Saturday 15 July 2023

Flying Boat & Seaplane Base - video

Yet, another NARA video, in five parts, spotted in the "Showakan Digital Archive" by "Shu".

This first part starts with a "Mavis" having one of its engines started. 
More about this particular aircraft in another instalment.

Then we are treated to some amazing stills of a Kawanishi Type 2 Transport Flying Boat or H8K2-L "Seiku"(Clear Skies). Only 36 of this huge transport type, which could carry from 29 to as many as 64 passengers, were built until the end of the war, and "Seiku" images are rather rare. 

Unfortunately, no tail marking is visible so it's difficult to know which unit this particular flying boat belonged to. 
Note on the nose the fittings for H-6 radar antennae. Perhaps this one was a "normal" H8K that was modified to a passenger?

The second part starts with a most interesting "Mavis".
Half white with green surrender crosses. We first discussed this particular aircraft, VERY briefly, here.
Be patient. We have uncovered A LOT, much more interesting information which we will present in the last instalment.

After the "Mavis", it's time for one of the rarest IJNAF flying boats; a Yokosuka H5Y "Cherry" (corrected).

Here's the third part.

Starting with a beautiful Yokosuka/Kawanishi K5Y2 "Getabaki Akatonbo" (Willow) floatplane in pristine condition.
The tail marking is quite obscure.

Followed by an Aichi E13A1b "Jake". Note the fittings for "Jikitanshiki" (air-to-surface radar) on the fuselage side.
Unfortunately, the unit marking has been removed and the overcast conditions don't help. 

The fourth part starts with close-ups of the "Emily" and "Mavis" beaching systems.

The image below is a collage of different stills for the "Emily" system.

The stills below are for the "Mavis". 

In between we can see the slipway with a "Seiku" missing a portion of its port wing.  

And then the cameraman turns his attention to one of the green-cross "Mavis" getting serviced and having its engines started.
The name of the flying boat is "Makigumo" (Cirrus Cloud).

The last part of the video is dedicated to the flying boat base.

It's really incredible that the installations survived the war in such good condition.

And now it's time for the whole story.

A month after the surrender of the Empire of Japan, the government worried about the general situation in Taiwan, especially a collapse of the economy that could lead to further social unrest. In order to allay these fears, the Japanese government ordered the central bank to urgently gather and/or print currency and send it to Taiwan as soon as possible.
The mission that received the approval of the GHQ and General MacArthur, fell on the civilian "Dai Nippon Airways" and an experienced crew as well as a thoroughly inspected and maintained flying boat was chosen. Departure was to be from Yokohama, where two seaplane/flying boat bases existed at the time; one military in Tomioka used exclusively by the Yokohama Kokutai and another civilian in Negishi that was used by "Dai Nippon Airways".
On September 9,1945, boxes full of hundreds of millions of yen, weighing more than 2 tones, were loaded on a Kawanishi H5K "Mavis" named, "Kozu" (probably from Tokyo's Kozu Island, J-BPOA) and the crew of seven, including pilots Commander Ohori and pilot Koshida, took their positions and got ready for take-off. 
The first attempt, at 07:30, was not successful. The flying boat was overloaded. But it seems the engines used up enough fuel the first time, so the "Mavis" got lighter and was able to take off the second time.
The crew had received stern orders not to fly, under any circumstances, over Atsugi base, occupied at the time by US forces, and Okinawa Island, and they were to draw a flight path that had to be strictly observed; any deviation of the flight path or passes over no-fly zones would place them at risk to be shot down. Nevertheless, a little while after takeoff a crew member said: "There are some new and amazing aircraft at Atsugi where MacArthur landed! How about we fly over and take a look?" Right after they deviated from their course, they were quickly surrounded by three "Grumman" fighters, that were probably warned by radar. It was only after the elderly flight engineer Takemiya stuck his bold head with a few white hairs out the window and gestured apologies that they were allowed to continue their originally designated course. 
The crew had again the brilliant idea to attempt to fly over Okinawa to see the devastating results of the fierce battle, only to be intercepted by two reconnaissance aircraft.
"Kozu" and crew finally reached the mouth of Tamsui River in Taiwan at 15:50, where they were greeted by a lavish banquet. They returned to Japan on September 13, full of gifts and several dignitaries.
A most interesting article, in Japanese, about the whole experience can be found HERE.
The money transfer mission to Taiwan was repeated on September 15, and this is what is featured in the photo and video. That time the "Mavis" was "Makigumo" (J-BGOE) we saw above.       

As can be seen in the photo above and the video, there were two "Mavis" available, "Makigumo" is in front and another is in the rear. It can be either "Asahi" ("Rising Sun" J-BFOX) or more probably "Sazanami" ("Ripple Waves" J-BFOY).

The photo below features "Makigumo" (J-BGOE) having just alighted in the mouth of River Tamsui, Taiwan, on September 15-16.


Harold K said...

A real pleasure to see a closeup of the H9A1. An injected kit of this a/c is badly needed.

José Antonio (Profe) said...

Thank you very much for this very interesting post about Japanese seaplanes. Photos of the Yokosuka H5Y "Cherry" are especially valuable. I know of only two or three images of this aircraft.
Is there any chance of knowing the unit markings of this device or some other Cherry? I have the Anigrand kit and I would like to make it with unit markings from an operational aircraft.

David Brizzard said...

Thank you for the seaplane additions.

Harold K said...

What the heck was I thinking?
I meant the H5Y, LOL.

Brett said...

That's some really nice stuff! I'm working on a Hasegawa H6K right now, so I have another possible paint scheme to ponder. I'd love to have had that perfect Akatonbo for some recreational flying down here on the Gulf Coast. LOL Do we know what base this is?

Arawasi said...

>Brett - Do we know what base this is?
Patience, please. All will be revealed in the last instalment.

Harold K said...

"It was only after the elderly flight engineer Takemiya stuck his bald head with a few white hairs out the window and gestured apologies that they were allowed to continue their originally designated course."

That is hilarious! How these sightseers escaped being shot down is a mystery to me.

Seeing Makigumo on the river in Taiwan, I am sorely tempted to repaint my old Hasegawa 1/72 Mavis in that fantastic scheme, half white fuselage with green crosses replacing all hinomaru.
George, this is one of the most enjoyable posts in my many years of reading your blog. A+

Harold K said...

Separate but related. Do we know from which base the Emily originated that was in the USA for so many years, before being returned to Japan?

Brett said...

Harold K, according to Pacific Wrecks, it was captured at Takuma Air Base and was assigned to the Takuma Kokutai. It was repaired and flown to Yokohama for shipment to the US. Apparently, as it is painted now on display at Kanoya Air Base, is how it was painted when captured with tail code T-31.

Harold K said...

Cheers Brett!