Author Topic: HDC trilogy Pt.3: Kyushu Ya "Bruce"  (Read 1142 times)

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Offline comrade harps

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HDC trilogy Pt.3: Kyushu Ya "Bruce"
« on: November 25, 2013, 04:15:14 am »
Kyushu Ya Bruce
1st Black Dragon Volunteers Sentai, Imperial Home Defence Command
Susono, Honshu, Japan
February, 1945



On 15 December, 1945, Japan publicly revealed the Kyushu Ya (Arrow), the world's first operational rocket-powered interceptor. Although until now a highly secret weapon, the aircraft had been in sporadic combat since August 1944. It had first appeared (rather inaccurately) on American aircraft identification charts in March, 1945 and was codenamed Bruce (allegedly after Bruce Wayne, because the plane's tailless swept-wing arrangement resembled a bat) but until it was not until now that a clear photograph of the type was available. Until copies of this photograph reach Allied capitals, many analysts believed that the Ya was powered by a turbojet engine.

Designed to meet an early 1942 requirement of the Imperial Japanese Defence Command by Kyushu, the Ya was subsequently adopted by the IJA as the Ki-200 (with only one 30mm cannon installed to make room for extra fuel) and by the IJN as the J8M (this version being armed with 55mm underwing rockets in instead of the Ya's two 30mm cannon). Built in dispersed locations and making extensive use of wood in its structure, the Ya was code-named Kitsutsuki (woodpecker) during it's development.



The public unveiling of Ya was a celebration of Rikugun Taii (Captain) Yūto Nagatomo's death. A pilot in the Imperial Home Defence Command's 1st Black Dragon Volunteers Sentai, Nagatomo was the first Ya pilot to become an ace on the Ya. A former IJA officer, Nagatomo had been pensioned off through disability in 1938 after service in the Kwantung Army. After his military service, Nagatomo made good use of his prosthetic left leg in the service of the Black Dragon Society, a Japanese ultra-nationalist organisation, earning a private pilot's licence in 1940 and undertaking aerial work for the Society in China and elsewhere until joining the Imperial Home Defence Command in 1944.




Rikugun Taii Yūto Nagatomo's first kill was a B-29 on the 27 November 1944, the unit being located at Susuno specifically to attack the Superfortress streams as as they formated near Mount Fuji. Another B-29 fell to his 30mm cannon on 3 December, 1945 and a further bomber was felled on 18 February, 1945. It was to mark the occasion of this third kill that Rikugun Taii Nagatomo was photographed with the Ya marked white 14; it was one of these stills that was published in September. With the move to night bombing, the Ya became practically irrelevant for several months but renewed daylight bombing associated with the invasion of southern Korea and preparations for the Y-Day gave it a new relevance from late in the year. On 17 September, Nagatomo claimed his 4th kill, a USAAF P-51H that was supporting a late afternoon B-29 strike on Yokohama. Apparently, the Mustang pilot had lined up another Ya as it glided in to land, unaware that Nagatomo was close behind (and had all his 30mm rounds).




By now, the near constant stresses of combat flying in a rocket that was more lethal to its pilots than the enemy (most of the unit's casualties had been brought about in launch and landing accidents), near-constant aerial bombardment and harassment, the prospect of defeat and the daily fact of dire shortages of even the most basic goods (airmen diaries describe starvation rations) had taken their toll on Rikugun Taii Yūto Nagatomo. There had long been an acceptance of taiatari  (ramming attack) missions and many pilots, faced with the debilitating fatigue of waiting for death or defeat, chose to go out in this glorified way. Thus, on 13 December, 1945, Nagatomo made his final mission, hurling his rocket plane into a US Navy PB4Y-2 Privateer that was passing over Mishima on a dawn reconnaissance mission, killing himself, the crew of 11 and earning himself the position as the Ya's first (and only) ace.




In the days that followed Y-Day, the the 1 March, 1946, invasion of Honshu, Japan's remaining airworthy Ya inventory was expended in a on orgy of taiatari  and kamikazi attacks. Including IJA ordered Ki-200, IJN J8M and powered trainer versions of the Ya, 567 production machines were built. An additional 27 of the IJA's extended-range Mitsubishi Ki-202 evolution of the Ya (with retractable landing gear, bubble canopy and extra fuel) were also built.

« Last Edit: November 25, 2013, 04:22:47 am by comrade harps »
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Offline Captain Canada

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Re: HDC trilogy Pt.3: Kyushu Ya "Bruce"
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2013, 04:35:43 am »
Nice little morning read ! Love the camo pattern and choice of colours.

 :tornado:
CANADA KICKS arse !!!!

Long Live the Commonwealth !!!
Vive les Canadiens !
Where's my beer ?

Offline comrade harps

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Re: HDC trilogy Pt.3: Kyushu Ya "Bruce"
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2013, 04:38:04 am »
Thus the Imperial Home Defence Command trilogy is complete

A quick series of builds, taking late-war German reaction-powered fighters into Japanese hands. I simple, modern camo look, with different shades to those chosen for the IJA and IJN planes in this Asiarama splurge. I wanted these to have a futuristic look and feel, as if Prince Naruhiko Higashikuni wanted to fool the people that continued defence had a future.

I hope whiffers everywhere have enjoyed (rocket man) Elton, Terry and Bruce (Wayne) as much as I have making them.
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Offline NARSES2

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Re: HDC trilogy Pt.3: Kyushu Ya "Bruce"
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2013, 07:43:53 am »
Love the camo scheme
Decals my @r$e!