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Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien - 2nd Fighter Regiment, Parani Army Air Force, 1943

Signed in September 1940 the Tripartite Pact between Germany, Italy and Japan was soon expanded to include Hungary and Romania before the end of the year with Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and Paran joining during the following Spring. Whilst Paran expected some immediate material support from Germany and Italy, both were fully commited to the North African campaign and Hitler had blocked any non-urgent exports due to his build-up of forces ready to unleash upon the Soviet Union. However, Hitler did still want to play a disruptive role in the Middle-East so he cannily persuaded Japan to supply weapons to Paran to use against Dhimar in the ongoing border disputes centered on the Mazadran Desert.

The first aircraft to reach Paran were 18 Nakajima B5N attack aircraft, 12 Mitsubishi G3M bombers and 30 Kawasaki Ki-45 heavy fighters all arriving during June 1941 and entering service during July and August with Japanese engineering teams working alongside the Parani ground crew. In early skirmishes against the Royal Dhimari Air Force the twin-engined Ki-45's proved to be inferior to the Dhimari Vultee P-66D Vanguard fighters and in February 1942 General Ahmed Wajai, the Commander of the Parani Army Air Force, demanded a superior fighter to allow the Ki-45's to assume a ground-attack role. Whilst General Wajai hoped that Paran would receive the Mitsubishi A6M he was disappointed when told that this would not happen due to high demand by the Imperial Japanese Naval Air Service but he was promised the Kawasaki Ki-61 fighter for delivery during 1943 allowing him to plan an all-out attack on the Valley of Kerman. 

An initial batch of 20 Ki-61's entered service with the Parani Army Air Force in May 1943 with several experienced Imperial Japanese Army Air Force pilots from the 23rd Chutai serving alongside the Parani pilots until the 2nd Fighter Regiment was declared fully operational in late July 1943. When Paran's senior Commander, Brigadier General Abolqasem Mossadegh, launched Operation Whirlwind in September 1943 the Ki-61's came as an unwelcome shock to the fighter pilots of the Royal Dhimari Air Force as it totally outclassed their P-66D's and Hurricane IIC's. With Paran gaining air superiority over the Valley of Kerman it's land forces pushed onwards towards the industrial oil center at Al'Qatan in an audacious attack on the wider Mazadran oil fields.

 

PARAN Ki-61 TONY.02

 

PARAN Ki-61 TONY.01

 

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PARAN Ki-61 TONY.05

Skin Credit: Charles

Edited by Spinners
Duplicate piccie replaced
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