The Aircraft of
by Yukinobu Nishikawa
Ki-61 type Hei “Hien” s/n 3295
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Captain Kobayashi was the
one of youngest commanders of a fighter group in the Japanese Imperial
Army Air Force in the World War II, eventually reaching the rank of
Major. He was commander of 244th group and his mission was the defense
of the capital city “Tokyo” against US air raids, especially against
B29’s. He used several aircraft while leading 244th group, and photo
pictures some of them are remaining and these are resources of my
From mid of 1943 to around May of 1945, 244th group used Ki-61-I “Hien”
Type “Kou” (A), “Otsu” (B), “Hei” (C) and “Tei” (D).
Profile of “Hien” s/n 3295 at January 1945 (title image)
“Hien” s/n 3295 is the
type “Hei”(C), which has 2 wing mounted imported MG151/20 machine guns
and 2 nose mounted 12.7mm machine guns. In the case of his machine, 2 of
nose mounted 12.7mm machine guns were removed to improve maneuverability
and speed, and the gun openings were covered by leather. Originally,
this aircraft wore a natural metal surface with light blue line on the
fuselage as an identification of commander, but one time 244th group
moved to their base and at that time camouflage was required. Painting
was applied in a short time some of dark green spots covered blue line.
He needed personal identification, so the white line was given to his
machine. s/n3295 was lost at fighting with B29 on January 27, 1945 on
the Tokyo area when Captain Kobayashi intentionally rammed a B-29. On
that day, he bailed out of his damaged aircraft and survived without
major injury. The marking on the fin is the insignia of 244th group.
Profile of “Hien” s/n 4024 at January 1945
“Hien” s/n 4024 was often
used by Captain Kobayashi and type of this aircraft is “Tei” (D). “Tei”
(D) has 2 nose mounted 20mm machine guns and 2 wing mounted 12.7mm
machine guns. These 20mm MG’s were Japanese design model and nose of
type “Tei” (D) is longer than previous types of “Hien” because bigger
size machine guns needed extra space for mounting.
Profile of “Hien” s/n 4024 at February 1945
s/n 4024 had maintenance might be in later half of January 1945 and
during this maintenance, painting of this machine was removed and
wireless communication system might be changed so that antenna mast was
The red line was given on
the fuselage as an identification of the commander. His aerial victories
were marked on the side of the cockpit, one of them showed his crashed
Please refer enlarged
profile (click thumbnail to right to view larger image)
Profile of “Hien” s/n 4024 at March 1945
In the March 1945, US
Navy task force came to the Pacific coast of Japan, and the head quarter
of Japanese Army Air Force ordered all groups in Tokyo area to attack
them. The 244th group was a part of this attacking force, Captain
Kobayashi had text on the fin of his aircraft as his message “ We must
win” in Japanese kanji letter.
Also, the front edge of
wing was painted red color to identify himself to his wingmen. However,
the Japanese Army Air Forces did not contact the US Navy task force, so
these aircraft returned safely to their base.
Group” subtitles “A Pictorial History of the 244th Sentai, Tokyo’s
Defenders” by Takashi Sakurai. Dainippon Kaiga Co., Ltd
Famous air planes
of the world No.17 “ Ki-61 Hien” Bunrindo Co., Ltd.
Model Art No.652
Issued March 2004 Model Art Co., Ltd.
I would like to say thank
you very much to Mr. Takashi Sakurai, who is the author of the “Hien
Fighter group”. He gave me some quite helpful suggestions, when I was
completing these profiles.
In his book, there are many high quality photo pictures of “Hien” of
244th group, which were taken a famous photographer for a kind of
advertisement purpose of Japanese Army.
Most of the articles in this book are written in both Japanese and
English so that even people who are not native Japanese can read article
for each photo picture. This is quite a helpful book when modelers who
want to make a model of Ki-61 series.
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Page Created 14 July, 2005
14 July, 2005
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