Thursday 30 July 2020

IJAAF & IJNAF wrecked aircraft #41 - unknown location

Before moving to the Philippines and other locations, we'd like to upload this video, from here, which features a very rarely seen Kokusai Ku-8 "Gander" glider in the beginning, followed by a Kawasaki Ki-45 "Toryu" (Nick) unfortunately without any visible tail marking.

The location could be Clark Field, Luzon in the Philippines but the presence of these buildings could be an indication that the film was taken in Japan or some other location. What is certain is that it was not taken on Guadalcanal Island as mentioned in the film caption.  

Tuesday 28 July 2020

IJAAF & IJNAF wrecked aircraft #40 - Tarawa

There was nothing but badly wrecked aircraft on Tarawa after the bloody battles of November 20-23, 1943.

In the first video we can see the tails of at least three "Nell" bombers.

The first is a bit small but we can still make out the tail marking "Y1-3?" with a white line bove it.

The second "Nell" tail on the left doesn't seem to have any tail marking but has two bands on the fuselage.

The tail marking of  the third "Nell" is only partially visible.

The very clear photo below clarifies the tail marking of the first "Nell".
The "Y1" part of the marking indicates that the unit the aircraft belonged to is the 755Ku which was organized on November 1, 1942, from GenzanKu. Originally based in Japan, the unit relocated to the Marshalls in the middle of December of the same year with 43 "Nell" bombers. Using Roi-Namur as their main base, the unit sent detachments to Taroa, Mili, Nauru and other smaller islands on patrol and recconnaissance missions and bombing missions against Nanumea. In the middle of August, the unit started to change to "Betty" bombers but the unit got engaged in battles with little time to train with the new type. After the attack of U.S. forces against the Gilberts in the middle of November 1943, the unit relocated to Roi-Namur, Tarawa, Taroa and others and fought against the enemy forces. In December the unit reached Tinian and Truk.   
According to Japanese sources, on November 19, 1943, 13 "Nell" bombers of the unit launched a night torpedo attack claiming to have sunk an aircraft carrier but losing three bombers of their own.
Two days later, another attack was launched in the Tarawa area with 14 bombers but lost seven of their own without causing any casualties to the enemy.
On November 15 the unit had 40 bombers but by November 22 the unit had only 11 left.
The aircraft carrier attack was against USS Independence (CVL-22) and according to Wikipedia:

"Rabaul and Gilbert Islands strikes
Independence sailed from Pearl Harbor for Espiritu Santo on 21 October. During an ensuing carrier attack on Rabaul on 11 November, the ship's gunners scored their first success – six Japanese aircraft shot down. After this operation, the carrier refueled at Espiritu Santo, headed for the Gilbert Islands, and conducted pre-landing strikes on Tarawa 18 to 20 November 1943. During a Japanese counterattack on 20 November, Independence was attacked by a group of aircraft low on the water. Six were shot down, but the aircraft launched at least five torpedoes, one of which hit the carrier's starboard quarter. Seriously damaged, the ship steamed to Funafuti on 23 November for emergency repairs. Independence returned to San Francisco 2 January 1944 for more permanent repairs."

Below is a witness account, from here:

“I dove to the deck, and all Hell broke loose. We did get hit by a very powerful aerial torpedo from a twin-engine Betty. Then word came over the speaker to abandon ship. I surely hated to hear such a command. Luckily, almost immediately, the order was cancelled. This was good news, since I really was not looking forward to going into the water with all the sharks, and possibly the Japanese coming back to finish us off.”

– Herman Brown, “My Navy Story and Life on the Independence”

The photo below, shows the second "Nell" without the tail marking. There is the posibility that this is the tail of the first "Nell" seen from the opposite side and the visible tail part without a tail marking is the back side of the port tail with the marking "Y1-3?"

And the small photo below, from here, shows the partial tail marking of the third "Nell".
Personally I think that all three "Nell" bombers belonged to the above mentioned 755Ku, but let's move on to the next video.
The video in the begining features a number of IJNAF bombs, a fuel truck and a torpedo...

...followed by the same "Nell" bombers mentioned above.

The third video also from Getty, features a rather unusual Zero.

Without being 100% sure, I think it's an A6M3 Model 22, i.e. A6M3 cowling, A6M2 wings!
Bizarrely, it looks as if it has a cross on the under-wing hinomaru and this detail is confirmed in the photo below, from here, which we had originally identified as having been taken at Roi-Namur.

Another Zero in very bad condition is the one below, photo from here.
The tail marking is partially visible and the "Y2-?" part indicates that it belonged to the 252Ku which we first encountered in the previous post here. The unit used the "Y2" marking from June 1943 until February 1944. After that date the unit used the tail marking "52-" so it's a small mystery why this particular aircraft still has the old marking.
Another photo of the same aircraft, from here, missing even more pannels, reveals that the tail marking is "Y2-1?".
Another Zero wreck in pretty bad condition can be seen in the photos below. 

There are also the remains of a "Betty" bomber but no tail marking is visible.
 Photo above from here.

Sunday 26 July 2020

IJAAF & IJNAF drop tanks pt. 2 - Mitsubishi A5M "Claude"

In the second part of the series we will examine the drop tanks of Mitsubishi A5M "Claude".
The earlier types of the aircraft until A5M2a had an 160ℓ drop tank as shown below.

Below is an illustration by Devlin Chouinard based on the official aircraft service manual.
1. fuselage frame
2. front metal attachment
3. drop line
4. release lever
5. fuel flow control lever
6. fuel capacity indicator
7. rear metal attachment
8. fuselage frame
9. drop tank in release position

From A5M2b, the earlier drop tank was replaced by either a 160ℓ...

...or a 210ℓ drop tank.

Note the not-so-pristine condition of the tank below.

As before, below is an illustration by Devlin Chouinard based on the official aircraft service manual.
1. changeover valve
2. release lever
3. anti-vibration metal attachment
4. tank attachment rack
5. attachment metal for the rack
6. 160ℓ tank
7. 210ℓ tank

Friday 24 July 2020

IJAAF & IJNAF wrecked aircraft #39 - Marshall Islands

During the U.S. assault against the Marshall Islands starting from January 31, 1944, when the Battle of the Kwajalein Atoll took place, until the begining of February, a number of wrecked Japanese aircraft were captured mostly on the airfield of Roi-Namur Island
Below are some aerial photos showing the airfield. (photos from here and here)

And here's how the Roi-Namur Island looks now (photo from here).

Most of these aircraft were already badly destroyed from the intense naval and aerial bombardment. as can be seen in the photo below, from here.
The "Betty" bombers with the two or three white lines on the tail belong to the 752Ku, we first encountered here.The unit relocated to Roi-Namur on November 24-25, 1943, with 37 "Betty" bombers. They took part in the battle of the Gilberts and attacked ships at Makin Island suffering great casualties. When the U.S. forces landed on Roi, the unit had about 20 aircraft and managed to return to Japan on February 20 where the 752Ku was re-organized. 
Another photo of a 752Ku "Betty".

The "Betty" wreck below is more intriguing and according to the caption the photo was taken in the Marshalls. The red tail marking number is very carefuly and elaborately applied with a white surround and there are two red lines above it also with a white surround. Unfortunately the rest of the marking is not visible and we were not able to locate a kokutai with a tail marking ending in "35". 
Here's another photo of the same aircraft, from here, but again the complete tail marking is not clear enough.

The "Betty" below was found on Eniwetok Island. (official U.S. Marine Corps photo)

Let's see the first video, from here.
There is an A6M2 Zero that is very badly destroyed and the tail marking is barely visible. I adjusted the color of the still a bit by removing a little bit of blue and adding green.

A "Betty" can be seen but no visible tail markings.

And a beautiful close-up on the "Betty" fuselage revealing various shades of green. Do you think the undersides are NMF or hairyokushoku/grey?

On THIS video, captioned as taken on Tarawa, there is a fragment of only a second, showing the data plate of the above "Betty".
It reads:
"Keishiki" (Type & Model) - "Ichishiki Rikujo Kogekiki II Gata "(Type 1 Land Based Attack Bomber Model 2)
"Seizo Bango" (serial number) - "???6go" (number ???6)
"Shozoku" (unit belonging to) ?

Let's see some photos of Zero fighter found in the Marshalls.

In the official USMC photo above, the tail marking is visible; probably "81-151".
Another photo of the same aircraft, from here, is captioned as been taken in Tarawa. But I would go with the official USMC caption and say "Roi Island, February 1944".

Two more photos from the Jeff Ethel collection. Again, I adjusted the colors a bit.

Let's see some more videos taken on Roi-Namur. Each video is slightly different from the other offering small extra details.
The first is from here
Of particular interest is the Zero with tail marking "81-101".
This would indicate that it belonged to the 281Ku which was organized on March 1, 1943, in Tateyama, Chiba Prefecture. On May 23, relocated to Paramushiru for anti-submarine duties. In early December 1943, relocated to Roi-Namur with air defence duties. The unit was completely oblitarated during the February 1 attack. The unit was equipped with Zero fighters and Showa L2D transports.  

The next video is from here.

Again of particular interest is a Zero with tail number "52-???".
This marking indicates that the aircraft belonged to the 252Ku which was organized on September 20, 1942. Originally it was a fighter unit within the GenzanKu and on November 9 of the same year relocated to Rabaul until March 1943. From Rabaul the unit was charged with air defence duties in the Solomon and New Guinea area. From November 1943 unitl January 1944 the unit took part and was almost completely destroyed during the battle for the Marshalls. The survivors returned to Japan.

Another aircraft visible in the video but in completely wrecked condition is a "Jake" seaplane.
In the next video, from here, we can see the remnands of "Betty" bombers.

The stencil reads: "吊上金具" (tsuriage kanagu = metal fitting lift)

Another video, from here, with some extremely interesting close-ups on a Zero fighter.

The next video, from here, includes various shots of wrecked aircraft but of special interest is the 752Ku "Betty" with tail marking "52-021".

And finally an interesting video from here, featuring an asortment of IJNAF bombs found on Roi-Namur.