Saturday 3 February 2024

IJAAF & IJNAF wrecked aircraft - Clark Field, Philippines Pt.4

Here's a photo of the same Ki-45s with the "Lily" and the "Shoki" we saw in the previous post, from a different angle. 
Between the "Lily" and the "Hayabusa" in the foreground, is a Ki-45 with a tail marking indicating that it belonged to the 27th Sentai.

The 27th Sentai was organized on August 1, 1938, from the 5th Rentai while in Manchuria. Initially, it was equipped with Nakajima Ki-4 Reconnaissance and a year later exchanged them with Kawasaki Ki-32 "Mary" light bombers. In 1941 the unit was fully equipped with Mitsubishi Ki-51 "Sonia" light bombers.
In July 1944, while based at Sarabia Airfield, Negros Island, Philippines, with more than 20 "Sonias", the unit received three Ki-45 "Toryu" Model Hei and started training with this new type of aircraft.
The unit then relocated to Clark Field and continued training with new "Toryu" fighters but, at the same time, trained new cadets for the "Sonia" bombers.
From the beginning of September, when US forces started attacks in the Philippine Islands, 13 Ki-45 were dispatched to Sarabia Airfield but during a September 13 air raid, all the planes were destroyed on the ground.
By the middle of October, only the 3rd Chutai had enough operational aircraft. The 2nd Chutai which was about to finish its training with the Ki-45, had only one operational aircraft, and the 1st Chutai was only beginning training with the Ki-45.
During the Leyte Campaign, a small number of Ki-45s from the 27th Sentai, relocated again to Saravia Airfield, and on October 26, two "Toryu" took off early in the morning to bomb enemy forces in the Leyte area, and successfully returned to base. In the evening of the same day, three Ki-45s and three Ki-51s took off on a similar mission but only two "Sonias" managed to return. Three days later the small detachment returned to Clark Field to replenish its aircraft.
During a November 19 US air raid against Clark Field, many aircraft were damaged.
Almost a month later, on November 23, 1944, eight 27 Sentai "Toryu" fighters took off from Clark Field to advance to Silai Airfield, south of Saravia, in Negros Island. The next day, three Ki-45 from the 27 Sentai, two from the 45 Sentai as well as an assortment of various types from different units, a total of more than 50 aircraft, attacked Tacloban Airfield, in Leyte Island. 1Lt Kobayashi was hit by anti-aircraft and crashed against an enemy ship. During the following days, the unit continued attacks against enemy positions in the Leyte area, with one or two aircraft.
From January 6, 1945, the targets of the unit were landing craft at Lingayen Gulf. On January 15, the 27 Sentai received orders to return to Japan. Only some pilots managed to escape from the Philippines to Taiwan by using two Ki-45s as transports, constantly flying back and forth. 

The same "Toryu" seen in the photo above with the number "86" on its tail, can be seen in these stills from a color film.

Here's another 27 Sentai Ki-45, but without a tail number.
The sentai marking is probably in red indicating that it belonged to the 2nd Chutai. Perhaps there was a kanji above the marking in white but at the moment the photo was taken it's no longer clearly visible.

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