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B-29 Superfortress vs Ki-44 'Tojo'

B-29 Superfortress vs Ki-44 'Tojo' Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review March 2018 Title B-29 Superfortress vs Ki-44 'Tojo'
Author Donald Nijboer Publisher Osprey Publishing
Published 2017 ISBN 9781472818867
Format 80 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $20.00


America's most advanced WWII heavy bomber and Japan's most heavily armed single-seat fighter square off in the 82nd installment of Osprey's popular "Duel" series.

B-29 Superfortress vs Ki-44 "Tojo": Pacific Theater 1944–45 capably considers the air war over Imperial Japan through the prism of these two participants.

Donald Nijboer 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, strategy, and tactics on battle performance.

Coverage hits crescendo with the author's absorbing account of Allied bombing actions over Japan's Home Islands. Imperial Japanese intelligence estimates of B-29 capabilities proved remarkably prescient. But "[u]nfortunately for the Japanese population, the defense of preparations made by the [I]JAAF and IJNAF to counter the B-29 would prove anemic at best and soon turn desperate."

In fact, initial encounters with Superfortresses over China revealed serious deficiencies in Ki-44 armament and high-altitude performance. IJAAF pilots resorted to desperation tactics – including ramming. B-29 atomic attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki brought the war to an end. And Nijboer dutifully highlights the impacts of key operational and historical issues in concluding "Statistics and Analysis" and "Aftermath" sections.

Illustrations, cut-aways, photos, sidebars, a chart, and one map season Nijboer's study. And a selected bibliography and index conclude his informative effort.

Count me a fan of Osprey's "Duel" series. This one proved especially interesting.


My sincere thanks to Osprey Publishing for this review sample!