We were encountering a serious problem by this time. Recent Spitfires seem to have adopted even more powerful engines and and their climb and speed had improved considerably. Chasing and shooting down these enemy fighters with our Hayabusa MkIIs became increasingly difficult. Even if we succeeded in luring them into a close-in dogfight, the skill of the RAF pilots was not bad at all. In clear contrast to the USAAF pilots, the RAF pilots were seasoned veterans. They often seemed to intentionally try to dogfight us rather than using hit-and-run tactics.
So we made our best efforts to improve the rate of climb and maneuvrability of our mounts; stripping down our planes was the primary method. We removed our back armor, head armor (this was also to imrove rear vision), and reducedthe number of oxygen bottles.
Sgt. Masahiro Ikeda, 64th Sentai commenting on the state of battle in Burma , 1944Eiko Hayabusa Sentai ISBN4-87565-305-0
The leader's aircraft suddenly started going into a loop. I'll be in trouble if I don't stick together, so I bull back on the stick with all my might, but I could not follow the leader.
"Oh! The combat flaps!"
I noticed that the combat flaps were sticking out of the leader's trailing edge. I clicked the button on top of my stick and my plane started a loop with a very small radius. I had this convenient tool all along and yet forgot about using it altogether.
I looked down at the top of the loop and there they were! Four dark green Spitfires right beneath us. This was the formation that was chasing us all. They were now 400 meters below us, and were about to come into our range. The sudden reduction of the turning radius must have surprised more than one Spitfire pilot, but now it was too late.
May 5th, 1944 over Imphal, Sgt. Masahiro Ikeda, 64th SentaiEiko Hayabusa Sentai ISBN4-87565-305-0
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