WOW316 Kawasaki Ki 61 ‘Tony’ (Green)

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The Kawasaki Ki-61 is a Japanese World War II fighter aircraft used by the Imperial Japanese Army Air Service. The Japanese Army designation was “Army Type 3 Fighter”. Allied intelligence initially believed Ki-61s were Messerschmitt Bf 109s and later an Italian Macchi C.202, which led to the Allied reporting name of “Tony”, assigned by the United States War Department. It was the only mass-produced Japanese fighter of the war to use a liquid-cooled inline V engine and Over 3,000 Ki-61s were produced.

The Ki-61 looked so different than the usual radial-engined Japanese fighters that the Allies at first believed it to be of German or Italian origin, possibly a licence-built Messerschmitt Bf 109. The new Japanese fighter caused some pain and consternation among Allied pilots, particularly when they found out the hard way that they could no longer out dive and escape as they had from lighter Japanese fighters. General George Kenney the Allied air forces commander in the Southwest Pacific, found his Curtiss P-40s completely outclassed, and begged for more Lockheed P-38 Lightnings to counter the threat of the new enemy fighter.

Our green ‘Tony’ flown by Captain Teruhiko Kobayashi an Ace with over 12 confirmed victories once again mainly against the might B 29 Superfortress.