Known by various titles, including your webmaster's preferred 'Colonel Kato's Falcon Squadron',
this is a Japanese wartime film about Colonel Tateo Kato, leader of the 64th Sentai, IJAAF from late
1941 until his death on May 22nd, 1942. Equipped with the Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa ('Peregrine
Falcon', allied code-name 'Oscar'), Kato's outfit was based in China and met the AVG (Flying Tigers)
in the air often, with their first encounter taking place on December 25th, 1942 over Rangoon, Burma.
Overall, the film is typical of the period; propagandistic and more than a bit hoaky here and there.
The highlight of the film is the truly wonderful footage of real, live, fire-breathing, smoke-spewing
things with wings, especially those of the Curtiss variety. Yeah, it's way-cool to see the Japanese types;
such good footage featuring Meatballs is something of a rarity. But we're here to talk 'P-40', not Japs.
The P-40s in the flick are a mixture of models and real Hawks, and it seems that at least two of
the latter appear in the film. There's a short sequence showing what looks to be two different P-40s
on the ground, and two aerial sequences for which it appears that two Hawks may have been used;
one with light-colored surrounds on the national insignia, and another without them. (It could also
be that just one ship was used and was repainted, but until more definite info comes to light, I'm
going with the idea of multiple Hawks.) Both ships carry spurious rudder stripes, too many
roundels for the period represented, and both have an overall patchy and worn appearance.
This clip shows one of the flick's two dogfight sequences that involve the P-40.
Here's some grabs showing the real P-40s that were used in the film.
Well, since the flick is all about an Oscar driver, I guess we'll put this in here.
A number of differences in paint and markings are apparent in the following aerial
shots, leading your webmaster to believe that at least two P-40s were flown for the film.
HAWK'S NEST PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT:
A few stills from this flick, including one that's very similar to this next grab,
have been circulating for decades, and many have been fooled into thinking that they
showed stills from actual combat footage captured by Japanese gun cameras.
Though it's possible that there may have been rare exceptions,
Japanese fighters of the Second World War did not carry gun cameras.
The more you know...
Even though it's Horrywood fakery, this is still a sad sight...
More info about this flick can be found on its