Late in 1944 Nakajima began finishing their aircraft in a dark brown, as seen here. IJA aircraft were not generally primed, and photographs show the paint had totally sloughed off the upper fuselage on this aircraft. This aircraft was photographed at Miyakonojo Airfield in Miyazaki Perfecture on 12APR45, piloted by 2Lt Jiro Ito.
Lieutenant Dangerous: A Vietnam War Memoir
Authored and Narrated by Jeff Danziger
Audiobook, 5 hours and 43 minutes
Published by Steerforth
Jeff Danziger is probably better known as a political cartoonist, but earlier in life he was drafted into the U.S. Army and did a tour in Vietnam. Like many draftees, he was a reluctant participant. His story is not an epic tale of combat heroism, Danziger readily volunteers that one of his primary motivations was to wait out his term of service without having to deploy to Vietnam.
To that end, he parlayed his high aptitude scores into assignments to a series of specialized training schools, all of which he hoped would preclude him having enough time left to actually be sent overseas. He attended a year-long program to learn to speak Vietnamese, an irony not lost upon him. While he was able to master the basics, Vietnamese is a tonal language and his instructors spoke the Southern dialect, not the version predominantly used in the North by the NVA. An opportunity for Officers’ training presented itself after language school, and Danzinger was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant. Then on to more training as an Officer.
Rotations to Vietnam were to last a year, and with a year left in his time in the Army Danzinger’s machinations failed and he was sent to Vietnam as an ordinance officer. Eventually he sent a letter to his Representative questioning why the Army trained him in the Vietnamese language but employed him replacing artillery tubes, which resulted in some chewing-outs but reassignment as an Intelligence Officer.
In the wide range of Vietnam memoirs in print today, this one is unique as it was written by someone who had no real desire to serve and makes no bones about it. It is cynical but honest, and Danzinger’s style is very tongue-in-cheek which makes it an enjoyable read. There are several “why are we doing this?” moments which will be familiar to anyone who has been in the military. This is a different perspective on military service, written by someone who was just trying to get through their enlistment. If you’re looking for a combat memoir this is not your book, but it is interesting nonetheless.
Photographs taken at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force (NMUSAF) at Dayton, Ohio.
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The 29th Sentai was based on Formosa. The Sentai arrow marking was rendered in different colors for the various Chutai, but blue was typically the color reserved for the Headquarters flight.
The Siebelfähre (Siebel Ferry) were conceived as one of several types of landing craft intended to support the German invasion of England, Operation Sea Lion. They were constructed by combining two large bridging pontoons with a cargo deck to form a catamaran arrangement. Power was provided with either truck or aircraft engines located within the pontoons, and a small pilothouse was constructed in the center. The ferry could carry any vehicle in the German inventory, including Tiger tanks. The stability of the catamaran configuration was not lost upon the Luftwaffe, who converted several into flak barges after the cancellation of Sea Lion.
Here is a beautiful series of color photographs taken by Carl Rosenquist on 13AUG42. The occasion was a review of several Siebel Ferries on Lake Ladoga by German and Finnish officers. Photographs are held by SA-Kuva, the Finish National Archives.
This aircraft is from the 3rd Chutai, 47th Sentai at Narimasu, Japan, February 1945. The white bands under the Hinomaru are Home Defense bands, applied to aircraft operating from the Home Islands during the last year of the war. The drop tanks were also associated with units based in Japan, they were painted yellow to allow for easier location and potential re-use.
Japanese Army Air Force Aces 1937-1945
Series: Osprey Aircraft of the Aces 13
By Henry Sakaida, Illustrated by Grant Race
Softcover, 96 pages, appendices, 40 color profiles
Published by Osprey Publishing, April 1997
Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.2 x 9.8 inches
The Osprey Aircraft of the Aces currently numbers over 140 volumes and is still growing. This volume on the JAAF is one of the early efforts in the series and was published twenty-five years ago. It is noteworthy for two reasons; First, English language references on the Japanese military during World War Two are comparatively rare. This is especially true of histories of individuals or even specific units. Second, the format of this book deviates from most other books in the OAoA series. The typical formula is a chronological narrative with anecdotes from pilots or official reports interspersed with a general history of the war. In this book the text is comprised of individual biographies of the pilots, each approximately one page in length. Photographs of the pilots and their aircraft accompany each subject.
In some ways author Henry Sakaida has provided us with a poor man’s version of Hata and Izawa’s Japanese Army Air Force Units and Their Aces, 1931–1945. This is not entirely accurate, as Hata and Izawa offer a more comprehensive history, while Sakaida’s work is a more accessible introduction, and adds aircraft profiles which are of great interest to modelers. Both works are valuable additions to a reference library and complement each other nicely.
Illustrator Grant Race has rendered forty excellent aircraft profiles, almost half of which depict the most common JAAF fighter type of the Pacific War, the Ki-43 Hayabusa “Oscar”. These are particularly useful for modelers who are interested in building aircraft flown by ace pilots and are provided with captions with all the relevant details. There are also six color renderings of JAAF pilots in a variety of uniforms and flight gear.
The book is still easy to find today, and often at very reasonable prices. It represents an excellent value, especially considering the general lack of information on Japanese aircraft available to English readers. Highly recommended for all JAAF enthusiasts.