Thursday 30 September 2021

Mitsubishi Ki-21 "Sally" - maintenance

Another maintenance photo, this time featuring a Model 2 "Sally".

Wednesday 29 September 2021

Mitsubishi Ki-21 "Sally" - maintenance

A photo today from the Arawasi collection featuring a "Sally" Model 1 and a maintenance crew member of the Tokorozawa Maintenance School.

Tuesday 28 September 2021

Mitsubishi Ki-21 "Sally"

A nice in-action photo today of a Model 2 flight of bombers ready for take-off.

The photo is dated around March 1943, unknown location and unit, when all the jubakutai were very active in every front in Southeast Asia.

Monday 27 September 2021

Mitsubishi Ki-21 "Sally" - maintenance

A cool photo today of a Model 1 (probably) "Sally" undergoing engine maintenance inside one of the hangars of the Army Maintenance School.

Note the oil tank filler cap on the outboard of the engine.

Sunday 26 September 2021

Mitsubishi Ki-21 "Sally"

A quite interesting "Sally" Model 2 today with an unusual, for a "Sally", camo scheme. 

The aircraft was found at Chofu airfield and it is said that it belonged to the Giretsu. There is absolutely nothing to indicate any connection with the Giretsu, the camo is wrong, there is no tail marking and there are other details that don't fit. 
Sakurai-san, the 244 Sentai researcher, mentions that immediately after the end of the war, high ranking military officers were urgently called to Tokyo. Transport aircraft from various shireibu hikohan flew to Chofu, so maybe it belonged to one of them. I find this as more probable.
The tail marking, though, (if there ever was one, only a hole can be seen) is closer to the bottom of the rudder, an area usually reserved for a number, not a tail marking which would have been applied in the middle of the tail or higher.
A puzzing and interesting bomber.

Saturday 25 September 2021

Mitsubishi Ki-21 "Sally" - "Moyuru Ozora"

The photo today features a large number of Model 1 Ko "Sallys" of the Hamamatsu School, taking part in the movie "Moyuru Ozora" (Burning Skies).
The markings are random. Many bombers have katakana on their tails, the closest to the camera, probably a Nakajima-built Ki-21, has a "ナ" (na), next to it is a "二" (ni). In the row behind them, the bombers have various bands more common with the usual school markings, but note that none of the aircraft has the Hamamatsu School marking on their tails.  
Special thanks to D. Chouinard for stitching the photo.

Friday 24 September 2021

Mitsubishi Ki-21 "Sally"

Another Model 2 about to take off on another mission in Burma. Note the asual ground crew members right behind the spinning prop.
Of interest is the vehicle on the right hand corner. Any ideas?

Thursday 23 September 2021

Mitsubishi Ki-21 "Sally" - Japanese Politicians

On February 24, 1939, 117 members of the House of Peers and 172 members of the House of Representatives visited the IJAAF Aviation Technical Research Department in Tachikawa.
They all boarded a special train at 09:00 in the morning and after reaching Tachikawa station, went to Tachikawa airfield where they met the Research Department's commander Maj Gen Yasuda Takeo* who introduced them to the various IJAAF aircraft types. After 11:00 they were presented with a formation flight of 34 Army airplanes and mock air battles. Following these, all of them expressed their desire to fly, but only 41 were picked for a flight on board what looks to be a Nakajima-built "Sally" Model 1, a Nakajima Ki-34 "Thora" and at least one more aircraft, wing edge visible on the left side.
Among the politicians were Ogawa Gotaro, Minister of Commerce and Industry (maybe 2nd from left in the photo), Matsudaira Yorinaga, President of the House of Peers at the time (5th from left).

Note that the Tachikawa "Sally" does not have any tail marking as was common with most, if not all, aircraft of the Research Department.

*The English Wiki mentions that Yasuda was "a strong advocate of the use of suicidal ramming tactics against American bombers.". The Japanese Wiki page says that when "suicide attacks" were proposed in March 1944, he expressed his strong opposition and that was the reason why he was relieved from duty.
Note his involvement in the "Japanese Atomic bomb".

Tuesday 21 September 2021

IPMS Fort Worth "Supercon"

 IPMS Fort Worth "Supercon"
Sept. 11, 2021

After a skipping a year due to COVID, the "Supercon" is back, and so were the entries, particularly those of a Japanese flavor. The very first example of which I came upon was a nicely presented A6M-3 diorama, the camouflage being quite interesting. Standing out quite well on it's own, was an all white G4M under new management, and a green crossed Ki-51 "Sonia" followed that. There were two nice B5N "kates" and a very attractive A5M "Claude" on the tables as well. Other examples that caught my attention were a NMF Ki-44, a well weathered Ki-84 in home defense markings, a Diorama of a F1M "Pete", and a captured P-51B.
There was one entry representing the modern aspect of Japanese aviation, a Mitsubishi F-1, but it made for an interesting contrast to what is normally seen.
One other thing stood out, or more to the point, two: The tan colored Zeros. I'm not going to say too much about this, I do feel that they are off on the color (A discussion for another time). Otherwise, the models are nicely done.
Overall, a good show.

- D. Chouinard -

Monday 20 September 2021

Mitsubishi Ki-21 "Sally"

Another photo from the Arawasi collection featuring a Ki-21 Model 1, probably Ko.
Note the curious absence of the radio antenna mast on the fuselage and the Ki-27 "Nate" tail on the left. Note also the absence of the whatchamacallit thingy on the tip of the spinner to connect with the starter truck.

Sunday 19 September 2021

Mitsubishi Ki-21 "Sally"

Another photo of a Model 2 Ko in a quite interesting camouflage scheme.

The overall hairyokushoku has green or brown camouflage paint applied on the top surfaces surrounded by a lighter paint, I would suggest yellow as it is slightly darker than the white fuselage band.  
This kind of camouflage was more common with other IJAAF aircraft types in China, so a Model 2 with this camo is really unusual. The pattern largely depended on the arsenal or the depot that painted the aircraft. Unfortunately, no tail marking has been applied and wartime censors have erased the machine guns in the nose and dorsal positions.

Saturday 18 September 2021

Mitsubishi Ki-21 "Sally" - Rikugun Koku Seibi Gakko #2

Here's another photo, from the Arawasi collection this time, featuring a Nakajima built Model 1 "Sally" from the Army Maintenance School.
In the background is another "Sally" with the hiragana お (O) on the tail and a Kawasaki Ki-32 "Mary". 

Friday 17 September 2021

Mitsubishi Ki-21 "Sally" - Rikugun Koku Seibi Gakko

A bunch of photos today featuring a Model 1 "Sally" and flight crew members from the Rikugun Koku Seibi Gakko (Army Aircraft Maintenance School) in Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture. 

In the first photo, a crew member is checking the aileron control rod through the access panels.

In the second photo the crew members are pulling and pushing the bomber on the tarmac to bring it to...I have no idea, starting line? The Seibi Gakko had a black or red (? check here) band with a different hiragana on top to indicate the individual aircraft. In the photo above the hiragana has been censored, but I would say an う (U) or an え (E) are possible. The guy pulling the plane is using a tail wheel tow bar (check here)
Note the Ki-27 "Nate" in the background.

In the third photo the crew members are saluting each other before getting on the bomber. Note the bearded guy, an unusual sight for a Japanese, right? Beards, moustaches and facial hair in general were actually not that unusual for the Japanese officers, not for the common soldiers, as long as they were trimmed and well kept. Being unshaven, was ofcourse not allowed. 
The officer handling the parachute is wearing a sash indicating he's on active duty that day.
Note the overall hairyokushoku of the aircraft and the darker hairanshoku interior blue on the door and the dorsal gunner's position.

In the fourth photo the crew member is attaching the starter truck rod to the spinner. This was not the most common method to start a Ki-21. "Sallys" had electric starters, alternatively they used hand operated crank (see here) and only if the engine was too stabborn or the weather was way too cold, they would use the starter truck. Note the "Sonia" in the background.

And finally in the fifth photo the plane is ready to taxi for take-off with more "Nates" in the background.

Thursday 16 September 2021

Mitsubishi Ki-21 "Sally" - camouflage

Talking about camouflage patterns, here's a quite unusual one, on a Model 2 "Sally. The very bad quality photo with a lot of noise, is from the book "Shashin-shu Nihon no Bakugekiki" (Photo Album Japanese Bombers) by Kojinsha, 2002.

The date is 1943, location Burma, but unfortunately the unit is unidentified.
The camouflage pattern is called "唐草模様" (karakusa moyo - check here). Below is a sample of the pattern.

Wednesday 15 September 2021

Mitsubishi Ki-21 "Sally" - video

Continuing yesterday's green with brown camo theme, a video clip today from the Associated Press collection (actually a Japanese news reel), from HERE, featuring "Sally" model 2 Ko of the 60 Sentai, during the operations against the U.S. positions in the Philippines in 1942. 

In the stills below we can clearly see the two tone, green and brown, camo scheme.

Note the Te-1 machine gun in the nose.

Tuesday 14 September 2021

Mitsubishi Ki-21 "Sally" maintenance

 A quite interesting colourized photo today of a Model 2 "Sally" undergoing maintenance.

Note the two tone camouflage of green and brown.

Monday 13 September 2021

Mitsubishi Ki-21 "Sally" - Army Air Academy

A chutai of Ki-21 Model 1 Ko, of the Army Air Academy (Koku Shikan Gakko) are practising formation flight.

The aircraft in the foreground is named "いよ" (IYo) after Iyo, a city in Ehime Prefecture, Shikoku Island.
Although they have a fuselage window next to the fuselage door, they don't yet have tail machine gun.

Sunday 12 September 2021

Mitsubishi Ki-21 "Sally"

A particularly cool in-action photo of a "Sally" with flight crew and bombload.

The flight crew member is checking his personal belongings while waiting for the bomber to get bombed up. There are nine bombs in front of the aircraft, so these are 100kg bombs. The "Sally" is in overall hairyokushoku without any camouflage, so this photo was probably taken in China before the Pacific War.
Note the fuel truck in the background.

Saturday 11 September 2021

Mitsubishi Ki-21 "Sally" - Hamamatsu Bombing School #2

Another line-up of Ki-21 Model 1s from the Hamamatsu Bombing School, this time in a colorized photo.

The bomber in the foreground has a very low serial number; "120". If that's true and there are no missing digits, then it's a Mitsubishi built Model 1 Ko
Note the three fuselage bands on the "Sally" next to "120". Only the Hamamatsu school used bands like these to differentiate the individual bombers. Ofcourse, also note the overall hairyokushoku, not "silver", finish of the bombers.

Friday 10 September 2021

Mitsubishi Ki-21 "Sally"

A nice shot of a Ki-21 Model 1, showing the nacelles and the landing gear.

Note the Te-4 machine gun in the nose. 

Thursday 9 September 2021

Mitsubishi Ki-21 "Sally" cockpit

A quite dramatic in-flight shot of the cockpit of a Ki-21.

The main pilot is sitting on the port side of the cockpit (right in the photo), while the co-pilot and commander of the bomber is sitting on the starboard side (left in the photo). The crew member behind them is probably the in-flight engineer that was also a fuselage side machine gunner.

Wednesday 8 September 2021

Mitsubishi Ki-21 "Sally"

A cool photo of a young "Wild Eagle" posing in front of a Ki-21 Model 2.

Tuesday 7 September 2021

Mitsubishi Ki-21 "Sally" - Hamamatsu Bombing School

A group of Mitsubishi Ki-21 Model 2 Ko today of the Hamamatsu Bombing School flying near Hida Mountains, a Japanese mountain range which stretches through Nagano, Toyama and Gifu prefectures

Of interest is the bomber in the foreground. It is finished in overall hairyokushoku, the standard finish of ALL "Sallys". To make it more clear, there were no unpainted, silver or in NMF "Sallys". Nakajima Ki-49 "Donryu", yes. Ki-21s, no. One of the major differences between Mitsubishi and Nakajima aircraft.
It is of interest because it is one of the very few photos of Model 2 "Sallys" without a top camouflage. It seems that this aircraft was delivered directly to Hamamatsu from the factory, instead of first going to an IJAAF Arsenal where all the Model 2 "Sallys" were camouflaged. 
The serial number is not clearly visible. I would say "4369" which means it has a Sumitomo propeller, also indicated by the fixture on the spinner tip for the starter track.

Monday 6 September 2021

Mitsubishi Ki-21 "Sally" - 7 Sentai

We start this series of posts with a rare photo of 7 Sentai "Sallys".

The bombers are all Model 1s. Note ofcourse the Kato tractor (here) pulling the Ki-21, a luxury only Japan-based units could afford.
The tail marking on one bomber is barely visible and confirms that it belongs indeed to the 7th Sentai.

The unit's "Sallys" are particularly camera shy. I know only of two photos where the tail marking can be seen. Below is one of the two featuring Ki-21 Model 1 Otsu.

The other is in FAOW#153, p.61. The whole marking is unfortunately not clearly visible in any of the photos. 

The unit was organized on August 31, 1938, in Hamamatsu changing name from 7 Rentai to 7 Sentai. At that time the unit was equipped with Mitsubishi Ki-1 bombers. In the summer of 1939 changed to "Sallys" and relocated to Gonzhuling, Jilin Province, in Manchuria in July 1941. The unit spent the time there training and in the summer of 1942, changed to "Donryu" and was assigned to Java Island, then to New Guinea. Then, returned to Hamamatsu and changed to "Hiryu" in the spring of 1944.
The design of the unit marking included Mount Fuji and a river flowing.