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Modellismo > Aerei > Nakajima Ki-43 II
“Hayabusa” production line at the Tachikawa factory, 1943

A Ki.43 taking off, probably on a Kamikaze mission, to judge by the large bomb

Hayabusa Aces
The top-scoring Hayabusa pilot was Sergeant Satoshi Anabuki with 39 confirmed victories, almost all scored with the Ki-43. Another remarkable Hayabusa pilot was Lt. Col. Tateo Kato, CO of the 64th Sentai. Popularly hailed as the “War God,”

Kato was the most celebrated pilot of the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force in World War II. His career as a fighter pilot peaked during the Sino – Japanese war when, flying a Kawasaki Ki 10 biplane, he downed four Polikarpov I-15s on March 25, 1938. His squadron converted to Nakajima Ki.27’s  and by May 1938, Kato’s unit had claimed 39 enemy craft for a loss of only three Ki 27s—with Kato himself claiming four more kills. He then rotated back to Japan with a final tally of nine, which made him the leading ace of the war.

The Japanese  people perpetuated his memory through the song “Kato Hayabusa Sentoki  Tai” (Kato’s Fighter Air Group). At the time of his passing, Kato was  credited with 18 kills. The “War God” was also posthumously elevated two  grades to major general, a standard Japanese practice. More important,  the lessons he taught the 64th Sentai allowed it to continue fighting  successfully without him. It would emerge as the most famous Japanese  army air force unit of World War II.

Another unique  fact is that, in 1944, a movie was made to honor him. The black and  white movie is called Kato Hayabusa Sento-Tai (加藤隼戦闘隊) or ‘Colonel  Kato’s Hayabusa Squadron’ and is available on U-Tube.
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