Okawa's Prize by Jim Laurier
Warrant Officer Makoto Okawa, flying his Nakajima Ki-44-II "Shoki" of the 3rd Chutai, 70th Sentai, brings down a B-29 in 1945.
The Japanese Zero was a revolution in itself. The Japanese designers were given the daunting task of designing a plane that needed to have firepower, range, altitude, and speed. These things may have been possible with a better engine, but the Japanese lacked this factor. Left with no other choice, the designers were forced to take on radical revisions. What was needed was a drastic weight reduction. A new super aluminum formed the shell of the craft but weight restrictions forced the pilot to go without armor protection, and without self sealing fuel tanks. The result was a fighter plane that was the backbone of the Japanese Navy.