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Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa, Vol II

...from Kagero, via Casemate

Title: Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa, Vol II
Author: Dariusz Paduch
Publisher: Kagero
ISBN: 978-83-66673-93-9

This Monograph from Kagero is the second volume on the Ki-43, an 80-page soft-cover book. A mix of text, archive images and some fine colour profile artwork.
The introduction includes what I found to be a very clear and helpful explanation of the organisation of the Japanese air units, from squadrons through to groups, and how it adapted during the war. Then the bulk of the book lays out the various stories of the performance of the Ki-43 in the different areas that it saw combat during WW2. The first examples issued to squadrons suffered from weak structural elements which needed to be corrected. Starting from 1941 it saw action in Malaya & Singapore. In the same early war period, the Ki043 also saw combat in the Dutch East Indies. These are followed by Burma in the period from 1941 through to 1945. Next come New Guinea and Guadalcanal, 1942-1944 before getting to China, 1942-45. Everything gets rounded off by a look at event in other areas which were not as significant as the others previously covered, and finally some were used by foreign countries once they were captured. So Thailand operated the Ki-43, as did France, who used them against the Viet Minh in Vietnam during 1946. All these sections have an assortment of stories about the pilots who flew this aircraft during the war, often against aircraft that were no longer used as front-line machines in Europe. Opposition included the likes of Bristol Blenheims and the Curtis Mohawk, among many others. There is one story of an attack on B-24 bombers where the pilot attacked & was able to catch them up again for more passes. In one of these he elected to ram a B-24, which he describes. In this instance his aircraft was not destroyed by the ramming, and he managed to survive. Every section includes a good number of archive images, none of which I could remember seeing before. Some of them in service, some crash landed and others captured after they had been abandoned. Even tough the photos are in black & white, the various camouflage schemes are clear, along with the wear on many of them. The final 4-pages of the book, plus the back cover, have some very nice colour profile artwork, plenty to tempt the modellers among us.
I found this interesting reading and some of the missions flown to give an insight into the wide spectrum of operations these aircraft had to fly.
Thanks to the distributors, Casemate, for the review copy.


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