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Plans of Mitsubishi Ki-57 'Topsy' (1 of 2)

Plans of Mitsubishi Ki-57 'Topsy' (1 of 2)


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Plans of Mitsubishi Ki-57 'Topsy' (1 of 2)

Here we see front, below and side views of the Mitsubishi Ki-57 'Topsy', showing its relationship to the original Ki-21 bomber, which gave it the basic shape of the wings and fuselage, and the position of the cockpit.


Japanese marine paratroopers of World War II

The Imperial Japanese Navy fielded naval paratroopers during World War II. The troops were officially part of the Special Naval Landing Forces (SNLF or Rikusentai). [1] They came from the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Yokosuka SNLFs. The 2nd Yokosuka took no part in any airborne operations and became an island defensive base unit. [2] They were under the operational control of the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service (IJNAS or Dai-Nippon Teikoku Kaigun Koku Hombu). Rikusentai paratroopers should not be confused with the Imperial Japanese Army paratroopers, known as Teishin.

Rikusentai units were grouped in battalion-level formations, named after the three naval districts, including Yokosuka. [1] Paratroop units were only organized on the very eve of the war, beginning in September 1941. [2] The lightly armed parachute units were intended to assault coastal areas, supporting amphibious landings, or enemy airfields and other strategic objectives. They were not meant to become entangled in heavy, pitched land battles. However, their operational use would prove to be contrary to this doctrine.


Mitsubishi Ki-57 Type 100 “Topsy”

The Mitsubishi Ki-57 started life as a design for a new airliner for Nippon Koku, the Japanese airline. It was derived from the successful Ki-21 bomber, which had impressed the airline with its ability to carry a heavy load for long distances – qualities that were desired in their new aircraft. The design for the MC-20, as the civilian version was known, impressed the Japanese Army and it placed orders for military versions under the designation Ki-57, or the Type 100 Transport.

Large portions of the Ki-57 design were taken directly from the Ki-21 – the wings, empennage, cockpit, undercarriage and powerplant were all identical to the bomber. The fuselage section was remodelled to accommodate passengers rather than bombs, and the wings were mounted low on the fuselage to maximise cabin space.

In service, the Ki-57 was numerically the most important Army transport. It operated in all areas where the IJAAF was active, operating in passenger transport and communication duties. It joined the Ki-56 in carrying paratroopers during the attack on Palembang, Sumatra. A small number were also transferred to the Navy, which operated them under the designation L4M.

As the war progressed and Allied air superiority grew, Ki-57s were increasingly vulnerable to interception by fighters. Dozens were lost as the Allies swept West, including many that encountered heavily armed American patrol bombers which were not afraid to engage the defenceless transports. When the war ended, many surviving Ki-57s were repainted with large green ‘surrender cross’ markings and used to ferry delegates of the surrendering Japanese forces.


Ki-57 "Topsy", Japanese Transport Aircraft


The Mitsubishi Ki-57 "Topsy" was the standard transport aircraft of the Japanese Army. It was a 1939 civilian derivative of the Sally produced for Japan Air Lines (Nihon Koku K.K.) whose production was redirected back to military use.

The transport retained the wings, cockpit and tail of "Sally" but had a redesigned fuselage with two rows of single seats accomodating 11 passengers. The wings were also lowered. The prototype flew in Auguest 1940 and production commenced by the end of that year. It was known as the MC-20-I in civilian service and a few were acquired by the Navy as the L4M1.

"Topsy" was used to drop paratroops in the Palembang area on 14 February 1942, but most of its operations were much less spectacular. A very small number continued to operate until October 1945, two months after the surrender, under strict Allied control.


These service operated various types of aircraft:

  • Kawasaki Ki-3 (Liaison and communications)
  • Nakajima Ki-4 (Liaison and communications)
  • Kokusai Ki-76 "Stella" (Liaison)
  • Kobesiko Te-Go (Liaison)
  • Mansyu Ki-97 (Communications)
  • Mitsubishi Ki-7 (Liaison)
  • Mitsubishi Ki-46 "Dinah" (Liaison, communication and courier)
  • Tachikawa (Ishikawajima) Light Ambulance (Air Ambulance/liaison)
  • Tachikawa Ki-9 "Spruce" (Communications)
  • Tachikawa Ki-17 "Cedar" (Communications)
  • Kayaba Ka-1 (communications helicopter)
  • Kawasaki Ki-56 "Thalia" (Merchant transport)
  • Kokusai Ki-59 "Theresa" (Light transport)
  • Mitsubishi Ki-1 (Heavy Bomber/Transport)
  • Mitsubishi Ki-7 (Light transport)
  • Mitsubishi Ki-21 "Sally" (Heavy Bomber/transport)
  • Mitsubishi MC-2 (Transport version of Ki-21 bomber)
  • Mitsubishi Ki-57 "Topsy" (Personnel transport)
  • Nakajima Ki-34 "Thora" (Personnel transport)
  • Nakajima Ki-6 (Light transport, version of Fokker 8 Super Universal)
  • Nakajima Ki-49 (Transport modification of Ki-49 bomber)
  • Douglas DC-2 (Transport, 2 purchased, 6 manufactured under license)
  • Douglas DC-5 (Transport, 1 captured at KLM, evaluated and used for transport services)
  • Tachikawa Type LO "Thelma" (Personnel transport)
  • Tachikawa Ki-54 "Hickory" (Light transport)
  • Kokusai Ku-8 "Gander" (Transport glider)

Operational history [ edit | edit source ]

The 2nd Yokosuka SNLF saw action not as paratroopers, but as an amphibious assault force in the Borneo campaign, from December 1941. Ώ]

Two companies, numbering 849 paratroopers, from the 1st Yokosuka SNLF, carried out Japan's first ever combat air drop, during the Battle of Menado, in the Netherlands East Indies, on January 11, 1942. ΐ] Four hours before the airborne landings, the 1st Sasebo SNLF had come ashore by sea nearby. Ώ]

On February 19, 630 paratroopers from the 3rd Yokosuka SNLF was dropped near Kupang, West Timor, and suffered heavy casualties in the Battle of Timor. Α]

In mid-1942 the 1st Yokosuka SNLF returned to its namesake naval base and what was left of the 3rd Yokosuka took part in unopposed landings on islands in the eastern part of the East Indies archipelago. The 3rd Yokosuka returned to Japan by the end of October 1942.


Plans of Mitsubishi Ki-57 'Topsy' (1 of 2) - History

Photos of Japanese pilots & aircrews in New Guinea Found – Seeking relatives or next of kin to identify and claim them

During WWII, many photographs were captured by opposing forces and taken for intelligence purposes, or as ‘souvenirs’. After the war, some became curious about the people in the photos they had acquired, and realize that these photographs were of Japanese people who had relatives or family still alive in Japan. It is their hope that someone will recognize their relatives in these photos, and step forward, so that they can return the photos to them, and allow the world to know more about these men.

The Ghosts in the Photographs
This haunting series of photographs depicts young Japanese aviators, whose identity is unknown.
The facts known about these photographs are as follows: presumably, they were taken in New Guinea, possibly at Madang or Wewak. The top two photos show men as passengers inside what appears to be a Mitsubishi Ki-57 transport plane, know as “Topsy” to the Allies. And, the same group posing outside the plane. The other photos show Japanese aviators posing with their Kawasaki Ki-48 Light bomber, known to the Allies as “Lily”, wearing their in flight gear.

Why The Photos Are in American Possession
Veteran Jack Heyn served in WWII with a photographic unit in New Guinea. The photos were brought to him in the summer of 1943. He recounts the of how they came into his possession:
“An infantry man brought them to (3rd BG) in the summer of 1943 when we were based at Dobadura. That was before we had even taken Lae and Nadzab. It would be my guess he got hold of them in the Buna-Gona-Sanananda Point fighting in late 1942 and early 1943. There were 8 2-1/4 X 3-1/4 negatives, which lead me to believe it was a roll of 120 film. That was a popular format for folding cameras at that time. I will be happy to send copies of the photographs to any surviving relatives in Japan, and learn more about their history.”

Three Identified, Seeking Others
This news story ran in the Sankei Shimbun Newspaper, Japan on April 18, 2003. As a result of the article, many phone calls were recieved from veterans, and several calls from relatives of the men pictured. For them, this was the first, and only photograph they ever seen of their relative while serving in New Guinea. Like thousands of other Japanaese, their relatives perished during the war, at the Japanese base at Wewak. The newspaper ran a follow up aritcle, about how three of the relatives had been located, and thier stories.
[ Learn about the three identified ]

What is ‘Pacific Ghosts’
Pacific Ghosts is a research body and series of CD-ROM & DVDs about WWII Pacific history, and wreckage that exisit to this day, and to interview WWII veterans, identify WWII photographs and return war relics. A collaboration between American Justin Taylan, creator of the Pacific Wreck Database website, and Australian historian Michael Claringbould, author and president of Aerothentic Publications His research and discoveries have resulted in the recovery of Japanese MIA aircrew from two Japanese 705th Kokutai G4M1 bombers, and in 1999 Michael was made an Honorary member of the Zero Fighter Pilots Association (proposed by former Japanese Ace Saburo Sakai) after discovering the wreckage of Southerland’s F-4F Wildcat that Sakai shot down on August 7, 1942. To learn more, visit Pacific Ghosts to contribute your story of photographs, contact [email protected]

Special Thanks
We would like to thank the following people for their assistance making this story possible. First, Shoji, the reporter at the Sankei Shimbun who wrote the two articles. Also, Japanese liaison, Alfred Weinzierl, of Osaka, for contacting the Japanese media and bringing this story to the people of Japan, and meeting with the relatives. And, veteran Jack Heyn, and historians Henry Sakaida and Michael Claringbould for their recommendations about this type of research.


Why Japan’s Attack on Pearl Harbor Was Decades in the Making

It all started with a Japanese attack on China years earlier.

Here's What You Need to Remember: Japan relied on imports of raw materials and natural resources to survive. Rubber, tin, iron, and especially oil had to be imported for Japanese industry to function.

By the time the attack on Pearl Harbor plunged the United States into World War II, Japan had been preparing for an all-out offensive in the Pacific for months.

Japan relied on imports of raw materials and natural resources to survive. Rubber, tin, iron, and especially oil had to be imported for Japanese industry to function. The same raw materials were also essential for the Japanese war machine.

In 1894-1895, Japan defeated China in a short war and gained control of the island of Formosa, part of Korea, and a bit of Manchuria. Along with these territories came all their natural resources. In 1905, after Japan defeated Russia in the Russo-Japanese War, the Empire of the Sun took control of all of Korea and part of Manchuria that had earlier been gobbled up by the Russians.

On September 19, 1931, in the midst of a worldwide depression, Japan staged an incident at a railway station on the Korean border of Manchuria, which it used as an excuse to invade the mineral-rich Chinese province. When the League of Nations condemned the act, Japan resigned from the League. In 1936, to expand her navy, Japan renounced the 1922 Washington Naval Treaty, which had limited the size of the Japanese Navy. In July 1937, Japan launched a full-scale invasion of China on the pretext that Chinese soldiers had fired on Japanese troops in Manchuria. Although Japan could not conquer all of China, by 1939 it had captured almost all of the important port cities and had firm control of the raw material that went into or out of the Asian giant.

In June 1940, after Japan moved into French Indochina while France was under Nazi occupation, the U.S. Congress passed the Export Control Act, which prohibited the export of “strategic minerals and chemicals, aircraft engines, parts, and equipment” to Japan. Conspicuously absent from this list was crude oil.

The already strained relations between the United States and Japan worsened in September 1940 when the Japanese signed the Tripartite Pact with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. Hitler, who was already planning to start a war in Europe, was hoping that the Tripartite Pact would encourage Japan to invade the British holdings in the Far East to pin down forces already there.

At the same time, the Japanese hoped that the pact would provide security as they formulated plans to invade and capture the rich oilfields of the Netherlands East Indies. In response to the Tripartite Pact, the United States embargoed even more material—brass, copper, and iron. Still, President Franklin D. Roosevelt stopped short of barring Japanese purchases of oil.

By the spring of 1941, Japan signed a five-year nonaggression pact with Russia, assuring that her backdoor was closed and safe. Next, Japan moved more troops into French Indochina and began eyeing the Netherlands East Indies. In response to the troop movements, Roosevelt froze all Japanese assets in the United States and after much consideration finally placed an embargo on crude oil.

On the heels of the American embargo, the Dutch proclaimed that the Netherlands East Indies would also stop selling oil to Japan. To conquer the Netherlands East Indies and capture its vital oilfields, Japan first had to eliminate the British stronghold of Singapore, crush the American forces in the Philippines, and cripple the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor. Within 24 hours on December 7, 1941, Japan launched attacks against Pearl Harbor, the Philippines, Singapore, Hong Kong, Northern Malaya, Thailand, Guam, Wake Island, and Midway Atoll and began planning to capture the island of Sumatra, east of Java, along with the oil refineries and a key airfield in the vicinity.

In December 1940, the Japanese Army began experimenting with airborne forces. Training of the first volunteers took place at Ichigaya near Tokyo. Requirements for the unit were rigid. Most of the volunteers were between the ages of 20 and 25, and officers could be no older than 28. All had to go through a rigid medical examination. Additional psychological and physical tests were administered and, acting on the belief that paratroopers had to have cat-like abilities to land safely, volunteers were given intense physical fitness training similar to that of a gymnast.

After about 250 volunteers were selected, training moved to a Tokyo amusement park that had a special ride featuring a 165-foot parachute drop. Historians Gordan Rottman and Akira Takizawa wrote, “Thrill seekers were attached to a canopy that was hoisted by cable before being released to float to the ground. Because the existence of the paratroop unit was secret, trainees were directed to visit the park disguised as university students, to experience a couple of simulated descents.” Additional training consisted of somersaults and tumbling, leaping from various heights to learn landing techniques and, finally, actual jumps from moving planes.

Once the original group of volunteers was sufficiently trained, it was broken into cadres to absorb new trainees. By January 1942, the Army had enough paratroopers trained to form the 1st Raiding Brigade under Colonel Seiichi Kume consisting of the 1st Raiding Brigade Headquarters, the 1st Raiding Regiment (Major Takeo Takeda), and the 2nd Raiding Regiment (Major Takeo Komura). Additionally, the 1st Raiding Flying Regiment (Major Akihito Niihara), an air transport group, was attached to the brigade so that the paratroopers would have their own autonomous airplane group. Each regiment consisted of only about 700 men, rather than the 3,800 of a standard infantry regiment. Each regiment included a regimental headquarters group, three rifle companies, and an engineer company.

Preparations for the Army parachute drop on Sumatra had actually been completed by late December 1941, but an accidental fire aboard the cargo ship Meiko Maru on January 3, 1942, which was transporting the 1st Raiding Regiment to an airfield on the Malay Peninsula, caused the paratroopers to abandon ship without their parachutes, equipment, and weapons. Exhausted and battered from their harrowing ordeal and stranded on Hainan Island off the northern coast of French Indochina, the paratroopers were in no shape to stage a combat parachute drop.

When word of the disaster reached the Imperial Army General Staff, they turned to Major Komura and his 2nd Raiding Regiment. Although the unit was still being organized, approximately 450 paratroopers drew weapons, equipment, and parachutes. On January 15, the understrength 2nd Raiding Regiment left Kyushu, arriving at Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on February 2.

The 2nd Raiding Regiment was broken into the 1st and 2nd Attack Groups for the air assaults on the Palembang airfield and oil refineries. The 1st Attack Group, consisting of about 350 officers and men, would be transported to the area in the 1st Raiding Flying Regiment’s Tachikawa Type LO “Thelma” and Mitsubishi Ki-57 Type 100 Model 1 “Topsy” aircraft, with a scheduled drop on February 14. One day later, the 2nd Attack Group, containing only 90 officers and men, would be dropped by the 12th Transport Chutai. Inexplicably, the small cargo containers carrying the rifles, machine guns, ammunition, and other supplies would be dropped by the 98th Sentai from 27 twin-engine Mitsubishi Type 97 “Sally” medium bombers. This plan worried the paratroopers. “If the [containers] were misdropped or delayed,” wrote historians Rottman and Takizawa, “the paratroopers on the ground would be forced to fight a well-armed enemy with only pistols and grenades.”

Both flights were to be escorted by Nakajima Ki-43 “Oscar” fighter planes from the 59th and 64th Sentai. Additionally, the initial drop would be preceded by nine Kawasaki Ki-48 Type 99 “Lily” light bombers from the 90th Sentai dropping antipersonnel bombs across the Dutch airfield.

By February 13, the entire attack force had moved from Cambodia to the west side of the Malay Peninsula, with the 1st Attack Group assembling at the recently captured Allied airfields at Keluang and Kahang and the 2nd Attack Group moving to Sungai Petani. Toasting each other with saké, the officers and men prepared for their early morning drop at Palembang, the capital of Sumatra.

Palembang, with a population of more than 108,000, was situated on the Moesi River about 50 miles inland from the Banka Strait. It was said that its oilfields were the best in Southeast Asia. Two oil refineries had been constructed about four miles east of the town on the south side of the Moesi River. A tributary of the Moesi, the Komering River, divided the two refineries. On the east bank and farthest away from Palembang was the Nederlandsche Koloniale Petroleum Maatschappij (NKPM), a refinery for the Standard Oil Company. On the west bank was the Bataafsce Petroleum Maatschappij (BPM), owned by Shell Oil. The latter refinery was built as two separate installations, one opposite the NKPM refinery on the west side of the Komering River and the other a short distance away on the south bank of the Moesi River.


Messerschmitt “Projekt Wespe I” (Project Wasp I), (Unicraft Models, Resin)

TYPE: Short-range fighter, interseptor

ACCOMMODATION: Pilot only

POWER PLANT: One turbojet engine of unknown type

PERFORMANCE: No data available

COMMENT: The end of WW II saw a great amount of secret project documents burned, captured or left to blow around empty hangars. Some companies documents were almost completely lost, others were scattered. After the war some of these seemingly reappeared but most likely many of these projects are imaginations. Some were relatively conventional, others were futuristic, but it is unknown whether these designs are from the period 1940/41 or from the time at the end of the WW II.
This is true for instance for Messerschmitt’s “Animal Names” types. These were a single-turbojet midget fighter “Libelle” (Dragonfly) and two designs of the “Wespe I” and “Wespe II” (Wasp) light fighters, a twin-engine fighter Messerschmitt Schwalbe (Swallow), a bomber-transporter “Wildgans” (Brant) and two versions of a heavy ground-attacker “Zerstörer I” and “Zerstörer II” (Destroyer).
Both Messerschmitt “Wespe I” and “Wespe II” had swept-back wings, were to be powered by a single turbojet-engine and had a tricycle landing-gear. From this point of view these projects could be dated to the end of the war.
In contrary, unusual for these Messerschmitt project drawings is that none of the dotted-outline turbojets in each of the drawings matches with the contours of any turbojets that are under development or production by BMW, Daimler-Benz, Heinkel-Hirth and Junkers, nor do the thrust figures quoted for them correspond to the known turbojets variants. Gas turbine development in Germany was concerned from the very beginning with the axial-flow type, save for the radial-flow turbojets developed by Dr. ing. von Ohain. This leads to the conclusion that at beginning of the war Messerschmitt possessed no documentation on turbojet development or installation plans hypothesizing that all these “Animal Name” projects could also be dated to the early 1940’s.
In conclusion, perhaps and more likely are these designs the product more of fantasy than reality. (Ref.: Herwig, Dieter and Heinz Rode: Luftwaffe Secret Projects, Ground Attack & Special Purpose Aircraft. Midland Publishing, Hinckley, LE10 3EY, England)


Messerschmitt “Projekt Wespe I” (Project Wasp I), (Unicraft Models, Resin)

TYPE: Short-range fighter, interseptor

ACCOMMODATION: Pilot only

POWER PLANT: One turbojet engine of unknown type

PERFORMANCE: No data available

COMMENT: The end of WW II saw a great amount of secret project documents burned, captured or left to blow around empty hangars. Some companies documents were almost completely lost, others were scattered. After the war some of these seemingly reappeared but most likely many of these projects are imaginations. Some were relatively conventional, others were futuristic, but it is unknown whether these designs are from the period 1940/41 or from the time at the end of the WW II.
This is true for instance for Messerschmitt’s “Animal Names” types. These were a single-turbojet midget fighter “Libelle” (Dragonfly) and two designs of the “Wespe I” and “Wespe II” (Wasp) light fighters, a twin-engine fighter Messerschmitt Schwalbe (Swallow), a bomber-transporter “Wildgans” (Brant) and two versions of a heavy ground-attacker “Zerstörer I” and “Zerstörer II” (Destroyer).
Both Messerschmitt “Wespe I” and “Wespe II” had swept-back wings, were to be powered by a single turbojet-engine and had a tricycle landing-gear. From this point of view these projects could be dated to the end of the war.
In contrary, unusual for these Messerschmitt project drawings is that none of the dotted-outline turbojets in each of the drawings matches with the contours of any turbojets that are under development or production by BMW, Daimler-Benz, Heinkel-Hirth and Junkers, nor do the thrust figures quoted for them correspond to the known turbojets variants. Gas turbine development in Germany was concerned from the very beginning with the axial-flow type, save for the radial-flow turbojets developed by Dr. ing. von Ohain. This leads to the conclusion that at beginning of the war Messerschmitt possessed no documentation on turbojet development or installation plans hypothesizing that all these “Animal Name” projects could also be dated to the early 1940’s.
In conclusion, perhaps and more likely are these designs the product more of fantasy than reality. (Ref.: Herwig, Dieter and Heinz Rode: Luftwaffe Secret Projects, Ground Attack & Special Purpose Aircraft. Midland Publishing, Hinckley, LE10 3EY, England)


Watch the video: MITSUBISHI # 6688044 (July 2022).


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