Arawasi Contest 010

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Nakajima A6M2-N "Rufe" pt. 5 Aleutians 5th Kokutai

5th Kokutai
All sources agree that on August 5 the 5th Kokutai was organized with 12 "Rufe" seaplanes as optimum number in their strength. Six of the seaplanes were those of the Toko Ku and the newly founded unit also received a half compliment of three Aichi E13A "Jake" reconnaissance seaplanes.
We were not able to find the kodochosho of the 5th Ku but interestingly the one of the Toko Ku continues until August 11. As before, the Izawa entries are indicated with the letter I- in the beginning, the Kodochosho with the letter K- and the U.S. Navy daily reports with DR-.

August 5
K- Yamada and another pilot take off on patrol, No Enemy Contact.
 
August 6
K- Okawa, ENS Saihara and Suzuki flew patrols in pairs, NEC.
 
August 7
K- Yamada and another pilot patrol, NEC.
 
August 8
K- At 04:55 Okawa and another pilot took-off on a patrol mission but NEC. At 13:50 Yamada, Saihara and Suzuki patrol in pairs. Yamada spots two enemy seaplanes on reconnaissance mission to Kiska, attacks and one of the seaplanes is shot down. The second escaped. Ammunition used: 20mmX120, 7.7X300. The other two pairs didn't spot enemy.
At 14:50 Okawa and PO2c Uchiyama take-off to patrol in pairs. Okawa spotted two enemy reconnaissance floatplanes at 15:40, attacked and the enemy escaped. At 15:50 the US fleet was discovered by Uchiyama and Okawa and the pilots make strafing and bombing attacks while relating the enemy position back to base. Ammunition used, Okawa pair: 30kgX4, 20mmX210, 7.7mmX1200. Uchiyama pair: 30kgX4, 20mmX240, 7.7mmX2000.  
I- A US fleet with cruisers and destroyers was spotted and attacked. One "Rufe" destroyed. On the same afternoon there were air battles three times with seaplanes from the US fleet. Lt Yamada and PO2c Sasaki Giichi fought with two US seaplanes shooting down one. PO2c Okawa, PO3c Uchiyama, PO2c Minazawa strafed and bombed the US fleet.
In the book “Air War Pacific: Chronology: America’s Air War Against Japan in East Asia and the Pacific, 1941 – 1945” Eric Hammel mentions: “August 7, 1942 ALEUTIAN ISLANDS: Four of seven 28th Composite Bombardment Group B-24s dispatched to attack Kiska return to base because of mechanical problems, and the others are unable to attack because of cloud cover over the target. A USN surface battle force bombards Japanese positions and facilities on Kiska. Spotter planes launched from several USN cruisers are chased into clouds by A6M2-Ns, which then serve as spotters for shore batteries. One A6M2-N strafes a USN destroyer and one H6K fails in its attempt to bomb a cruiser. Among other damage, one H6K is destroyed at its mooring. Patrol Wing 4 PBYs dispatched to bomb Kiska sink a damaged freighter at its mooring.”
The Thousand-Mile War - World War II in Alaska and the Aleutians” by Brian Gardfield has the following on that day's events:
Navigating through the fog by radar and dead reckoning, Smith headed west through four days of risky voyaging, plunged into clear weather at 7:30 on the evening of August 7, and heard a lookout shout "Land Ho!"
  Smith had found Kiska—no mean feat. As he moved into position, he called in an air strike from the bombers waiting overhead; Eareckson's planes plastered the harbor, and a few minutes later Admiral Smith launched six observation planes from the catapults of his cruisers. Admiral Theobald had ordered him not to go in close to the island; reefs were too plentiful and the waters were not well charted. The task force stood out, five miles offshore, hidden from its targets by high ridges. Gun crews waited for the observation planes to signal target coordinates.
  Kiska's two remaining Rufe float-fighters had taken off valiantly to chase Eareckson's bombers. They were still in the air when the American catapult observation planes appeared. Kiska's deadly nests of flak guns filled the sky with black orchid bursts so heavy that the American SOCs could not get a clear view of the targets; harassed by the two fast Rufes, the clumsy old SOCs had to take refuge in the clouds. A Rufe shot one of them down; another came chugging down onto the water beside Indianapolis, splintered by 167 bullet holes (one of them in the pilot's foot). The four other observation planes got shot up and chased into the clouds.
  With his aerial eyes blinded, Admiral Smith was ready to abandon the effort when the two Rufes slithered into sight overhead and started calling target fire for Kiska's batteries. In a ludicrous reversal, Japanese shore guns began to bombard the American ships.
  Incensed, Admiral Smith put his ships into line astern and steamed back and forth, five miles offshore, loosing enormous salvos in the general direction of the Japanese base. More enraged than worried by the long-range Japanese gunnery, he pounded Kiska with every ton of high explosives in his magazines. The barrage was so heavy that he ran out of ammunition in seven minutes. Thereupon he recovered two of his catapult planes (the others flew to Umnak) and retired into the fog. None of his ships was damaged except for chipped paint here and there.
  The Air Force immediately dubbed it "The Navy's Spring Plowing." Admiral Smith's huge broadsides had dug a spectacular great hole in the tundra half a mile from the nearest targets of any importance. A few stray shells had done small damage—two Japanese soldiers were killed, holes were blown in a barracks and two landing barges and three beached, previously wrecked flying boats. The only real harm was done to a small freighter, hit by a wild, random four-inch shell that set her on fire and made her an easy target for a PBY which sank her later in the evening.”
And yet another first-hand account can be found in the January 1943 issue of the magazine Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin” (AKA "All Hands") where an article entitled First Account of Kiska Bombing was featured written by an anonymous "young lieutenant commander" serving on a cruiser.
“EARLY in August, our force was ordered to bombard the Japanese installations in the Harbor of Kiska at the end of the Aleutian chain. We encountered severe fog difficulties in maneuvering for position, but when it came, our first sight of the island of Kiska was a thrilling and dramatic experience, bursting out of the enveloping clouds and fog into the sunlight and seeing the mossy, tundra-clad mountain slopes of our objective ten miles away for the first time. There were low hanging clouds surmounting the mountain tops of Kiska but the sky was clear between us and the island. When we came out into the open there was no sign of offensive or defensive action on the island itself. The destroyers at the shortest range, were the first to open fire, followed a few minutes later by the tremendous volume of fire from the cruisers at the intermediate range. We opened fire after we were well out of the fog and on our firing course.
Almost fifteen minutes after our force commenced firing upon the island the enemy took retaliatory steps and their guns along the coastline were observed to be firing. Shortly thereafter a salvo of shell splashes erupted just ahead of the leading cruiser, at perfect range but ahead. So close, however, that bits of shrapnel landed on the forecastle of that cruiser and on the fantail of the mine-sweeper in column ahead of her. One of the cruisers had specific orders, in case of such eventualities, to obliterate any shore batteries. This was immediately and effectively done and no more shots were observed landing around the vessels of our force.
While this action was going on two Japanese float-type "Zero" fighter planes were sighted flying over the force, one apparently trying to attack the destroyers and cruisers and the other one flying over us to establish a range for the guns ashore. This latter plane dropped a large phosphorus flare but made no further attacks. At the same time a large four-motored Japanese seaplane bomber made several approaches and futile attempts to bomb our forces. All of these attacks by the Japanese planes were driven off by our anti-aircraft fire. After half an hour's firing at predetermined targets in the harbor we ceased firing, increased speed and retired to the southward and made all preparations for recovering our planes which had been observing for us.
The planes from our ship tried to fly over the Harbor of Kiska, making the approach from the south-ward, where our force was, but found the clouds so thick that they had to skirt around the western side of the island and come in through an opening in the clouds on the northwestern side. They found only one opening in the sky over the harbor and flew down to an altitude of three or four thousand feet to observe our firing. They saw our first salvos landing short and to the right of a transport in the harbor and made that report just as they were attacked by some Japanese Zeros. In the ensuing melee both planes received damage and our senior pilot got a shrapnel wound in his right foot. Nevertheless, the two planes beat off the attack, made one more observation for the ship, and then dove into the clouds for safety and returned to the ship.
That evening the force slowed down to recover its planes. At this time the same persistent, big Japanese bomber made a final attempt to attack us under cover of low hanging clouds and fog banks. Although we couldn't see him, two of our ships tracked him in as he made his approach. He came in from astern on our port quarter and then swung around to starboard leaving him on the starboard quarter of the ship. When he was within range of our antiaircraft battery, still out of sight it must be remembered, the command was given to commence firing and those guns let loose everything they had. The starboard battery, of course, was the one which had all the "sight-seers" during the actual bombardment operation because we were shooting to port at that time. Consequently, the boys were "rarin' to go." Whether or not we hit the plane is open to conjecture, but a tremendous explosion occurred between one and two miles astern of us and a geyser of water arose that must have been three or four hundred feet high, What is more, we received no further indications of an enemy plane flying around.”

From this and Gardfield's account the cruiser can be identified as Indianapolis. Of interest is the mention of a "large phosphorus flare", possibly a ta-dan bomb. 
 
August 9
K- At 02:00 Suzuki pair took off on patrol, NEC, returned to base at 14:40. At 05:10 Yamada pair patrol, NEC, returned to base 07:30. At 05:45 Okawa pair patrol, spotted five enemy aircraft attacked but the enemy escaped without any damages. Returned to base at 06:20 having spent 20mmX180, 7.7mmX300. At 05:30 Uchiyama pair patrol, NEC, returned at 08:30. At 07:40 Saihara and Sasaki took-off in pairs to patrol, NEC, returned at 08:55 and 08:50 respectively. At 09:05 Okawa pair patrol, spotted two B-24, attacked enemy escaped. No damage. Ammunition spent: 20mmX110, 7.7mmX280. After that Saihara and Suzuki took-off twice in pairs but NEC.
Hammel: “August 8, 1942 ALEUTIAN ISLANDS: USAAF heavy bombers and P-38s dispatched against Kiska abort their mission, but Patrol Wing 4 PBYs attack a freighter, a transport, and several ground targets.”

August 10
K- Yamada and Okawa took-off twice , Suzuki and Uchiyama once on patrol in pairs between 11:00 and 14:50. NEC.

August 11
K- At 03:35 Saihara pair patrol mission, NEC, returned at 04:30. At 04:35 Suzuki pair patrol, NEC, returned at 07:00. At 06:30 Yamada pair patrol, NEC, returned at 09:30. At 08:00 Saihara pair patrol, NEC, returned at 08:55. At 09:00 Okawa pair patrol, at 09:40 spotted two B-24, air battle, received one bullet hole, seriously damaged the enemy but was able to escape. Ammunition spent: 20mmX150, 7.7mmX250.
Saihara pair and Suzuki alone spotted two B-24 at 09:50, attacked, enemy probable damage but escaped. Ammunition spent, Saihara pair: 20mmX200, 7.7mmX400, Suzuki: 30kgX2, 20mmX120, 7.7mmX200.
After that more patrols by Uchiyama, Yamada, Saihara in pairs and Sasaki alone but NEC.
Hammel: “August 10, 1942 ALEUTIAN ISLANDS: Five 28th Composite Bombardment Group B-17s and three B-24s attack Kiska. One B-24 is downed by antiaircraft fire, and only the pilot is rescued.”

August 14 and 31
Both days five "Jake" seaplanes were ferried in by Kimikawa Maru.
DR- A U.S. observation plane over Kiska was attacked by three enemy fighters.

On August 30 US forces landed on Adak Island, closing the distance to Kiska and Attu. A landing strip was put together in the incredible space of only ten days and US fighters could escort heavy bombers which had to fly from Umnak near Alaska until that time.
Gardfield has an excellent piece about that on page 159:
“On August 31, the day after the landings, the Engineers were ready to drain the lagoon. They left the gate open until the tide emptied out of the lagoon. At dead low tide the gate was slammed shut and sealed. Before morning, the Engineers had rolled their weasels and graders into the muddy lagoon. The steel mat designed for the runway had sunk with a capsizing barge; Colonel Whitesell's Engineers did without, by bulldozing a flat airstrip of hard-packed sand.
  The storm quit four days after the landings. Fighters from Umnak flew relays of air-cover umbrellas over Adak, but the Japanese did not come; they were too busy at Kiska, where Eareckson was using every hour of flyable weather to pin them down and keep them from flying search missions eastward. Pilots took extraordinary risks to stay over Kiska as long as possible and keep the Japanese busy; one P-38 strafed a mess line of Japanese soldiers, beat up several Rufes on the water, and stayed over Kiska for four hours. It returned to Umnak after nearly nine hours in the air, with a teaspoon of fuel remaining. A few days later, Captain Fred M. Smith flew the weather mission to Kiska, and did his bit to keep the enemy occupied: he had no bombs aboard, but his machine guns were loaded, and when he saw a Japanese destroyer-minelayer at Kiska, he went in shooting...
  In the meantime there were no Japanese attacks on Adak. Uninhibited by enemy discovery, the Engineers rushed ahead. General Butler had feared it would take four months to build the air field. In the end, it took Talley's Engineers a flat ten days.”

According to Hammel: September 3, 1942 ALEUTIAN ISLANDS: Six B-24s and five P-38s are dispatched from Umnak/Fort Glenn Airdrome against Kiska in the longest over-water attack of the war to date. Five B-24s and three P-38s abort in the face of bad weather, but the remaining three aircraft destroy as many as four moored IJN seaplanes, and all return safely from the 1,260-mile round trip. Seventh Air Force B-24s from the 30th Heavy Bombardment Group's 21st Heavy Bombardment Squadron arrive at Umnak/ Fort Glenn Airdrome from Hawaii for temporary duty with the Eleventh Air Force's 28th Composite Bombardment Group.”

The 6/9/1942 G-2 report mentions: On September 4, Kiska Harbor was attacked by our planes, which inflicted considerable damage on personnel and materiel. The sole Kawanishi four-motored flying boat in the harbor was damaged and probably destroyed; a single-float seaplane was machine-gunned.

Below is a map of Kiska Island from the September-October G-2 Daily report showing the location of Japanese positions and installations. 

September 7
PO2c Sasaki fought against a PBY. Many hits but no kill.
Hammel: “September 6, 1942 ALEUTIAN ISLANDS: A 28th Composite Bombardment Group B-24 on patrol duty sinks an IJN minelayer and strafes a tender at Tanaga Island.”

September 8
ENS Saito and PO2c Minazawa found and fought against three very low flying B-24s. Two B-24s were seen emitting black smoke but not shot down. Saito’s seaplane received many hits and was written off.
Around that time US bombers changed from high to low altitude bombing since they often couldn’t see the target due to many clouds. As a result air battles became fierce.
Hammel: “September 7, 1942 ALEUTIAN ISLANDS: Three 28th Composite Bombardment Group B-24s bomb targets in Kiska Harbor and down one IJN float fighter.”
DR- On Sept. 8, 3 B-24's at 4,000 ft. altitude over Kiska met 3 Japanese seaplane fighters. One was shot down and another was sent down in a power dive and seen to be smoking.
The 10/9/1942 G-2 report mentions: Three Japanese single-float seaplanes attacked same number of our heavy bombers over Kiska Harbor September 8. In a running fight 2 Japanese planes were destroyed; one by top-turret gunner of a bomber as fighter passed over plane, the other by 1 or all 3 tail-turret gunners who got burts on remaining two planes. Method of attack by Japanese plane was to approach from left rear top, firing burtsts into plane on this run. Second attack was head-on, enemy passing over our plane.   

September 14
One B-24 and two P-38s attacked at low altitude. LT Yamada, PO2c Suzuki and PO2c Narita took off to intercept. One P-38 was forced to make emergency landing.
Hammel: “September 13, 1942 ALEUTIAN ISLANDS: While an Eleventh Air Force LB-30 photographs Kiska, two 54th Fighter Squadron P-38s strafe a seaplane tender and ground targets. One P-38 pilot downs an A6M2-N over Kiska, but one P-38 is damaged by ground fire and the LB-30 is damaged by an A6M2-N. All three USAAF aircraft return safely. This is the last time combat aircraft based at Umnak/Fort Glenn Field mount a mission directly against Kiska.”
Gardfield has more details: “It was September 13, exactly two weeks after the Adak landings, when the Air Force flew its last long-range 1200-mile Umnak-to-Kiska flight of the war. Lucian Wernick flew the photorecon mission, in one of the old LB-30 Liberators escorted by two Lightnings. It proved a stirring climax to the Umnak phase of the Aleutian Campaign. Wheeler wrote:
  "Two Zeroes were laying for us at the base of the overcast. They were flushed out and engaged by our escort. [A P-38 shot one Zero down in flames.] Coming out of our bomb-photography run, one Zero paralleled our course until a few bursts of our waist gun dissuaded his attempts to cut in on us. Shortly after, we saw two fighters flying under a cloud base at 3 o'clock. Captain Wernick turned to a head-on course to them, thinking they were our escort.

  It turned out they were Zeroes. One Zero, completely surprised, pulled up and fled into the overcast. The other attacked, put one explosive 20mm shell through our left bomb-bay door, cutting a fuel line and just missing the nose fuses of our 500 lb. bombs."
  Wernick's turret guns had jammed. When the Zero circled wide to make another pass, Wernick turned toward it, to give the Zero the smallest target and the shortest possible time-on-target. Wernick was flying a collision course toward the enemy plane. "He didn't know what kind of secret weapon I had," Wernick recalls. "He fired one more burst and ran for home."
  Newspapers later picked up the story and dubbed Wernick the only four-engine pursuit pilot in the Air Force."”

September 15
A mixed force of 12 heavy bombers and 28 fighters were encountered by four "Rufe". ENS Saito Kiyomi and PO3c Uchiyama Katsutaro failed to return. PO2c Minazawa shot down one P-38, plus one trailed smoke and one was forced to make emergency landing. PO2c Sasaki Giichi shot down three P-38s and one F4U (?) but received damage. Made emergency landing and during alighting his seaplane flipped over. At the end of that day only one "Rufe" remained operational.
Hammel: “September 14, 1942 ALEUTIAN ISLANDS: Thirteen 28th Composite Bombardment Group B-24s and one B-17, escorted by 14 XI Fighter Command P-38s and 14 P-39s, mount the first USAAF attack against the Japanese submarine base at Kiska from the new USAAF advance airfield at Adak Island. P-39s strafe three IJN submarines with their 37mm nose guns, two minesweepers are sunk by bombs, and several ships and barges are damaged. In addition to strafing antiaircraft emplacements and shore installations, 54th Fighter Squadron P-38 pilots and 42d Fighter Squadron (54th Fighter Group) P-39 pilots down four A6M2- Ns and a biplane over Kiska. Two P-38s and their pilots are lost in a mid-air collision.”
Again Gardfield has more details: “On September 14, the new base launched a combined maximum effort—a deck-level attack by two squadrons of heavy bombers and twenty-eight fighters. It was the first combined zero-altitude strike of World War II.
  Eareckson led. Escorted by fourteen P-38 Lightnings and fourteen P-39 Aircobras (going into their Aleutian baptism of fire), his twelve Liberators droned across the 240 miles to Kiska at wave-top level, hoping to take Kiska by surprise. But visibility was good and the Japanese observation post on Little Kiska picked up the approaching airplanes far out at sea. Kiska's antiaircraft opened up at ten miles and rode the mission all the way in.
  At fifty feet, risking dunking in the waves, Eareckson took evasive action. The heavies banked and sideslipped through the enemy flak with only a few minor hits. They roared in like meteors, too fast and too low for the 75-mm flak guns to follow, but big targets for Kiska's machine-gun bunkers. Splattered with bullets, Eareckson's twelve B-24s dropped an avalanche of explosive in the space of three minutes which caused more damage than all previous raids combined (not exluding the Navy's bombardment of the previous month). They sank two Japanese ships, set three others afire, destroyed three midget submarines and their pens, collapsed half a dozen antiaircraft guns, smashed several buildings to junk and set fire to a dozen shore installations. More than two hundred Japanese soldiers were killed or wounded.
One flight of P-38s came in low, strafed the harbor, destroyed a flying boat and chewed up seven anchored Rufes. Overhead, the P-39 Aircobras swirled into wheeling dogfights with the five Rufes that had managed to take off.

 The five Japanese pilots were weatherbeaten, fatigued, and outnumbered. Their reactions were slow; they flew badly. One by one, the American pursuit planes cut them out. All five Rufes went down flaming. None of them had hit any American planes, but two P-38s, chasing the same Rufe down, collided in midair and crashed; one had been flown by Major W. M. Jackson, commander of the 54th Fighter Squadron.”
AAHS Journal, Vol. 49, in the articleThe Fighting 54th, The Forgotten Squadron of the Forgotten War” it is confirmed that the P-38s of “Major Jackson and Lieutenant Crow collided over North Head while going after one of the float fighters.”
A great article by Capt. Irving L. Waddlington entitled “Surprise Raid on Kiska” featured in the October 1943 issue of the magazine “Air Force” mentions: “A float Zero took off the water on the course we were making. He pulled up immediately in the most "straight-up" climb that I have ever seen. Two or three top gun turrets turned on him; then two P-38s blew him apart....One of our gunners saw two of our pursuits on the tail of a Zero collide and fall into the water.”
The 16/9/1942 G-2 report mentions: Enemy shore installations and shipping at Kiska raided in low altitude attack by considerable force of bombers and fighters, September 14....Four Zeros and 1 biplane shot down and 1 four-engine patrol plane destroyed on water....Estimated 500 Japanese casualties with 1 enemy biplane and 1 Zero possibly escaping.
 
September 25
Six "Rufe" and two "Jake" arrived to Kiska on board Kimikawa Maru.

September 26
Early morning LT Yamada and PO2c Morikawa fought against a mix force of more than 20 B-24 and P-39. Yamada shot down one P-39 but Morikawa didn’t return.
After noticing the enemy planes five "Rufe" attempted to take off. While doing so, Sasaki Tadashi (?)and Sasaki Giichi were hit and damaged by P-39s. Sasaki Yoshikazu continued to attack but didn't shoot down any enemy aircraft.
Hammel: “September 25, 1942 ALEUTIAN ISLANDS: In the first of two missions against Kiska, nine 28th Composite Bombardment Group B-24s, a B-17, and a B-24 photo-reconnaissance bomber—escorted by eleven 42d Fighter Squadron P-39s, seven 11th Fighter Squadron, and eleven 11 RCAF Squadron P-40s—attack the island. An 11th Fighter Squadron P-40 pilot downs an A6M2-N over Kiska at 1000 hours, as does an 11 RCAF Squadron P-40 pilot. This is the last aerial victory credited to the 11th Fighter Squadron in World War II.
  In the day's second mission, two B-24s, a B-17, and 15 P-39s attack shipping, buildings, and stores at Kiska and Little Kiska islands. One large transport is severely damaged by a direct hit. Also, the P-39s strafe two IJN submarines at the Kiska submarine base as well as destroy between five and eight floatplanes on the water.”
I found in THIS extremely interesting and well done site that the 111 Royal Canadian Air Force Squadron's Daily Diary has the following entry regarding the events of that day:
“September 25, 1942
Summary of Operational Mission on Kiska  Squadron Leader K.A. Boomer, Flying Officers R. Lynch, J. G. Gohl, and Pilot Officer H.O. Gooding departed from Fort Glenn at 1330 hours, 22-9-42 to refuel at Fireplace,  then to strafe Kiska. The mission consisted of 9 B-24's, 12 P-39's and 20 P-40's. The aircraft landed at Fireplace at 1600 hours, 22-9-42, refueling by all crews was carried out, and the following morning at 0900 hours the aircraft took off to complete the mission. Heavy rainstorms and poor visibility was encountered for approximately one hour's flying, and the aircraft were forced to turn back,  weather necessitating the aircraft ascending to 17,000 feet on the return trip. One American aircraft was lost, supposedly due to weather, and the planes landed at 11:45 hours. Continued bad weather prevented the operation from being carried out until the morning of the 25th. At 0800 hours, 25-9-42 the aircraft again took off, and the weather was good throughout the trip. We arrived at Kiska harbour at approximately 10:00  hours. The Canadian Flight crossed Little Kiska Island, experiencing little fire from that point. Crossing the north head of the Harbour they heavily  attacked naval gun emplacements and also several 50 calibre guns, continuing they attacked the main camp area and Squadron Leader Boomer with Pilot Officer Gooding also attacked enemy Radar Stations. Turning right the formation re-crossed the north head again attacking gun emplacements. Inside the Harbour area one enemy zero fighter float plane was encountered and destroyed by Squadron Leader Boomer. After circling the harbour, an enemy submarine was discovered also being attacked by American pilots. Canadians joined in this and made several attacks each. The formation then joined the B-24's, five miles east of Segula Island and returned to the base at Fireside (sic), landing at 11:50 hours. 
The Canadian Pilots expended their full load of ammunition and returned safely with no damage to the aircraft. The time of the trip was 3 hours and 50 minutes.”

The book “War on Our Doorstep: The Unknown Campaign on North America's West Coast” by Brendan Coyle, Heritage House Publishing Co, has the following on that day:
“On September 25 the first fighter-escorted bomber missions took place, with Jack Chennault leading the 343rd Fighter Group of Aleutian Tigers and four RCAF P40s of the 111th under Squadron Leader Boomer flying escort. The fighters took off from Adak at eight in the morning to make the treacherous 400-kilometre trip to Kiska. Overhead the fighters rendezvoused with seven B24 Liberators of the 36th Bombardment Squadron flying out of Cold Bay. Nearly two hours later the Canadians regrouped east of Kiska. They would attack the harbour from the east while the Americans would come at it from the west.
  The Liberators first plastered the harbour with incendiaries to soften up Japanese gun positions. Six minutes later it was the fighters' turn, giving the enemy on the ground enough time to come out of the bunkers.
  The Canadians made the first run on Kiska where, because of unusually clear weather, the Japanese spotted them with time to send up their two remaining Rufes. Pom-pom bursts of flak went up from Little Kiska, the small island sentinel in the harbour, as Kittyhawk machine guns threw back tracer fire. At dock in the harbour's north head were some of the larger Japanese float planes—the big four-engined Mavis bombers and Pete twin-wing reconnaissance planes. The Kittyhawks ripped through them as the aircrews frantically scrambled to get them into the air. Once past the harbour, the Canadians sent the construction crews that were returning to work on the roughed-in airstrip diving for cover. Immediately on the tails of the Canadians, Chennault's Tigers appeared to take their turn at tearing into the float planes in the bay and the shore gunners firing on the swarming fighters.
  The Canadian planes regrouped over the uninhabited west side of the island and had come back over the harbour when Squadron Leader Boomer saw a Rufe on the tail of a Warhawk, laying into him with machine-gun fire. The battle-seasoned Boomer pulled back hard and, in his words, "climbed to a stall practically, pulled up right under him. I just poured it into him from underneath. He flamed up and went down."' The pilot rode it down as long as he could, then bailed out, hitting the water before his chute opened. The plane exploded on impact. Jack Chennault brought the other Rufe corkscrewing down, trailing a plume of black smoke...
  It was the strongest show of force yet against the enemy, and the first combined U.S.-Canadian fighter mission of the Alaskan war. The attack on Kiska had claimed as many as eight Pete float planes in the harbour and the two Rufe fighters...” 
The 28/9/1942 G-2 report mentions: Enemy shipping, shore installations, and seaplanes at Kiska harbor were attacked by U.S. aircraft September 25. Of 10 float planes on water, 6 were destroyed and another was shot down in combat.
 
September 28
Early morning five "Rufe" took off after radar warning. Found four enemy aircraft and attacked. One PBY trailed black smoke.
Later the same day five B-24 came to attack. Two "Rufe" on patrol plus three more took off. One B-24 trailed black smoke from two engines.
Hammel: “September 27, 1942 ALEUTIAN ISLANDS: Fourteen 28th Composite Bombardment Group B-24s and one B-17 dispatched in two waves attack shore and harbor facilities at Kiska. Thirteen of 18 escort fighters abort in the face of bad weather.”
The publication “Combat Chronology 1941 - 1945”, Compiled by Kit C. Carter, Robert Mueller (Center for Air Force History Washington, DC 1991), (hereafter CC) has the following on the day:
“9/27/42 Eleventh AF - Shore and harbor areas of Kiska are bombed: 8 B-24’s and 1 B-17, escorted by 1 P-38, 13 P-39’s and 4 P-40’s take off first, and are followed by 6 unescorted B-24’s. Weather turns back 13 of the ftrs. An LB-30 flies photo-weather rcn over Attu, Buldir, the Semichis, Agattu, and Amchitka.”

September 29
Two "Rufe" against a force of 20 B-24, P-39, P-40 and other types. One P-39 shot down. Sasaki Tadashi dead. Three more "Rufe" took off. Miyazawa didn’t return. Two "Rufe" received hits. One "Rufe" left operational, two under repairs.
Hammel: “September 28, 1942 ALEUTIAN ISLANDS: 28th Composite Bombardment Group heavy bombers attack Attu and Kiska islands. A 54th Fighter Squadron P-38 pilot downs an A6M and a 57th Fighter Squadron (54th Fighter Group) P-39 pilot downs two A6M2-Ns over Kiska. One P-39 is lost with its pilot.”
CC: “9/28/42 Eleventh AF - 2 bombing missions are flown to Kiska and Attu by 7 B-24’s, 1 B-17, and 1 LB-30, escorted by 17 ftrs. Installations on Kiska and a freighter nearby are bombed. 1 of the B-24’s and the LB-30 bomb village and Chichagof Harbor on Attu and on returning silence AA guns on a freighter. 5 float-planes are shot down, and 1 submarine is sunk. 1 P-39 is shot down.”
The 1/10/1942 G-2 report mentions: Enemy installations and shipping at Kiska were attacked by our forces on September 27 and again on September 28. One enemy transport was left sinking, 1 submarine was sunk, and 6 float planes were shot down. Only 2 or 3 serviceable enemy aircraft are believed to remain in the area.

Gardfield has the following:
“From its Adak base, Eareckson's Bomber Command stepped up its Kiska missions. Canada's 111th Fighter Squadron came down to join in, and by late September regular missions were going out with a dozen heavy bombers, a dozen mediums, and thirty fighters. They would rendezvous off Little Kiska. The fighters had three minutes to knock out flak guns before the bombers made their run. Fighter strafing helped keep Japanese heads down while the bombers attacked. A flight of fighters flew top cover, close to the photorecon plane. One flight of bombers would go for the ships in harbor; the other flight would paste ground facilities —particularly the air field the Japanese were trying to build.
  Eareckson sometimes came in as low as ten feet off the water, to stay under the field of fire of the ships' flak guns. One fighter was assigned to scout for submarine nets, another to search Gertrude Cove and other bays for hidden submarines. Pilots were warned not to be fooled by dummy float planes. Kiska had a Japanese radio operator who knew just about every American pilot by name; he would call in, trying to confuse the pilots: "Jim, where's Red at?" American pilots cursed him, tried to find his radio shack and bomb it, but never succeeded; the radio room was underground.”
 
October 1
Seven B-24 against four "Rufe". One B-24 trailed black smoke.
Hammel: “September 30, 1942 ALEUTIAN ISLANDS: Seven of nine 28th Composite Bombardment Group B-24s dispatched against Kiska and Attu attack their targets. Eight IJN fighters attack the bombers over Kiska, but no losses result.
  Japanese aircraft mount the first of many nuisance raids against Adak Airdrome.”
CC: “9/30/42 Eleventh AF - Of 9 B-24’s off to bomb Kiska and Attu, 2 turn back. The others blast Attu Camp area, and at Kiska Harbor score at least 1 direct hit and near misses on a ship. 8 ftrs intercept over Kiska and Little Kiska but inflict no losses.”
 
October 2
Small air battle
Hammel: “October 1, 1942 ALEUTIAN ISLANDS: While seven 28th Composite Bombardment Group B-24s attack the Kiska seaplane base, P-39 pilots of the 54th Fighter Group's 42d Fighter Squadron down four A6M2-Ns over Kiska at 1040 hours.”
CC: “10/1/42 Eleventh AF - A Japanese rcn airplane over Adak establishes US occupation on the island. 7 B-24’s on a searchattack and photo rcn mission over Kiska hit hangars and ramps, starting several fires. 4 ftrs appear and are engaged. 1 probable victory is claimed. 2 other B-24’s take off, after Navy Catalinas contact transport, but cannot locate it.”
The book “Jungle Ace: The Story of One of the USAAF's Great Fighter Leaders, Col. Gerald R. Johnson” by John R. Bruning has the following dramatic narration:  
“October 1, 1942, a time to avenge Miller's death. Jerry, Art Rice, and two other men from the group were ordered to escort another B-24 strike to Kiska. A flight of P-40s was also supposed to cover the bombers, but en route to Kiska they all aborted, leaving just four Airacobras to shepherd the vulnerable Liberators.
  The small formation continued on to Kiska at 16,500 feet, flying through scattered clouds. Just before the bombers began their run over the harbor, Jerry spotted a glint of sunlight on the canopy of a Japanese fighter, which he called out on the radio. The formation watched the lone plane, but it veered well clear of the Americans, so the bomb run was completed without interception.
  The quartet of Airacobras weaved protectively over the B-24s, keeping their airspeed between 250 and 300 mph as the pilots scanned the skies for any other intruders. From his perch, Jerry watched the bomb run, keeping one eye on the sky around him, and one eye on the explosions walking along Kiska's docks and harbor facilities. The Liberators had really plastered the target this time, much to everyone's satisfaction.
  The Americans turned for home, unhindered save for scattered antiaircraft fire. Jerry and his comrades ignored the ugly black smears, reasoning, "By the time you see them (the bursts), they are harmless." On the way out, though, that lone Rufe decided to make a run at the last box of Liberators. Jerry's earphones crackled with a call for help from a distraught bomber crew. He searched the sky below him until he found the Rufe, already beginning a firing pass at the B-24.
  Quickly, Jerry rocked his wings to signal his wingman, Lieutenant Malcolm Moss, then rolled Scrap-Iron on its side and turned towards the Japanese fighter. He reached it just after the Rufe finished a gunnery pass on a Liberator from dead astern. It started climbing over the B-24 it had singled out, getting ready to make another pass. That was when Jerry and Moss swept down on it, catching the Japanese pilot by surprise. Jerry opened on with all his guns at long range, hoping to scare the Rufe away from the bomber, but his guns fired only a split-second burst before all seven jammed. His guns had frozen in the bitter cold over Kiska!
  Still, Jerry kept his P-39 pointed at the Rufe, which he briefly considered ramming. Instead, he blazed past his target, passing so close he could clearly see the Japanese pilot in the cockpit. He banked away from the Rufe, a mistake that allowed it to take a snap shot at him. Tracer rounds zipped by, just off either wing, and one round put a hole in his propeller blade just above cockpit level.
  With the Rufe behind, Jerry pulled up and tried to disengage so he could try and get his guns working. The Japanese pilot stayed on his tail, climbing after him as Jerry charged and recharged his guns. When the Rufe started to gain on him, he turned into it, forcing a head-on pass. As the two planes tore at each other, Jerry prayed that his guns would work. Later, he wrote, "It was a funny feeling 'cause I didn't know if my guns were going to fire."
  The Rufe quickly came into range, and Jerry jammed his entire hand down on the trigger. His four .30-calibers barked in reply, sending out a stream of bullets that ripped into the Rufe's cowling and wings. Simultaneously, the Japanese pilot opened up as well, his tracers filling the sky around the P-39. Neither pilot would break, and the planes hurtled towards each other on a collision course, each one spitting tracers at the other.
  Finally, just a split second before impact, Jerry shoved the stick forward and plunged beneath the float plane. As he did, he looked back over his shoulder to see the Rufe spiraling down, a long tongue of smoke and flame trailing behind it. Lieutenant Moss's voice filled Jerry's earphones, "You got the son of a bitch, Johnson! Let's go home!" Far below, the Rufe plummeted into the sea.”
 
October 3
Eleven B-24 and eight P-38 against two "Rufe" seaplanes. One P-38 shot down, one not confirmed kill. Two more "Rufe" took off later, one B-24 trailed black smoke.
Hammel: “October 2, 1942 ALEUTIAN ISLANDS: Eleven 28th Composite Bombardment Group B-24s and six P-39s attack two cargo ships in Kiska harbor and the seaplane ramp, and drop demolition charges throughout the main Japanese encampment. IJN aircraft attack the U.S. base at Adak, but no damage results.”
CC: “10/2/42 Eleventh AF - 11 B-24’s and 6 P-39’s bomb 2 cargo ships at Kiska Harbor (no hits observed) drop demolition charges throughout Main Camp area, and hit hangar S of seaplane ramp. 4 float-planes and 1 biplane are shot down. Enemy aircraft bomb Adak A/F without inflicting damage.”
The 4/10/1942 G-2 report mentions: Enemy installations on shore at Kiska Harbor were badle damaged and fires were started on October 2 when our heavy bombers and fighter escort attacked. A direct hit was made on a seaplane hangar. Numerous small demolition bombs hit the camp area. Four Japanese float-type monoplanes were destroyed in combat with our fighters, and one float-type biplane was destroyed by a bomber. 
 
October 4
Radar warning. Three "Rufe" against five B-24, five P-38 and five P-39. Naito claimed one P-38. Sato didn’t return. Utachu damaged plane. No operational "Rufe" seaplanes left.
Hammel: “October 3, 1942 ALEUTIAN ISLANDS: Six 28th Composite Bombardment Group B-24s, four 343d Fighter Group P-38s, and eight 54th Fighter Group P-39s bomb and strafe seven ships in Kiska harbor.
  P-38 and P-39 pilots down five IJN twin-float fighters over Kiska Island.
  IJN aircraft attack the U.S. base at Adak, but no damage results.”
CC: “10/3/42 Eleventh AF - 6 B-24’s, 4 P-38’s, and 8 P-39’s bomb and strafe 7 vessels in and around Kiska Harbor hitting a beached cargo vessel and the camp. The ftrs down 6 float ftrs attempting interception. Enemy bombs Adak A/F but inflicts no damage.”
The 8/10/1942 G-2 report agrees: Six enemy twin-float fighters were shot down on October 3.

The 17/10/1942 G-2 report mentions: On October 14 a bomber and fighter attack on Kiska resulted in the destruction of the 3 remaining enemy float planes; fires were started in the seaplane hangar area and at the submarine base; a heavy explosion of fuel or of an ammunition dump was reported as a result of the fire.
 
The 5th Kokutai during that time period used the letter "R-" for their tail marking.
The photos below, from vintage magazines, were taken between August and December 1942.
An excellent photo above showing an A6M2-N under maintenance. The tail marking is censored but the letter "R" is visible. Note the Kawanishi H6K "Mavis" in the background.
 
Two more "Rufe" seaplanes of the 5th under canvas covers protecting the more sensitive parts of the aircraft from the elements.
 
"Umi no Arawasitachi" (Sea Wild Eagles), as the original caption calls them, spend their time playing quoits, "wanage" in Japanese. In the background is a "Rufe" on the left and a "Jake" on the right. Note the twin binoculars made by "Nippon Kogaku Kogyo" (present day "Nikon") and what looks like a bullhorn on the left.
 
Above and below, final instructions before taking off from Kiska island on another patrol mission.

Lunch time on Kiska. The pilots are wearing winter Type 17 (1942) one-piece flying suit and although the kanji are not clear enough the pot in the foreground is probably a “hango” (here).
 
Above is another photo I found here. The same photo is featured in the “Japanese Naval Fighter Aces: 1932-45” by Ikuhiko Hata, Yashuho Izawa, Christopher Shores (Stackpole Books) and the caption says: Pilots of 5 Ku float fighter unit at Kiska in August 1942. Back row, extreme left, Sea2c Hachiro Norita,; 2nd from left, PO2c Giichi Sasaki. Note "R-106" on the tail of A6M2-N. Several of the unit's pilots, including the leader, are not present in this photograph.”
 
Artwork from our friend Devlin Chouinard. Compare the color of the tail marking above with the fuselage hinomaru.
 
And another photo from here.
 
Devlin Chouinard created artwork of two other 5th Ku "Rufe" based on photos featured in the “Koku Journal” article with tail marking R-102 and R-107. These two aircraft were clearly painted green on the upper surfaces.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Nakajima A6M2-N "Rufe" pt. 4 Aleutians Toko Kokutai

Starting with this one the next three postings in the "Rufe" saga will detail their presence in the Aleutians and will be updated as new information becomes available. If you are not familiar with the campaign, take a look here.
 
 
 
Toko Kokutai
Organized on November 15, 1940 as a flying boat unit, the second of its kind in the Japanese Navy, was called "Toko" from the Japanese reading of the Chinese name of its base, Donggang in Taiwan.
When the war broke out it was based in Palau and participated in the operations against the Philippines. Then relocated there to take part in the attack against Dutch East Indies finally moving to Indonesia patrolling the Bay of Bengal and the South East areas.
In July 1942 a part of the unit was assigned to Kiska island but with the worsening situation in the Solomons first moved to Yokohama on August 14 and then to Shortland Islands where they were joined with the main force from Indonesia patrolling the Solomons.

June 8, 1942
On the day Kiska and Attu were occupied by the Japanese army, seaplane tenders Kimikawa and Kamikawa Maru with their seaplane compliments of Type Zero Observation Seaplanes or Mitsubishi F1M "Pete" and Type Zero Reconnaissance Seaplanes or Aichi E13A "Jake" moved in the area and begun patrols. The next day, six Type 97 Flying Boats or Kawanishi H6K "Mavis" from Toko Ku advanced in the area.
A six plane "Rufe" unit was organized in Yokosuka by Lieutenant (LT) Yamada and arrived in Kiska on July 5 on board the seaplane tender Chiyoda becoming part of the Toko Ku.
With the withdrawal of the aircraft carriers two weeks after the capture of Kiska and Attu, the Toko Ku "Rufe" replaced the seaplane units of Kimikawa and Kamikawa Maru providing the only air cover in the area until the construction of airfields on both islands was completed.
 
The Kodochosho entries of the Toko Ku unfortunately do not reveal many details but are still extremely interesting since they are a primary source. As mentioned above the Toko Ku had six "Rufe" in its strength. The small unit was split into three shotai (sections) with two aircraft each. Most Kodochosho entries have two spots for each shotai and only the name of the shotai leader is always mentioned without stating clearly the exact number of aircraft and what other pilots were involved in each entry.
Below are two examples of Kodochosho entries.
First a July 5, 1942:
Starting from the left, four shotai are mentioned (1, 2, 4, 3), then follows the code for seaplane fighter (fc) and the name of the shotai leader; from top to bottom: Suzuki, Saito, Yamada, Okawa. Notice that there are empty spaces between their names. Then on the right side there are brackets. Note there are brackets combining the shotai leaders name with one more empty spot. That would indicate that on that day there were couples/pairs of pilots/planes, three planes in the case of the 2nd shotai. Unfortunately the names of the pilots with which the shotai leaders flew are not mentioned. When Izawa mentions that three aircraft were involved in an incident, he reads the entry with the three shotai leaders. But, as we will see, that would mean that only three pilots always flew which is highly unlikely. Another difficulty is that the entry above mentions that nine a/c flew on that day but it does not clarify how many a/c flew once, returned to base, refuelled and then took-off again. So, the nine indicates the number of exits not the number of actual a/c.
Finally, after the brackets, it is mentioned that there was no contact with the enemy. 
 
Here is another entry, July 24, 1942.
As we can see the first shotai with Okawa plus one more pilot and the second shotai with Saito, plus one more pilot, went out on patrol.
 
One more entry, July 31, 1942:
Here we can see the first shotai with Yamada plus one more pilot and later Saito alone twice.
In other words it is difficult to ascertain the exact number of aircraft involved. Nevertheless, sometimes from other information we can infer a minimum number.
The Izawa entries are indicated with the letter I- in the beginning, the Kodochosho with the letter K-.
Another source of information is the daily reports entitled "Japanese Naval Activities" issued by the Navy Department, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations in Washington. Very often the dates and the description of events vary from accurate to puzzling to bizarre and are included here with their original dates indicated as DR-.
The confusion with the dates is probably due to the Aleutians being in different date and time zones than Japan. Simply put, US documents have time/date Alaska, Japanese documents have time/date Tokyo. Usually there is one day difference but occasionaly things are more complicated.
 
July 5
K- Flight Petty Officers, 2nd Class (PO2c) Suzuki, Okawa and Yamada patrol in pairs. Ensign (ENS) Saito patrol with two more aircraft. NEC (No Enemy Contact).
This entry seems to indicate that on that day three pairs and one trio, i.e. nine "Rufe" flew patrol missions but as we saw above the unit had only six aircraft in its strength. Let's remember that Kodochosho entries only mention exits not total number of aircraft that flew on that day. So, perhaps three "Rufe" flew twice on that day?
 
July 7
K- Yamada, Saito, Okawa patrol in pairs. NEC.
DR- Aleutians: Five heavy U.S. bombers reached Kiska Harbor on July 7, but were intercepted by three Japanese seaplanes, one of which was believed to have been shot down.
The publication “Combat Chronology 1941 - 1945”, Compiled by Kit C. Carter, Robert Mueller (Center for Air Force History Washington, DC 1991), (hereafter CC) has the following:
“7/7/42 Eleventh AF - 1 B-17 and 7 B-24’s fly weather, bombing and photo missions to Kiska, Attu, and Agattu. All bombs are returned to base due to weather. 1 seaplane is shot down.”
  
July 8
K- Yamada, Saito, Okawa took-off at 04:30 to patrol in pairs. Saito at 04:45 located a B-24. Air battle, enemy hit and escaped. Saito spent 20mmX60, 7.7mmX250. His second pilot spent 20mmX20 & 7.7mmX250. Returned to base at 06:30. Yamada and Okawa NEC, returned to base at 06:00 and 06:30 respectively.
Yamada (pair) took-off again at 06:45, returning at 07:50 followed by Saito (pair) at 08:00, returned at 09:10.
I- Ens Saito Kiyomi with one more "Rufe" located a B-24. An air battle commenced with no results.
The only reference to that event I could find in non-Japanese sources was in the book “Air War Pacific: Chronology: America’s Air War Against Japan in East Asia and the Pacific, 1941 – 1945” by Eric Hammel: “July 8, 1942 ALEUTIAN ISLANDS: Except for one weather reconnaissance flight to Kiska and Little Kiska islands and local fighter patrols, the Eleventh Air Force is grounded by bad weather.”
CC- “7/8/42 Eleventh AF - 404th Bomb Sq arrives in the Alaskan Theater with B-24’s—originally destined for N Africa. 1 B-24 flies 2 photo missions over S shore of Kiska and over Little Kiska. Bombing mission canceled due to weather.”

July 9
K- Yamada, Saito, Okawa patrol in pairs. NEC.

July 10
K- Okawa (pair) patrol 03:30~04:00. NEC.

July 11
K- Yamada, Saito, Okawa twice patrol in pairs. NEC.
 
July 12
K- Yamada, Saito, Okawa patrol in pairs.
Okawa took-off at 06:25. Twenty minutes later spotted a B-24. During the attack spent 20mmX220, 7.7mmX600 and (most interestingly) 30kgX2.
Yamada took-off at 06:50 and at 07:20 spotted one B-24 which he attacked with bombs, 30kgX2.
Saito found three B-24 at 10:20 which they attacked spending 20mmX220, 7.7mmX400. One enemy a/c emitted black smoke but wasn't shot down.
I- There were two air battles and one Consolidated B-24 Liberator trailed black smoke.
Hammel - “July 11, 1942 ALEUTIAN ISLANDS: Four 28th Composite Bombardment Group B-24s are attacked by IJN float fighters as they take off from Umnak/Fort Glenn Field. There are no losses, and the bombers proceed to reconnoiter and attack Kiska Island, where they score near misses against an IJN cruiser.”
CC - “7/11/42 Eleventh AF - 4 B-24’s taking off for weather, bombing and photo mission to Kiska are attacked by seaplane ftrs. No losses. A cruiser is bombed with unobserved results.”

July 13
DR- The latest estimate of Japanese naval strength in the Western Aleutians follows: At Kiska 6 seaplanes and 3 patrol planes

July 17
K- Yamada, Saito, Okawa patrol in pairs. NEC.
 
July 18
K- Yamada, Saito, Okawa patrol in pairs. Took-off between 03:30~04:00, returned between 04:00~05:20. NEC.
Yamada pair took-off again at 06:00, spotted three B-24 at 06:15. Attacked but the enemy escaped. Returned 07:15. Both pilots spent 20mmX120, 7.7mmX320 each.
Saito received report about enemy presence and took-off at 06:20. Found enemy and attacked both spending 20mmX240, 7.7mmX750, 30kgX2. The enemy escaped.
Okawa spotted the enemy from the ground, took-off at 06:20 and also spent 20mmX240, 7.7X600.
At 07:35 all three took-off again and found three B-17 shooting down one.
Saito once again took-off at 09:30 NEC.
Okawa took-off at 11:15, followed by Saito at 12:00 and Yamada at 12:15. Found two B-17 at 12:45, all attacked but the enemy escaped. Saito also used 30kgX2.
Yamada again patrol 13:55~15:40, NEC.
I- Six "Rufe" seaplanes are engaged in air battle three times. Fought against three B-24 claiming one shot down.
According to Hammel: July 17, 1942 ALEUTIAN ISLANDS: Three 28th Composite Bombardment Group B-17s and seven B-24s reconnoiter, photograph, and attack land and shipping targets at Kiska. IJN fighters down one B-17.”
But also: “July 18, 1942 ALEUTIAN ISLANDS: A 28th Composite Bombardment Group B-17 crashes at Umnak/ Fort Glenn Field after reconnoitering Kiska.”
According to The Thousand-Mile War - World War II in Alaska and the Aleutians” by Brian Gardfield, p.138-139:
“Old Seventy, the antique prototype B-17, had developed a reputation for willfulness. Nothing could touch her; she seemed invulnerable. When she was not part of a bombing mission she flew the morning weather patrol over Kiska; she was in the air every day. Billy Wheeler wrote, "The old crate is a light ship and capable of greater range than the new type." But Old Seventy, treated with the warm affection of a mascot, ran out of luck on July 17, 1942.
  The Aleutian Campaign was just seven weeks old, but both Old Seventy and her pilot, Major Jack Marks, were blooded veterans. Then squadron leader Russell Cone recalls, "Jack Marks kept begging me for weeks to let him handle a mission. I relented and let him lead a flight of three B-17s on a Kiska mission." Marks was jumped over Kiska by a pack of Rufe fighters; they shot up Old Seventy but it looked as if she could get home. She didn't make it; she ran into a mountain in the fog. Cone took the news bitterly. "It always bothered me awfully that I had let him go."
  It had been a heavy day for the Rufes. One pilot on the mission estimated that more than fifty individual fighter attacks were made on his ship during the short period he was locked into his bomb run. Of the eight bombers in the day's missions to Kiska, seven returned to Umnak—every one riddled.” 
I suspect the two Hammel entries are actually referring to the same incident, the confusion caused by the day zones.
The article, here, has more on the Old Seventy and the date of her crash is given as July 17.
DR- 5 Japanese seaplanes intercepted an attack group of B 24's which delivered a fruitless attack on enemy shipping at Kiska.
CC- 7/17/42 Eleventh AF - 3 B-17’s and 7 B-24’s fly weather, bombing and photo missions. Shipping is bombed- North and South Heads of Kiska are photographed. Ftrs down 1 B-17.”
In any case, the Toko Ku Rufe seaplanes can be credited with at least one B-17 confirmed shot down in this incident.

July 19
K- Yamada (pair), anti submarine patrol. 12:15~13:00, NEC.

July 20
K- Yamada (three), Saito (pair), Okawa (pair) patrol. NEC. On that day the Yamada shotai has three aircraft, the other two.

July 21
K- Okawa (pair) took-off at 04:50, found two B-17 at 06:15, attacked spending together 20mmX240, 7.7mmX300. Both enemy a/c escaped, one B-17 trailed black smoke; no confirmed kill.
At 06:15 Yamada takes off with three a/c in his shotai but NEC.
One more patrol by Yamada (pair), Saito (pair), Okawa (pair) between 08:15~14:30 but NEC.
I- Two "Rufe" fought against two Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress. One B-17 trailed black smoke.
DR- On July 20 two B-17's bombed the Kiska area, but results could not be observed. Japanese seaplanes intercepted, but failed to damage our planes.
CC- “7/20/42 Eleventh AF - Gen Butler moves adv HQ to Umnak. 3 B-17’s bomb Kiska (especially barracks) with incendiaries and demolition charges. 4 P-38’s try to intercept 4 ftrs reported by Navy aircraft. No contact made.” 

July 22
K- Yamada, Saito (twice) patrol in pairs, NEC.
DR- On July 22 eight U.S. bombers attacked Kiska, but cloudy weather prevented any observation of the results. No enemy AA fire or fighters were encountered during the attack.
CC- “7/21/42 Eleventh AF - 4 B-24’s fly search and bomb missions over Kiska but make no contact because of weather.”

July 23
K- Yamada, Saito (twice), Okawa (twice) patrol in pairs, NEC.

July 24
K- Saito, Okawa patrol in pairs, NEC.

July 25
K- Yamada, Saito patrol in pairs, NEC.

July 27
K- Okawa (pair) patrol, NEC.

July 28
K- Yamada (pair) patrol, NEC. Saito (pair) submarine escort (?).

July 29
K- Yamada (1st time two a/c, 2nd time three a/c), Saito (pair) (twice), Okawa (pair) patrol, 10:50~17:10, NEC.

July 30
K- Yamada (1st time pair, 2nd time alone), Saito (pair), Okawa (pair), Suzuki (pair) (twice) patrol 04:25~12:00, NEC.
At 12:20 Saito took-off again with three a/c in his shotai. Immediately found three B-24, attacked spending altogether 20mmX46, 7.7mmX100. Enemy escaped. 
I- Air battle.
Hammel - “July 30, 1942 ALEUTIAN ISLANDS: Three 28th Composite Bombardment Group B-17s, three B-24s, and one LB-30 reconnoiter and attack targets at Tanaga and Kiska islands, but results are negligible because of bad weather over the targets.” 
CC- 7/29/42 Eleventh AF - 4 B-24’s and 5 B-17’s bomb vessels and installations in Kiska Harbor area with unobserved results due to clouds.”
CC- 7/30/42 Eleventh AF - 1 LB-30, 3 B-17’s and 3 B-24’s fly photo rcn and bombing missions to Tanaga and Kiska. Missions are unsuccessful due to weather.”

July 31
K- Anti-submarine patrol. Yamada (pair) 06:15~07:40, Saito alone 07:25~08:10 and again 13:30~14:20. NEC.
I- A "Rufe" pilot was forced to make an emergency landing and was saved by an unnamed ship. 
Hammel - July 31, 1942 ALEUTIAN ISLANDS: A planned attack against Kiska is canceled because of bad weather, but one B-24 and one LB-30 are able to complete photographic- and weather-reconnaissance flights to that objective.”
The Kodochosho entry does not mention any losses.
 
August 1
K- Suzuki (3 times. First two times pair, last time alone), Yamada (pair), Saito (pair) patrol, 08:55~12:50, NEC

August 3
K- Suzuki, Okawa, patrol in pairs 11:15~14:40. NEC.

August 4
K- Saito (twice), Suzuki (twice), Okawa, Yamada patrol in pairs 03:55~15:40. NEC.
Gardfield though mentions: “...Eareckson's command had diminished to a total strength of eleven heavy bombers. The number dropped to ten on August 4, when Captain Ira F. Wintermute (who had already lost a navigator and ditched a plane a month earlier) had his B-24 Liberator chewed up by flak and Rufes. With two engines on fire, Wintermute lost altitude but deter-mined to stay in the air. His navigator, Lieutenant Paul A. Perkins, kept saying, "We'll make it—we'll make it." But Wintermute rehearsed ditching procedures with the crew. The ship had crabbed about 150 miles toward home when one engine fell off. Wintermute felt the plane going out of con-trol, and gave the order to bail out.”

Closer Inspection - Observations
It is really incredible that this small fighter unit with only six seaplanes was able to put in the air almost on a daily basis for a whole month and engage in combat in at least five occasions without any loses. From July to August we can see that all six aircraft are in perfect condition to take off and alight sometimes three or four times in a day. A testament to the work of the ground crew who kept these planes constantly in combat-ready condition without any mechanical failures. Notice also the absence of accidents or mis-alightments or pilots getting lost even in the most adverse weather conditions as those prevailing in the Aleutians. A testament to the pilot skills. In all the encounters with US aircraft there was only one instance when the "Rufe" reported damage, on July 18 the Saito and Yamada pairs reported their aircraft having two bullet holes. Let's not forget that the "Rufe" had the same protection as any A6M2.
Of interest is also the amount of ammunition they spent, confirming that the "Rufe" had 60-round drums for the 20mm cannons; the amount two pilots spend in any one case never exceeding 240 rounds. Notice also the two instances 30kg aerial bombs were used and the anti-submarine patrols perhaps with different ordnance.
On July 8 the three pairs took off to patrol different areas. Saito makes contact with the enemy aircraft and sends word back to base. Yamada returns to base at 06:00 and he is notified of the enemy's presence. It is easy to imagine the ground crew refueling the seaplanes in a frenzy while the pilots discuss the flight plan, taking off again only 45 minutes later.

Tail Marking etc.
According to Akimoto, the official tail marking for the Toko Kokutai was “トコ” (katakana ToKo) on their flying boats but actually used the letter “O”. Izawa, though, mentions that the tail marking for the "Rufe" unit was the letter “D” and he repeats this in his book "Japanese Naval Fighter Aces: 1932-45" by Ikuhiko Hata, Yashuho Izawa, Christopher Shores (Stackpole Books). There is a photo in the “Koku Journal” article of a "Rufe" with a not very clear tail marking. Here's a close up of the photo in question. Note that all fabric surfaces have a lighter color.
The tail marking could be “D-105” and our friend Devlin Chouinard created artwork.
 
Notice the different color tone on the canvas covered rudder. This a common feature on Aleutian "Rufe" seaplanes. We decided to depict it in this article as lighter gray but Hasegawa has released a kit showing the area in question as yellow. Note ofcourse the naughty purplish color of the fuselage. 
Wind Swords mentioned that the tail marking could be an “O” instead of a “D”.
Here's a close of another photo from a different publication (FAOW #54, October 1974) that confirms that the tail marking is “-105” but is it an “O” or a “D”? In the photo above it looks like a “D”, in the photo below more like an “O”.
 
Aircraft Carrier Ryujo had tail marking starting with "DI-" from April 1941. From July 1942 had "A2-3". Junyo was completed as aircraft carrier on May 3, 1942.
During the Aleutians both carriers were under the 4th Koku Sentai which had "D" (D=4) for tail marking. So, Ryujo had "DI-" and Junyo had "DII-". Therefore if the Toko Ku planes were under the 4th Koku Sentai they could have "D" as their tail number.
Watanabe Yoji too in his book "Ginyoku Minami e Kita e" also says that "when the Toko Ku became 5th Ku changed their tail marking from D to R".
Akimoto says that the flying boats of Toko Ku had "O" as their tail marking but does not mention anything about the Rufe seaplanes and their marking.
On the other hand, there is no evidence and nobody claims that the Toko Ku "Rufe" seaplanes came under the command of the 4th Koku Sentai. Actually they arrived in the area after the aircraft carriers were gone and therefore it would be more logical to say that they kept the tail marking of their unit, i.e. "O".
Below are two photos of Toko Ku "Mavis" flying boats.
The first is a close up of a photo found on p.175, of Model Art#541.
 
Nohara says the marking is "O-46" but it's barely visible.
A much better photo can be found in Maru Extra #3. The marking in this case is clearly visible. 
 
Here's a better version of the first "Rufe" photo courtesy of Akimoto Minoru and his book "Nihon Kaigun Kokutai Shashin-shu", Shupan Kyodo 1960.

A closer inspection of the tail reveals that the tail number is "O-101". Here's artwork of this particular seaplane by Devlin Chouinard.

And here's a better version of the second photo again courtesy of Akimoto Minoru and the same publication with artwork by Devlin Chouinard. Notice how similar is the tone of the tail marking with the fuselage hinomaru indicating that the tail marking is probably red, not black. 
 
 
Hasegawa has also released a kit with “O” tail marking in 1/72. The yellow painted fabric tail part is doubtful and, according to the instructions and the box artwork, the seaplane should have the yellow IFF stripes on the wing leading edges which are also highly doubtful.
 
Michael Thurow reminded us that Don Thorpe in his 1977 “Japanese Naval Air Force Camouflage and Markings WWII” on page 144 shows the drawing of a Toko Ku "Rufe" in green camouflage with tail code O-125. 
Thorpe explains: "RUFE, TOKO NAG, 1942-1943" and "TOKO Naval Air Group, 1942-1945. Although the TOKO NAG was basically a flying boat unit, some RUFEs were attached for escort and scout service. The color scheme shown is typical for the mid and late war periods with this type of aircraft. (Scheme S1)"
From the two photos above we can infere that Toko Ku "Rufe" seaplanes had tail markings from "O-101" to "O-106" (certainly not "O-125") and were painted in the typical for the period overall gray (not green).