Dark Night Over The Chindwin
Fly A KI 45K over Chindwin river in Burma on the night time bombing intercept.
Date: April 1944
Time: 0500 hrs.
Our flight from the 21st Sentai (squadron) has been deployed to the Naukpaw forward operation base in Burma. Unfortunately, our settling in has been disrupted by scrambled call! Bombers have been spotted near the Yu river and it appears to be heading directly here. Scramble your aircraft and head South West towards the threat. We still have another hour before daybreak so searchlights and spotters will attempt to highlight the aircraft as they pass our defense of rings near the Chindwin river. Stay sharp and look for Illuminated bombers!
Intercept the bombers and disrupt their attack before they can bomb our base.
The Ki-45 was initially used as a long-range bomber escort. The 84th Independent Flight Wing (Dokuritsu Hikō Chutai) used them in June 1942 in attacks on Guilin, where they encountered, but were no match for Curtiss P-40s flown by the Flying Tigers. In September of the same year, they met P-40s over Hanoi with similar results. It became clear that the Ki-45 could not hold its own against single-engine fighters in aerial combat.
It was subsequently deployed in several theaters in the roles of interception, attack (anti-ground as well as anti-shipping) and fleet defense. Its greatest strength turned out to be as an anti-bomber interceptor, as was the case of the Bf 110 in Europe. In New Guinea, the IJAAF used the aircraft in an anti-ship role, where the Ki-45 was heavily armed with one 37 mm (1.46 in) and two 20 mm cannons and could carry two 250 kg (550 lb) bombs on hard points under the wings. 1,675 Ki-45s of all versions were produced during the war.
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Historical Background Burma emerged as a major operational arena following the succession of Allied defeats and retreats in late 1941 inflicted by Japanese forces bent on conquering India. They swept through to Burma to provide the means for a renewed assault upon India.
For their part the Allies countered by launching an than the infamous Bang-kok railway could provide. The resultant defeat in Burma was the greatest suffered by the Japanese land forces during the war. Of the approximately 330,000 Japanese troops in the theater, two thirds were killed or died of disease and starvation. 7 The campaign in Burma has been overshadowed, both contemporaneously and subsequently, by Nakajimi Ki-43 Hayabusa, codenamed "Oscar.' Mitsubishi A6M Reisen, code-named "Zero. offensive intended to retake Burma and reestablish the land supply route to China. By then the RAF, United States Army Air Force (USAAF) and the Indian Air Force were in the ascendant, having gradually achieved air superiority, provided significant assistance to the ground forces throughout their bitter hand-to-hand actions in the dense jungle of the rugged Chin Hills. Misawa gave eloquent testimony of the Allies dominance in the air when he confirmed that he only twice saw Japanese aircraft, and that their ground forces were constantly harassed by Hurricane fighter-bombers. Indeed, the Hurricane and Vengeance dive bombers were credited with virtually liquidating some Japanese positions without infantry assistance. As the XlVth Army's offensive developed, RAF, RCAF and USAAF aircraft of Troop Carrier Command transported complete Divisions from the Arakan to Imphal and to reserve in the Brahmaputa valley. That army was then supplied with men, munitions, rations and equipment throughout the rest of the Allied offensive in what became the largest and most remarkable operation by airborne forces ever attempted during the Second World War. For example, during the two months preceding the recapture of Rangoon on 2 May 1945, the airlift provided the army with over 2,000 tons of munitions and supplies daily, more events in Europe, Africa and the Pacific. As such, the Allied victory in Burma remains relatively unknown in the West as well as Japan.