The 4th Sentai Ramming Unit.

by Daniel Russ on March 28, 2011

B-29 Payload

August 1944 US B-29 units launching from Chinese coastline airfields began runs on the Japanese steel plants at Yawata. Two B-29 pilots got a surprise that would portend the very Kama Kazi attacks in two months. One Shigeo Nobe rammed his Ki-61 into a B-29, the Gertrude C bringing it down, and another one the Calamity Sue, with it.

Nakajima KI-61

Hagakure-Tai or special attack units were organized to bring down B-29s. The Ki-61 could climb to altitude once stripped of everything but a fuel tank. The desperation would cost the Japanese almost 100 of these planes although they claim to have brought down upwards of 100 B-29s this way. Best I can tell is about 11 B-29s were brought down.

After a couple of months, these fighter planes had to be saved for defense of the homeland, which all the Japanese knew about.

Strangely, many of the Ki-61 pilots rammed a B-29, parachuted to safety and had to repeat their performance until their number came up.

4th Sentai Ramming Unit

 

Ki-61 Flying Swallow

Ki-61

Source: Various, Wikipedia, Encyclopedia of WWII aircraft, Coffee Table military aircraft books, and X-Planes, blogrolled here

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