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 Marushin Model #S009 Kawanishi N1K2-21 Shiden / George 343rd Naval Flying Group 301st F.SQ. Lt. Naoshi Kanno Code: 343A-15 Matsuyama A.B. April 1945e

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PostSubject: Marushin Model #S009 Kawanishi N1K2-21 Shiden / George 343rd Naval Flying Group 301st F.SQ. Lt. Naoshi Kanno Code: 343A-15 Matsuyama A.B. April 1945e    Sat Feb 18 2017, 21:39

Kawanishi   N1K2-21  Shiden (Violet Lightning)  code name George
Producer Marushin
Model Number -S009
Scale 1/48
343rd Naval Flying Group 301st F.SQ. Lt. Naoshi Kanno Code: 343A-15 Matsuyama A.B. April 1945




Specifications(N1K2 -31):-
Crew: 1
Length: 30 ft 7 in (9.3 m)
Wingspan: 39 ft 4 in (12.0 m)
Height: 13 ft 0 in (3.9 m)
Weight: Empty: 5,855 lb (2,656 kg) Loaded: 8,820 lb (4,000 kg)
Powerplant: 1 × Nakajima Homare NK9H radial engine, 1,850 hp (1,380 kW)



Performance:-
Maximum speed: 408 mph (658 km/h)
Range: 1,066 mi; 1,488 mi (2,395 km)
Service ceiling: 35,500 ft (10,800 m)
Rate of climb: 4065 ft/min (20.3 m/s)



Weapons:-
4× 20 mm Type 99 Model 2 Mk 4 cannon in wings. 200 rounds per gun (up from 100 rounds per gun internally and 70 rounds per gun in underwing boots for the early N1K1-J).
2× 250 kg (551 lb) bombs
1× 400 L (105 gal) drop tank



Lt Kanno was lost when his 20MM ammunition exploded in his wing.   Damaged, he ordered his wing man to fly on to attack the bombers.  He was last seen flying low over the ocean towards home but did not make it back to base.   His was not the first case of 20MM ammunition exploding in this way.   It had been imported from Switzerland  before the war and found to be defective.   While it had been recalled, some cases were still in stock at Omura.   However, when it worked, its impact was devastating.  




The total production numbers of the Kawanishi N1K series includes 90 N1K1 Kyofu , 1007 N1K-J Shiden, & 415 N1K2-J Shiden-Kai.


Introduction and Development




The Kawanishi N1K1-J Shiden ('Violet Lightning') was an Japanese Navy Air Service(IJN) land-based version of the Kawanishi N1K 'Kyofu'('Strong Wind', Allied reporting name 'Rex')  a mid-winged radial engine powered monoplane, with a large central float and wing tip stabilizers.  . Kawanishi had been working on the N1K floatplane fighter  since late in 1940, to support forward offensive operations where no airstrips were available, but by 1943 when the aircraft entered service, Japan was firmly on the defensive, and there was no more need for a fighter to fulfill this role. The idea of developing a land based version of the same aircraft was considered in December 1941. The Kawanishi management agreed to fund development, and work on the N1K1-J began as a private venture. Only four days after the N1K1 Shiden 's first test flight, a complete redesign was begun, the N1K2-J



Assigned the Allied codename 'George', it was considered by both its pilots and opponents to be one of the finest land-based fighters flown by the Japanese during World War II. The N1K1 & 2  possessed a heavy armament and could absorb considerable battle damage. The N1K1 & 2  were evenly matched for most Allied aircraft in the final months of the Pacific War.



.  
The sea plane floats were replaced with landing gear and the original Kasei engine was replaced with a more powerful Homare. The new engine required a large four-bladed propeller, but rather than lower the mid-level wings of the seaplane design to get the necessary ground clearance, the design team gave the new aircraft long landing gear with complicated retraction mechanisms to prevent the legs from taking up too much space when folded into the wings. The prototype made its first flight on 27 December 1942, and the aircraft showed excellent maneuverability and pleasant handling. However, both the engine and the especially the landing gear due to poor quality of  the  hardened steel  proved problematic and the cockpit suffered from poor landing visibility. Nevertheless, the Navy was sufficiently impressed to order further development, and the modified design was rushed into production by the end of 1943 to meet the challenge of the Corsair and Hellcat.

 



The first N1K1-J prototype made its maiden flight on 27 December 1942, just under eight months after the N1K floatplane. The new aircraft was very maneuverable, and it was clear that its overall performance would eventually be excellent   It was faster than the A6M5 Zero and while  slower than the Mitsubishi J2M2 Jack    it was more maneuverable and had a longer range.  . One of the new features fully developed by the Japanese engineers was the aircraft's automatic combat flaps that adjusted automatically based on acceleration, freeing up the pilot from having to do this and reducing the chance of stalling in combat. Whereas flap extension was manually controlled on the Kyofu seaplane, the flaps on the landplane version had the ability automatically to change their angle in response to changes in g-forces during maneuvers. This automatic operation freed up the pilot from having to worry about his flaps during combat, and eliminated the possibility of a stall at an inopportune time. The prototype had been armed with two 7.7mm machine guns in the fuselage and two 20mm cannon in gondolas under the wings. Two extra 20mm machine guns were now added, mounted outside the gondolas.



Work on the newly designated N1K1-J Shiden (Violet Lightning) Model 11 now moved ahead quickly. It was now powered by the 1,990hp Hakajima NK9H Homare 21 engine in an improved cowling. The prototype had been armed with two 7.7mm machine guns in the fuselage and two 20mm cannon in gondolas under the wings. Two extra 20mm machine guns were now added, mounted outside the gondolas. The aircraft entered full production during 1944, and in the same year was rushed into combat.





Only four days after the Shiden 's first test flight, a complete redesign was begun, the N1K2-J. The new design addressed the N1K1-J's major defects, primarily the mid-mounted wing and long landing gear. The wings were moved to a low position, which permitted the use of shorter, conventional undercarriage, the fuselage was lengthened, the tail redesigned, and the whole aircraft was made much simpler to produce, with over a third of the parts of the Shiden retained.







The underwing gun gondolas were removed as well as the machine guns, mounting 2x20mm cannons with 200 rpg mounted in each wing. While the Homare engine was retained, its reliability problems had not been fully corrected and combined with poor quality fuel, it remained a major problem with many planes being grounded or returning early from intercepting Allied aircraft. After Navy trials in April 1944 were assessed, the N1K2-J was rushed into production. The variant was named the "Shiden-Kai" with 'Kai' meaning 'Modified'. Before production was switched to the improved N1K2-J, 1,007 aircraft were produced, including prototypes.



Variants
N1K1-J Navy Interceptor Fighter Shiden Model 11



This was the first, and most numerous, version of the aircraft. It was armed with two 7.7mm machine guns and four 20mm cannon, and a total of 998 production aircraft were produced (including the minor variants detailed below).



N1K2-J Navy Interceptor Fighter Shiden Model 21
The N1K2-J was a major improvement on the N1K1-J. The wings were moved down to the lower part of the fuselage eliminating the need for the complex long undercarriage legs. The fuselage and tail were both redesigned, with the main aim being to simplify production and maintenance. The first prototype made its maiden flight on 31 December 1943, and was then handed over to the Navy for trials in April 1944. The only problem with the aircraft was the Homare 21 engine, which was still suffering from reliability problems, and it was soon ordered into production as the Navy Interceptor Fighter Shiden Kai Model 21. In theory the N1K2-J was produced by a large number of companies, but most of this effort was wasted and only Kawanishi produced any significant numbers, with 393 being produced by two of their factories. Omura produced ten aircraft, Mitsubishi nine, Aichi, Showa and the Dai-Juichi Kaigun Kokusho one, The N1K2-21 was a fighter-bomber version of the aircraft, designed to carry four 551lb bombs.



N1K3-J Model 31 The centre of gravity of the N1K2-J was a little too far back. In an attempt to solve this problem Kawanishi designed the N1K3-J, in which the engine was moved six inches forward.  Two prototypes were built, and were armed with four 20mm cannon and two 13.2mm machine guns.
N1K4-J Shiden Kai 2 Model 32 was given a 2,000hp NK9H-S Homare 23 radial engine with a low-pressure fuel injection system. Two prototypes were built and were armed with four 20mm cannon and two 13.2mm machine guns.

N1K4-A Shiden Kai 4 Model 42 was a carrier-borne version of the N1K4-J. One prototype was built.



N1K5-J Shiden Kai 5 Model 25 The entire N1K-J series suffered from poor performance at very high altitudes. At first this hadn't mattered too much, but when the high flying B-29 began to appear over Japan the Navy suddenly needed high-altitude interceptors. Kawanishi responded with two prototypes. The N1K5-J was to use a 2,200hp Mitsubishi MK9A eighteen-cylinder air-cooled radial. One prototype was under construction, but was destroyed by the very aircraft it was designed to intercept.

Both the N1K1-J and N1K2-J were also produced in ground attack versions fitted with bomb racks. These rapidly became the standard Japanese Navy land-based fighter-bombers.





A very interesting interview with Commander Honda... see what he has to say about the Zero, the 1st Shinden Kai and  his 20MM cannon.... a bit surprising.

Link   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3H_9iR7zvMk


The N1K1-J was seen as a stopgap, and design work continued on the N1K2-J, which went into production in June 1944. The most important design change in the N1K2-J was the lowering of the wings to simplify the landing gear. The airframe under the skin was also simplified. The result was an aircraft that was much easier to produce than the N1K1-J, and the Japanese Navy ordered the aircraft produced in large numbers at no less than eight factories. However, the U.S. strategic bombing campaign badly disrupted production,    and it also prevented improved versions of the N1K2-J from entering combat before the surrender with only 415 of the improved generation being produced  .

Service Record
The aircraft were used  by the  201st, 341st, 343rd and Genzan Kokutais.




The N1K1-J's combat debut came over the Philippines. The 201st Kokutai was moved to Cebu during the period before the American invasion of the Philippines, and soon entered combat. The N1K1-J proved itself to be an excellent aircraft when in the air, and was able to hold its own against the American aircraft.  It was comparable to the U.S. Navy F6F Hellcat to which they looked similar at a distance, and this did cause confusion.  It was able to also hold its own against the Navy's F4U Corsair. However against the USAAF P-47N Thunderbolts, they were surprised and mauled in one of the few encounters between these aircraft. When facing the P-51D Mustangs, they found themselves at a disadvantage as the P-51 had no problems in climbing and diving away from the Shiden-Kais. No  combat comparison information has been found on the P-38


The picture on the ground was less rosy. A number of aircraft were destroyed on the ground, while others were lost when their engines or undercarriage failed. By 1944 the Japanese Navy had lost many of its best ground crews, and so the aircraft suffered from poor maintenance.



As the N1K1  saw service on the Phillipines. Some examples were captured and one tested.  The intelligence services were able to send these updated to carrier groups with known technical data.   The model makers built their with the under wing cannon gondolas.  




The IJNAF sent them to  Formosa where they were used  during the battle of Okinawa, and during the defensive of Honshu against American carrier raids from March 1945 till the end of the war.  It was successful against American fighters and medium bombers, but struggled to reach the operating altitude of the high flying B-29s. that sporadically raided airfields that were assembly areas for kamikaze operations, before orders were issued cancelling further interceptions.  

 343i remained operational until the overwhelming unit losses led to the eventual retirement of the unit. The 343° was disbanded on 14 August 1945, when the Emperor ordered surrender.






After the war, three Shiden-Kais were returned to the USA and these  aircraft survive in American museums.  . The second N1K2-Ja (s/n 5312), a fighter-bomber variant equipped with wing mounts to carry bombs, is on display in the Air Power gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force, at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio. This aircraft was displayed outside for many years in a children's playground in San Diego, suffering considerable corrosion, and had become seriously deteriorated. In 1959 it was donated to the Museum through the cooperation of the San Diego Squadron of the Air Force Association. In October 2008 the aircraft was returned to display following an extensive eight year restoration. Many parts had to be reverse engineered by the Museum's restoration staff. Four different aircraft serial numbers were found on parts throughout the airframe, indicating reassembly from three different wrecks brought back to the U.S. for examination, or wartime assembly or repair from parts obtained from three different aircraft. Serial number 5312 was found in the most locations, and is the number now cited. The N1K2-Ja is painted as an aircraft in the Yokosuka Kōkūtai, an evaluation and test unit.




The third example is owned by the National Air and Space Museum but was restored by the Champlin Fighter Museum at Falcon Field, Mesa, Arizona, in return for the right to display the aircraft at Falcon Field for 10 years after restoration. It currently is on display at the National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

The 343rd Air Group (343 Kōkūtai Naval Fighter Group),



 
Commanded by Captain Minoru Genda(who planned and led the attack on Peal Harbour) that was constituted on 25 December 1944. The Kokutai(air group) consisted of three Chutai(squadrons), the 301st, 701st and the 407th as well as a recon unit(4th Recon using the Nakajima C6N 'Myrt') made up of A class pilots who were flight and squadron leaders, some who had flown in China in combat before the Pacific war, with the best of the C class graduates with up to 500 hours of flight time making up the rank and file pilots. Training the new fighter unit began in January 1945 at Matsuyama Airfield, on Shikoku.  They were provided with as much fuel as required and while they were able get the best maintenance personnel available.  The base of operations later moved to southern Kyushu at Kanoya (April 4) with the invasion of Okinawa, then to Kokubu (April 17), and Omura on northern Kyushu  (April 25) where they saw out the war.



During the Battle of Okinawa, the 343rd Kokutai had the task of trying to clear the way for kamikaze planes as they flew from southern Kyushu to Okinawa during the Operation Kikusui(kamikaze)raids from April 6 to June 22, 1945. The Shiden-Kai pilots fought several fierce battles with American fighters over Amami Oshima and Kikaigashima.



When American planes bombed Kyushu airfields to try to stop kamikaze attacks in April and May 1945, the 343 Kokutai at times engaged enemy aircraft although the Shiden-Kai was not intended for high-altitude interception of B-29s. One of the other reasons why the 343rd was feared and respected by Allied pilots, was that the Japanese adopted the finger four formation(used first by the Germans in Spain some 7 years earlier. Discipline was enforced, with wingmen staying and supporting the leader, however, on numerous occasions, discipline broke down and a melee ensued, with victory usually going to the Allied pilots.



 The book  Genda's Blade does not include any total summary statistics of battle results of the 343 Kokutai, probably due to significant differences between Japanese and American pilot claims and actual losses during major battles.



However, the book does provide some statistics. The Introduction states that 88 pilots from the 343 Kokutai died in battle (Appendix lists 91 names of pilots killed in action), and many individual chapters on major battles provide figures on planes downed and casualties for each Japanese navy ace

Due to production difficulties and damage caused by B-29 Superfortress raids on Japanese factories, only 415 N1K2 fighters were produced. Consequently, N1K2-J fighters were mainly issued to elite units like the IJN 343rd Air Group (343 Kokutai Naval Fighter Group), commanded by Minoru Genda that was constituted on 25 December 1944. The new 343rd Kokutai consisted of the best pilots, The unit was issued the best equipment available and was also equipped with the new Nakajima C6N Saiun, codenamed "Myrt" long-range reconnaissance aircraft. On 18 March 1945, one of the "Myrts"' managed to spot U.S. carriers en route to Japan.



The following morning, 343 Kokutai's Shidens intercepted 300 American aircraft. Many of the 343 Kokutai Shiden force were N1K2s. When the Shidens encountered VBF-17 Hellcats, three aircraft were lost on both sides in the initial attack; one Hellcat and two Shiden were shot down by enemy  fire, two fighters collided in mid-air, and one Hellcat crashed while trying to land. In the end, the 407 Hikotai lost six fighters versus downing eight VBF-17 Hellcats.



More serious was the encounter with VBF-10 Corsairs, when two of the Corsairs were separated from the main formations, and then attacked by 343rd Shidens. Four N1K2s were shot down and the Corsairs managed to return to their carrier, USS Bunker Hill. The N1K2s soon got their revenge, when VFM-123 Corsairs were surprised by Shidens, initially mistaken for Hellcats, with a 30-minute aerial combat ensuing. Three Corsairs were shot down and another five were damaged while three other heavily damaged F4Us which had landed on carriers were subsequently thrown into the sea.



Of the 10 Japanese aircraft the Americans claimed, not one was effectively downed. Two Shidens however, were shot down while landing by Hellcats of VF-9. Many other Shidens were destroyed by American fighters over another airfield, where they tried to land low on fuel. At the end of the day, 343° declared 52 victories, U.S. fighters 63. The actual losses were 15 Shidens and 13 pilots, a "Myrt" with its three man crew, and nine other Japanese fighters. The U.S. also had heavy losses, with 14 fighters and seven pilots, and 11 other attack aircraft.



Five days later, an unofficial award was sent to 343 Kokutai for the valour shown on 19 March. On 12 April 1945 another fierce battle involved 343°, during Kikusui N.2. The Japanese scored several victories but suffered 12 losses out of 34 machines. On 4 May, another 24 Shidens were sent in Kikusui N.5.


The Mystery of the Bungo Straits

July 1945 the IJN's remaining large warships were concentrated near the major naval base of Kure. The ships were effectively immobilized due to fuel shortages and were being used only as stationary anti-aircraft batteries.  Several  were already damaged and the entire area had been heavily bombed and  mined by B-24'sand B-29's

Link  to the  Yorktown and some home movies by VF 88 pilot  Maury Proctor

https://video.search.yahoo.com/search/video;_ylt=A2KLqIQef.NW8kUANRn7w8QF;_ylu=X3oDMTBsOWdjMmRnBHNlYwNzZWFyY2gEdnRpZANWSURDMQ--;_ylc=X1MDOTY3ODEzMDcEX3IDMgRiY2sDM202OTkxaGJhMDRzMiUyNmIlM0Q0JTI2ZCUzREtMMk1fSlJwWUVKVDJseWFHbVFaMTBZQURxWS0lMjZzJTNEbm0lMjZpJTNEcHhDXzRDbnRjQ2VER1hNbzVXZ20EZnIDeWZwLXQtNDUyBGdwcmlkA25rT3paSVFkU3ZxUkxta1hpSW91RkEEbXRlc3RpZANVSTAxJTNEVklEQzEEbl9yc2x0AzYwBG5fc3VnZwMwBG9yaWdpbgN2aWRlby5zZWFyY2gueWFob28uY29tBHBvcwMwBHBxc3RyAwRwcXN0cmwDBHFzdHJsAzQEcXVlcnkDVkY4OAR0X3N0bXADMTQ1Nzc0OTc4NgR2dGVzdGlkA1ZJREMx?gprid=nkOzZIQdSvqRLmkXiIouFA&pvid=31ISZzk4LjE7GSkMVqATgg3qNzYuMQAAAADSa_1O&p=VF88&ei=UTF-8&fr2=p%3As%2Cv%3Av%2Cm%3Asa&fr=yfp-t-452#id=1&vid=531c681dbed6e55672654fca8422d8f3&action=view


Admiral John S. McCain, Sr., the commander of the Fast Carrier Task Force, strongly opposed attacking Kure as he and his staff believed that the ships only posed a minor threat compared to the risk the air crews faces attacking such a target .



The Third Fleet's attack against Kure began on 24 July. US carrier aircraft flew 1,747 sorties on this day against Japanese targets.  The attacks were successful, and resulted in the sinking of aircraft carrier Amagi,   cruiser Oyodo, battleships Hyuga, Ise, and Haruna,  heavy cruisers Tone and Aoba, were all heavily damaged and settled in shallow water.





The shallow anchorage precluded the use of torpedoes.  The British Pacific Fleet's attacks against Osaka and targets in the Inland Sea damaged escort carrier Kaiyo and sank the escort ships No. 4 and No. 30 for the loss of four aircraft.



US strikes against Kure were  resumed on 28 July and resulted in the further damaging of the battleships Ise and Haruna, and the heavy cruiser Aoba. The aircraft carrier Katsuragi which had largely escaped attack in the earlier raid, and the unserviceable light aircraft carrier Ryūhō  suffered heavy damage. These air strikes were among the largest conducted by the US Navy during the war, and were the most destructive of shipping.




The USAAF also launched an attack of the Japanese ships at Kure on 28 July. This raid was made up of 79 B-24 Liberators based on Okinawa. Four bomb hits were made upon the beached cruiser Aoba. The bomb strikes further damaged the vessel, and caused her stern to be broken off. The raid suffered the loss of two B-24s shot down and 14 others suffered damage.


 Admiral Halsey gave four reasons for why he attacked Kure despite McCain's objections.
He believed that the attack would boost US morale and retaliate for the Attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Secondly it would ensure that the Japanese could not disrupt the planned Soviet invasion of Hokkaido, Thirdly it would prevent Japan from using its fleet as a bargaining point to secure better peace terms and Finally that he had been ordered to conduct the attack by his superior officer, Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz.




The Bungo Channel (Bungo-suido) is a strait separating the Japanese islands of Kyushu and Shikoku. It connects the Pacific Ocean and the Inland Sea.   In the English-speaking world, the Bungo Strait is most known as a setting in the 1958 World War II submarine film Run Silent, Run Deep based upon the best-selling 1955 novel by then-Commander Edward L. Beach, Jr.



Allied losses included 102 aircrew and 133 planes lost in combat or accidents during the two attacks. These losses were higher than those suffered by the Third Fleet in most of its operations, and were primarily the result of the heavy anti-aircraft defenses around Kure.  While many narratives indicate there was no air opposition  this simply was not the case

On July 24th the 343rd attacked the long train of aircraft flowing back to the carrier fleet after the attacks on Kure.   The fighters of  VF-49, VF-88 and VBF-1 were protecting the Avengers and Helldivers on the return leg.  

The planned Japanese attack ended up becoming a wild broken up fight around the lighthouse near the center of the straight.   The Japanese attacked first trying to get to the bombers and jumping some unwary VBF-1 Corsairs.   In the fight Hellcats and Corsairs of different units supported each other to beat the 343rd back.  Still at least 3 US pilots were killed and one shot down to be rescued the next day.   Thee may have been a loss to the bombers but it cannot be absolutely confirmed.    Other aircraft were damaged but managed to make it back to their carriers.    The 343rd lost 6 pilots as MIA.  The attrition was grinding the unit down and three weeks later the war ended.    



The Shiden, especially the Kai version, proved to be a capable dog fighter with a great combination of firepower, agility and a rugged structure.   The George pilots by this time included experienced veterans but there was still the tendency by even some of these to break formation discipline, which worked in the Americas  favor.   The mechanical reliability and poor quality often caused many aborts.  During this particular combat there were several mechanical failures when the aircraft were pushed to their max performance.
 




On the 15th of November 1978, a N1K2 Shiden-Kai wreck was found in Jyone Hisayoshi Bay some 200 m (220 yd) from shore in 130 feet of water. Among the fishermen who helped bring the aircraft to the surface were ones who had witnessed it safely ditching  into the water on 24 July 1945.  The witnesses said they got to the aircraft only to see it sink with the pilot inside.  The pilot never surfaced.

This was major news in Japan at the time and the wreck was raised in the presence of 343rd survivors. Due to the fact that the records of the squadron were destroyed at the end of the war who's aircraft it was could not be ascertained at the time..  The pilots had scrambled from their bases on the Kyushu side of the strait  on July 25th  to attack a larger group of American fighters  which turned out be from  VF-49 Hellcats VF-88 and VBF1 protecting  bombers of Task Force 38 on the return leg after bombing  Kure



Six of the 343rd died that day.  One body was found, but it was only a torso and the face was missing, indicating a violent crash.  Japanese custom was to cremate the remains.    However research of records and eyewitness survivor interviews indicate  the aircraft was most probably Muto's.  The fate of several 343 pilots lost that day can be reasonably confirmed from action reports.  





The behavior of Muto after the initial attack led some to think he had a problem with his aircraft.  The N1K2 found in the bay had suffered gun failures in 3 of it's 4 wing cannon. All 4 cannon were set up to fire together in Muto's ship.  The seat and pedal settings were ones that a man of Muto's stature would have used.  No remains were found in the wreckage.



.A museum shrine was constructed and the cleaned up Shiden (it was not fully  restored) along with a memorial to the six pilots who went missing that day, was built overlooking the bay where the fighter was recovered. It is a shrine to all the lost pilots of Imperial Japan from World War 2.  

Museum Links    

http://image.search.yahoo.co.jp/search?rkf=2&ei=UTF-8&p=%E7%B4%AB%E9%9B%BB%E6%94%B9%E5%B1%95%E7%A4%BA%E9%A4%A8

http://www.asahi-net.or.jp/~un3k-mn/kusyu-3432.htm


"George" proved to be a balanced design, with adequate firepower and protection and astonishing maneuverability.The latter came in part from automatic combat flaps worked by mercury U-tubes. It was a match for any fighter in the Allied arsenal. In the hands of the veteran 343 Air Group, it scored well. Unfortunately, "George" lacked the climb rate and high-altitude performance required to successfully intercept the B-29, and the aircraft asked too much of the poorly-trained pilots available by the time it was in production. It also used a sophisticated engine whose production pushed the limits of Japanese industry, so that the engine proved quite mechanically unreliable. It did not help that, by this point in the war, the pilots were being asked to use 85-octane gasoline that included corrosive pine oil. The premier unit flying the Shiden, 343 Kōkūtai remained operational until the overwhelming unit losses led to the eventual retirement of the unit. The 343° was disbanded on 14 August 1945, when the Emperor ordered surrender.






A pretty good CGI U tube film on the 343rd  
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cmE6ofDaRBM&ebc=ANyPxKqblx61mtHSBfLG0AAWbj5Qe9itguHghmSgSdWUbvsdFR4d-iFRT0JZSRpLJ9n8XZkoZ6zW

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If you score a victory but lose your wingman, you lost the battle.
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Marushin Model #S009 Kawanishi N1K2-21 Shiden / George 343rd Naval Flying Group 301st F.SQ. Lt. Naoshi Kanno Code: 343A-15 Matsuyama A.B. April 1945e
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