Aviation of World War II
The Mitsubishi Ki-67 "Hiryu" ("Flying Dragon"), Allied reporting name "Peggy" was a twin-engine heavy bomber produced by Mitsubishi and used by the IJAAF (Imperial Japanese Army Air Force) in World War II. Its Army designation was "Type 4 Heavy Bomber".
Designer - Kyunojo Ozawa. First flight - 27 December 1942. Number built - 767.
The Ki-67 appeared as the embodiment of the 1941 army technical assignment, being the successor to the Ki-49 Nakajima. According to the technical specifications, the new aircraft was supposed to be a high-speed twin-engine heavy bomber and suitable for possible military conflicts with the Soviet Union over Manchuria and along the Siberian border. Unlike many Japanese military aircraft, the Ki-67 had to have good defensive armament and sufficient ability to survive when receiving heavy combat damage. It was also pointed out that it should be a very maneuverable aircraft, capable of dive bombing and able to avoid attacks at low altitude.
By design, the Ki-67 was a twin-engine mid-wing of an all-metal design with a fully retractable tail wheel of the landing gear. The aircraft had sealed fuel tanks and crew armor, which was a novelty for Japanese aircraft. Coupled with two 18-cylinder 1900 hp. air-cooled engines, the aircraft possessed perhaps the greatest survivability of all Japanese aircraft of the Second World War.
A Ki-67 with a bomb load of 1,070 kg (2,360 lb) (internally carried in bomb bays) would be classified in the US as a medium bomber (B-25 Mitchell, for example, could carry up to 2,722 kg (6,000 lb), B- 26 Marauder up to 1,814 kg (4,000 lb), and A-20 Havoc up to 907 kg (2,000 lb)). However, it possessed some remarkable qualities over the American medium bombers; The Ki-67 had a high top speed at 537 km / h / 334 mph (versus 443 km / h / 275 mph for the B-25, 462 km / h / 287 mph for the B-26, and 538 km / h / 338 mph for the A-20), good maneuverability at high dive speeds (up to almost 644 km / h / 400 mph), high constant speed of climb, as well as high horizontal maneuverability (small turning radius and ability to turn at low speeds). The maneuverability of the Ki-67 was so good that the Japanese used this aircraft as the basis for the development of the Ki-109 twin-engined fighter, originally designed as a night fighter and later used as a daytime heavy fighter. In the later stages of World War II, the Japanese navy also used the Ki-67 as the basis for a Q2M1 "Taiyo" anti-submarine aircraft equipped with a submarine detection radar.
Ki-67. Combat Use
Ki. 67 - I
The Ki-67 was used for level bombardment and (like the Yasakuni type) torpedo throwing, the aircraft could carry one torpedo on an external sling under the fuselage. The Ki-67 was originally used by the Japanese Army and Navy against the US Navy during its third strike against Formosa and Ryukyu Island. It was later used in Okinawa, mainland China, French Indochina, Karafuto and against B-29 airfields in Saipan and Tinian.
One aircraft, in the stormtrooper version, was developed for the mission to Giretsu. The Ki-67 was equipped with three 20 mm remote control cannons directed forward at an angle of 30 ° for ground attack, a 20 mm cannon in the tail, 13.2 mm machine guns in the side and upper sectors of fire, and enlarged fuel tanks. However, even in this case, due to the great distance, the mission to Giretsu was calculated only one way.
In the later stages of World War II, special versions of the Ki-67, KAI (Enhanced) and Sakura-Dan were used for kamikaze missions. Information source - Lt. Sgt. Seiji Moriyama, one of the crew at Fugaku from the Special Attacking Unit, who at one time witnessed the conversion of the Ki-67 into a To-Go kamikaze aircraft carrying two 800 kg bombs during operations in Okinawa.
The success of the Ki-67 "HIRYU" as a "special attack" bomber had already been proven by the Fugaku Corps in the Philippines in November, and another five aircraft of the same type were produced by Mitsubishi in December 1944. Around the same time, the JAAF received technical data on the German HEAT "Cherry Bomb" to focus the force of the explosion. The diameter of the German bomb almost coincided with the HIRYU fuselage, which made it possible to mount the charge behind the pilot's seat, the back wall of which was made of explosive, and the fuse rod passed from the nose of the aircraft between the pilots' seats. The charge, which received the designation "Sakuradan", had a diameter of 1.6 meters and protruded half a meter above the fuselage, like a camel's hump. In its final form, the new special attack bomber had a crew of two and carried a single 2,900 kg Sakura-Dan directional thermite charge, positioned at the aircraft's center of gravity so that the jet of high-temperature flame was directed at a slight downward angle. The damaging effect of the charge was very strong: the tank could be destroyed at a distance of 300 meters.
Two aircraft were modified from standard HIRYU bombers at Mitsubishi's experimental plant in Nagoya in February 1945, under the control of the scientific test center at Fussa, and received the designation Ki-167. There is also information that up to 10 of these machines were built.
At the beginning of February 1945, Ki-167s began to enter the kamikaze units of the 62nd Sentai, but their first combat use took place only on April 17th. Three kamikaze planes, one of which carried the Sakuradan bomb, went to the Okinawa area to strike at American aircraft carriers. The bomber commander reported that he had discovered the ship and was starting to attack. Suddenly, from other aircraft, they noticed that flames were escaping from the bomber. He abruptly went up into the clouds, and was not seen again. Probably, the Sakuradan bomb was damaged, which caused the death of the aircraft. On May 25, the Japanese again tried to use the Ki-167 in combat. Two aircraft were lost, piloted by second lieutenants Hikoji Mizota and Yutaka Fukushima, the result of their attacks is unknown.
© Evgeny Aranov
Note: Ko, Otsu, Hei and Tei are the Japanese equivalents to a, b, c, d. Kai - 'modified' or 'improved'.