Sunday, July 20, 2014

Smack-Down - Unarmed C-47 "Shooots Down" Japanese Army Air Force Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa - "Oscar"

Here's another unusual piece of history you can model.

In 1943, in the CBI theater of operations, a C-47 was on a mission of resupply to some forward-based troops - I can't recall if it was an air-drop or not, but it involved flying low among some very rough terrain.

 C47 BURMA.jpg
 A small flight of C-47s over Burma - this is what the Smack-Down C-47 would have looked like

While not a CBI photo, it gives useful modeling details re: a C-47 in flight

 Burma was rugged country, then and now. This shot is "true" to the colors of the area, and the aircraft marking colors used at the time

The aircraft was intercepted by a Ki-43 (the Oscar), a Zero look-alike that was even more maneuverable, but noticeably less well-armed than the Zero, with just two 12.7 mm machine guns (the Japanese version of the .50 caliber). Still, that firepower should have been more than enough to give a Gooney heartburn.

Anyway, the heavily loaded C-47 went down in the weeds in very rough and "vertical" country, with the Ki-43 doing its best to nail the American. After one pass from above and behind, the Ki-43 pulled below the C-47 ... and the American pilot, with perhaps more balls than brains (but hey, this was a VERY desperate man), dove toward the ground, forcing the Ki-43 to go lower ... it was a smack-down worthy of the WWF - Smack-Down, right into the ground. It counted as a kill, even though it wasn't a "shoot-down," since the C-47 was, of course, unarmed.

This incident is shown on the cover of Osprey's book about the C-47 in the CBI and Pacific, and on the inside cover, the full story is told in greater detail.


Nothing about the Ki-43 markings, but assume they were standard for mid-1943/CBI and you can't be too far wrong. ... 1846030468

In my ongoing and seemingly never-ending novel (the draft is now right at 2,900 pages - think a Web Griffith "series" of novels) about the air war in the Pacific in the first year after Pearl Harbor, I'm trying to make all my aerial combat scenes as realistic as possible - and as historically accurate as possible, too.

So, having learned about this C-47 "put-down" of the Ki-43, I adapted the actual incident to Guadalcanal, and transformed the Ki-43 into an A6M2 Zero - but otherwise, made it the same story as actually happened a year later in the CBI. I've published it as an eBook on Amazon, in case anyone's interested ... ... ar+pacific

However, either modeling the novel or modeling the actual CBI smack-down, this would make a great aerial diorama, especially with the new Airfix C-47 (I just read a review of it in Airfix Magazine, and it looks sweet, with only some Matchbox-like panel lines to detract from it) and the also new-tool Airfix Zero (or the relatively new Tamiya Zero). There are also several good Ki-43 kits in that scale, so take your pick. Those are all in 1/72 - you could also do it in 1/144, as all the aircraft are available in decent kits for that scale - can't imagine doing it in 1/48th, though the kits are available.

No comments:

Post a Comment