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.


D. Chouinard said...

Very extensive, and as usual, well done! The photos illustrate the conditions everyone faced, cold, damp, and uncomfortable.

Honza78 said...

Good job. A lot of interesting things.
Great thanks for that.