A fully illustrated study of the Nakajima Ki49 'Helen', the twin-engined bomber of the Pacific War, from Japanese aviation expert George Eleftheriou.
The Nakajima Ki-49 Donryu ('Dragon Eater'), codenamed 'Helen' by the Allies, was a twin-engined Japanese bomber designed to undertake daylight attacks without the protection of escort fighters. Consequently, while it was officially known as the Army Type 100 Heavy Bomber, its formidable defensive armament and armour were so heavy that they restricted the Ki-49 to payloads comparable to those of smaller medium bombers.
While only five heavy bomber sentai (regiments) were equipped with the 'Helen', the over 800 Ki-49s built between 1941 and 1944 saw extensive action in Burma, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, northern India and north Australia.
In an act of desperation, a small number of 'Helens' were even employed, unsuccessfully, as kamikaze aircraft against US Navy warships operating off the Philippines and Okinawa.
In this fascinating book, George Eleftheriou provides a comprehensive account of the units that saw action flying the 'Helen', based on original Japanese sources. Also featuring high-quality photographs never published before, specially commissioned colour profile artwork, official unit histories and veteran accounts, this title is a must-have for Japanese aircraft enthusiasts.
George Eleftheriou is an aviation researcher and author specializing in the history of Japanese aviation, both civilian and military, until the end of World War II. Residing in Japan since 2000, he is able to engage with the subject matter 'at source' through direct research via primary and secondary archives. He is the managing editor of the self-published magazine Arawasi International and author of the self-published book The Eagles of Manchukuo, 1932–1945 – An Illustrated History of Civilian and Military Aviation. George also runs an online store that sells and promotes Japanese aviation publications and decals for hobbyists.
The illustrators for this title are Gareth Hector (cover) and Jim Laurier (profile artworks).