Sunday 29 April 2012

Questions #2

Our dedicated fan Harold K from the States sent us the following:

"Perhaps the Arawasi files or a blog reader can provide some information about the service record of the Aichi E10A (Hank) flying boat.
I have read that this type was taken out of service before the Pearl Harbor attack. I assume that means front line service (replaced by the E11A); but I would expect that some continued into the Pacific War period as trainers or on other second-line duties. Can anyone confirm that?
Is it know if the E10A saw any combat use against Chinese forces during the years (1936 to 1941) that it was a front line type?"

ARAWASIブログの読者 Harold K さんからメッセージを受け取りました。


Mitsubishi J2M "Raiden" (Jack)

A NARA photo of what looks like a Mitsubishi J2M3 found at the end of the War in Japan probably in the Mitsubishi factory in Suzuka, Mie prefecture, where "Raiden" production was concentrated after the Summer of 1944. Suzuka is famous for its F1 racing circuit. 
Although revealing a lot of details of the Kasei 23a engine, this particular photo is surprisingly not often reproduced in books.

Saturday 28 April 2012

Questions #1

Our good friend from Croatia, Marko Soletic, sent us some very interesting questions that we thought would be worthwhile to reply in public.

1 - Mitsubishi Ki-71. It was allegedly a version of the Mitsubishi Ki-51 "Sonia", but I've never seen a photo of this plane. Do you know if there are any?

Answer: Only three prototypes of this "Sonia" version with retractable landing gear and a more powerful Ha-112, 1500hp engine were built but no known photos of them have ever surfaced.

2 - Mitsubishi K3M "Pine" and other versions. Is there any recommendable publication which could help me tell the differences between all the "Pine" versions? I purchased 4 AZ Models kits, one for each version but I'm lucking proper documentation to complete the project.

Answer: There are no publications dedicated to the "Pine". It's a very camera-shy aircraft and there are very few photos around. We'll try to post some in a separate posting.

3 - Kawasaki Ki-61-IIKAI. RS Models recently released two kits of this version, razorback and bubbletop. To my surprise, their outline form is not the same as the Fine Molds kits and they appear to have larger wing span; Fine Molds kits have the same span as Ki-61.
Which is correct then? I know that Ki-61-II had larger span, but this was later brought back to standard Ki-61 wing in KAI version. Therefore, I am a bit puzzled now by these new kits. And also, I never saw a picture of Ki-61-II with large wing. Are there any?

4 - Kawasaki Ki-60. According to publications, all 3 prototypes were externally different in aspects of cowlings, wings and maybe something else too, but I can't tell any difference from the photos. Since I have RS models kits of Ki-61 and both boxing contents are the same, although they should represent 1st and 2nd prototype, I would like to ask you if there is some proper documentation that could help me modify the kits so I could have accurate representations of all prototypes?

Answer: Only three prototypes of the Ki-60 were built. The first was completed on March 6, 1941. The second on April 5, 1941 the third around May. One prototype was comparatively tested in Kagamigahara in June 1941 against an imported Bf 109E and a Nakajima Ki-44 "Shoki" by Army test pilot Kuroe. The Ki-60 was found easier to fly and land than Ki-44 but when "Shoki" used the "butterfly" combat flaps it had a clear advantage over the Ki-60 in combat. Without the "butterfly" flaps the Ki-60 was overall better than the "Shoki". Compared to the Bf 109E the Ki-60 was found equal if not slightly better during air battle. In the end Kuroe-san declared that the Ki-60 was his favourite airplane. The first and the third prototypes were given to the Independent 47 Chutai (Kawasemi butai) but they didn't see combat. At least one survived the war.
Neither Encyclopedia Vol. IV, nor Akimoto-sensei in his most recent "All the Experimental Aircraft in Japanese Army" or any other Japanese source I checked mention any differences between the prototypes. Only Francillon mentions them but his source is unknown. 
Judging from the available photos I see no visible differences between the prototypes.

5 - Are there any photos of the Kawasaki Ki-102Hei (Ki-102c)?

Answer: Design of the Ki-102Hei was completed in May 1945. Completion of the first prototype was scheduled for July 1945; the second was due in August of the same year. On June 28 (or 26) during an air raid, the fuselage (of the first prototype?) was destroyed. The war ended while it was repaired. No known photos exist. 

Feel free to contribute your corrections, additions or comments.

Thursday 26 April 2012

Vintage magazine cover

Hikoshonen, July 1943

Tuesday 24 April 2012

Breda Ba.33 J-BANC by "Avion Road"

On April 23, 1932, at Haneda airfield, there was a ceremony held by Osaka Mainichi Shimbun to present the two latest additions to the newspaper fleet; a Breda 33 and a Lockheed Altair. On that day pilot Okura flew with the Breda 33 for the first time with Minister of Communication Mitsuchi Chuzo as passenger.
The Breda 33 became the 23rd plane in the newspaper’s fleet and received the registration J-BANC. It was destroyed in Hiroshima’s Army training field (date unknown).
Note that in this in-flight photo the aircraft doesn't carry any hinomaru on the wings. These were added at some later date.

Japanese modeller "Avion Road" shared with us photos of his incredibly beautiful model in 1/72 by French resin maker Dujin. Don't forget to visit his site (HERE) for more civilian and pre-war Japanese aircraft models, more photos of which we hope to feature soon.
Thank you very much "Avion Road" for your contribution to our blog!

Sunday 22 April 2012

Nakajima A2N Carrier Fighter - Hokoku #7

The donation ceremony for Hokoku #7 was scheduled to take place at Tokyo's Haneda airport on September 25, 1932. The previous day a Nakajima A2N carrier fighter was prepared and flown to Haneda to take part in the ceremony but during landing the wheel cover was damaged, so another airplane was flown in early the next day.
Although there was a little rain the ceremony started as scheduled at 10:00. Speeches by the attending dignitaries including Navy Minister Okada Keisuke were over by 11:30. It should be noted that the chief priest of Yasukuni shrine was also present offering prayer.
Navy Minister Okada in the middle of the photo during the donation ceremony.

Following this, Hokoku #7 with Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Funaki from Yokosuka Kokutai in the cockpit and seven other airplanes got ready for an exhibition flight. There were three Nakajima A1N carrier fighters from Yokosuka Kokutai with three Hirosho H1H and one Kawanishi H3K1 from Tateyama Kokutai. The exhibition flight including touch-and-go and mock air combat by the fighters as well as low passes from the flying boats was over at 12:00 after which the airplanes were prepared for a flight over Tokyo. During that flight 10,000 leaflets like the one below were dropped over Tokyo.

The whole ceremony was covered by radio Tokyo under the auspices of the Navy. Although there were no problems with the radio announcer, two of the three microphones used in the ceremony to broadcast the speeches did not work properly much to the chagrin of the Navy.
The amount for the donation of Hokoku #7 was collected by contributions made by teachers and students of 364 vocational schools from around Japan. 1,200 invitation cards were printed and sent to the principles of all donor schools. 5,800 postcards and photos including 800 larger size photos were also printed and handed to all those who attended the Sept 25 ceremony; the rest were used for promotion purposes. Last but not least 10,000 pamphlets were also printed giving details about the aircraft and the donors.
General view of the donation ceremony

On June 3, 1933 at 8:30 in the morning, pilot Shimizu of Tateyama Kokutai was flying Hokoku #7 during training. Unfortunately there was an engine problem and the airplane crashed near cape Taibusha, Chiba prefecture, killing the pilot.    

Sunday 15 April 2012

Hokoku #2 ~ #10

All photos from the Arawasi collection but unfortunately it seems that photos of Hokoku #3 and #4 are quite rare so we would appreciate it if anyone has any to share.

 Kawanishi E5K1 Hokoku #2
Donated by citizens of Hyogo Prefecture on April 17, 1932.

Nakajima A2N Carrier Fighter Hokoku #5
Donated by citizens of Ishikawa Prefecture on June 12, 1932.

Yokosho E1Y Hokoku #6
Donated by citizens of Aichi Prefecture on July 10, 1932.

Nakajima A2N Carrier Fighter Hokoku #7
Donated by vocational schools from all over Japan on September 23, 1932.

Nakajima E4N2 Reconnaissance Seaplane Hokoku #8
Donated by citizens of Kagoshima Prefecture on October 2, 1932. 

Mitsubishi 3MT2 Hokoku#9
Donated by volunteer group living in the Kure Naval District on October 2, 1932
Note the very different style of the inscription.

Nakajima A2N Carrier Fighter Hokoku #10
 Donated by citizens of Saga Prefecture on October 2, 1932 

Saturday 14 April 2012

VIPs - Showa L2D (Douglas DC-3)

In this photo from a vintage publication Maj General Nishihara Issaku (on the left) is ready to take off from Haneda airport with three other officers on June 26, 1940 to inspect whether the colonial authorities of French Indochina are enforcing the blockade of weapons towards Chiang Kai-shek that came into effect after the strong protests of the Japanese.

Wikipedia has good entry about Nishihara and his involvement in the negotiations with the French.

"In early 1940, troops of the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) moved to seize southern Guangxi and Longzhou County, where the eastern branch of the Kunming–Hai Phong Railway reached the border at the Friendship Pass in Pingxiang. They also tried to move west to cut the rail line to Kunming. The railway from Indochina was the Chinese government's last secure overland link to the outside world.

Franco-Japanese negotiations
On 19 June, Japan took advantage of the defeat of France and the impending armistice to present the Governor-General of Indochina, Georges Catroux, with a request, in fact an ultimatum, demanding the closure of all supply routes to China and the admission of a 40-man Japanese inspection team under General Issaku Nishihara. The Americans became aware of the true nature of the Japanese "request" through intelligence intercepts, since the Japanese had informed their German allies. Catroux initially responded by warning the Japanese that their unspecified "other measures" would be a breach of sovereignty. He was reluctant to acquiesce to the Japanese, but with his intelligence reporting that Japanese army and navy units were moving into threatening positions, the French government was not prepared for a protracted defense of the colony. Therefore, Catroux complied with the Japanese ultimatum on 20 June. Before the end of June the last train carrying munitions crossed the border bound for Kunming. Following this humiliation, Catroux was immediately replaced as governor-general by Admiral Jean Decoux. He did not return to France, however, but to London.
On 22 June, while Catroux was still in his post, the Japanese issued a second demand: naval basing rights at Guangzhouwan and the total closure of the Chinese border by 7 July. Issaku Nishihara, who was to lead the "inspection team", the true purpose of which was unknown, even to the Japanese, arrived in Hanoi on 29 June. On 3 July, he issued a third demand: air bases and the right to transit combat troops through Indochina. These new demands were referred to the government in France.
The incoming governor, Decoux, who arrived in Indochina in July, urged the government to reject the demands. Although he believed that Indochina could not defend itself against a Japanese invasion, Decoux believed it was strong enough to dissuade Japan from invading. At Vichy, General Jules-Antoine Bührer, chief of the Colonial General Staff, counselled resistance. The still neutral United States had already been contracted to provide aircraft, and there were 4,000 Tirailleurs sénégalais in Djibouti that could be shipped to Indochina in case of need. In Indochina, Decoux had under his command 32,000 regulars, plus 17,000 auxiliaries, although they were all ill-equipped.
On 30 August 1940, the Japanese foreign minister, Yōsuke Matsuoka, approved a draft proposal submitted by his French colleague, Paul Baudouin, whereby Japanese forces could be stationed in and transit through Indochina only for the duration of the Sino-Japanese War. Both governments then "instructed their military representatives in Indochina to work out the details [although] they would have been better advised to stick to Tokyo–Vichy channels a bit longer". Negotiations between the supreme commander of Indochinese troops, Maurice Martin, and General Nishihara began at Hanoi on 3 September.
During negotiations, the government in France asked the German government to intervene to moderate its ally's demands. The Germans did nothing. Decoux and Martin, acting on their own, looked for help from the American and British consuls in Hanoi, and even consulted with the Chinese government on joint defence against a Japanese attack on Indochina.
On 6 September, an infantry battalion of the Japanese Twenty-Second Army based in Nanning violated the Indochinese border near the French fort at Đồng Đăng. The Twenty-Second Army was a part of the Japanese Southern China Area Army, whose officers, remembering the Mukden incident of 1931, were trying to force their superiors to adopt a more aggressive policy. Following the Đồng Đăng incident, Decoux cut off negotiations. On 18 September, Nishihara sent him an ultimatum, warning that Japanese troops would enter Indochina regardless of any French agreement at 22:00 (local time) on 22 September. This prompted Decoux to demand a reduction in the number of Japanese troops that would be stationed in Indochina. The Japanese Army General Staff, with the support of the Japanese Southern China Area Army, was demanding 25,000 troops in Indochina. Nishihara, with the support of the Imperial General Headquarters, got that number reduced to 6,000 on 21 September.
Seven and a half hours before the expiration of the Japanese ultimatum on 22 September, Martin and Nishihara signed an agreement authorizing the stationing of 6,000 Japanese troops in Tonkin north of the Red River, the use of four airfields in Tonkin, the right to move up to 25,000 troops through Tonkin to Yunnan and the right to move one division of the Twenty-Second Army through Tonkin via Haiphong for use elsewhere in China. Already on 5 September, the Japanese Southern Army had organized the amphibious Indochina Expeditionary Army under Major-General Takuma Nishimura, it was supported by a flotilla of ships and aircraft, both carrier- and land-based. When the accord was signed, a convoy was waiting off Hainan Island to bring the expeditionary force to Tonkin.

Monday 9 April 2012

Showa L2D (Douglas DC-3) - 零式輸送機 #3

A Douglas L2D3 built by Showa on Clark Field, Philippines, May 1945 (NARA).
According to "Japanese Experimental Transport Aircraft of the Pacific War" by G. Picarella (did I mention how much recommended this book is?), this particular plane received the code S15 by the TAIU and the name "Tokyo Express".

Note the Mitsubishi Ki-46-II Dinah in the background belonging to the 15th Sentai. A very clear photo of the tail marking can be found on p. 81 of FAOW#38.

Saturday 7 April 2012

Artwork - "Demonslayer" by MakmunBaban

Excellent artwork by MakmunBaban found here. Small problems here and there but overall very nicely done. 
According to the artist:
"Japanese fighter Nakajima Ki-44-IIb Shoki (codenamed Tojo) of the 23rd sentai in defence of Japan proper 1944."

Thursday 5 April 2012

Mitsubishi G4M "Hamaki" (Betty) / 一式陸上攻撃機

Mitsubishi G4M2Ab (or Model 24 Ko) of the 763 Kokutai.
This NARA photo clearly shows the way the fuselage mounted 20mm cannon was installed and locked. 

The original caption wrote:
"Sgt. H. W. Willis of Beckeley, West Virginia, a member of the Air Technical Intelligence Division of the Air Force, examines the 20 mm machine guns of a Japanese "Betty" which was captured intact on Clark Field, Luzon, Philippine Islands. The plane was very heavily armoured and had terrific hitting power."

Note the cannon magazine he's holding and the antenna of the type H6 radar.

Tuesday 3 April 2012

Yokosuka E1Y3

Photos from a vintage publication of a Navy Type 14-3 Reconnaissance seaplane or Yokosuka E1Y3, of which 102 were built by Aichi between 1931-1934. It has a 4-blade propeller, a 450hp Lorraine 3 engine and was carried aboard the battleship "Kongo" as indicated by the katakana on the tail and fuselage.
Note also the beautifully colourised photo.

Monday 2 April 2012

Vintage Ad

All a good pilot needs is:

Vintage ad from the '30s