Mitsubishi Ki-67 Hiryu (Peggy) - Imperial Japan, 1944
Detailing the development and operational history of the Mitsubishi Ki-67 Hiryu (Peggy) Medium Bomber.
Entry last updated on 5/10/2016; Authored by Staff Writer; Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
Though classified as a medium bomber by the Japanese, by Western standards, the Ki-67 Peggy was seen as a light bomber.
The Mitsubishi-designed Ki-67 Hiryu (translated to "flying dragon" and dubbed "Peggy" by the Allies) is oft-regarded as the best bomber fielded by Japan in the Second World War. The system was of a twin-engine design, armed with a defensive array of machine guns and cannon and could carry thousands of pounds of bombs or a torpedo over 1,700 miles. Due to the consistent Allied bombing of the Japanese mainland, production of the Ki-67 would never reach the hoped-for and needed standards to which the system would have made a difference in the Pacific Theater.
Built to a 1940 specification, the Ki-67 was not fielded in any quantity until about 1944. Initially designed for an expected war with the Soviet union on in the Siberian territories, the Ki-67 was developed with several distinct features that would stray away from traditional Japanese aircraft production - chief among those was the use of self-sealing fuel tanks and armor to provide the crew with some much-needed protection. Two Mitsubishi-brand Ha-104 series radial piston engines were mounted onto the low-monoplane wing design and would generate 1,900 horsepower apiece.
Crew accommodations ranged from 6 to 8 personnel depending on the mission role. Defensive gun positions consisted of a trainable nose-mounted 12.7mm machine gun, two 12.7mm waist-gunner positions and a single 12.7mm machine gun in a tail gunner position. Additionally, a single 20mm cannon was mounted atop the fuselage in a dorsal turret. The bomb bay could hold up to 1,764lbs of drop bombs in the traditional bomber role. A single 2,359lb torpedo could be fitted as well in the anti-shipping role. In the more macabre role of kamikaze (to which the Ki-67 and her crews would be subjected to before the end of the war) the internal weapons bay could be fitted with up to 6,393lbs of bombs.
The Ki-67 aircraft proved to be a versatile platform, so much so in fact, that the Japanese Army ordered in a slew of variants for specialized roles. Unfortunately for the design, these requests made the Ki-67 suffer on the production lines. As the war progressed in the favor of the Allies, the requests were being limited and the focus was set on pure production of the existing Hiryu models already available.
In the end, the Ki-67 was done in by the Allied bombing raids, delayed production lines and the inevitable end of the war for the Empire of Japan. As good as the system reportedly was, just under 700 examples were produced during wartime, too little in the way of making an impact and perhaps changing the tide in favor of the Empire.