Osprey's 'Aircraft of the Aces' series hits the #100 milestone with this absolutely first-rate history of the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force aces who flew Nakajima's Ki-44 'Shoki' interceptor. Prior to Nicholas Millman's KI-44 'TOJO' ACES OF WORLD WAR 2, little information on the stubby, fast-climbing Ki-44 has been available in English-language publications. Happily, 'Aircraft of the Aces #100' rectifies that situation in splendid fashion.
Developed in 1939, the Shoki's design flew in the face of the IJAAF dogfighter tradition. A tough, speedy, hard-climbing, heavily-armed 'heavy fighter,' the Ki-44 was built in limited numbers but saw combat over every South-east Asia front except New Guinea and was a major player in Home Defense ops against B-29s. Eighteen pilots scored all or some of their kills flying the stubby Nakajima fighter.
A member of the Pacific Air War History Associates, Millman does an excellent job of summarizing the Ki-44's development and war record over China, Burma, the East Indies, the Philippines and the Home Islands. Thanks to in-depth research, he is able to match up Japanese claims versus actual Allied losses.
The text is complimented by over 80 b&w photographs and Ronnie Olsthoorn's color profiles and cover artwork. Olsthoorn's work is superlative; I hope Osprey makes more use of his talents.
Pacific air war enthusiasts will enjoy KI-44 'TOJO' ACES OF WORLD WAR 2. The blend of authoritative text, imagery and artwork makes for a great addition to the Osprey 'Aces' series. Make no mistake about it; this is one impressive book! Highly recommended.