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Built by Kawasaki at Kagamigahara during April 1943. At the factory, this aircraft was delivered with a natural aluminum finish and a fuselage Hinomaru outlined with a white border.
Delivered to the Japanese Army Air Force (JAAF) as Type 3 Fighter / Ki-61-Ia Tony manufacture number 263. Uncoded serial number 163. Armed with the "Kou" weapon configuration of two 12.7mm Ho-103 machine cannons in the fuselage forward decking and two 7.7 mm Type 89 machine guns in the wings.
Assigned to the 68th Sentai, 2nd Chutai. This aircraft was assigned to Captain Shogo Takeuchi, commander of 2nd Chutai, 68th Sentai.
This Ki-61 was bare metal finish with dark green spray paint applied to the upper surfaces in a snake weave pattern. The left side of the cockpit had an eagle marking. The leading edge of the wing had a yellow identification stripe with a red four-pointed star around each machine gun barrel. The fuselage Hinomaru was outlined in white, then the border was over painted with green spray paint. The rear fuselage had two vertical white bands around the Hinomaru. The forward stripe was wider and the rear band was smaller indicating assignment to the 2nd Chutai. The tail had the "V" motif of the 68th Sentai, 2nd Company.
During November 1943, this Ki-61 was abandoned at Cape Gloucester Airfield (Tuluvu) at Cape Gloucester No. 1 (Old Strip, West Airfield). Likely, the aircraft had mechanical problems and was carefully hidden with palm fronds as camouflage and was not damaged by Allied bombing raids.
On December 30, 1943 this aircraft was discovered by U. S. Marines when they captured the airfield area. The Ki-61 was intact but submerged up to the wings due to recent rains and flooding. After being reported to Allied intelligence, it became known as the "Cape Gloucester Ki-61" or "Cape Gloucester Tony". Disassembled and loaded aboard a U. S. Navy Landing Ship Tank (LST) and shipped to Brisbane.
During early 1944, the Ki-61 was restored and flight tested at Eagle Farm Airfield. Further tests were cut short due to the presence of metal filings in the engine and was once again disassembled for shipment to the United States for further evaluation.
During June 1944, shipped from Brisbane to NAS Anacostia where it was reassembled and flight tested further. Test pilots concluded it was a pleasant aircraft to fly but "a great deal of maintenance was required during the trials it seems likely that the Japanese find it difficult to keep this Tony in commission." This Ki-61 was also flight tested at NAS Pax River Test Center.
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