Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien / Ki-100 Book

kawasaki-ki-61-hien-fighterA new Kagero book release for November 2014 has been announced by Kagero Publishing: Monographs No. 58: Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien/Ki-100 by Leszek A. Wieliczko. The book contains 116 pages, 18 painting schemes, 105 archive photos, 19 pages A4 sheet of scale drawings, and two double A2 sheet with drawings.


Fighter Trio

A three-generation trio of USAF fighters — the P-51 Mustang, F-22 Raptor, and F-16 Fighting Falcon — fly over the crowd on opening day of the Joint Service Open House at Joint Base Andrews. Photograph by Petty Officer 2nd Class Clifford Davis, Navy Media Content Services, 2010.

Fighter Trio

P-51 Mustang & USAF F-15 Eagle

A WWII-era P-51 Mustang flies in formation with modern U.S. Air Force F-15 Eagle during a heritage flight at the Gateway to Freedom Airshow held at Helena, Montana. (Photograph by Montana National Guard Public Affairs Office, Sgt. 1st Class Thomas Steber.)

P-51 Mustang and F-15 Eagle Fighter Aircraft

Montana National Guard Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Thomas Steber.


F4U Corsair & AV-8B Harrier

A Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier and vintage F4U Corsair fly side by side over the 2012 Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point Air Show. (U.S. Dept. of Defense, Public Domain, Black Daggers at MCAS Cherry Point Air Show May 4, Photo by Lance Cpl. Scott L. Tomaszycki, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing & Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, Date: 05.04.2012)

Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier and vintage F4U Corsair

(U.S. Dept. of Defense Photo)


P-51B Mustang “Shoo Shoo Baby”

North American P-51B 'Shoo Shoo Baby' of 357th Fighter Group

North American P-51B Mustang "Shoo Shoo Baby" of the 357th Fighter Group. (U.S. Air Force Photograph)


How to Tie Down an Me 109 Fighter Aircraft

Me 109 Fighter Aircraft Tie Down

"BF109 F-1 bis F-4 Flugzeughandbuch", May 1941.


The Japanese Zero Fighter

Intelligence report on a Japanese Zero fighter forced down over the Aleutian Islands and captured by American forces. Source: Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin, (“All Hands Magazine”), November 1942.

Japanese Zero Fighter
Though it now wears American colors, the airplane above is a vaunted Japanese Zero warplane (Mitsubishi ’00), disabled and forced down during an air battle over the Aleutian Islands. Salvaged by Americans and shipped to San Diego for repair and testing, the highly maneuverable fighter has a wing span of 39 feet 5 inches and an over-all length of 30 feet 3 inches. It mounts two 22-mm. low velocity cannon in the wings and two 7.7 guns in the nose.

The Japanese “Zero” Fighter
Plane proves maneuverable but protection is poor

A Japanese Zero fighter (Mitsubishi ’00), which was salvaged after being only slightly damaged when forced down in the Aleutian Islands, has been brought to the United States and repaired at the Naval Air Station, San Diego, Calif.

The enemy plane will be brought to the Naval Air Station at Anacostia, D.C., where Navy pilots will put it through exhaustive tests in order to obtain data on its performance characteristics. Preliminary tests already have taken place at San Diego.

Present plans call for the Zero to be flown across the United States, in view of the difficulties attached to shipping it. Because the Zero’s airframe is a single unit and the wings are riveted solidly to the fuselage, it is not considered feasible to attempt disassembly of the plane. Details of the proposed cross-country flight have not been worked out.

When salvaged, the Zero was painted a smooth light grey tinted with blue and light green, a coloring selected for operations in the foggy Aleutian area. It has been repainted in Navy colors.

Preliminary flight tests of the Zero developed a top speed of slightly less than 300 m.p.h. Later tests may increase this speed somewhat.

The Zero shows to best advantage in a dogfight where tight turns make high speeds impossible. Then its maneuverability and climbing speed come into play.

Around 200 m.p.h. the Zero is very light on the controls, but at higher speeds the controls become stiff. Above 225 m.p.h. the Zero will not make a fast roll because of this stiffness. At 380 m.p.h., in a dive, the Zero develops marked flutter and vibration, which may be inherent or due to some undetected disalignment caused by its rough landing in the Aleutians.

Otherwise the Zero is a stable, easy-to-fly plane with generally good flying characteristics. Its lightness is not gained by flimsy construction, as it is well designed. The lack of self-sealing tanks and armor protection for the pilot, which mainly accounts for its lightness, have made its over-all combat record against the Navy’s Grumman Wildcat a poor one. The Zero’s empty weight is 3,781 pounds and its combat weight, without belly tank, is approximately 5,200 pounds.

The 900-horsepower radial engine is a 14-cylinder, double-row design using modifications or direct adoption of many features found in our Pratt & Whitney and Wright engines. The propeller is a three-bladed, constant speed, hydraulic type identical with the Hamilton model. Radio equipment is copied after Fairchild units.

The over-all length of the Zero is 30’3″, its wing span 39’5″. The wings are hinged 2 feet from the tips to allow folding for easier carrier handling. The cockpit would be uncomfortably small for most of our pilots.

Armament consists of two 22-mm. low velocity cannon, one mounted in each wing, with 60 rounds of ammunition, and two 7.7 guns, with 500 rounds each, in the nose to fire through the propeller disk.


B-24 Reconnaissance in the Bismarck Sea

The story of an unsuccessful B-24 attack on Japanese shipping in the Bismarck Sea from Informational Intelligence Summary, No. 44-5, Office of the Assistant Chief of Air Staff, Intelligence, Washington, D.C., February 1944.


The primary function of a reconnaissance patrol is the gathering of information and safe return of the plane.

The following narrative report of a single B-24 in the Bismarck Sea area, which was diverted from its primary reconnaissance mission to attack enemy shipping, emphasizes this principle.

The report of this mission should be a lesson to crew members in what to avoid on a reconnaissance mission. Crew members are usually briefed that their primary job on a reconnaissance mission is to obtain the desired information. This function has been compared with ground reconnaissance in which patrols are sent out into hostile territory to observe what they can and return home without being seen by the enemy. While reconnaissance planes carry bombs in the event that unusual targets of opportunity present themselves, a safe return home is Rule Number One.

One of our B-24s left Dobodura at 0806 on 23 December 1943 to observe the enemy’s shipping lanes in the Bismarck Sea area. The recent feverish attempt of the Japanese to reinforce their New Britain bases made it likely that important enemy shipping would be located. A bomb load of 2 x 1,000-lb. general purpose bombs was carried.

Nothing of consequence occurred until about 1640 when the B-24 was about 30 miles northeast of the Japanese airfield at But. The crew sighted a freighter-transport of about 1200 tons close to shore near But, which appeared to be a tempting target, and the B-24 turned back to attack it. They felt reasonably safe from interception as there was about 4/10 cloud cover from 3,000 to 5,000 feet.

The ship was less than a mile off the Japanese airfield runway at But, moving very slow inshore. Two bombing approaches were made at 3,500 feet and each time intervening clouds prevented release of bombs. At that point in the attack the Japanese antiaircraft guns at But opened up from four points. While the fire was not intense, one burst unfortunately hit the bomb bay. The radio operator was standing there and received a severe leg wound.

The pilot wisely decided to retire before interception came from one of the local enemy fields. About five minutes later, at 1710, while the plane was at an altitude of 4,000 feet, a ZEKE and a HAMP appeared. All crew members were on the alert and in readiness. The HAMP made a pass from high one o’clock, pressed it to 100 yards, and broke off in a Split “S”. His attack was successful for his pass cost us a B-24 and a crew member. Raking right down the side of the airplane, he shot out the No. 3 engine, hydraulic system and interphone, killed one waist gunner and slightly wounded the other. At the same time the ball turret gunner collected three bullets in his leg.

Continue reading B-24 Reconnaissance in the Bismarck Sea

Tojo Fighter


The information contained in this summary should be transferred immediately to Informational Intelligence Summary No. 43-26, “Japanese Aircraft and Armament,” revised September 1943.

New Japanese Type 2 Single-Engine Fighter, TOJO


1. Informational Intelligence Summaries No. 43-49 of 10 November and No. 43-51 of 30 November contained certain previously known details of the Type 2 single-engine fighter TOJO. A recent report has been received that includes sketches and drawings of this aircraft, these being reproduced in Fig. 6. Data supplementary to that given in the Summaries mentioned above follows:

a. Wing is constructed in six sections. It is joined by bolted-type joints at the centerline, and at points 6 1/2 ft., and 12 ft. 11 in. outboard from the centerline, the last-named being the tip attachment. Each wing, therefore, is composed of sections 6 1/2 ft., 6 ft. 5 in. and 2 ft. 8 in. long. No protective or de-icing devices are on or in wing leading edge.

Nakajima Ki-44 Shoki Tojo Fighter

Figure 6: Tojo

b. Fowler type flaps are operated hydraulically as well as the engine cowl flaps. A hand hydraulic pump is incorporated in the system as well as the engine-driven pump.

c. Cockpit is high-set over wing, with little streamlining.

Continue reading Tojo Fighter

P-38 Combat

P-38 Lightning combat with Me 109s and subsequent bail out. Source: “P-38 Combat”, Informational Intelligence Summary, No. 44-2, Office of the Assistant Chief of Air Staff, Intelligence, Washington, D.C., Jan. 10, 1944.


In the following interview Major Kelly Mitchim describes a fight with Me 109s, evasive tactics used and bailing out procedure.

We were on a mission against Capua airdrome, just north of Naples, with 24 P-38s escorting a group of B-25s. There were two sections of three flights each, counter-weaving across the top of the bombers, and I was flying top cover for the last section. Two Messerschmitt 109s came in at six o’clock and when I saw them they had already opened fire on my Number Four man. I immediately broke into them without stopping to drop my belly tanks. My Number Two man, who was slightly inexperienced, lost me and left me there by myself. I came around and tried to drop my belly tanks, but evidently I had blown a fuse because they would not release. The two Me 109s dived on me from about nine o’clock and I turned into them and fired a burst at the second one. The first one slid under my tail and hit my left engine, the left belly tank, and the cockpit which set my plane on fire immediately.

I had been told by a P-38 pilot who had been in combat that the best way to get an enemy plane off your tail in a P-38 was to snatch back the left throttle, throw full throttle to the right engine, and do a right stick and right rudder. I don’t know what it does, but it is something like an upward sliding roll. The main thing that I desired was to get him off my tail, and it did that.

Next I began thinking about bailing out. My plane was burning very badly; smoke and flames were in the cockpit. I smashed the escape hatch and tried to roll it to the left but it would not roll over. I stood up to bail out and nearly got my head blown off. I sat back again but the smoke and flames were now so bad that I could not see my airspeed or altimeter, so I pulled back on the stick and pulled her straight up almost into a stall, stood up in the seat, and rolled out backwards. I think as I went out that the nose came down, the tail went up, and I went under it. I am not sure how it was. I pulled my rip cord at about 5,000 feet–I was wearing an English chute and it worked very well.

There is one point that I think should be stressed to all P-38 pilots which had not been stressed to me. That is, do not smash your escape hatch too quickly. It draws all the flames and all the smoke immediately into the cockpit. The escape hatch should not be pulled off until the moment you are ready to drop out of the plane.

See Also: Bailing Out of a P-38 Lightning