Aviation of World War II

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Ki-79 "Nate"

  • Multipurpose Training Aircraft
  • Mansyu

The production of the Ki-79 at the Mansu plant in Manchuria, occupied by the Japanese, began on January 19, 1943 with the release of two production models at once: the Ki-79a single-seat trainer and the Ki-79b two-seat trainer. Both versions had an all-metal semi-monocoque design with low load-bearing surfaces and non-retractable landing gear, exactly the same as that of the Ki-27, since the airframe design was almost completely transferred to the new aircraft. The only significant difference in the glider was the open cockpit. Since the Hitachi engine was somewhat lighter than its predecessor, the Nakajima, despite its almost identical diameter, it had to be moved forward a little to maintain the same alignment of the aircraft. Because of this, the length of the serial Ki-79 increased by 0.32 m compared to the length of the three prototypes, where the engine was not moved and the dimensions remained the same as that of the Ki-27.

Mansu Ki-79 was a single-engine, single- (Ki-79a, Ki-79s) or two-seater (Ki-79v, Ki-79d) cantilever monoplane with a low wing. All-metal construction (Ki-79a, Ki-79v) or mixed (Ki-79s, Ki-79d). The cockpit is open, the landing gear is non-retractable with a tail wheel, the tail unit is cantilever.

In appearance, design and equipment, the Ki-79 was similar to the Ki-27. Only Ki-79s and Ki-79d had a mixed structure (steel fuselage frame with plywood sheathing, wooden wing). The main differences (in addition to the closed cockpit) were in the power plant and weapons.

Power plant. Ki-79a and Ki-79v-9-cylinder air-cooled Hitachi Ha-13a-1 engine with a capacity of 450/515 hp. Two-bladed propeller with a diameter of 2.50 m on Ki-79s and Ki-79d - Hitachi Ha-13a-III of the same power with three-blade wooden propeller with variable pitch.

Armament. Ki-79a - one 7.7 mm Type 89 synchronous machine gun with belt feed. Ki-79v - unarmed. For kamikaze attacks, Ki-79s were equipped with one 250 kg bomb under the fuselage.

Ki-27/79 Specification
Ki-27b Ki-79a
Crew 1
Wing span, m 11.31 11.50
Wing area, m² 18.56 18.56
Length, m 7.53 7,85
Height, m 3.28 3.00
Weight, kg
Empty weight 1110 1300
Loaded weight 1547  
Hitachi air-cooled radial engine Ha-1b Ha-13 aI
Power, hp 750 510
Maximum speed km/h 470 340
at altitude, m 3500 3500
Time to level 5m 22s/5000m 10m 24s/5600m
Service ceiling, m 12250  
Service range, km 627 920
Service range with added fuel tanks, km 1100  
7,7-mm Type 89 machine guns 2 1

Ki-79. Combat Use.

Mansyu Ki-79

From the beginning of 1943, various training units and flight schools of the IJAAF began to receive two-seat Mansu Ki-79s. Until the end of the war, they served in numerous Kyoiki Hikatai (for example, in the 17th, 19th, 25th, 26th, 27th, 31st, 33rd, 36th, 39th, 40th m, 43rd and 44th), as well as in flight schools in Mito, Tachiarai, Tokurazawa and Irumagawa in Japan and in Harbin, Manchuria (and later in the Kyoiki and Kyodo Hikoshidanah formed at their base. They were also used to train instructors in Kyodo Hikotai in Yutsonomiya In most cases, the new Ki-79s replaced the outdated Tachikawa Ki-55s.

Ki-79 was seen at the Army Junior Flight Schools (Rikugun Shonen Hiko Gakko) in Tokyo, Otsu and Onta in Japan, where young pilots trained before becoming an IJAAF cadet. At the end of the war, these schools trained future members of the so-called "special assault units" of the IJAAF - Kamikaze, as it was believed that there was no time to make experienced pilots out of boys. Ki-79s were used alongside older aircraft such as the Tachikawa Ki-9, Ki-7 and Ki-55.

Throughout 1944, the idea of ​​using suicide pilots to strike enemy targets (usually warships) seemed increasingly viable to the Japanese military. The suicide units, known as Shimbutai (Shimpu or Sinfu) or Kamikaze, were the brainchild of naval aviation, but the IJAAF also had such units as the Rikugun Koku Tokubetsu Kogekitan (Army Special Assault Unit). In the IJAAF, ram attacks are called Thanatari - Thunderstorm.

If the suicide attacks of the fleet were mainly carried out by American warships, then the priority target of the Kamikaze army aviation was the Boeing B-29 Superfortress heavy bombers from the 20th US Air Force, which were very difficult to destroy. Since 1944, they have slowly but systematically destroyed targets in Japan. For suicidal attacks on B-29s (which were called Bi-san - Mr. B), they primarily used obsolete types of fighters, especially the Ki-43, Ki-44 and twin-engine Ki-45s. The widely available but even more outdated Ki-27s could carry only one bomb, which might not be powerful enough to destroy a bomber. In addition, its flight characteristics were too low to intercept the B-29 (although there are two known cases when the pilots in Manchuria succeeded). However, numerous Ki-27s and Ki-79s were used for Kamikaze training until the end of the war, for example in the 42nd, 68th and 113th Simbutai. Some of them were used for suicide attacks in the Okinawa area. In the last months of the war, the situation with aircraft in the Army Air Force was so desperate that many training units were sent to defend Japan and the territories it occupied. In early 1945, when American carrier-based aircraft began to attack targets in Japan on low level flight, all available aircraft took to the air, including such archaic ones as the Ki-27 and even the training Ki-79! The latter - a slow-moving and armed with only one 7.7 mm machine gun - could hardly have any resistance to the American carrier-based fighters Grumman FGF "Hellcat" or Vaught F4U "Corsair". Therefore, Japanese pilots often committed suicidal rams. For example, on February 16, 1945, when the 58th American Strike Force attacked the Tokyo area (for the first time since the raid undertaken by Lieutenant Colonel Doolittle three years earlier); sixteen Ki-79a of the 39th Kyoiki Hikotai took off from the Yokoshiba airfield along with other machines to intercept. In the battle with the VF-9 Hellcats from the Lexington aircraft carrier, the 39th Kyoiki Hikotai won two victories, but lost six aircraft and five pilots. It was believed that the victories were won by 2nd Lieutenant Masatoshi Masuzawa and Corporal Kimiyuki Moriwaki. In fact, the Americans lost only one plane, which was apparently shot down by Corporal Moriwaki.

Together with aircraft of other types, the Ki-79 also served in various auxiliary units, for example, in the 1st Field Air Reserve Group

Despite the fact that the number of Ki-27 and Ki-79 built by Japanese standards was very large (3399, of which 1379 Ki-79) and they were used in almost all areas of the IJAAF, only a few machines have survived to this day ... The only surviving Ki-27 is from the Peace Memorial at Tachiarai (Fokuoka Prefecture) in Japan. One Ki-79 has also survived - it can be seen on display at the military museum in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Photo Description
Drawing Ki-79b Drawing Ki-79b
Mansyu Ki-79 A pair of Ki-79s of the 113th Shimbu-tai (Special Assault Unit - Kamikaze) take off from Chirap airfield in the southern tip of Kyushu Island to strike at American forces off Okinawa, June 1945. In the foreground is a Ki-79b with a suspended bomb piloted by Yoshiyuki Tsubaki.


  • Japan Aviation / Andrey Firsov /
  • "Air War Ki-27" /# 101/
  • "Japan Warplanes of World War II" /Oleg Doroshkevich/