Sunday 24 January 2021

Kawanishi H8K "Emily" & H6K "Mavis" - video

A short clip today from the NHK Collection, dated May 1944, featuring Kawanishi H8K "Emily" and Kawanishi H6K "Mavis" flying boats.

According to the narrator:

"The sun has risen over our base in the South Seas. In the darkness of the dawn, the Navy's new flying boats reveal a giant body. An order is given. They escort our fleet to the southern front line in a hurry to replenish munitions. The commanding officer is explaining the meeting point with the fleet and various precautions for this escort mission. The enemy submarines that haunt our supply route should not be allowed any chance to attack the fleet. Escorting the fleet is a not a particularly The fleet escort, though lacking in splendor, has a very important mission, and the flying boat leaves the water dramatically.
At X hours X minutes, the fleet can be seen below. Immediately move in position to escort. Weapons and ammunition packed in the fleet are what our front-line soldiers have been waiting for..."

Although the video is of very low quality and the full tail markings are unfortunately not visible, these two stills... 

...reveal that it's "??2-020". The only unit equipped with "Emily" flying boats with the number 2 at the end of its tail marking is the 802 Kokutai.
The unit was organized when it changed name from 14Ku on November 1, 1942, with flying boats and seaplane fighters. At that time the "Mavis" flying boats of the unit were at Jaluit, Marshal Islands. The Nakajima A6M2-N seplane fighters, at Bougainville and Shortland.
The flying boats also used Makin as their base from where they flew patrol and reconnaissance missions. They also bombed Espiritu Santo and Kanton Island in night missions.
From January 1943 the first "Emily" flying boats started to arrive and by the summer of the same year they were the main aircraft the unit was equipped with.
On October 15, 1943, the seplane fighter unit was assigned to the 902Ku and flying boats used Jaluit as their main base. On January 29, 1944, most of the unit relocated to Saipan where they continued patrol and reconnaissance missions as well as bombing Roi-Namur Island. The unit was disbanded on April 1, 1944, and the remnants were assigned to the 801Ku. But the 801Ku was also assigned to the Takuma Ku by the end of April.
From November 1942 until February 1943 used the letter "W-" as its tail marking. The unit used "Y4-" from March 1943 until the end of the year. After that it used "802-".

We can see the cockpit of an "Emily" in the still below.
The crew member in the foreground is holding a Type2 bubble sextant.
Below is a photo of the instrument from here.

Another still shows a sign from the Awa Shrine.

And also a very short part featuring the cockpit of a "Mavis".

In the video we can also see the cruiser Yubari.

From here, we learn that Yubari on
22 March 1944:
Reassigned as flagship of ComDesRon 3, Rear Admiral Nakagawa Ko (42).
Tokyo Bay. Departs Kisarazu, escorting the Marianas troop reinforcement convoy Higashi Matsu No. 3, consisting of 11 transports, supply ship HAYASAKI, DesDiv 5's HATAKAZE, DesDiv 6's IKAZUCHI and DesDiv 32's TAMANAMI, torpedo boat OTORI, kaibokans HIRADO and NOMI, and subchasers CH-48, CH-51 and CH-54.
25 March 1944:
The convoy is attacked by LtCdr (later Rear Admiral-Ret) Bafford E. Lewellen's (USNA '31) old USS POLLACK (SS-180). Lewellen sinks subchaser CH-54 and claims damage to several transports.
30 March 1944:
Arrives at Saipan.
23 April 1944:
Embarks Army troops and supplies. Departs Saipan with light cruiser KINU and DesDiv 9's SAMIDARE and DesDiv 29's YUZUKI.
25 April 1944:
Arrives at Palau. Embarks 365 troops and supplies.

Another ship that appears in the video somewhere behind Yubari, is the destroyer Tamanami

This would confirm the date and events above, and therefore the most possible location of the clip is Saipan and the date some day after March 30, 1944.

Sunday 17 January 2021

Drop tank production - video

Thought I had posted this many years ago, but Tommy Vicard from France reminded us we haven't you go.

The narrator in this October 1944 clip from the NHK collection, explains:

"This is a school factory in Takayama, Gifu Prefecture, which builds wooden auxiliary tanks, indispensable for modern air combat. 
First, cut the wood to make it thinner.
Then paste it on the crate.
Next, attach the cloth.
And finally, if you apply paint, you have a good auxiliary tank. 
With the effort of the female students, the number of auxiliary tanks built here is now higher than expected, and they are being sent out one after another aiming for the upcoming aviation decisive battle."

The school was the Girl's High School in Takayama which still exists today but, ofcourse, with a different name.
Merci Tommy.

Many years ago the late Owaki Katsushi gave me a piece of an IJAAF drop tank. An authentic relic showing the weaving patern of the wood with the paper on top and showcasing the IJAAF hairyokushoku

Tuesday 12 January 2021

Kasai Tomokazu

Another loss this year. Former IJNAF Ace Kasai Tomokazu passed away last weekend at the age of 94. 

Here's what Hata & Izawa say:

Born in Hyogo Prefecture in 1926, Kasai joined the Tsuchiura Air Group in 1942 as a student of the Ko 10th Flight Reserve Enlisted Trainee Class. In November 1943 he finished the 32nd Flight Training Course, was promoted to PO2c, and ordered to Air Group 263. Halfway through his training, in March 1944 he was ordered to advance to the Marianas; however, en route he had to make an emergency landing on Pagan Island because of poor weather. Arriving late in Saipan, he joined CPO Sho-ichi Sugita as one of his wingmen. In May, he advanced to Kau base on Halmahera Island. With the landing of American forces in the Marianas, Kasai returned to Palau and participated in attacks on enemy vessels off Saipan, using Yap and Guam as advanced bases. Kasai lost his own aircraft, but escaped from Guam in a land attack plane and went to Palau, and then on to Davao.
With the disbanding of Air Group 263 on 10 July, Kasai was next transferred to Fighter Hikotai 306, Air Group 201. Under the leadership of Lt Kanno, the unit advanced to Yap. For one week starting on the 16th, the unit was engaged in intercepting incoming B-24s. PO1c Kasai's aircraft received hits and he had to ditch, but was rescued. Next, Kasai withdrew to Cebu and concentrated on training activities in ship-bombing tactics. After the American invasion of Leyte in October, Kasai served as wingman for Kanno and for Sugita; he participated in attacks and intercept operations and provided direct support to special attack force units. After that, in December, Kasai returned to the homeland and was transferred to Fighter Hikotai 301, Air Group 343. He was with the latter unit until the war ended. Number of aircraft personally shot down, ten.

Arawasi had the privilege to meet Kasai-san a number of times. In the photo above he is standing on the right next to fellow Zero and seaplane pilot Saeki Masaaki. 
Always full of life, a very cheerful and friendly gentleman who freely shared his memories. We plan to feature a special on Kasai-san in the next issue of our magazine.    

Monday 11 January 2021

Nakajima "Kikka", ATAIU by Dizzyfugu

1:72 Nakajima J9N1 “Kitsuka” (橘花, a.k.a. “Kikka”), aircraft “FE 269”, operated by the Royal Air Force, Allied Technical Air Intelligence Unit - Southeast Asia (ATAIU-SEA); RAF Seletar (Singapore), January 1946

The kit and its assembly:
This was/is a submission for the “Captured!” group build at in late 2020. Loot from WWII certainly makes a good theme, and I remembered a real world J2M3 that I had built some time ago – in RAF markings and tested by the ATAIU-SEA in Singapore in late the 1945. For a more whiffy touch I delved through The Stash™ for options and found an AZ Models Nakajima “Kikka” single seater – as Japan’s first jet fighter, a suitable contender, even more so because no aircraft of this type made it in time to frontline units.
The AZ Models kit is a simple affair, but that's also its problem. In the box things looked quite good, detail level is on par with a classic Matchbox kit. But unlike a typical Matchbox kit, the AZ Models offering did not go together so well... I had to fight everywhere with poor fit, lack of locator pins, ejection marks - anything a short run kit can throw at you! PSR was necessary almost everywhere, especially around the wing/engine pod intersection and the area where the wings are inserted into the lower fuselage. What worked surprisingly well is the IP canopy, though.Personal additions are lowered flaps (easy to realize) and some additional struts for the landing gear.

Painting and markings:
The captured aircraft theme was settled from the start, but I wanted to offer more than just a “rebadge” with RAF roundels on an IJN green/grey airframe. In order to add some visual spice, my idea became to present an irregular "one-aircraft-made-from-wrecks-and-spares" finish, with parts in differing tones and even some primed or bare metal areas.
I initially gave the model an overall coat of aluminum and added cloudy shades of IJN Green (ModelMaster and Tamiya) and sections with RAF Dark Green to the upper surfaces, and light grey underneath, with the aluminum underneath shining through here and there. One engine was painted in a shaggy Japanese primer red brown. I furthermore added overpainted IJN markings with U.S. olive drab for some more contrast, even though these would later be partly hidden under decals.
The cockpit was painted in a greenish yellow primer, trying to simulate a typical “bamboo” shade that was used in some late-war IJN cockpits, while the landing gear and the flaps’ interior was painted in dull aluminum. A black ink washing was applied for more weathering and contrast. the yellow leading-edge markings were created with decal material. RAF roundels came from the scrap box, the “FE 269” code was created with single white 3mm letters. This is rather a code for captured aircraft in the European theatre, but it’s a fictional model, after all.  The “ATAIU-SEA” titles were painted free-handedly with a thin brush and white acrylic paint, and later wet-sanded down a bit for a weathered look.
Finally, the kit received a mixed coat of semi-gloss and matt acrylic varnish.

- Dizzyfugu - 

Saturday 9 January 2021

Japanese aerial phosphorous bombs

In a couple recent posts we encountered the Type 99 Number 3 Mk3 30kg aerial bomb. Here's a short clip, from here, presenting that 30kg and another 250kg bomb designated Type 2 Number 25 Mk 3 aerial bomb model 1-kai (gotta love the tattoos).

Tuesday 5 January 2021

Peter Starkings

 Peter Starkings is no longer with us. Our good old friend passed away yesterday at the age of 95.

Peter will be missed a lot.

This year did not start well...

Monday 4 January 2021

Kawanishi H8K "Emily" and more - video

A very short clip today, from this documentary, featuring a number of Kawanishi H8K "Emily" flying boats as well as some other types hidden from the camera.

From the white "Mavis" with the green crosses barely seen in the background, I'm confident the location is Yokohama; check the old post here.