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B-24 Liberator vs Ki-43 Oscar: China and Burma 1943

B-24 Liberator vs Ki-43 Oscar: China and Burma 1943 Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review August 2012 Title B-24 Liberator vs Ki-43 Oscar: China and Burma 1943
Author Edward M. Young Publisher Osprey Publishing
Published 2012 ISBN 9781849087025
Format 80 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $17.95

Review

Count me a fan of Osprey's "Duel" series.  And this one is no exception.

B-24 Liberator vs Ki-43 Oscar: China and Burma 1943 capably considers the CBI air war through the prism of these two participants.

Edward M. Young superbly sets the stage with notes on notions shaping Japanese and American weapons development.  After a convenient chronology, contents course through design and technical remarks on both warplanes.  Text then turns to "combatants" and "combat" – the impact of training, armament and tactics on battle performance.

Coverage peaks with the author's thrilling account of 1943 fighting.  Severely outgunned Oscars employed frontal attacks and matchless maneuverability to exploit flaws in Liberator defenses.  And more B-24s than Ki-43s fell in CBI combat that year.

By 1944, though, more heavily armed Liberators entered service.  More potent Allied fighters escorted USAAF bombing missions.  And Oscars downed just one B-24 that year.  By early 1945, Young reveals, "Liberators were flying over Burma and China with impunity".

Lucky for me: my late father-in-law – SSgt William F Hajel – served as a B-24 radio operator with the 493rd BS (7th BW) in the CBI from late 1943 through 1945.  Many of his mementos contain chilling reminders of the dangers Allied aircrews faced.

Illuminating analyses and bibliographic notes conclude Young's splendid study.  And illustrations, photos, sidebars, charts and maps flavor his savory story.

Note, too, that Young's B-24 Liberator vs Ki-43 Oscar: China and Burma 1943 perfectly complements his earlier B-24 Liberator vs Ki-43 Oscar: China and Burma 1943 (Combat Aircraft 87) – another outstanding Osprey handbook on World War II aerial combat over Southeast Asia.

Robustly recommended.

My sincere thanks to Osprey Publishing for this review sample!

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