscataway, NJ 08854 USA or [email protected] It should include identification of the specific passages to be quoted, anticipated use of the passages, and identification of the user.

It is recommended that this oral history be cited as follows:

Heitaro Nakjima, an oral history conducted in 1994 by William Aspray, IEEE History Center, Piscataway, NJ, USA.


Nakajima Ki-106 - History

Japanese Warplanes of the Second World War, Aichi to Kawanishi

Japanese Warplanes of the Second World War

Imperial Japanese Army Air Service &

Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service,

Aichi to Kawanishi

Data current to 2 January 2020. (RAF Photo)

Kawasaki Ki-45 Toryu fighter/ground attack aircraft, codenamed "Nick" by the Allies, of the 71st Dokuritsu Hiko Chutai being examined by an RAF Officer. This was one of a number of aircraft abandoned at Kallang Airport, Singapore, Sep 1945.

Air Technical Intelligence on Imperial Japanese Army Air Service and Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service Warplanes of the Second World War

During and after the Second World War British Commonwealth, American and French forces engaged in air technical intelligence (ATI) collection and evaluation of captured Japanese aircraft. Allied ATI units were established at Calcutta in India in 1943 and at Saigon in French Indo-China in 1945. The Calcutta unit collected and examined a number of badly damaged aircraft. A few relatively complete aircraft were acquired, including examples of the Mitsubishi Ki-21-Ia (Army Type 97 Heavy Bomber Model 1A), codename “Sally”, Nakajima Ki-43-1A (Army Type 1 Fighter Model 1A Hayabusa (Peregrine Falcon)), codename “Oscar”, Mitsubishi Ki-46-III (Army Type 100 Command Reconnaissance Plane Model 1), codename “Dinah”, and Kawasaki Ki-48 (Army Type 99 Twin-engine Light Bomber Model 1A), codename “Lily.” After the end of the war, collection continued and flyable examples of the Nakajima Ki-44-1a (Army Type 2 single-seat Fighter Model 1A Shoki), codename “Tojo”, the Mitsubishi J2M3 Interceptor Fighter Raiden (Thunderbolt) Model 11), codename “Jack”, the Mitsubishi G4M3 (Navy Type 1 Attack Bomber Model 11), codename “Betty”, and the Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52 Zero-Sen (Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter), codename “Zeke” were obtained and flown. The Saigon unit obtained a number of flyable aircraft that were on surrendered Japanese airfields in French Indo-China. Many of the aircraft collected ended up as museum pieces.

(IJNAF Photos)

Mitsubishi A6M3 Model 22 Zero-Sen (Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter), codename “Zeke” , coded UI-105, flown by Japanese air ace Lieutenant Junior Grade Hiroyoshi Nishizawa from the 251st Kokutai over the Solomon Islands 7 May 1943. The unit's aircraft have been hastily sprayed with dark green camouflage paint on the upper surfaces. Nishizawa is credited with 87 aerial victories (36 shot down, 2 damaged and 49 shared damaged), although he personally claimed to have had 102 aerial victories at the time of his death. He was lost as a passenger on a Nakajima Ki-49 Donryu (Helen) transport aircraft flying from Mabalacat on Pampanga on the morning of 26 Oct 1944 while being flown to ferry replacement Zeros from Clark Field on Luzon. The Ki-49 transport was attacked by two Grumman F6F Hellcats of VF-14 squadron from the fleet carrier USS Wasp and was shot down in flames. Nishizawa died as a passenger, probably the victim of Lt. j.g. Harold P. Newell, who was credited with a "Helen" northeast of Mindoro that morning.

Japanese War Prizes in England

Several impressive Japanese aircraft are displayed at the Aerospace Museum at RAF Cosford in the UK. The museum’s collection of Japanese aircraft comprises the only remaining Japanese aircraft transported to the UK after the Second World War. At the end of the war, towards the end of 1945 a number of aircraft made up of Japanese Naval and Japanese Air force planes surrendered at Tebrau, a Japanese wartime airstrip in Malaysia. The planes were flown by Japanese air-crews. The British applied nationality markings and the acronym Allied Technical Air Intelligence Unit - South East Asia (ATAIU-SEA).

(RAF Photo)

Mitsubishi A6M2 Model 21 Zero-Sen (Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter), codename “Zeke”, coded BI-I2, in flight with Allied Technical Air Intelligence Unit - South East Asia (ATAIU-SEA) markings. BI-12 was tested at Tebrau Air Base, Malaya, in 1946. Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52 Zero-Sen (Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter), codename “Zeke”, coded BI-05 and another coded BI-06 were tested at Tebrau Air Base, Malaya, in 1946.

Primarily an RAF unit, ATAIU-SEA was formed during 1943 at Maidan, India, operating as a combined RAF/USAAF unit before the USAAF personnel were transferred to the United States. By early 1946 ATAIU-SEA in Singapore had collected 64 Japanese Army and Navy aircraft, most in flyable condition, for shipment to the UK. However, lack of shipping space prevented this operation and only four eventually arrived in England to be put in display in museums. The unit was disbanded at Seletar, Singapore on 15 May 1946. (RAF Photo)

(Mark Harkin Photo)

Mitsubishi A6M3 Model 22 Zero-Sen (Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter), codename “Zeke” cockpit in the RAF Museum, Duxford, England, still carrying its ATAIU-SEA markings.

(Tony Hisgett Photo)

Mitsubishi Ki-46-III Army Type 100 Command Reconnaissance Plane (C/N 5439), 8484M, of the 81 st Sentai, 3 rd Chutai IJAAF, codenamed "Dinah", at RAF Cosford, England. In 1944-45, during the last days of the war, it was modified as a high altitude interceptor, with two 20-mm cannons in the nose and one 37-mm cannon in an "upwards-and-forwards" firing position. It was stationed at tested at Tebrau Air Base in British Malaya, before its shipment to England in 1946. 5439 is n ow on display at RAF Cosford, England.

(Paul Richter Photo)

(Aldo Bidini Photo)

Kawasaki Ki-100, RAF Museum Cosford, England.

(Fairlight Photo)

(Megapixie Photo)

Kawasaki Ki-100, RAF Museum Cosford, England.

At the end of the Second World War, 64 Japanese aircraft were selected for shipment to the UK, but due to limited shipping space only 4 made it to the UK. These four aircraft included a Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52 Zero-Sen (Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter) codename “Zeke”, (the cockpit is now in the IWM), a Mitsubishi Ki-46-III (Army Type 100 Command Reconnaissance Plane Model 1), codename “Dinah”, 5439, a Kawasaki Ki-100-1a (Army Type 5 Fighter Model 1A), and a Kyushu K9W1 (Navy Type 2 Primary Trainer Momiji), codename “Cypress” (scrapped after accidental fire damage). The Ki-46 and Ki-100 are today on display at the AMC. The aircraft were sent via ship to No 47 MU, Sealand, for crating and storage, in February 1947. In November 1985 they were transferred to RAF museum reserve collection RAF St Athan, before being moved to RAF Cosford in June 1989. These aircraft were: Kawasaki Ki-100-1b (Army Type 5 Fighter Model 1A) (Serial No. 8476M) Yokosuka MXY7 Ohka Model 11 (Tail Number I-13) Mitsubishi Ki-46-III (Army Type 100 Command Reconnaissance Plane Model 1), codename “Dinah” (Serial No. 5439) a Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52 Zero-Sen (Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter), codename “Zeke”, and a Mitsubishi A6M3 Model 52 Zero-Sen (Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter), codename “Zeke” (Manufacture Number 3685), Tail Number Y2-176). (Source: Steve Dodd, Cosford museum member)

Japanese Warplanes with RAF ATAIU-SEA markings

(RAF Photo)

Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52 Zero-Sen (Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter), codename “Zeke” in flight, RAF, Allied Technical Air Intelligence Unit, South East Asia. 'B1-12' is shown here bing operated by ATAIU-SEA at Tebrau, Malaya in 1946. Once thought to be applied by the British the tail number is now known to be IJN original and identifies IJN Air Group 381. A second Zeke marked 'B1-01' was a former 381 Ku Raiden in ATAIU-SEA ownership at Tebrau, Malaya.

(RAF Photo)

Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52 Zero-Sen (Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter), codename “Zeke” (Serial No. 1303), RAF, TAIC II, metal finish. This aircraft was captured on Saipan. The legend 'AI 2G . . .' appears beneath the 'Technical Air Intelligence Center' beneath the cockpit. This was the Air Ministry section responsible for German and Japanese air intelligence. This aircraft was scheduled for delivery to ATAIU-SEA in India but it was eventually sent to the USA.

(RAF Photos)

Mitsubishi G4M2 bomber, F1-11, codenamed "Betty", RAF, Allied Technical Air Intelligence Unit, South East Asia ATAIU-SEA).

(RAF Photos)

Mitsubishi J2M Raidens, codenamed Jack, originally from 381st Kokutai. Captured at Malaya, BI-0I and BI-02 were tested at Tebrau Air Base in British Malaya in 1946. These aircraft were flown and evaluated by Japanese naval aviators under close supervision of RAF officers from Seletar Airfield in December 1945. RAF, Allied Technical Air Intelligence Unit, South East Asia (ATAIU - SEA).

Captured Japanese Warplanes flown by the TAIU-SWPA in Australia

(RAAF Photo)

Mitsubishi A6M3 Model 32 Zero-Sen (Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter), codename “Zeke”. This aircraft was rebuilt and test flown by the Technical Air Intelligence Unit (TAIU) at Eagle Farm, Brisbane, Australia, using parts of five different aircraft captured at Buna, New Guinea. The completed aircraft was test flown in mock combat against a Supermarine Spitfire Mk. V. It was concluded that the “Zeke” was superior to the Spitfire below 20,000 feet. In late 1943 the “Zeke” was shipped to the United States aboard the escort carrier USS Copahee. It went to Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio, where it was flown and evaluated.

Other Japanese aircraft acquired by the TAIU in Australia included two Nakajima Ki-43-1A (Army Type 1 Fighter Model 1A Hayabusa (Peregrine Falcon)), codename “Oscar”, and a Kawasaki Ki-61-II (Army Type 3 Fighter Model 1 Hien (Swallow)), codename “Tony”. The “Oscars” were test flown in Australia in March and April 1944, and the “Tony” was shipped to NAS Anacostia later in 1944.

In June 1944 the US Navy personnel at the TAIU in Australia were transferred to NAS Anacostia and became the cadre for an expanded Technical Air Intelligence Center. Collection of Japanese aircraft continued in 1943, 1944, and 1945, for analysis by the US Navy and the USAAF. TAIUs operated in Southeast Asia, the Philippines, China, and, after the end of hostilities, in Japan. Personnel of the Royal Australian Air Force participated, as they had earlier in the war.

(USAAF Photo)

Mitsubishi G4M2 bomber, codenamed "Betty", found at the end of the war.

Captured Japanese airfields, particularly in the Philippines, were especially fruitful. Many of the aircraft were shipped to the United Stated by escort carriers. Their destinations were usually NAS Anacostia, Wright Field, or Freeman Field, Indiana.

(USAAF Photo)

Nakajima Ki-44-1a (Army Type 2 single-seat Fighter Model 1A Shoki), (Serial No. 2068), codenamed “Tojo”, in the Philippines in TAIU-SWPA S11, USAAF markings. It is shown here being tested by TAIU-SWPA at Clark Field in the Philippines in 1945 in natural metal finish with pre-war rudder stripes. The uncoded serial number of this aircraft was 1068 and it was manufactured in July 1944.

Japanese aircraft acquired during those years included examples of the Mitsubishi A6M7 Model 63 Zero-Sen, (Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter), codenamed “Zeke”, Kawasaki Ki-61-II (Army Type 3 Fighter Model 1 Hien (Swallow)), codenamed “Tony”, Nakajima Ki-44-1a (Army Type 2 single-seat Fighter Model 1A Shoki), codename “Tojo”, Kawanishi N1K2-J Shiden Kai Model 21 Navy Interceptor Fighter Shaiden KAI, codenamed “George”, Nakajima Ki-84-Ia (Army Type 4 Fighter Model 1A Hayate (Gale)), codenamed “Frank”, Mitsubishi J2M3 (Navy Interceptor Fighter Raiden (Thunderbolt) Model 11), codenamed “Jack”, and Kawasaki Ki-45 (Army Type 2 Two-Seat Fighter Model A Toryu (Dragon Slayer)), codenamed “Nick” fighters the Nakajima B5N2 (Navy Type 97 Carrier Attack Bomber Model 1), codenamed “Kate”, Nakajima B6N2 (Navy Carrier Attack Bomber Tenzan (Heavenly Cloud)) Model 11), codenamed “Jill”, Yokosuka D4Y1 (Navy Type 2 Carrier Reconnaissance Plane Model 11 Susei (Comet)), codenamed “Judy”, and Mitsubishi G4M3 (Navy Type 1 Attack Bomber Model 11), codenamed “Betty” bombers the Douglas DC-3 L2D2/5, codenamed “Tabby” transport, and the Mitsubishi Ki-46-III (Army Type 100 Command Reconnaissance Plane Model 1), codenamed “Dinah” reconnaissance aircraft. Some underwent flight evaluation.

After the conclusion of the Pacific War, most surviving Japanese aircraft were destroyed where they lay, usually by burning. Those machines in more isolated areas were simply left to rot, often stripped of useful components by the indigenous population. Some examples were shipped to Allied nations (primarily Australia, England and the United States) for technical study, but by the 1950s most of these had been sold for scrap. With the rise of interest in aviation history during the 1970s, the surviving examples of Japanese Navy Air Force (JNAF) and Japanese Army Air Force (JAAF) aircraft were often repaired, restored, and placed on public display. A few additional examples were recovered from former war zones and, in a few cases, renovated to high standards. There are doubtless many more still corroding in jungle areas or under the sea which may one day be recovered and restored.[1]

“The Japanese Army and Navy forces as organizations were progressively demobilized and disbanded as soon as practical after their surrender in August 1945. This short three-part article outlines the corresponding fate of their aircraft, a story beginning with the formation of Technical Air Intelligence Units (TAIUs) during 1943.”

“As in Europe, the Allies in the Pacific theatre were also keen to learn as much as possible about their opponents’ equipment. With Americans having the major involvement there, it was appropriate that they predominated in all such evaluation, particularly in respect of captured aircraft. It was agreed in this regard that the US Navy would lead a technical air intelligence joint organization which included USAAF, RAF and RN representatives.”

“Thereafter, the first TAIU was set up as a joint USAAF/USN/RAAF organization in Australia in early 1943. This particular unit absorbed a small team from the Directorate of Intelligence, HQ Allied Forces, who were developing the Code Name system for Japanese aircraft they had started in 1942. A second, known as the Allied TAIU for South East Asia (ATAIU-SEA), followed in Calcutta in late 1943 as a joint RAF/USAAF Allied unit. Then, in mid 1944, the USN personnel from the TAIU in Australia were withdrawn to NAS Anacostia, near Washington DC, to become the TAIC (Technical Air Intelligence Centre), whose purpose was to centralise and co-ordinate work of test centres in the United States with work of TAIUs in the field.”

“The operation in Australia was reformed to function thereafter as TAIU for the South West Pacific Area (TAIU-SWPA) and eventually moved to the Philippines in early 1945. Two other operations were also set up, TAIU for the Pacific Ocean Area (TAIU-POA) as a USN unit to trawl the various Pacific Islands for aircraft and TAIU for China (TAIU-CHINA) under control of Chiang Kai Shek’s Nationalists.”

“Aircraft test flown by the TAIUs before cessation of hostilities in August 1945:

TAIU (Australia) - approximately 5 TAIU-SWPA (Philippines) - over 20 ATAIU-SEA – None TAIU- POA - None, but 14 sent to TAIC TAIU-CHINA – 1 and, TAIC - at least 11.”

“When war ended the Allies felt it necessary to assess the state of technological development still remaining intact in Japan. Although work of other TAIUs ended speedily, that of ATAIU-SEA and TAIU-SWPA continued to gather selected material for further evaluation in order to do this the former moved to Singapore, with a flying unit at Tebrau in Malaya, and the latter to Japan itself.”

(USAAF Photos)

Mitsubishi A6M5 Model 52 Zero-Sen (Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter), codename “Zeke”, painted in green cross surrender markings.

“There were two periods of so-called green cross flights by Japanese aircraft after capitulation. The first lasted from about 19th August to 12th September 1945, covering flights of surrender delegations and flights of surrendering aircraft to assembly points. The second period lasted from 15th September to 10th October 1945, covering general communications and taking surrender details to outlying forces. The longest survivors of these operations were probably those few that found their way into the Gremlin Task Force (see Part 3) the rest were destroyed.”

“By early 1946 ATAIU-SEA in Singapore had gathered some 64 Army and Navy aircraft, most in flyable condition, for shipment to the UK for further evaluation. An unknown number of these aircraft were actually test flown at Tebrau. Lack of shipping space prevented this shipment and only four eventually arrived in England for Museum purposes. In any event, funds for testing captured war material were by then severely restricted and most such work already stopped.”

“By the end of 1945 TAIU-SWPA teams had scoured the Japanese mainland and other territories to gather together in Yokohama Naval Base four examples of every Japanese aircraft type never previously tested by the Allies one of each was to be for the USAAF, USN, RAF and Museum purposes.”

“In the event, those for the RAF have not been accounted for and of the remainder some 115 arrived in America during December 1945, 73 to Army bases and 42 to Naval bases. Once again funds and interest for further testing were drying up rapidly and only six of the aircraft were actually flown there, four by the Army and two by the Navy. Out of the 115 total, plus 11 TAIC aircraft already there, 46 are in US Museums, about two thirds of the remainder were scrapped and the rest are probably still corroding away somewhere out of sight.”[1]

[1] Data from an article by Peter Starkings, originally published in JAS Jottings, 1/3, 1995.

USN and USAAF Air Technical Intelligence Units in the Pacific Theatre

The US Navy was also engaged in ATI in the Pacific Theatre[1]. A joint ATI group with members from the US Navy, US Army Air Forces, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), and Royal Navy was formed in Australia in 1942. Later, some US Navy personnel of the group were withdrawn to the United States where they formed a Technical Air Intelligence Unit (TAIU) at Naval Air Station Anacostia, near Washington, DC. The Anacostia TAIU was supported by other Navy air stations such as those at North Island, San Diego, California, and Patuxent River, Maryland.

(USAAF Photo)

Mitsubishi A6M2 Model 21 Zero-Sen (Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter), codename “Zeke” coded V-173, shown where it crash-landed on a beach en route from Taiwan to Saigon in 26 November 1941. This aircraft was removed by the Chinese forces and hidden until it could be assessed by Allied Intelligence, becoming USAAF EB-2, later EB-200.

Mitsubishi A6M2 Model 21 Zero-Sen (Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter), codename “Zeke”, captured, restored and parked on an airfield in China. On 26 November 1941, this A6M2, (Serial No. 3372), coded V-173 of the Tainan Naval Air Corps force landed near Teitsan airfield. It was made airworthy at Kinming by American engineers and flown in Chinese markings with the number P-5016. Coded EB-2, this aircraft eventually made its way to Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio, in July 1943, and was renumbered EB-200. (USAAF Photos)

Mitsubishi A6M2 Model 21 Zero-Sen (Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter), codename “Zeke”, captured, restored and parked on an airfield in China. On 26 November 1941, this A6M2, (Serial No. 3372), coded V-173 of the Tainan Naval Air Corps force landed near Teitsan airfield. It was made airworthy at Kinming by American engineers and flown in Chinese markings with the number P-5016. Coded EB-2, this aircraft eventually made its way to Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio, in July 1943, and was renumbered EB-200. (USAAF Photos)

Mitsubishi A6M2 Model 21 Zero-Sen (Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter), codename “Zeke”. (IJNAF Photos)

Mitsubishi A6M2 “Zeke” (Serial No. 4593), Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter Model 21, coded DI-108, as discovered at its crash site on Akutan Island, Alaska by USAAF forces. On 3 June 1942, Flight Petty Officer Tadayoshi Koga left the flight deck of the IJN Carrier Ryujo in his Mitsubishi A6M2 Model 21 fighter as part of a task force assigned to attack Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands. His A6M2, which had been built in February, was on its first operational mission. On his way back to the Ryujo, Koga found that two bullets had punctured his fuel supply and he informed his flight commander that he intended to land on Akutan Island, designated as an emergency landing field. Koga did not make the landing field and instead made a forced landing in a marsh. The aircraft flipped over, breaking the pilot’s neck and killing him. Five weeks later, a US Navy Consolidated PBY Catalina, making a routine patrol, discovered the Japanese fighter upside down in the marsh. (USAAF Photos)

Mitsubishi A6M2 Model 22 Zero-Sen (Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter), codename “Zeke”, coded DI-108, being recovered from its crash site on Akutan Island, Alaska by USAAF forces. This aircraft was designated TAIC 1. (USAAF Photos)

Mitsubishi A6M2 Model 22 Zero-Sen (Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter), codename “Zeke”, coded DI-108, (Serial No. 4593), Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter Model 21, coded DI-108, designated TAIC 1. North Island NAS, fall 1944, after the plane was flown back to California from Anacostia NAS, and used as a training tool by the ComFAirWest training operation flying against squadrons headed west. It was damaged at NAS North Island on 10 Feb 1945. (USAAF Photos)

This single-seat fighter was probably one of the greatest prizes of the Pacific war. Hardly damaged, it was recovered by US Navy personnel and shipped to Naval Air Station (NAS) North Island, California, where it was repaired and exhaustively tested. It was first flown at North Island in September 1942. Over the next several months it made mock combat flights against US Navy Grumman F-4F Wildcat and Vought F4U Corsair aircraft and USAAF Lockheed P-38 Lightning, Bell P-39 Airacobra, Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, and North American P-51 Mustang aircraft. The pilots of the USAAF aircraft were from the Proving Ground at Eglin Field, Florida. Information gathered during testing of the A6M2 prompted the American aircraft manufacturer Grumman, to lighten the Grumman F4F Wildcat and to install a larger engine on the Grumman F6F Hellcat.[3]

Mitsubishi A6M2 Model 22 Zero-Sen (Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter), codename “Zeke”, coded DI-108, (Serial No. 4593), Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter Model 21, coded DI-108. Koga's A6M2 Zero-Sen went to Anacostia, where it was restored and flown by the USN. Koga’s crashed aircraft, while resurrected temporarily, did not in fact survive the war. Following its tests by the Navy in San Diego, the Zero was transferred from Naval Air Station North Island to Anacostia Naval Air Station in 1943 (becoming TAIC 1). In 1944, it was recalled to North Island for use as a training plane for rookie pilots being sent to the Pacific. As a training aircraft, the Akutan Zero was destroyed during an accident in February 1945 at North Island. While the Zero was taxiing for a takeoff, a Curtiss SB2C Helldiver lost control and rammed into it. The Helldiver’s propeller sliced the Zero into pieces. Only small bits (instruments) still exist in museums in Washington and Alaska. (USN Photos)

[1] Data from an article by Peter Starkings, originally published in JAS Jottings, 1/3, 1995.

[2] Phil Butler, War Prizes, p. 165.

Japanese Warplanes of the Second World War examined by the USAAF and US Navy

Aichi D1A, Navy Type 94/96 Carrier Bomber, codenamed Susie. (IJNAF Photos)

Aichi D3A1 dive-bomber. (IJNAF Photos)

(Author Photo).

Aichi D3A2, codenamed "Val" on display in wrecked "as found" condition on display inside the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas.

(Alan Wilson Photo)

Aichi D3A2 Model 22_Val, (3179), Reg. No. N3131G. A currently under restoration at the Planes of Fame Museum in Chino, California.

Aichi B7A2 Ryusei, codenamed "Grace". (IJNAF Photos)

Aichi B7A2 Ryusei, codenamed "Grace", (Serial No. 816) captured by the US and test flown in 1946 by the US air intelligence unit ATAIU-SEA. Shipped to the USA it is shown here in USN markings, No. 52, USAAF FE-1204, currently in storage in the Paul E. Garber facility, Suitland, Maryland. Aichi B7A2, USAAF FE-1206 was scrapped at Middletown, Pennsylvania. (USAAF Photos)

Aichi E13A Navy Reconnaissance Seaplane, codenamed "Jake". In service with the Imperial Japanese Navy from 1941 to 1945. Numerically the most important floatplane of the IJN, it could carry a crew of three and a bombload of 250 kg (550 lb). Eight examples were operated by the French Naval Air Force during the First Indochina War from 1945-1947, while others may have been operated by the Royal Thai Navy. One example was captured by New Zealand forces and flown by the RNZAF personnel in theatre, but it after one of the aircraft's floats leaked, it sank and was not repaired. (IJNAAF Photos 1 & 2, IWM Photo 3)

Aichi E16A Zuiun (Auspicious Cloud), two-seat Naval reconnaissance floatplane operated by the Imperial Japanese Navy, Allied reporting name "Paul", shown here in USN markings. There do not appear to be TAIC or FE numbers alloctated for this aircraft. (USN Photos)

Aichi M6A1 Seiran (Clear Sky Storm or Mist on a Fair Day) Japan,ca 1944. (IJNAAF Photo)

Aichi M6A1 Seiran (Clear Sky Storm or Mist on a Fair Day) being examined by USN sailors at Nagoya, Japan, Sep 1945. (USN Photo)

Aichi M6A1 Seiran (Clear Sky Storm or Mist on a Fair Day) on display in the Paul E. Garber facility, Suitland, Maryland before being moved to the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. (Author Photos)

Aichi M6A1 Seiran (Clear Sky Storm or Mist on a Fair Day) on display in the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. (Eric Salard Photo)

The Aichi M6A Seiran (Clear Sky Storm or Mist on a Fair Day) was a submarine-launched attack floatplane. It was intended to operate from I-400 class submarines whose original mission was to conduct aerial attacks against the United States. A single M6A1 has been preserved and resides in the Udvar-Hazy Center of the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum. It is located in the Washington, DC suburb of Chantilly, Virginia near Dulles International Airport. The Seiran was surrendered to an American occupation contingent by Lt Kazuo Akatsuka of the Imperial Japanese Navy, who ferried it from Fukuyama to Yokosuka. The US Navy donated it to the Smithsonian Institution in November 1962. Restoration work on the Seiran began in June 1989 and was completed in February 2000. There does not appear to be an FE or T2 number for this aircraft.

Aichi M6A1-K Nanzan. (USN Photos)

Kawasaki Ki-10 A rmy Type 95 Fighter), codenamed Perry. The Ki-10 was the last biplane fighter used by the IJAAF, serving from 1935 to 1940. (IJAAF Photos)

Kawasaki Ki-45 KAIc Toryu Army Type 2 Two-Seat Fighter (code name Nick) in IJAAF service. (IJAAF Photos)

Kawasaki Ki-45 KAIc Toryu Army Type 2 Two-Seat Fighter (code name Nick) captured at Cape Glouster, New Britain in 1944. (USAAF Photo)

Kawasaki Ki-45 KAIc Toryu Army Type 2 Two-Seat Fighter (code name Nick) captured by US forces being prepared for flight testing at Clark Field in the Philippines. This aircraft is possibly (Serial No. 3303), TAIC-SWPA S14, designated USAAF FE-325 and later T2-325, which was scrapped at Freeman Field in 1946. (USAAF Photo)

Kawasaki Ki-45 KAIc Toryu Army Type 2 Two-Seat Fighter (Serial No. 3303), codenamed "Nick", TAIC-SWPA S14. This aircraft was captured at Fujigaya and later shipped to the USA. It was designated USAAF FE-325 and later T2-325. This aircraft was test flown at Freeman Field, Ohio until it was scrapped in 1946. (USAAF Photo)

Kawasaki Ki-45 KAIc Toryu Army Type 2 Two-Seat Fighter (Serial No. 3303), codenamed "Nick", USAAF FE-325 and later T2-325. This aircraft was test flown at Freeman Field, Ohio until it was scrapped in 1946. (USAAF Photo)

Kawasaki Ki-45 KAIc Toryu (Serial No. 4268), codenamed Nick, shipped to the USA and shown here at Middletown Air Depot in 1946. Designated USAAF FE-701, the fuselage of this aircraft is now on display in the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Centre, Chantilly, Virginia. (USAAF Photo)

(IJAAF Photo)

(Steven Duhig Photo)

Kawasaki Ki-45 KAIc Toryu (Serial No. 4268), USAAF FE-701, fuselage on display in the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Centre, Chantilly, Virginia. This is the only surviving Ki-45 KAIc. It was one of about 145 Japanese aircraft brought to the United States aboard the carrier USS Barnes for evaluation after the end of the Second World War. It underwent overhaul at Middletown Air Depot, Pennsylvania, and was test-flown at Wright Field, Ohio, and Naval Air Station Anacostia in Washington, D.C. The United States Army Air Forces donated the Toryu to the Smithsonian Institution in June 1946. Only the fuselage is currently on display at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, alongside the Nakajima J1N and Aichi M6A.

Kawasaki Ki-48 Army Type 99 Twin-engined Light Bomber, codenamed "Lily", IJAAF. (IJAAF Photos)

Kawasaki Ki-48 Army Type 99 Twin-engined Light Bomber, codename "Lily" captured by US forces. This is possibly one of two Ki-48 shipped to the USA. USAAF FE-1202 scrapped at Middletown or FE-1205, which was scrapped at Park Ridge, ca. 1950. (USAAF Photo)

(ROCAF Photo)

Kawasaki Ki-48, captured and placed in service with the Republic of China Air Force, Taiwan.

(Calflieer001 Photo)

Kawasaki Ki-48 in Chinese Liberation Army Air Force colours on display in the China Aviation Museum in Datangshan, China. Some of the parts of the airplane are reproduced.

Kawasaki Ki-48, reported to be on display in the Indonesian Air Force Museum.

(Mike1979 Russia)

Kawasaki Ki-48-II replica on display in the Great Patriotic War Museum, Moscow, Russia.

Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien Army Type 3 Fighters. (IJAAF Photos)

Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien Army Type 3 Fighter captured with flight test markings. (USAAF Photo)

Kawasaki Ki-61-1-Tei Hien Army Type 3 Fighter, captured and flown by USMC VMF 322 at Okinawa in May 1945. This aircraft is painted in a very colourful finish of dark blue and white with the USMC emblem in red on the vertical fin. The rudder and fin are painted in red. (USMC Photo)

Kawasaki Ki-61-1a Ko Hien Army Type 3 Fighter (Serial No. 263), codenamed Tony. This aircraft was originally seizou bangou 263 captured at Cape Gloucester and test flown as 'XJ 003'at Eagle Farm, Brisbane, Australia and designated TAIC 9, before being shipped to the USA. Although seizou bangou (?) is often referred to as a 'serial number' the term means, literally, 'manufacturer production series number' and as stencilled on the airframe was coded by one of three known methods to provide a level of deception about how many aircraft had been produced. This aircraft was shipped to the TAIU at Anacostia in the USA. Of the three Ki-61s brought to the USA in 1945, USAAF FE-313 and FE-316 were scrapped at park Ridge ca. 1950, and TAIC 9 crashed at Yanceyville, North Carolina on 2 July 1945. (USAAF Photos)

Kawasaki Ki-61-1a Hien Army Type 3 Fighter (Serial No. 263) assigned USAAF code number XJ003 and TAIC 9, test flown in the USA post war. (USAAF Photos)

Kawasaki Ki-61-1a Hien Army Type 3 Fighter (Serial No. 2210), This aircraft was the last remai ning Tony in Japan and was put on display at Yakota Air Base, which is still a functioning USAF base today. It was initially set up on the base in Japanese markings after being captured at Yakota at the end of the war. Sometime in 1947, it was deemed offensive to American personnel and repainted in bogus USAF markings (with the new red bar used in USAF flashes after 1 January 1947). Apparently it was easier to mark them as American at that time than to dispose of them. In 1953, the Tony was returned to the Japanese people through civilian representatives of the Japan Aeronautic Association (Nippon Kohkuh Kyohkai). They moved it to Hibiya Park in Tokyo near the Imperial Palace for display. (USAAF Photos)

(Hunini Photos)

(TRJN Photo)

Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien (Tony), Kobi Port terminal, Japan.

(Goshimini Photo)

Kawasaki Ki-61-II-Kai (Serial No. 5017 ) is on static display at the Tokko Heiwa Kaikan Museum in Chiran Kagoshima Prefecture, Kyushu, Japan.

Kawasaki Ki-61-II-Kai (Serial No. unknown). owned by Kermit Week’s Fantasy of Flight museum at Polk, Florida. It is currently stored and in need of restoration.

Kawasaki Ki-61-I-Otsu (Serial No. 640), being restored to flying condition and will become part of the Military Aviation Museum collection in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Kawaskai Ki-96 Experimental Twin-engine single-seat fighter. (IJAAF Photo)

Kawasaki Ki-102b "Randy". This aircraft has the number 106, which may refer to the loading number for the aircraft carrier that brought it, as one of three Ki-102b which were shipped to the USA. Ki-102b USAAF FE-308 was scrapped at park Ridge ca. 1950 Ki-102B FE-309 was scrapped at Middletown in 1946, and Ki-102b FE-310 was scrapped at Newark in 1946. (USAAF Photos)

Nakajima Ki-106, No. 302, a wooden airframe version of the Ki-84. (IJAAF Photos)

Nakajima Ki-106, No. 301, a wooden airframe version of the Ki-84, shipped to the USA where it was designated USAAF FE-301, later T2-301. This aircraft was an new production prototype produced by Tachikawa in 1945. (USAAF Photos)

Kawanishi N1K1 Kyufu (strong wind) floatplane, IJNAF. (IJNAF Photos)

Kawanishi N1K1 Kyufu (strong wind) (Serial No. unknown). One shipped to the USA after the war was designated USAAF FE-324. It was scrapped at Park Ridge, ca. 1950. (USN Photo)

Kawanishi N1K1 Kyufu (strong wind) (Serial No. 565), when it was on display at NAS Willow Grove, Pennsylvania. This aircraft is now with the National Museum of Naval Aviation, Pensacola, Florida. (USN Photo)

Kawanishi N1K Kyofu (strong wind), Allied reporting name “Rex”, on display in immaculate condition at the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas. (Author Photo)

Kawanishi N1K4-J Shiden Kai, IJNAF, prototype. (IJNAF Photo)

Kawanishi N1K2-J Shiden (Serial No. 5511), test flown by the TAIU-SWPA, TAIC (S) 7, in USAAF markings. This aircraft crashed at Clark Airfield, Luzon, Philippines, 1945. (USAAF Photo)

Kawanishi N1K2-J Shiden (Violet Lightning), (Serial No. 7102), code-named George, TAIC-SWPA, S9, at Clark Field, Luzon, Philippines, 1945. (USAAF Photo)

Kawanishi N1K1-J Shiden (Serial No. 7287) and (Serial No. 7317) were captured and taken to United States on the carrier USS Barnes. The Kawanishi N1K1-J Shiden was an Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service land-based version of the N1K1 floatplane. Assigned the Allied codename “George”, the N1K1-J was considered by both its pilots and opponents to be one of the finest land-based fighters flown by the Japanese during the Second World War. The N1K1 possessed a heavy armament and, unusual for a Japanese fighter, could absorb considerable battle damage.

Kawanishi N1K2-J, USAAF markings being run up with the assistance of Japanese workers. (USAAF Photo)

At least three Kawanishi N1K2-J Shiden Kai Model 21 aircraft survive in American museums. Kawanishi N1K2-J Shiden Kai (Serial No. 5128) is in the National Museum of Naval Aviation in Pensacola, Florida. Kawanishi N1K2-Ja Shiden Kai (Serial No. 5312) , a fighter-bomber variant equipped with wing mounts to carry bombs, is on display in the Air Power gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force, at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio. The N1K2-Ja is painted as an aircraft in the Yokosuka Kokutai, an evaluation and test unit. Kawanishi N1K2-J Shiden Kai (Serial No. 5341), USAAF FE-305 is on display at the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.

(Goshimini Photo)

( Valder137 Photos)

Kawanishi N1K2-Ja Shiden Kai Model 21 (Serial No. 5312) on display in the National Museum of the USAF.

(Greg Goebel Photo)

( Dick Jenkins Photo)

Kawanishi N1K2-J Shiden Kai Model 21 (Serial No. 5128), USAAF FE-306 on display in the National Museum of Naval Aviation, Pensacola, Florida.

(Bouquey Photos)

Kawanishi N1K2-J Shiden Kai Model 21, on display in the Shikoku Museum, Japan. This is an authentic N1K2-J Shiden-Kai from the 343 squadron. After the aircraft was damaged in battle, its pilot landed on 24 July 1945 in the waters of the Bungo Channel, but he was never found by the time of the aircraft’s recovery from the seabed in the 1970s, he could be identified only as one of six pilots from the 343 squadron who disappeared that day.

Kawanishi H6K Type 97 seaplane, code-named Mavis wearing green cross surrender markings. (USAAF Photo)

Kawasaki Ki-100-1b Type 5 fighter. Four were shipped to the USA, Ki-100-1b designated USAAF FE-312 was scrapped at Park Ridge, ca. 1950, Ki-100-1b (Serial No. 13012), FE-314 was broken up at Patterson AFB in 1959, FE-315 was scrapped, and FE-317 was scrapped at Park Ridge ca. 1950. One was shipped to the UK. (IJAAF Photos)

(Aldo Bidini Photo)

Kawasaki Ki-100-1b Type 5 fighter, RAF Museum Cosford, England.

Kawasaki Ki-108 Experimental High Altitude fighter, codenamed Randy. (IJAAF Photo)

Kugisho P1Y1-C Ginga, IJAAF. (IJAAF Photos)

Kugisho P1Y1-C Ginga in USAAF markings. Three Kugisho (Yokosuka) P1Y1 were shipped to the USA in 1945, USAAF FE-170 and FE-1701 were scrapped at Newark. Kugisho P1Y1 (Serial No. 8923), FE-1702 is stored with the NASM. (USAAF Photo)

Kyushu J7W1 Shinden, found at the factory where it was built in Japan in 1945. One J7W1 Shinden was shipped to the USA, USAAF FE-326. This aircraft is preserved in the Smithsonian Institution. (USAAF Photos)

Kyushu Q1W1 patrol bomber, codenamed Lorna. IJAAF. (SDA&SM Photos)

Kyushu Q1W1 patrol bomber, codenamed Lorna. IJAAF. (IJAAF Photos)

Kyushu Q1W1 patrol bomber, codenamed Lorna in USAAF markings. Four Kyushu Q1W1 were shipped to the USA for flight testing in 1945. Kyushu Q1W1, USAAF FE-4800 was scrapped at Park Ridge ca. 1950, FE-4805 was scrapped at Middletown, FE-4810 and FE-4811 were scrapped at Newark. (USAAF Photos)

Kokusai Ki-86A (Allied code name "Cypress") in 1945. This plane was a German Bücker Bü 131 Jungmann which was licence-produced in Japan. Approximately 1037 Ki-86s were built for the Imperial Japanese Air Force and 339 Kyushu K9W1 for the Imperial Japanese Navy. (USN Photo)

Kyushu K9W1 Navy Type 2 Primary Trainer Momiji, codenamed “Cypress” built for the Imperial Japanese Navy. One was collected by the RAF and flown at the ATAIU-SEA airfield at Tebrau, Malaya in 1945. It was scrapped after accidental fire damage.

Kawanishi H8K2 Type 2 flying boat. (IJNAF Photos)

Kawanishi H8K2 T ype 2 flying boat (Serial No. 426) in Washington State post war. Four H8K2 aircraft survived until the end of the war. One of these, an H8K2 (Serial No. 426), was captured by U.S. forces at the end of the war and was evaluated before being eventually returned to Japan in 1979. It was on display at Tokyo's Museum of Maritime Science until 2004, when it was moved to Kanoya Air Base in Kagoshima. (USN Photo)

(Max Smith Photo)

(Miya.m Photos)

Kawanishi H8K2 T ype 2 flying boat (Serial No. 426) on display at Kanoya Air Base in Kagoshima.

The submerged remains of an H8K can be found off the west coast of Saipan, where it is a popular scuba diving attraction. Another wrecked H8K lies in Chuuk Lagoon, Chuuk, in Micronesia. This aircraft is located off the south-western end of Dublon Island.

Axis Warplane Survivors

A guidebook to the preserved Military Aircraft of the Second World War Tripartite Pact of Germany, Italy, and Japan, joined by Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Bulgaria, and Yugoslavia the co-belligerent states of Thailand, Finland, San Marino and Iraq and the occupied states of Albania, Belarus, Croatia, Vichy France, Greece, Ljubljana, Macedonia, Monaco, Montenegro, Norway, Cambodia, China, India, Laos, Manchukuo, Mengjiang, the Philippines and Vietnam.


Last Deadly Gale from Japan

A Japanese army pilot of the 3rd Chutai, 29th Sentai, scans the sky for foes before taking his Nakajima Ki.84 down to engage a climbing Lockheed P-38L Lightning over Leyte.

Jack Fellows, ASAA, Cactus Air Force Art Project

The Nakajima Ki.84 was the Japanese army’s best fighter of World War II—and could have been even better with more trained pilots and a higher grade of fuel.

On the morning of January 7, 1945, four Lockheed P-38L Lightnings of the Fifth Air Force’s 431st Squadron, 475th Fighter Group, were prowling the area between the Philippine islands of Mindoro and Negros. Their leader, Major Thomas B. McGuire Jr., had 38 Japanese planes to his credit, and he was impatient to surpass the 40 victories of Major Richard I. Bong, who shortly after becoming the American ace of aces had been sent home to take part in a war bond tour.

The four P-38s were sweeping the area at an altitude of 1,500 feet when Captain Edwin Weaver spotted a Nakajima Ki.43 Hayabusa (peregrine falcon) fighter of the Japanese Army Air Force (JAAF), known to the Allies by its code name “Oscar,” coming at them from below and to the left. McGuire and Weaver turned to attack it, but the Ki.43, flown by Master Sgt. Akira Sugimoto of the 54th Sentai (regiment), evaded them and fired a burst of 12.7mm bullets into the left engine of 1st Lt. Douglas S. Thropp Jr.’s P-38. Thropp sideslipped, then straightened out and prepared to release his drop tanks.

“Daddy Flight, save your tanks,” McGuire ordered over the radio—apparently confident that he could make short work of the Oscar. The fourth Lightning, flown by a visiting Thirteenth Air Force pilot, Major Jack Rittmayer, drove the Ki.43 off Thropp’s tail, but Sugimoto then attacked Weaver. Hastening to Weaver’s aid, McGuire pulled his Lightning into a tight turn. Just as he was about to get his sights on the elusive Oscar, his P-38, weighed down by those extra fuel tanks, abruptly fell into a full stall, snap-rolled onto its back and crashed in flames on Negros Island. For risking—and ultimately sacrificing—his life to save Weaver, America’s second-ranking ace was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Sugimoto did not long outlive McGuire. Although he escaped into the overcast, his Ki.43 had been so badly damaged by Thropp’s and Rittmayer’s fire that he had to make a wheels-up landing on Negros. Sugimoto was still trying to extricate himself from the cockpit when he was shot by Filipino guerrillas.

Even as the three remaining P-38s were losing the Oscar in the clouds, a second Japanese fighter suddenly emerged and attacked Thropp. Rittmayer went after the new enemy, which turned to meet him head-on. Given the Lightning’s armament of one 20mm cannon and four .50-caliber machine guns, such a face-off would have been suicide for an Oscar, but Rittmayer’s antagonist loosed a devastating volley that shattered the center nacelle and cockpit of his P-38. As the Japanese fighter turned on Thropp again, Weaver got some damaging shots into it, and it disengaged. Shaken by the loss of two good men, Thropp and Weaver headed for home.

Unknown to the Americans, their opponent was force-landing at his airstrip at Manalpa on Negros. The Japanese survivor of that deadly encounter was 21-year-old Tech. Sgt. Mizunori Fukuda, a former instructor who had recently been assigned to the newly formed 71st Sentai. He had been landing at Manalpa when he saw Sugimoto under attack and without further hesitation retracted his landing gear and rushed to his aid—too late to save Sugimoto, but in time to avenge him.

The aircraft in which Fukuda had scored his spectacular success had already established a reputation as the Allied fighter pilots’ worst nightmare. It had all the virtues of the nimble Oscar but none of its faults—inferior level and diving speeds, weak armament and vulnerability to damage that had made the difference between getting home, as Fukuda did, and crash-landing in the jungle, as Sugimoto had been forced to do. Fukuda’s mount was code-named “Frank” by the Allies, but to the Japanese it was the Nakajima Ki.84 Army Type 4 fighter, more popularly known as the Hayate (gale).


A prototype Nakajima Ki.84 prepares for a test flight. The single exhaust stack appeared on the first three prototypes, but was subsequently replaced by separate exhausts, whose collective thrust, the Japanese discovered, augmented its speed. (Maru Special)

When Japan went to war with the United States and Britain on December 7, 1941, the Ki.43 was just entering service as the principal JAAF fighter. A few weeks earlier, however, army air headquarters was already asking for a successor. Like its famous naval stablemate, the Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero, the Hayabusa was fast and highly maneuverable, but its light construction made it just as vulnerable to enemy gunfire as the Zero, and it was not as well-armed as either the Zero or its Allied opposition. Anticipating an improved generation of Allied fighters, authorities wanted a plane that would combine the speed and climb of Nakajima’s new specialized interceptor, the Ki.44 Shoki (devil-queller, later dubbed “Tojo” by the Allies), with the Ki.43’s maneuverability, as well as heavy armament, armor protection and self-sealing fuel tanks. Powered by an army version of the navy’s new Nakajima NK9A Homare 18-cylinder, twinrow direct fuel-injection radial engine, the plane was to have a maximum speed of 400-420 mph. Early in 1942, Yasumi Koyama and the Nakajima design team began work on the new fighter, which was designated the Ki.84. Their design was approved on May 27, and such was the priority placed on the project that the first prototype emerged from Nakajima’s Ota plant in March 1943.

Like the Ki.43, the Ki.84 was a low-wing monoplane with the wing integral with the center fuselage to save the weight of heavy attachment points. The newer fighter, however, was much sturdier, with a heavy I-beam main wing spar. Both the wing and the semimonocoque fuselage were covered with stressed-skin light alloy, except for the metal-framed, fabric-covered ailerons. Hydraulically operated Fowler flaps were installed under the wing. The windshield incorporated 65mm of armor glass, while the pilot’s seat had 13mm of head and back armor. Armament comprised two synchronized 12.7mm Ho-103 machine guns in the fuselage and two wing-mounted 20mm Ho-5 cannons. Racks under the wings could carry either two 44-gallon drop tanks or up to 550 pounds of bombs. The Homare Ha-45 Model 11 engine was rated at 1,800 hp and drove a four-blade constant-speed Pe-32 propeller.

Secret flight testing began at Ojima Airfield in April 1943, and the enthusiasm with which test pilots reacted to the prototype led to the approval of 83 preproduction aircraft that summer. The principal handicap to the fighter’s development was the Ha-45 engine, which during trials suffered from drops in fuel pressure and the loss of power. The plane’s hydraulic system was also unreliable. While those problems were being remedied, Nakajima’s factories tooled up for full production of the Army Type 4 Fighter Model I-ko, the first of which left the Ota plant in April 1944. The army called for 2,565 Ki.84-I-kos by the end of the year, but continuing problems with the Ha-45 engines held up production until April 1944, when a rate of 100 engines a month was finally achieved.

Using an uprated Ha-45 Model 21 engine with an output of 1,860 hp, the Ki.84-I-ko had a maximum speed of 388 mph at 21,325 feet, a normal cruising speed of 236 mph and an initial climb rate of 3,790 feet per minute. Service ceiling was 36,090 feet, and the 780-mile range at normal cruising speed could be increased to 1,410 miles with the two drop tanks. The plane’s empty weight was 5,864 pounds, while the normal loaded weight was 8,192 pounds. Wingspan was 36 feet 2 inches, wing area was 226.02 square feet, length was 32 feet 61⁄2 inches and height was 11 feet 1 inch.

As the tempo of production rose during the summer of 1944, Hayabusa sentais began converting to the new fighter. The transition was relatively simple, but the Ki.84’s less docile ground handling characteristics caused some training accidents. In flight, its elevators tended to get heavy at high speeds, and its rudder got mushy at low speeds. Nevertheless, once they got used to it, JAAF pilots came to appreciate the Hayate’s better overall performance and heavier firepower.

The Hayate’s debut was calculated for maximum effect. On March 5, 1944, the 22nd Sentai was formed at Fussa, Yokota, with 40 Ki.84-I-kos and a pilot cadre drawn from the chutai (company) that had been evaluating the plane since October 1943. The new regiment’s commander, Major Jyozo Iwahashi, was a veteran of the undeclared 1939 war against the Soviet Union at Nomonhan, and had 20 victories to his credit. It was not until August 24, 1944, however, that the new fighter made its first appearance—in Hankow, China, at a time when Maj. Gen. Claire L. Chennault’s Fourteenth Air Force had nearly half of its combat strength committed in Burma, with the rest supporting Chinese and American efforts to halt a Japanese offensive toward the Yangtze River.

The 22nd had its first fight on August 29, when it engaged a large force of Curtiss P-40Ns of the Chinese-American Composite Wing (CACW), the 23rd Fighter Group and the 51st Fighter Group. As the Allied planes were returning from an attack on the railroad yards at Yochow, 1st Lt. Robert S. Peterson chased what he identified as a Zero off 1st Lt. James A. Bosserman’s tail, while 1st Lt. Forrest F. Parham, who claimed to have shot down a “Hamp” (A6M3 Model 32 Zero), probably downed a second and damaged a third. Lieutenant James Focht claimed to have damaged an Oscar, a Tojo and a Hamp. Clearly the Americans had no idea of what they were fighting, but they proved to be difficult opponents. On the Japanese side, Iwahashi was credited with a P-40N (possibly Bosserman’s, though he in fact returned safely to base) for the 22nd Sentai’s first victory.

Although the Allies had been hearing about a new Japanese army fighter since early in 1944, the Ki.84 came as a surprise, and its family resemblance to both the Ki.43 and Ki.44 probably resulted in its being misidentified in Fourteenth Air Force combat reports as either an Oscar or a Tojo. Over the next five weeks, the 22nd Sentai ran roughshod over the best opposition the Allies could offer. The regiment’s Ki.84s also joined in attacks on 90 China-based Boeing B-29s of the Twentieth Air Force’s XX Bomber Command, which dropped 206 tons of bombs on the Showa steel works in Anshan, Manchuria, on September 8. One B-29 was shot down during the raid, four others were damaged and two were forced to land in China, one of which was subsequently strafed on the ground by Japanese fighters. Superfortress gunners claimed eight enemy fighters.

Major Iwahashi was leading a strafing attack at Xian airfield on September 21 when he was hit by groundfire. Apparently deciding that he could not make it back, the 22nd Sentai’s commander dived his Hayate into the ground. According to some witnesses, he tried to crash into an enemy fighter parked on the field.

The 22nd’s rampage over China suddenly ended in October 1944, when it was transferred to Leyte to counter the imminent American invasion of the Philippines. In addition to that unit, the 51st, 52nd, 71st, 72nd, 73rd and 200th sentais were formed to use the Ki.84 in the Philippines, as were the veteran 1st and 11th sentais, which exchanged their old Hayabusas for Hayates that fall.

Meanwhile, on August 25, the 103rd Sentai had been formed for home defense, followed by the 101st and 102nd on Okinawa, and the 104th in Manchuria. The 85th Sentai in China began to supplement its Ki.44s with new Ki.84s in September, and the Shoki-equipped 29th and Hayabusa-equipped 50th sentais had also changed over to the Hayate by the end of the year. In sum, 1,670 Ki.84s had become operational in nine months, with 373 delivered in December 1944—the highest monthly production of any Japanese army plane.

One of the Ki.84’s most notable exponents was Captain Yukiyoshi Wakamatsu, commander of the 2nd Chutai, 85th Sentai, based at Canton. Although he had served in the JAAF since 1939, Wakamatsu did not come into his stride until July 24, 1943, when he shot down two Curtiss P-40s of the 74th Squadron, 23rd Fighter Group, over Kweilin while flying a Ki.44. He accounted for 11 more Allied aircraft while flying the Shoki. Just days after transitioning to the Hayate, he downed two North American P-51B Mustangs of the 23rd Group’s 76th Squadron over Wuchow on October 4, 1944, raising his tally to 15.

More than an ace, Wakamatsu was an inspiring leader whose disciples included Warrant Officer Akiyoshi Nomura. Soon after trading in his Shoki for a Hayate, Nomura downed two P-51s over Canton on October 15 before his own left wing and fuel tank were hit. Nomura bailed out, and on November 16, he claimed another Mustang over Zhaoqing.

Chennault launched his biggest counterstrike of the year against the Japanese on December 18, coordinating his efforts for the first—and only—time with the Twentieth Air Force. When 84 of XX Bomber Command’s B-29s dropped 511 tons of bombs on Hankow, the Fourteenth Air Force’s Consolidated B-24s and North American B-25s added to the destruction, while fighters of the 23rd Group and the CACW flew interdiction strikes against known JAAF airbases.

The Japanese had anticipated the attack, and Wakamatsu’s 2nd Chutai had moved to the satellite airfield outside Wuchang, to reinforce the 85th Sentai’s 1st Chutai at Hankow. Reports of oncoming B-29s sent Wakamatsu rushing skyward to intercept, but he was still retracting his landing gear when he was attacked by 10 of his old enemies, Mustangs of the 23rd Fighter Group, and shot down. He was probably the victim of the group’s deputy commander, Lt. Col. Charles H. Older, or Captain Philip G. Chapman of the 74th Fighter Squadron, both of whom claimed an Oscar over the Wuchang satellite field. At the time of his death, Wakamatsu had 18 victories, half of them allegedly P-51s.

The rest of the 85th Sentai’s fighters engaged the B-29s and their escorts over Hankow but were overwhelmed by the combined American fire power, Nomura was the only pilot of his regiment to return from the air battle alive and unwounded. Later operating from Seoul, Korea, Nomura participated in the 85th Sentai’s last combat on August 13, 1945, and survived the war with 10 victories.

Back at Ota, Nakajima’s design team continued to develop the Ki.84 in two different directions—to improve its performance and reliability, and to adapt it to the growing problems of Japan’s besieged industrial capabilities. The Ha-45 Model 11 engine was replaced by the 1,825-hp Model 12, then by the fuel-injected 1,970-hp Model 23—the latter of which finally eliminated the fuel pressure problem. Armament was also increased—four 20mm Ho-5 cannons in the Ki.84-I-otsu, and two wing-mounted 30mm Ho-105s in an antibomber variant called the Ki.84-I-hei. To conserve light alloy, Nakajima designed the Ki.84-II HayateKai, which had a wooden rear fuselage and wingtips, and which entered service in the late spring of 1945. Even more wood was to be used in the Ki.106, which was ordered on September 8, 1943, but the first three prototypes were not completed and flown until July 1945. Another attempt to economize on the Ki.84 design was the Ki.113, which used carbon steel for the main airframe components, while the Ki.116 was developed to use the 1,500-hp Mitsubishi Ha-112-II 14-cylinder radial as an alternative power plant, in case American bombing attacks made the Ha-45 unavailable. As late as June 1945, headquarters was considering proposals for high-altitude interceptors based on the Ki.84 design, using supercharged engines, but the war ended before serious work could begin on any of those projects.

In the Philippines, the Hayate proved a worthy adversary for American fighters when flown by a competent pilot. One veteran who was tasked with ferrying Ki.84s to those islands was more than competent—Sergeant Satoshi Anabuki, who had previously flown Ki.43s over Burma with the 50th Sentai. Anabuki downed or damaged six Grumman F6F-5 Hellcats in the course of several ferry flights to the Philippines, and later added a B-29 to his claimed total of 51 victories. Equally remarkable, he survived the war.

Another of the more fortunate Ki.84 pilots was Master Sgt. Katsuaki Kira, a veteran of Nomonhan and New Guinea who was transferred to the newly formed 200th Sentai at Negros in October 1944. The 200th soon came into contact with P-38s of the crack 49th Fighter Group, and on October 29, it lost a chutai commander and eight-victory ace, Captain Masao Miyamaru, probably to 2nd Lt. Milden Mathre of the 49th’s 7th Squadron. While defending a troopship convoy from an American air attack on November 1, Kira took on 10 Lightnings single-handed and was credited with two—though the 7th Fighter Squadron only lost one, and Filipino Volunteer Guards helped its pilot, Captain Elliott Dent, make his way back to his unit on the 15th. Kira was promoted to warrant officer for his feat, but his comrades were less fortunate—1st Lt. Masatane Nakatake was killed that day, in which the 49th Fighter Group claimed 25 Japanese planes. After its first month of combat, the 200th Sentai was down to nine aircraft. By the time it was withdrawn in January 1945, the unit had been all but annihilated. Reassigned to the 103rd Sentai, Kira survived the war with 21 victories.

November 1 also saw the Fifth Air Force strike at Fabrica airfield, destroying 10 Ki.43s on the ground, and at Bacolod, destroying 26 planes and damaging 16 others. During the raids, Major Tsuneo Nakajima, commander of the 51st Sentai, claimed two B-24s. Two days later, Sgt. Maj. Fujio Tsunemi of that same unit claimed two P-38s, for which he was cited and promoted to warrant officer.

The Americans were becoming more familiar with the Frank by November 18, 1944, when two P-38s of the 49th Fighter Group’s 8th Squadron, flown by 1st Lt. Edward Glascock and 2nd Lt. Gerald Triplehorn, left Leyte’s Bayug airfield on a morning patrol. After 15 minutes, Glascock shot down a Zero west of Bayug, but half an hour later the duo encountered a quartet of Franks north of Tacloban. Glascock immediately attacked one, but soon found himself fighting for his life against this faster, well-handled adversary. He eventually drove his opponent down, but young Triplehorn was outfought, and after trying to nurse his riddled Lightning back to Tacloban, crashed into the mountains and died. Glascock managed to disengage from the remaining Hayates and returned alone.

In addition to its primary fighter role, the Ki.84 was used as a dive-bomber, carrying 66-pound or 110-pound bombs under the wing racks. In spite of its inherent merits, however, the Hayate was still outnumbered, and the lax production standards that attended its rush into service resulted in chronic hydraulic malfunctions, brake failures, broken landing gear legs and a general maintenance headache for the ground crews. Although the Hayates gave a good account of themselves, steady attrition—as much due to operational malfunctions as to combat—effectively drove them from the Philippine skies. By March 1945, the 73rd Sentai had been virtually annihilated. In that same month, however, three more sentais were equipped with Ki.84s—the 20th on Formosa, the 13th in Indochina and the 25th in China.

By then, U.S. Navy carrier planes had joined the B-29s in striking at the Japanese Home Islands. During one such raid on Kure naval base on March 19, Sgt. Maj. Yukio Shimokawa, a 16-victory ace who was serving as a ferry pilot at Ozuki airfield while recovering from wounds—including the loss of an eye—jumped into a Ki.84 and led nine Ki.43s to intercept the Americans. The Japanese were in turn jumped by F6F-5s of VF-17 from the carrier Hornet, which wiped out the entire flight. Shimokawa damaged two Hellcats before being shot down by Lt. j.g. Tillman E. Pool. Shimokawa bailed out just as his plane exploded, and though badly burned, he survived.

On April 1, the Americans invaded Okinawa. The 47th, 52nd, 101st and 102nd sentais rose to the island’s defense, but they were soon overwhelmed in a series of preliminary sweeps by Hellcats and Vought F4U-1A Corsairs.

In the early morning hours of April 16, 11 Hayates of the 103rd Sentai’s 3rd Chutai set out to bomb airfields that the Americans had established on the island at Yontan and Kadena. Radar detected the incoming marauders, and two were intercepted and shot down by F6F-5N Hellcats of Yontan-based Marine night fighter squadron VMF(N)-542, flown by 2nd Lts. Arthur Arceneaux and William E. Campbell. The rest pressed on and caused some damage to the airfields, but on the way back, they encountered F6F-5s from VF-17. Lieutenant junior grade Murray Winfield, who had downed an Oscar in the March 19 fight, added a Frank to his score, while Lt. j.g. Charles E. Watts shot down two. Only three Ki.84s returned, including 1st Lt. Shigesayu Miyamoto, who was wounded but managed to force-land in an inlet on Tokuno Island.

The growing disparity in training between American and Japanese pilots was shown on April 17, when Lieutenant Eugene A. Valencia of carrier Yorktown’s VF-9 shot down six Franks, probably downed a seventh and damaged another, while his wingman, Lt. j.g. Clinton Lamar Smith, accounted for one Frank and one probable. JAAF pilot losses totaled eight that day, including Captain Masao Suenaga, commander of the 101st Sentai, and 1st Lt. Kanji Nagakura of the 102nd. Valencia’s well-drilled four-man “Flying Circus” struck again on May 4, with Smith bagging one Frank, Lieutenant James B. French getting another and Lt. j.g. Harris E. Mitchell downing two, along with the Mitsubishi Ki.46 reconnaissance plane they were escorting.

On May 25, Captain Tomojiro Ogawa led 10 Ki.84s of the 103rd Sentai in another attempt to strafe Yontan airfield, only to be intercepted by Marine Corsairs. Ogawa, the only pilot in the formation with any combat experience, was the only one to return.

Assigned to several Shimbutai (morale-raising) units whose actual purpose, like that of the naval kamikazes, was to crash into Allied ships, Ki.84s were primarily meant to escort suicide planes against the U.S. Fifth Fleet off Okinawa, strafing American warships on the homeward leg of their sorties. Often, however, Hayate pilots tried to play kamikaze. The 102nd Sentai failed to score a single air-to-air victory between December 1944 and March 1945, which might explain why six of its frustrated pilots opted to dive their Ki.84s at enemy ships during the Okinawa campaign. Some units defending Japan against B-29 bombing raids tried to ram the Superfortresses in midair.

Their desperation was well-founded. On February 10, 84 B-29s bombed Nakajima’s Ota plant, destroying or damaging 74 Hayates on the assembly line. B-29 strikes on the firm’s Musashi plant on April 20 brought Ha-45 engine production to a standstill, although it subsequently resumed at the Hamamatsu plant and in an underground factory at Asakawa. Training was also deteriorating, with new Hayate pilots going into battle with only about 200 flying hours.

The Ki.84’s ruggedness was reflected in the high percentage of pilots who rammed B-29s and survived. Often they were awarded the Bukosho, a Japanese equivalent of the Medal of Honor instituted by Emperor Hirohito on December 7, 1944. The award broke from the Japanese tradition of honoring heroes only after death. One recipient was Warrant Officer Kenji Fujimoto of the 246th Sentai, who was credited with three B-29s, including one from the 499th Bomb Group that he rammed and brought down on March 13, 1945. After he rammed a second B-29 over Kobe on March 16, Fujimoto was awarded the Bukosho.

Another, somewhat less drastic method of fighting B-29s was employed by Master Sgt. Isamu Sasaki, a veteran of the Burma front who had returned to Japan to work at the Army Flight Test Center at Fussa. When 27 B-29s of the 6th Bomb Group struck Tokyo on the night of May 25, Sasaki took off in an unmarked Ki.84-I-ko. Flying above the American formations, he would select a target silhouetted against the burning capital, then dive at it head-on. In that manner, he was credited with shooting down three B-29s that night (the 6th Group actually lost three planes, plus 14 damaged). Sasaki was awarded the Bukosho and promoted to warrant officer for destroying six B-29s and damaging three, and survived the war with a total of 38 victories.

The fall of Iwo Jima to the Americans in late March 1945 added a new nemesis for the Ki.84 pilots as they tried to stop the waves of B-29s bombing their homeland— P-38Ls, P-51Ds and Republic P-47N Thunderbolts of the Seventh Air Force. On June 10, 300 Tokyo-bound B-29s were met by 120 Japanese fighters, but Mustangs of the 15th and 506th Fighter groups, flying escort at 23,000 feet, were ready to intervene. Finding several Ki.84s entering the bomber stream, Major Robert W. Moore, commander of the 15th Group’s 45th Fighter Squadron, attacked one, but it escaped in a split-S maneuver. Latching onto another’s tail, “Todd” Moore was led on a merry chase involving turns, chandelles and a 700-foot power dive before he finally saw pieces fly off his quarry and the Frank plunged earthward, probably killing the 52nd Sentai’s commander, Captain Shiro Ban-nai.

Even as late as August 8, however, Hayate pilots could prove to be full of fight. When 44 P-47Ns of the 318th Fighter Group escorted the 58th Bomb Wing’s B-29s over Yawata, Kyushu, they got into a running battle with some aggressive Ki.84s. Four Franks were claimed by 1st Lt. Edward M. Freeman, 1st Lt. Robert W. Redfield, 2nd Lt. William J. Cuneo and 2nd Lt. Frederick S. Johnson, but the group lost four Thunderbolts and three pilots: 2nd Lts. Lloyd Henley Jr., Harley C. Kempter and Churchill A. Marvin. One of the last actions of the 318th Group occurred on August 14, when Captain Douglas V. Currey of the 333rd Squadron damaged a Kawasaki Ki.61, then spotted a lone Frank 10 miles east of Osaka and poured tracers into its fuselage. Currey reported seeing the Japanese pilot bail out before he rejoined his flight on the long trip back to Ie Shima, but his victim, Warrant Officer Kenji Fujimoto, was in fact killed.

On the following day, Emperor Hirohito announced Japan’s unconditional surrender and ordered all units to stand down. By then, the Ki.84 was numerically the JAAF’s most important fighter, with a total 3,470 built. Representing a brilliantly executed change in Japanese fighter doctrine, the Hayate was never outclassed by its opponents, but the situation under which it entered service hobbled its ability to reverse Japan’s already doomed war effort.

The Hayate was impressive enough with a good pilot and adequate maintenance, but only after the war did the Americans learn how much deadlier an opponent they might have faced. In 1946 a Ki.84-I-ko of the 11th Sentai’s 2nd Chutai that had been captured intact at Clark Field, Luzon, underwent 111⁄2 hours of flight testing at Wright Field, near Dayton, Ohio. Although its shoddy construction and recurrent hydraulic problems gave the Americans as much trouble as they had given its original owners, the evaluators’ ultimate conclusion was that the “Hayate was essentially a good fighter which compared favorably with the P-51H Mustang and the P-47N Thunderbolt. It could outclimb and outmaneuver both fighters, turning inside them with ease, but both P-51H and P-47N enjoyed higher diving speeds and marginally higher top speeds.”

That the earliest model of the Ki.84 had compared so well with the latest models of Mustang and Thunderbolt said volumes about the soundness of its design. Of equal significance was the fact that this Hayate was using 100 octane fuel for probably the first time in its career—the Franks that the Americans had met in combat used lower-grade 80 octane fuel, often tainted with dirt, water and the odd tropical insect.

After its evaluation program ended in June 1946, the Ki.84 was passed on to the National Air Museum of the Smithsonian Institute until funding limitations led to its being passed on to the Ontario Air Museum at Claremont, Calif., which allowed it to be flown in a film or two. Finally, in 1973, it was acquired by Morinao Gokan, president of the Japanese Owner Pilots’ Association, who brought the last Hayate home. It is currently preserved at the Chiran Kamikaze Memorial Museum in Kagoshima.

For further reading, senior editor Jon Guttman suggests: Japanese Army Air Force Fighter Units and Their Aces, 1931-1945, by Ikuhito Hata,Yasuho Izawa and Christopher Shores and Japanese Army Air Force Aces, 1937-45, by Henry Sakaida.

Originally published in the May 2006 issue of Aviation History. To subscribe, click here.


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