F4U Corsair vs Ki 84 "Frank" Pacific Theater 1945

Published: April 21st, 2016     
Product Image
Front Cover
Author: Edward M. Young, Illustrators: Jim Laurier, Gareth Hector
Reviewed by: 
Frank Landrus, IPMS# 35035
Company: Osprey Publishing
ISBN #: 1472814606
Other Publication Information: Soft Cover, 7.2” x 9.8”, 80 pages
Price: $20.00
Product / Stock #: Duel 73

The newest in Osprey's Duel series is authored by Edward Young, a retired financial executive. He has written a number of books and numerous articles on aviation and military history, including: Osprey Campaign Series 136: Meiktila: The Liberation of Burma, Warrior Series 141: Merrill's Marauders, Osprey Combat Aircraft Series 87: B-24 Liberator Units of the CBI, Duel Series 41: B-24 Liberator vs. Ki-43 'Oscar' and Osprey Aircraft of the Aces 109 - American Aces Against the Kamikaze. Illustrator Jim Laurier, a native of New England, provides the color profiles. Jim has been drawing since he could hold a pencil and throughout his life he has worked in many mediums creating artwork on a variety of subjects. He has worked on the Osprey Aviation list since 2000, and has been featured in hundreds of aviation books. Gareth Hector is a digital artist of international standing as well as an aviation history enthusiast. Gareth Hector the cover artwork along with a two-page spread of Lt. Cdr Roger Hedrick, CO of VF-84, shooting down a Hayate over Tokyo. I counted sixty photographs, all but one in black and white.

This Duel volume is quite apropos since the Corsair established dominance over existing Japanese aircraft and the Hayate was introduced specifically to counter this American dominance of the Pacific skies. Nearly 3,000 Hayates were manufactured in 1944 and 1945, more than any other late war Japanese fighter. Edward M. Young covers the battles between the F4U and the Ki-84 as the war closed down, focusing on how the Corsair pilots adapted to the newer Hayate. In fairness, a major part of the Hayate loss rate was due to the loss of experienced pilots, especially during the Solomon Island campaign.

The "Design and Development" and "Technical Specifications" chapters introduce the Corsair and Hayate. Both had troubled development paths. The Corsair was not accepted by the US Navy until April 1944 when landing gear and stall characteristics were finally improved to meet the needs of sensitive Navy pilots (of course the British and US Marines were just happy to have the F4U). The Hayate had a slightly different problem with obtaining a reliable engine. Part of that problem was obtaining the 100 octane fuel that the Navy used as opposed to the 92 octane that the Army was allowed to have. Engine issues continued as the Allies shut off the critical metals required to manufacture the Ki-84 engines.

The next two chapters, "The Strategic Situation" and "The Combatants" lay the groundwork for the rest of the book. The start of 1945 saw the Japanese military in dire straits with the loss of so many experienced pilots in the defense of the Philippines. The US Naval submarines were also making a significant impact on Japanese merchant shipping, depriving the homeland of supplies to maintain the war effort. The fierce battles over Formosa and Okinawa set the stage as the Japanese fought to the last man. Unfortunately for Japan, they were not able to replace these losses. Even if the Hayate had resolved its engine issues, the Japanese pilots were no longer a match for the American pilots in training and experience. Edward M. Young provides two single page bios of William Snider and Katsuaki Kira. Katsuaki Kira was one of the few Japanese pilots to survive six years of combat and ended with 21 victories.

The chapter on combat provides insight into the combat tactics of both sides, aided with illustrations on how fighter forces were utilized by the Americans and Japanese. Edward M. Young utilizes combat reports from both sides to describe the final battels of 1945. Although the later Ki-84 with its four 20mm cannons had the firepower, the pilots did not have the capability of utilizing the Hayate to its full advantage, and taking out a Corsair was no easy task. This chapter also includes two full color illustrations of the cockpits of the F4U-1D and the Ki-84, complete with identification of all the instrumentation and controls.

The Chapters include:

  • Introduction
    • Table: F4U and Ki-84 Production 1942-1945
    • Chronology
    • Design & Development
  • Vought F4U Corsair (Page 11)
    • Nakajima Type 4 Fighter Ki-84 Hayate (Page 18)
    • Technical Specifications
  • F4U Corsair
  • F4U-1D/FG-1D
  • F4U-1C (Page 28)
  • F4U-4
  • Ki-84 Hayate
  • Type 4 Fighter Model A [Ki-84 Ko] Hayate (Page 32)
  • Type 4 Fighter Model B [Otsu]
  • Table: F4U-1D and Ki-84 Comparison Specifications
    • The Strategic Situation
    • The Combatants
    • US Navy and US Marine Corps Pilot Training (Page 41)
    • JAAF Pilot Training
    • William Snider
    • Katsuaki Kira (Page 45)
    • Table: Decrease in JAAF Pilot Flying Experience
    • Combat
    • US Navy and US Marine Corps Combat Tactics
    • JAAF Combat Tactics (Page 53)
    • First Encounters
    • Okinawa Campaign (Page 62 & 67)
    • F4U-1D Cockpit
    • Ki-84 Cockpit
    • Statistics and Analysis
    • Engaging the Enemy (Page 72)
    • Corsair Pilots' " Frank" Victory Claims
    • Aftermath
    • Further Reading
    • Index

If you own one the previous releases in the Duel series, you know what you are getting. If this is your initial entry into this series, you will be pleased. My thanks to Osprey Publishing and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great book.

Highly recommended!

  • Back Cover
    Back Cover
  • Page 11
    Page 11
  • Page 18
    Page 18
  • Page 32
    Page 32
  • Page 41
    Page 41
  • Page 45
    Page 45
  • Page 53
    Page 53
  • Page 62
    Page 62
  • Page 67
    Page 67
  • Page 72
    Page 72