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  Ki-43-II "Racoon Special"   Tail XJ004 (Hollandia Oscar #3)
JAAF
59 Sentai


8th FS c1944

Click For Enlargement
Click For Enlargement
ATIU c1944

Aircraft History
Built by Nakajima. Delivered to the Japanese Army Air Force (JAAF) as Type 1 Fighter / Ki-43-II Oscar manufacture number unknown. Assigned to the 59th Sentai. Painted with green upper surfaces. The tail had the motif of the 59th Sentai.

Wartime History
This aircraft operated from at Hollandia area. During early 1944, abandoned by the Japanese at Cyclops Airfield.

Wreckage
During late April 1944, captured largely intact at Cyclops Airfield. Afterwards, inspected by Air Technical Intelligence Unit (ATIU) and assigned tail code XJ004.

Repair
Between May and June 1944, this aircraft was repaired during free time by American personnel from the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) 5th Air Force, 49th Fighter Group, 8th Fighter Squadron. TSgt Bruno Topik was in charge of the rebuild and became the crew chief once completed.

On June 10, 1944 a group of personnel from Air Technical Intelligence Unit (ATIU) at Eagle Farm Airfield assisted to help complete the rebuild.

During the restoration, this aircraft was stripped to a bare aluminum finish. The repairs included rebuilding the engine and using spare parts found in the area. The control surfaces were replaced and a pair of 12.7mm machine guns were installed as armament.

During late June 1944 when the 8th Fighter Squadron was ordered to move to the Philippines, it was ordered to leave the Oscar, but appealed to Brigadier General Donald Hutchinson who allowed them to finish the repair project.

Once completed, The U. S. star and bar markings were painted on the wings and fuselage. The lower side of the wing was painted with "U. S. Army" in black bock letters. The tail code XJ004 was painted in black on both sides of the tail. Later, this code was overpainted with red and white stripes with the nickname "Racoon Special", the code name of the squadron painted on the left side of the fuselage below the cockpit (note, Raccoon was misspelled Racoon). Both main wheel hubs of the main landing gear had a swirl insignia.

On June 21, 1944 this Oscar took off piloted by Major Bob McHale to test the aircraft. Afterwards, P-40 piloted by Major Robert McDaris, 49th FG operations officer took off to perform a mock dogfight. and concluded "the Oscar rolled, turned sharply, and split esses to get on the P-40’s tail repeatedly, even though Major McDaris is as a pilot of no mean ability, with a great number of P-40 combat hours and two enemy planes to his credit.”

Later, this Oscar was flown by Major Arland Stanton from the 7th Fighter Squadron in another mock combat against several P-40s. Possibly, this aircraft made other flights.

When the 7th Fighter Squadron departed Hollandia, this Oscar was left with T/Sgt Bruno Topik. Sometime afterwards, shipped to Brisbane. Reassembled, this aircraft operated from Eagle Farm Airfield for further technical evaluation.

The ultimate fate of this aircraft is unknown. Likely, scrapped or otherwise disappeared.

References
This aircraft is known as Hollandia "Oscar #3" or "Oscar No. 3" in research articles.
"U. S. Airmen Fly Rebuilt Japanese Fighter Plane To Australia - Five U. S. airmen have flown to Australia a plane which they built from parts of 100 damaged Japanese fighters captured on Hollandia."
J-Aircraft - TAIC XJ005 (photos)
J-Aircraft - The Captured Oscars of Hollandia by Dave Pluth (photos)

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Last Updated
January 9, 2018

 

Tech Info
Ki-43

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