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P-40 Warhawk vs Ki-43 Oscar: China 1944-45 (Duel) Paperback – March 18, 2008

4.4 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“I recommend this book to all military aviation enthusiasts. Like many Osprey books, P-40 Warhawk vs Ki-43 Oscar should be a useful title as reference for modelers as well.” ―C. Peter Chen, World War II Database (May 2008)

“This is excellent book as far as I am concerned. It not only relates the technical details and development of each aircraft it also informs on the actions that took part in this less than centre stage theatre of World War Two. Recommended.” ―Rodger Kelly, Hyperscale (May 2008)

“In all, a superlative inclusion to this series and one that I know you will find useful.” ―Scott Van Aken, modelingmadness.com (April 2008)

“Both early designs that were outdated by other types, [the P-40 and the Ki-43] still had plenty of fight in them when they clashed during the air war supporting the Japanese Ichi-Go campaign in 1944. During this campaign, the P-40 and Ki-43 engaged in some of the toughest dogfights in China... [A] great companion to the other titles detailing the specific aircraft and can become an important part of any aviation reference library.” ―Chris BanyaiRiepl, Internet Modeler (April 2008)

About the Author

Carl Molesworth is an editor and writer for Reed Elsevier. He has been researching and writing about fighter operations in World War 2 for more than 25 years. His seven previous titles include four books for Osprey, P-40 Warhawk Aces of the CBI, P-40 Warhawk Aces of the MTO, P-40 Warhawk Aces of the Pacific and Very Long Range P-51 Mustang Units of the Pacific War. In 2004, he won a Gold Award for his writing in the Trade Association Business Publications International's annual competition. The author lives in Mount Vernon, WA.
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Product Details

  • Series: Duel (Book 8)
  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing (March 18, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846032954
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846032950
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.2 x 9.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #894,119 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By R. A Forczyk VINE VOICE on April 27, 2008
Format: Paperback
When I was growing up in the 1960s, the Flying Tigers were one of the popular images of the American role in the Second World War (nowadays, American interest in the war is almost solely focused on D-Day and Iwo Jima), but we didn't have too many books on the subject that went beyond superficial anecdotal accounts. In particular, we knew fairly little about the Japanese role in air combat over China. Now, aviation historian Carl Molesworth provides an excellent look at the dynamics of air combat over China, focusing on the battles between American P-40s and Japanese Ki-43 Oscars during the Japanese Ichi-Go offensive in the summer of 1944. This is a narrow, focused effort that does a superb job analyzing two opposing weapon systems in a discrete area and time. Thanks to Molesworth, the American reading public now has a much better idea of what those Flying Tigers were up against. A very good piece of aviation history.

P-40 Warhawk vs. Ki-43 Oscar begins with a 10-page section that details the design and development of both aircraft. Essentially, the Americans opted for pressing a Curtiss fighter into production as quickly as possible to deliver a multi-purpose aircraft. Unlike the Oscar, which the Japanese optimized for air-to-air combat, the P-40 was more of a workhorse that was designed for air-ground as well as air-to-air combat. This section also includes color plates of both aircraft. The next section on technical specifications spells out the details on the various models of each aircraft, although the only real direct comparisons are the author's mention of the Oscar's superior maneuverability and the P-40's superior firepower.
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I received this book today and was relieved to find the cover artwork ACCURATELY depicting a Ki-43 Oscar, in mottled green & aluminum camouflage. It's shown in flight, heading towards the viewer's right. Above that, flying to the rear left, is the Warhawk. The artwork, by Jim Laurier, is superb! He also did the color artwork inside: 3-views, cockpits, armament scrap views, and a spectacular 2-page battle scene.

There are also many fine, clear, period photos of the combatants and their machines. I don't remember seeing these in my other books on the Oscar and Warhawk. The text by Carl Molesworth is well worth absorbing. Lastly, there are maps, a bibliograpy, and an index.

I have to give Osprey credit for their "Duel" Series. So far, I've collected three of these titles, and I think they represent some of the very best that Osprey offers, of all their various publications.

Highly recommended!
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Any review of this book would have to start by briefly discussing the format of the Osprey "Duel" series of which it is a part. The format consists of books of 80 pages in length, of which about a third consist of illustration of one type of another. Hence this is a relatively short "book" that many would consider just a pamphlet. Thus if someone is looking for a very in-depth tome or academic discussion of the topic this format, obviously, cannot fulfill it. The relevant question hence becomes how well does this book serve to examine its topic given its very limiting format? The answer is very well.

The book follows the standard Duel format in providing a decent (but succinct) overview of the aircraft from their early development through the variations that each underwent throughout the war, including strength and weaknesses. The KI-43 and P-40, were very different in that they were both designed and fulfilled two very different purposes. The KI-43 was designed, almost exclusively, to fulfill the role of air-to-air combat fighter. The P-40, on the other hand, was designed and fulfilled the role of a more general workhorse (i.e., ground attack aircraft as well as fighter).

The book then discusses pilot quality through the war. This was basically that Japanese pilots were better than US (in general) in the beginning of the war but by the period covered by the war attrition and poor training gave the advantage to the US. Eventually the Japanese were, like the rest of the axis powers, simply overwhelmed by allied resources. Even the P-40 itself was not reduced in number by Japanese resources but by replacement with superior US aircraft (i.e., P-51).

The book is also very well illustrated with photographs and illustrations.
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The P-40 and the Ki-43 Oscar were both fighters which exemplified the design philosophies of their respective nations. On the whole they were more-or-less evenly matched in the skies of China and Burma, but they had completely different sets of strengths and weaknesses.

The Oscar was light, nimble and wonderful to fly. The P-40 was heavier, slower and not nearly as good in a climb. But the P-40 was rugged, heavily armed and could easily out-dive the Oscar. If both planes were flown intelligently the contest overall was likely to be pretty evenly matched.

However there was one other major difference between the two that played a major role in deciding the contest. The Americans out-produced the Japanese by a large margin. As the contest went on, the Japanese found it hard to replace their losses. Worse, both planes were pretty much obsolescent by the time they met. The Americans were able to flood the China theater with the more modern P-51 Mustang. The Japanese also had an equivalent in the Hayate "Frank", but they could only provide a trickle of them.

I found this account fascinating.
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