I was flying over the industrial area of northern Kyushu. The unit commander gave the order “Enemy planes invading an important area! Every flight attack!” At the same time, ground searchlights in the area lit up the sky.
Finally I sighted an enemy four engine bomber. I was scared! It was known that the B-29 was a huge plane, but when I saw my opponent it was much larger than I had ever expected. There was no question that when compared with the B-17, the B-29 was indeed a “Superfortress”! The figure that appeared in the searchlight made me think of a great whale in the ocean. I was just astounded by its size.
First Lieutenant Isamu Kashiide’s first impression of the B-29 Superfortress
The image is of the captured p-51 fighter “Evalina”. I believe it was captured over China by the IJA.
“I had such confidence with this P-51 that I feared no Japanese fighters.”
The Japanese’s impression of the Mustang was that it was an excellent all-round aircraft with no major fault and excellent equipment. The absence of oil leaks was surprising to most, as all Japanese engines leaked to some extent. Several pilots were invited to fly the fighter. Among them was Yohei Hinoki, one of the first to shoot down a Mustang in November 1943. (A few days later, he himself was shot down by a Mustang and lost a leg. Eventually returning to combat with an artificial leg, he ended the war with a dozen victories):
“A Royal Air Force officer examining a Japanese Kawasaki Ki-45 Toryu fighter/ground attack aircraft (known to the Allies as a “Nick”). This was one of a number of aircraft abandoned at Kallang Airport, Singapore.”
The Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa (“Peregrine Falcon”) was a single-engine land-based tactical fighter used by the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force in World War II. The Allied reporting name was “Oscar”, but it was often called the “Army Zero” by American pilots for its side-view resemblance to the Mitsubishi A6M Zero that was flown by the Japanese Navy. Like the Japanese A6M Zero, the radial-engined Ki-43 was light and easy to fly and became legendary for its combat performance in East Asia in the early years of the war. It could outmaneuver any opponent, but did not have armor or self-sealingtanks, and its armament was poor until its final version, which was produced as late as 1945.Allied pilots often reported that the nimble Ki-43s were difficult targets but burned easily or broke apart with few hits. In spite of its drawbacks, the Ki-43 shot down more Allied aircraft than any other Japanese fighter and almost all the JAAF’S aces achieved most of their kills in it.
The Japanese painted a decoy B-29 with a 300-foot wingspread, so scaled that it appears to be flying at several thousand feet, on the Tien Ho airfield in China on March 9, 1945. From a great altitude the decoy gives the illusion of a B-29 in flight with flames streaming from its port inboard engine. The Japanese figured other allied planes would drop down to assist and become targets for the heavy concentration of flak and AA they had set up in the area.
Ki-43-II Oscar of the Royal Thai Air Force in 1944. The insignia is that of the Thai Royal House. It’s painted over the Hinomaru underwing. The Japanese white-outlined “meatballs” are still above the wings. Camouflage is dark green-dark brown patches with light grey streaks.