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Old 24th September 2022, 04:58
kaki3152 kaki3152 is offline
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"Balls of Fire" attacks against B-29s over Japan

I've read plenty of literature regarding the B-29 night attacks against the Japanese empire. There are many accounts of "Balls of Fire" attacking B-29s at night. The implication is that these were Yokosuka Ohka MXY-7 attack. The Ohkas had to be air carried by Betty bombers especially equipped for the task.
I have never seen any documentation from the Japanese side to corroborate these attacks. Did they happen or are they merely imagined?
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Old 24th September 2022, 13:16
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Re: "Balls of Fire" attacks against B-29s over Japan

Kaki. This Japanese site suggests a development of the Ohka, a manned rocket-propelled B-29 interceptor with 2 cannon (unofficially a "SUZUKA 24") ; note the US report down the page describing "balls of fire".
This was the April 3 mission to Tachikawa by 73rd Wing, one lost 44-69751 "Homing De-Vice" Z Square 31 from the 500BG.

Regards
Nick

https://sensha-manual.blogspot.com/2...hter.html#more
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Old 24th September 2022, 15:47
RSwank RSwank is offline
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Re: "Balls of Fire" attacks against B-29s over Japan

This is a similar write-up:

http://www.all-aero.com/index.php/co...o-14-suzuka-24
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Old 24th September 2022, 20:07
Stig Jarlevik Stig Jarlevik is offline
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Re: "Balls of Fire" attacks against B-29s over Japan

One problem with this

How come no post war investigation found any evidence about such a development?

Plenty of photos of standard Ohkas but nothing on this interceptor version.

Cheers
Stig
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Old 25th September 2022, 00:19
edwest2 edwest2 is offline
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Re: "Balls of Fire" attacks against B-29s over Japan

Stig,

It may still be classified. The Germans did send designs to Japan. One report, above, mentions photos being taken but the photos have either been lost or classified.

Ed
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Old 25th September 2022, 12:11
Stig Jarlevik Stig Jarlevik is offline
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Re: "Balls of Fire" attacks against B-29s over Japan

Sorry Ed

I don't believe one thing about this. As I see it, just someone with too much imagination.
For example Edwin Dyer in his Japanese secret projects doesn't even mention such an aircraft being
projected, far less built.

The internet article gives very little real details. How/when was it re-designed, when did it make its first flight etc?
The real Okha was a very simple design with one single purpose, dive into ships and never come back.
It was a desperate design with no refinements at all.

The real Okha made its first combat mission 21 March 1945 and if Dyer is to be believed that was also
the month when production of the basic type stopped.

Since manned gliding tests with the type began on 31 October 1944, it was quite a feat by the Japanese
to achieve that.

But the article also wants me to believe that during this time, the design was totally altered to become
an interceptor fighter without giving a single evidence of how that happened, where it was done and
what the design really looked like.
Where was it tested and how was the test done?
Was it supposed to take off on its own power or dropped from a mother aircraft?
The single fin sketches indicates a take off from the ground rather than dropped in the air.
The problem is that I don't believe the aircraft would have been capable of taking off on its own power.
How was it supposed to land after its short mission?
Could it even fly at night?
A new rocket engine (KR-10) is listed without any details who built it and what output it had.

Finally, why on earth would surviving details remaining in USA be classified today?
If it really existed, it was another dead end in design, achieved nothing compared to standard
Japanese night interception and so on.

No, I need far more evidence than this.

Cheers
Stig
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Old 25th September 2022, 23:01
edwest2 edwest2 is offline
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Re: "Balls of Fire" attacks against B-29s over Japan

Stig,

Are you aware of all of the technical reports produced by the American investigators that were in Japan? That is one reason I keep looking for original reports and specialized books. I don't expect this sort of information to appear in some "popular," widely circulated book. Apparently, you do. For example: Do you have a copy of Japanese Special Attack Aircraft & Flying Bombs by Ryusuke Ishiguro and Tadeusz Januszewski?

From page 129: "Just before the end of hostilities, on 2 July 1945 the Kaigun Koku Hombu issued to Kawanishi their specifications for the development and production of a new aeroplane, which received the designation 'Experimental Navy Special Attack Aeroplane Baika' [Plum Blossom - Ed]. The new design was to replace the existing Ohka Models 11 and 22 and Nakajima Kikka special attack aircraft. Similar specifications were also received by Dai-Ichi Koku Gijyutsusho (generally shortened to Kugisho) at Yokosuka, in response to which a development of the Ohka Model 22, designated the Ohka Model 43 Otsu, was designed.

"... The Ohka Model 43 Otsu was intended to be powered by the Ne-20 turbojet engine, while it was planned that the Baika would use the Ka-10 pulse-jet."
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Old 26th September 2022, 00:51
Stig Jarlevik Stig Jarlevik is offline
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Re: "Balls of Fire" attacks against B-29s over Japan

Ed please

You are referring to a book which has nothing to say about the topic on hand.
Yes I have it and of course it does not mention anything about a Suzuka 24, or a nightfighter version
of the basic Ohka model

The Baika had nothing to do with the Ohka and even less with the fanciful Suzuka 24.
The Nakajima Kikka was the Japanese version of the Me 262
The Ohka model 43 was never built (one wooden mock up) and as far as I can see had nothing to do
with the Suzuka 24

With regard to the pulse-jet Ka-10 (not the rocket engine KR-10 as stated for the Suzuka 24) I can't
for the life of me see how such an engine could be fitted to the Ohka.

I have no idea what the B-29 crews saw, but if you or anyone else want to convince me, you have
to do a lot better than the Internet sites referred to.

Cheers
Stig
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Old 28th September 2022, 15:59
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Re: "Balls of Fire" attacks against B-29s over Japan

Stig / Ed. I don't know whether it's fact or fiction but certainly US Intellgence published a report on a Japanese Naval POW who described it (but rather vague using phrases like "possibly" or "not known") (first link); at the bottom of the other link is a drawing presumably by the POW of a launch site.
No doubt if a few B-29s had actually been shot down, the authorities would have taken it more seriously.......
Regards
Nick


https://dl.ndl.go.jp/info:ndljp/pid/...1506&__lang=en


https://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=236157
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Old 28th September 2022, 16:20
Stig Jarlevik Stig Jarlevik is offline
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Re: "Balls of Fire" attacks against B-29s over Japan

Hi Nick

It seems the same data goes round and round.
What is needed is a full report made post war.

All I can see is a very vague terminology used everywhere.
I can imagine many reasons for a POW at this stage of the war to try and make himself more important
than he really was.

To convert such a simple manned rocket bomb into a ground launched "missile" would be immense.
The Japanese may well have contemplated such a thing, but as far as I am concerned, until given proof,
it was never built

Cheers
Stig
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