Thursday 22 August 2013

Mitsubishi 3MT10 by Richard Holak

Richard Holak from Krakow, Poland, sent us photos of his exquisite Experimental 7-Shi Carrier Attack Aircraft or Mitsubishi 3MT10. The scale is 1:48 and the model is resin from Choroszy Modellbud.


Tuesday 20 August 2013

Aikoku #141 - Nakajima Ki-4

"Aikoku-ki" (Patriotism-planes) were called the Army aircraft that were donated to the IJAAF with funds from worker associations, schoolchildren and their parents, citizens of cities or prefectures and many other kind of groups.

Obuse Shinzaburo the 2nd, was a rich Japanese born in Yokohama that inherited and continued his father's foreign exchange and stock market business. On September 2, 1937 during a ceremony held in Tokyo's Haneda airport he donated to the Army no less than six aircraft; four Type 95 Fighters or Kawasaki Ki-10, Aikoku #137-140 and two Type 94 Reconnaissance Aircraft or Nakajima Ki-4, Aikoku #141&142 which were named after the donor. In the photo below Obuse is standing next to Aikoku #141, a Ki-4 offering an excellent view of the rear twin Type 89 flexible machine gun mount.

In the photo below, Field Marshal Sugiyama Hajime, War Minister at the time, is offering a certificate or receipt to Obuse-san who not only donated aircraft to the Army but also to the Navy and for this received the nickname "King of Aikoku airplanes".

Sunday 18 August 2013

The other Operation "Z" - October 12, 1938

From the beginning of the Second Sino-Japanese War, in order to cut China's access to supplies from other countries, the Japanese Armed Forces executed a number of operations to occupy the major Chinese sea ports.
On October 12, 1938 about 100 ships landed the 21st Army commanded by LtGen Furusho Motoo which included the 5th, the 18th and the 104th Divisions. The IJN fleet was commanded by Admiral Shiozawa Koichi and included ships like the cruiser Myoko the light cruisers Kinu, Jintsu, Tama and Nagara as well as the Army Landing Craft Depot Ship Shinshu Maru.
Ample air support was provided by the carriers Kaga, Soryu and Ryujo accompanied by the seaplane tenders Chitose and Kamikawa Maru.
The landing took place unopposed in the notorious for the pirate activity at the time Bias (Daya) Bay. The photo above from a vintage publication features two Kawanishi E7K1 "Alf" in the foreground. The tail marking is unfortunately not clearly visible although it could start with a "C".
In the photo below are LtGen Furusho on the left with Admiral Shiozawa. 

Even before the actual date of the landing, Prince Chichibu travelled with the fleet that left Nagasaki and in the photo below he is standing on the left on the rear deck of what I believe is the cruiser Nagara.

Two days after the landing Prince Chichibu went ashore on Bias Bay to inspect the troops and the progress they had done. Note in the photo below the Nakajima E8N "Dave" floatplanes.

Friday 16 August 2013

Civilian Aviation - "Aviation Day" - Douglas DC-3

On September 20, 1941, with the opportunity of the Aviation Day celebrations, Dai Nippon Hiko Kyokai (Great Japan Aviation Society) took the chance to sponsor flights in the Tokyo-Osaka-Fukuoka route for mothers and their children.

"In order to cultivate the love of flight to children, the support of mothers is absolutely necessary. So to dampen any motherly fear of flight, they are all invited to experience flying first hand" as the article entitled "Mothers, please grow fond of the airplanes!"said.
In the photos taken in Tokyo's Haneda airport, Dai Nippon KK members are welcoming the passengers. The DC-3 in the photo is registered J-BDOL and named Kashiwa (Japanese Oak). Note the toy plane and the "air girl" offering "bento" (lunch box). 


Wednesday 14 August 2013

Vintage magazine cover

"Koku Shonen", August 1944 issue. Cover artwork by Kabashima Katsuichi featuring a Nakajima Ki-44 "Shoki". The propaganda slogan on the cover reads "We can destroy the US-UK with our own hands!".

Tuesday 13 August 2013

Hirosho H1H1

A photo from a vintage publication of a Navy Type 15 Flying Boat or Hirosho H1H1, one of the most successful pre-War flying boats of the Japanese Navy (Wiki). This one belongs to the YokosukaKu as indicated by the katakana "ヨ" (YO) on the tail, fuselage and wings. Other units that operated the type are TateyamaKu, SaseboKu and SaeikiKu.
The last one was organised on December 1, 1937 in Saiki,Oita, North West Kyushu, to protect ships leaving the Kure Naval Arsenal. Tail marking of the SaekiKu was "サヘ" (SAHE). 

Saturday 10 August 2013

Mitsubishi G4M "Betty" in detail

Today we present a set of stills from the 1943 propaganda film "Kaigun Senki" (Navy War Record) featuring in full detail an all-around view of a Mitsubishi G4M1 belonging to the 752 Kokutai.   
The 752Ku used the unit marking "W2" on the tails of their "Betty" from May 1943 until the beginning of 1944. The letter "W" signified the 24th Koku Sentai while the letter "2" indicated that it was the second unit in the sentai. The unit was originally the 1Ku and changed its designation to 752Ku on November 1st, 1942. 

On May 12, 1943 US Forces landed on the Aleutian island of Attu. The IJNAF immediately reacted by giving orders to the 752 and 801Ku to relocate to Paramushir island in the northern Kuril Islands. The very next day 21 "Betty" of the 752Ku took-off from Kisarazu base and landed in Paramushir with one bomber having to make a forced sea landing.
On May 23, 19 "Betty" raided the Attu locating an enemy cruiser and two destroyers but due to bad weather their bombing runs were not successful and what's worse one plane didn't manage to get back to the base.
On May 24, 17 planes took-off for a massive bombing mission but again due to bad weather missed their bombing point and instead encountered ten P38s. The planes immediately got rid of their bomb loads and in the ensuing aerial battle claimed no less than eight P38s shot down with two losses of their own. One more "Betty" had to ditch in the sea and the crew, minus three members, was rescued by the Submarine Chaser Kunashiri.
By the end of May the whole 752Ku, 45 planes in all, had moved to Paramushir but there wasn't much they could accomplish since the temperamental Aleutian weather hampered all operations.
In November the situation in southern Pacific was becoming critical so initially two chutai relocated to Chitose in Hokkaido and then to Rabaul.


The "Betty" featured in this series is "W2-365" with two white bands, possibly the plane of a chutai leader or an indication of different chutai (one band-1st chutai, two bands-2nd chutai etc). Other planes with their tail marking visible are "W2-306" and possibly "W2-332". Note the cut down rear gunner's position in the last still.
The exact date and location are unknown but our guess is either Paramushir or Chitose. 

Friday 9 August 2013

Mitsubishi G3M "Nell" and G4M "Betty" Bibliography

Below is a selective bibliography of Japanese titles on the Type 96 Attack Bomber or Mitsubishi G3M "Nell" and the Type 1 Attack Bomber or Mitsubishi G4M "Betty".

BUNRINDO has released four publications in their Famous Airplanes Of the World series.

FAOW (blue) #60, April 1975
FAOW (white) #155, May 1986

FAOW #59, July 1996
FAOW #91, January 2002

FAOW(white) #155 is an exact reprint of the older FAOW(blue) #60 except this time colour artwork was done by Nohara Shigeru, while in the older it was by Hashimoto Kikuo and much better in quality.
The best of all the FAOWs on the "Betty" is the latest #59 with much better selection and quality of photos and better artwork by Nohara Shigeru.
FAOW #91 is the only Japanese publication dedicated to the "Nell". It is one of the best FAOWs ever with brilliant selection of photographs, artwork by Nohara Shigeru and Watanabe Rikyu-sensei and a reproduction of the plane's manual.

USHIO SHOBO has released Maru Mechanic #22 on the "Betty". Although it has an excellent reproduction of the plane's manual showing the differences between the various "Betty" models, accompanied by cockpit and rear gunner illustrations, it has poor photographic collection and artwork (Nohara) compared to the FAOWs. The plane's skeleton illustration though by Kamoshita Tokiyoshi is most helpful to modelers.

GAKKEN has released #42 on the "Betty". It is the best overall publication on the plane of all the above. Excellent photo collection with high printing quality, zoom ins and artwork showing in greater detail the various differences between the "Betty" models and most helpful and visually pleasant CG multi-view illustrations of all the interior of the plane as well as dramatic in-flight views.

MODEL ART has released #406 "Camouflage & Markings of Imperial Japanese Navy Bombers in W.W.II". The book includes an excellent collection of photographs with mostly b/w artwork by Nohara Shigeru focusing on the camouflage and markings of all IJNAF land-based bombers, carrier dive bombers and torpedo bombers as well as a small section on the IJNAF transport planes. No technical details are included in the book.
Types featured are: Mitsubishi G3M (Nell), Nakajima B5N (Kate), Mitsubishi B5M (Mabel), Aichi D3A (Val), Mitsubishi G4M (Betty), Yokosuka D4Y "Suisei" (Judy), Nakajima G5N "Shinzan" (Liz), Nakajima B6N "Tenzan" (Jill), Yokosuka P1Y "Ginga" (Frances), Aichi B7A "Ryusei" (Grace) , Yokosuka MXY7 "Ohka", Aichi M6A "Seiran" and more.

As always FAOW#59 has the best overall vintage photo collection, MM#22 is very helpful technically and MA#406 offers many camouflage and marking options. But as mentioned above Gakken #42 offers the best of all in one book and is the most highly recommended publication on the "Betty". For the "Nell" FAOW#91 is a must.
All the above publications are out-of-print except for FAOW#59 but they are all occasionally available through our on-line store. Email us for availability and prices.

There are three Japanese publications for the historians and researchers fluent in the Japanese language.

"Kiseki no Chuko-tai" (Miraculous Medium Bomber unit) by Higashi Akio, Kojinsha, July 1989 h/b

Reprinted in pocket paperback in November 1997.
Higashi-san was a veteran with Tateyama-ku, Kisarazu-ku, 13ku, 702ku and others flying "Nell" and "Betty" first over China, then from Rabaul, serving as test pilot with Kanoya Aviation Arsenal and having an overall very full and adventurous career.

"Rikko to Ginga" by Izawa Yasuho, Asahi Sonorama, October 1995, pocket pp.
An excellent book by a famous Japanese author on the history of the IJNAF Field Bombers and their units. From p. 470-622 there is an amazing list of all the Field Bomber and "Ginga" casualties including dates, units, pilots and fate. A most important book that could have been a valuable companion to the IJNAF & IJAAF Ace publications. As usual English publishers prefer books about Aces and fighters over bombers because they think they sell better. 

Sunday 4 August 2013

Artist - Fujita Tsuguharu

Fujita Léonard Tsuguharu (November 27, 1886 – January 29, 1968) was one of the most important although little appreciated Japanese artists of the 20th century.
"He experimented with watercolor, inventing a unique blend of crushed oyster shell and color to produce the milky skin tones for which he is still famous today. Stylistically, he amalgamated Japanese calligraphic and ukiyo-e techniques with European Modernism, flattening or eliminating perspective while maintaining a silky sinuous line."
In 1933 returned to Japan after travelling in Europe and Latin America and created a number of war paintings. In 1938 he was sent to China as an official War Painter and stayed until 1939.
The diptych above done during his stay in China portrays an event best described in Håkan Gustavsson’s site HERE.
"On 18 July the 15th Kokutai dispatched 14 carrier bombers and five carrier attack aircraft under Lieutenant Commander Matsumoto, escorted by six A5Ms led by Lieutenant Mochifumi Nango (Class 55), to participate in the attacks on Nanchang. The carrier fighter squadron, however, was unable to rendezvous with the carrier bomber squadron at the appointed place. They clashed with a reported eleven Chinese fighters in an air battle over Lake Piyang and after finishing off a damaged enemy fighter Nango turned to search for a new opponent when another burning Chinese fighter crashed into him. Both machines tumbled into a lake. The Japanese fighters returned to claim 9 victories and two probables with only one loss. Two of the victories were claimed by PO3c Hatsu-o Hidaka. PO3c Ichiro Higashiyama, who flew as number two wingman to Nango and witnessed his demise, claimed two enemy aircraft (totally 6 victories – 6 in China). 
Five I-15bis from the 8th PS at Xiaogang (Hubei Province) had been sent to Nanchang for early reaction to Japanese attacks. In the air battle Lieutenant Huang Qiu was first shot down, and then the Japanese surrounded and destroyed the entire group of I-15bis. According to English sources it was the Soviet volunteer V. Dadonov, which crashed into Nango, escaping by parachute. 
At the same time Lieutenant (junior grade) Ogawa and Satoru Ono (who recently had been posted from the Kaga and was flying as number two wingman to Matsumoto) of the carrier bomber unit pulled off the stunt of landing on the Nanchang airfield, setting enemy aircraft on the ground afire, and then taking off! Totally 19 Chinese aircraft were claimed destroyed on the ground. Ono also claimed two additional enemy aircraft in the air." 
The bombers were Type 96 Carrier Bomber or Aichi D1A2 and the 15th Kokutai at that time had indeed the number "10" as the unit tail marking. Note the vivid colours for the 2-tone top camouflage.

Friday 2 August 2013

Gliders - Flight Endurance and Altitude Record

On February 6, 1939, at 7:52 in the morning two gliders were sling-shot from the peak of Mount Ikoma on the border of Nara and Osaka Prefecture. The first glider was a Maeda 6Ko 2gata with Maeda pilot Oda Isamu in the controls while the second was a Mizuno 301gata with Mizuno pilot Nakano Tokubo in the cockpit.
Right after taking off they entered a huge snow cloud and they started flying blind for more than ten minutes, reaching an altitude of 1,700meters and were pushed by winds towards the rear side of the mountain. Suddenly a strong downward wind forced them into a dangerous spin but even after they managed to recover their troubles were not yet over. Another strong wind pushed them to higher altitude, climbing at 5meters per second to no less than 2,600meters. At that extreme height for a glider more snow clouds made the two gliders unstable while the pilots lost completely their sense of direction. Although gradually regained control they dropped about 900meters and at an altitude of 1,700meters they finally got out of the clouds, simultaneously realising they were 10km away from their starting point at the mountain peak. After reversing course, with hands and feet numb from the cold, finally Nakano managed to land safely after spending more than five hours in the air. 
Until that day the glider flight endurance record was held by pilot Shizuru with 9hours 23minutes, but Oda declared that he would not land without having broken the record first. 
Two hours after Nakano had landed, Oda was flying over mountain Ikoma at about 1,300meters without any problems except for the unbearable cold which numbed all his senses and made him faint and recover many times. At 15:00 he started singing military songs to keep himself awake while an hour later he had some green tea and whiskey ice cubes he had brought with him. At 17:15 he started flying towards Tatetsu airfield finally landing at 17:25 having flown 9 hours and 33 minutes. Not only that but he also broke the altitude record at the time which was 1,700meters by reaching 2,600meters.

Below are some photos from publications of the time.

 Pilot Oda Isamu in his beautiful Maeda glider. Fuselage probably all blue with red tail.

Oda (right) and Nakano with the Maeda glider. The type was built in the Spring of 1938 as a prototype glider for the Ministry of Communications so the inscription on the fuselage side reads "Teishinsho Shisakuki - Hikari-shiki 6ko 2gata" (Ministry of Communications Prototype Glider - Hikari type 6ko model 2). A top level glider for Maeda in the soarer category.

Oda taking off from mount Ikoma. The two pilots had brought their gliders up on the mountain from January 23, kept them in a nearby restaurant and waited for favourite winds.

Nakano's Mizuno 301gata. The type was first built in 1937 and was said to be a copy of the German Schneider Grunau Baby.