Tuesday 31 January 2012

VIPs - Showa L2D (Douglas DC-3)

Jacob sent us the following:
About a month ago I saw on UTube a Dutch documentary about the Indonesian struggle for Independence.
This documentary had some footage about a "propaganda" trip of the first president of the Republik, Mr Soekarno (Sukarno). He travelled in May 1945 with a Japanese L2D2 in the archipelago. The last three digits of the unit code are XX- 200. The images below are stills  I took from that footage. 
My question is: can that Tabby unit be identified?
Jacob Terlouw / The Netherlands.

We asked leading authority on the subject of units and tail markings Akimoto Minoru-sensei and here's what he replied:
The DC-3 belonged to the Dai Nippon Koku with civilian registration J-BKOM and name "WAKASA"*. It was one of about 40 DC-3s that formed a unit by DNK called "Dai Nippon Koku Choyo Yusoki Tai" (DNK Commandeered Transport Unit) and operated for the IJNAF. The particular plane belonged to the 2nd Choyo Yusoki Tai
Tail number. The second katakana is the first "YU" of "YUsokitai" but the first katakana is difficult to discern. It could be "SE" or "NA" or "CHI" or even a "2". If the first is a "CHI" then it's the first katakana for "Choyo"**. If it's a number "2" then it could signify the 2nd Yusoki Tai.
I believe the photo was taken when Sukarno was visiting Singapore to discuss the details regarding the forthcoming independence of Indonesia.

*"Wakasa" probably refers to the gulf starting from Fukui prefecture and ending in Kyoto.
**"Choyo" is written as "CHIyoUYOU" in kana but it's pronounced as Choyo with stretched "o"s.

We are grateful to Jacob and Akimoto-sensei for their contribution to our blog.


Peter Starkings said...

Is J-MKOM possibly a misprint for J-BKOM? Aircraft registered J-BKOA/F/J/L/V/Y were all DNK L2Ds and I have never before come across a J registration starting with'M'.

Arawasi said...

Just got off the phone with Akimoto-sensei and he confirmed that it was indeed a misprint. You are absolutely right that the correct civil registration was J-BKOM. Thank you for the comment!

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