View Full Version : @Billfish, RE: IJAAF Burma 43-44

05-17-2011, 12:15 PM
Hello Bill,

Looking to make some Burma missions from late 1943 through 1944, and being as you are an authority on all things Aerial & Nipponese I wondered if you had any sources on what the OOB was like in theatre?

I understand that Ki-43s were the mainstay of the fighter force, but what particular variants? I'm assuming that only IIs would have been competitive with the slowly increasing technological gap being brought in by the Allies' Spitfire VIIIs and P-38s. Or am i wrong and many earlier Marks remained on strength?

Also the Ki-44 - was this available in significant numbers?

The Sally is the only IJAAF bomber we have in game so I'm kinda forced to use it, however it's pretty quick so not an easy kill to catch!
Out of curiosity what other IJAAF bombers would we have seen in theatre?

Much obliged for any illumination you might be able to shed,


05-21-2011, 11:20 AM
Hello Tom;

Like your compadre asking about the Philippines, Burma is another area well out of my area of study which is focussed on New Guinea. Cosidering that, take all of this with a grain of salt as I'm just learning myself to make this post.

That said, though the units and actions change to a certain degree things remain relatively the same, so using Japanese Air Force Fighter Units and their Aces by Hata, Izawa & Shores I'll try and answer vaguely in that 2 years is a massive amount of time.

All theatres for the Japanese 'ARMY' saw a rather consistant progression of aircraft introduction......By the beginning of 1943, the Ki-43 (which we would know as the Ki-43-Ic) would of been the dominant IJAFC fighter in any theatre, with very likely a few Ki-27 mixed in due to aircraft shortages. However, in short order by say early/mid-1943 as replacement aircraft and new units rolled in, the Ki-43-II would of taken over as the primary fighter no matter what theatre you're investigating and would remain as such through to the end.

In addition, due to the allies use of heavy bombers you will also always find Ki-45 and armed Ki-46 heavy fighters in limited numbers. Ki-43 were known to down any type of allied aircraft, yet when it came to heavies it would require often of the Ki-43's two guns much of their ammo (and also translating into a lot of time in harms way), so heavy fighters were meant to resolve the issue. Though having some success, just like BF-110's for Germany they would never be as proportinally successful. Never the less as a rough "guess" you could often account for 5-10% of a theatres force using heavy fighters, and by April of 1943 they would begin to enter the theatre.

As also realized elsewhere/everywhere, by mid-1943 the Ki-43-II was being outclassed by the allied fighters and that found units demanding better fighters (as an example by May, 1943 the 64th was asking for Ki-44's). May 7th, 1943, the 87th Hikousentai arrived with over 30 Ki-44 and as far as I know would be the only Ki-44 unit ever in the theatre.......The 64th Sentai however as well as others would not be left out though it taking close to a year. The Ki-44 a different enough aircraft that one would need significant training to transition from Ki-43's, what would not however would be Ki-43-III's which the 64th would convert to in August, 1944, and the 50th would be withdrawn roughly the same time to receive the new super Hayabusa, or the Hayate/Ki-84 and by October would return.

So as to fighters it looks like most units would of began 43 in Ki-43-I with a few Ki-27 mixed in, and by mid-43 most would of transitioned to Ki-43-II. From what I'm finding there was only one or two Sentai sized groups of Ki-45, and that doesn't include any smaller independant chuutai sized groups that may have used them or armed Ki-46's.......By May, 43 we have a single Ki-44 Sentai and as far as I know it would be the only one ever in the theatre, and by august-October, 1944 we would have two sentai that converted from Ki-43-II to Ki-43-III and Ki-84.........Be sure however, my guess is 60-70% of the fighters in the theatre were Ki-43-II.

As a sub note I believe there is some evidence of a Ki-61 unit or at least a few aircraft that served in Burma briefly (as a photo has been found).

As to bombers you would find the typical evolution of aircraft. Ki-30's and Ki-21 eventually added to by Ki-48 dive bombers, and then the Ki-30's phased out for Ki-51 (a rather formidable dive bomber), and though the Ki-21 would be used in the theatre till the end, eventually Ki-49 beginning to replace them.

Finally as to Army points, the primary units would of been as follows.

50th Hikousentai - Ki-43-II, Ki-84
64th Hikousentai - Ki-43-I, Ki-43-II, Ki-43-III
204th Hikousentai - Ki-43-II
87th Hikousentai - Ki-44
21st Hikousentai - Ki-45Kai

Transitional units which would be moved about often serving briefly (many shifted to New Guinea early 1944) and all Ki-43-II units would include the 33rd & 77th Hikousentai.

As to Navy units I can only guess. However I'd think it reasonable to find A6M's as the standard fighter, G3M's and soon G4M's as the heavy bombers, dive bombers like the D3A debatable yet not out of the realm of reason.

I really have little to no knowledge of the Burma area......My best suggestion therefor would be to go to http://j-aircraft.com and ask there. There are a number of very detailed books on the subject as well, and though he has been on leave you could ask on the 78th forum in that I believe Coy*78th*Sentai is very well versed about this theatre.


05-21-2011, 05:19 PM
Billfish, you are - despite your protestations of ignorance - a veritable font of information. Thankyou for clarifying these for me and especially for the links and advice on whom to approach for further information. I owe you a beer!


05-21-2011, 07:08 PM
Some anecdotal information I ran across.




05-27-2011, 11:36 AM
For day to day operational details in the CBI I suggest the three volumes of Bloody Shambles by Chris Shores which should help.