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|Pilot Warrant Officer Katsuma Shigemi (KIA)
Crashed February 4, 1943
Shigemi was assigned to Ryujo, after this ship was refurbished in November 1940. The Ryujo saw limited action in the first few months of the Pacific War. After being re-equipped with Zero fighters in late April 1942, the Ryujo sortied northward as part of the diversionary attack in the Aleutian Islands, the participated in the attacks against Guadalcanal.
On August 24, 1942, Shigemi led six Zeros escorting D3A Val dive bombers. In the ensuing fight over Guadalcanal, the Japanese lost four Vals and three Zeros. The United States Marines of VMF-212 and VMF-223 suffered three aircraft shot down of the 10 that intercepted from Henderson Field. In the meantime, the Ryujo was sunk and the surviving planes were diverted to land at Rabaul.
After Ryujo was sunk, Shigemi was reassigned Zuikaku. During the Battle of Santa Cruz on October 26, 1942, Shigemi commanded the four escorting Zeros of the second wave attack force of 17 Nakajima B5N Kate torpedo bombers that sortied from the Zuikaku against the USS Enterprise.
This attack went badly, eight Kates were shot down by US Navy fighters and anti-aircraft fire. Shigemi's four Zeros survived a scrap with four Wildcats which were also unharmed. In the dogfight, Shigemi was separated and landed at Buin Airfield (Kahilli Airfield).
Credited with three victories flying in combat against the Chinese Air Force. Also, five victories flying against the US Navy in the Pacific.
This Zero was painted overall gray. The leading edge of the wing was yellow. The cowling was painted black and the fuselage Hinomaru was outlined in white. Assigned tail code AI-I-129 painted in red on both sides of the tail. As a new replacement aircraft, this Zero never had the Zuikaku identification marking added, a white fuselage strip with red edges.
An replica aircraft, A6M2 Zero Registration N8280K (Replica) is painted in the markings of this Zero.
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