Sunday, 30 August 2020

IJAAF & IJNAF wrecked aircraft #50 - Philippines pt. 7

The second Banpresto dvd starts with a walk-around of a well known Mitsubishi J2M "Raiden". 

Some most interesting cockpit shots.

And the aircraft's data plate...
...which reads:
Keisiki : Shisei Raiden Kai (Type : Test Built Raiden Kai)
Seizo Bango : Mitsubishi Dai 3008 Go (Serial Number : Mitsubishi 3008)
Shozoku : (Belonging to unit : ) 

The aircraft was found at Nickols Field. It originally belonged to the 381Ku and was a Model 21. According to MA#470, it had tail number "81-124". The serial number indicates that it's the 8th production J2M3 aircraft. It was probably sent first to the Philippines in October 1944, to be then sent to the 381Ku which was based in Indonesia.   

Here's how the aircraft looked when originally captured.
In the background on the left is a Zero with tail number "252-61", which means it belonged to 252Ku. The unit was organized on September 20, 1942, when the fighter unit of the GenzanKu became independent. It was based in Tateyama but from November 1942 until March 1943 was based in Rabaul, Balaille, Lae, Munda and took part in the Solomon and New Guinea campaigns. In October 1944 relocated to the Philippines with defence duties, but was almost completely obliterated. The remnants managed to return to Japan and were based in Mobara and Tateyama from where they flew interception missions against enemy aircraft.  

The tail on the right belongs to a Kokusai Ki-76 "Stella" but the tail marking is "954-?" indicates that it belonged to a Navy unit (!!!), perhaps the 954Ku which was originally named 31Ku and changed name on November1, 1942. Originally a carrier bomber unit, gradually changed to carrier attackers and even reconnaissance seaplanes. Their base was Manila, Davao, Cebu and Zamboanga among others. Their duties was patrol and reconnaissance and ship escort. The unit merged with 901Ku on January 1, 1945. 

Radek MARABU Pelican suggested that "the photo of the tail is most likely Willow, not Stela."
It's a valid and interesting suggestion, so let's compare the tails of the two types.

From the shape of the rudder I would say that MARABU is right in his suggestion and therefore I stand corrected. Thanks!

And two color photos from the Jeff Ethell colelction of two Zeros in the same area and setting with the "Raiden" above.

The "Raiden" was restored to flying condition by the TAIU and received the code "S12" but was scrapped in Clark Field.


Anonymous said...

The photo of the tail is most likely Willow, not Stela.
Best Regards
Radek MARABU Pelican

Honza78 said...

I can only agree. From my point of view, Willow immediately attacked me. Only after that did I read the text and began to compare in more detail. I also vote for Willow.