NAKAJIMA Ki-43-IB ARMY TYPE 1
FIGHTER MODEL IB
HAYABUSA PEREGRINE FALCON "OSCAR"
Nakajima Ki-43-IB, Army Type Fighter Model IB, Peregrine Falcon, "Oscar" was recovered by the RAAF in January 1945. It had served with the 3rd Company, 59th Flying Regiment, when operating from But East airfield in New Guinea.
The recovered "Oscar" was scheduled to be displayed at the "Spitfire Show" in Melbourne from 29 January to 3 February 1945. The "Spitfire Show" proved to be so popular that the Young Christian Workers' Association agreed to delay their dance at the Melbourne Town Hall from 8 February to the 15 February so that the "Spitfire Show" could be extended until Saturday night 10 February. The following excerpt from an article in the Age newspaper of 12 January 1945 mentions this Oscar:-
The Age, Melbourne, 12 January 1945
An Oscar, Japanese fighter, captured on a northern New Guinea airfield, will also be a feature of the Spitfire show.
This will be the first exhibit in Melbourne of the type of Spitfire in which Group Captain Clive Caldwell and other Australian aces are defending Allied bases in the Halmaheras. Its Japanese prototype, the Oscar, with which the Japanese army replaced the early Zero fighter, had been damaged when it was captured. It is now being repaired at the R.A.A.F engineering school at Ascot Vale. A fast and tricky machine, but not as good as the Spitfire VIII, the Oscar was flown south, but not under its own power. Dismantled, it was put aboard an Air Force transport. The wings had to be cut from the fuselage, as Japanese wings are not detachable. Mechanics are now putting them back.
The Age, Saturday 27 January 1945
Advertisement for the Spitfire Show in Melbourne
The "Oscar" was then given to the Australian War Memorial. It was never placed on display by the AWM. The aircraft was lent to the Historic Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS) in early 1982 with ownership remaining with the AWM. HARS was to restore the Oscar with funds provided by the AWM. The Oscar still had signs of its original green paint on its upper surfaces.
It would appear it was sold to the Fighter Collection at Duxford in England in 1990.
The "Oscar" was then sold to Nobuo Harada for his Kawaguchiko Car / Air Museum in Japan. It arrived by ship at Yokohama, Japan in July 2013. A tail section with a yellow diagonal stripe was also included in the sale. This tail section had likely been recovered from Alexishafen Airfield in 1984.
The "Oscar" was restored to static display status and placed on display in 2017. It is presented in bare aluminium finish without any markings. It is mounted on a metal stand off the ground with its wheels retracted.
Nakajima Ki-43-IA, Army Type Fighter Model IA, Peregrine Falcon, "Oscar"
Serial No. 750 (MSN 4950)
AWM, Jack Curtis, Syd Marshall, Jack Davidson, Col Pay, Alpine Collection (NZ), Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum (USA)
Ki-43-I Oscar Manufacture Number ??
by Justin Taylan
Kawaguchiko Car / Air Museum
I'd like to thank Justin Taylan, Darryl Ford and Allan Brooker for their assistance with this web page.
Can anyone help me with more information?
"Australia @ War" WWII Research Products
© Peter Dunn 2015
This page first produced 22 May 2020
This page last updated 24 May 2020