|Pilot Lt(jg) Kaname Harada
Crashed October 17, 1942
Kaname Harada was assigned to Soryu in September 1941. On December 7, 1941 he was assigned to fly combat patrol, protecting the bombers and the fleet, not the main attack against Oahu. On April 5, 1942 he flew against the Royal Air Force (RAF) over Ceylon (Sri Lanka) he was credited with shooting down five British planes that day. At the Battle of Midway, his carrier was sunk, and he ditched out of fuel and was rescued.
Built by Mitsubishi. Delivered to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN). Assigned to Hiyo. Tail code D1-1?? with a single yellow fuselage band.
On October 17, 1942 took off from Hiyo to intercept American fighters over Guadalcanal. During the dogfight, Harada engaged a F4F Wildcat piloted by William Freeman in a head on pass, with both aircraft firing at each other.
Harada's Zero was damaged and he was wounded in the arm. He attempted to land in what he thought was a flat field, but turned out to be covered with palm trees. Near the ground, his wingtip clipped a palm tree and ripped it off off, causing the Zero to crash upside down in the vicinity of Cape Esperance.
Fate of the Pilot
Pinned inside his aircraft, Harada had to claw his way through soft soil with aviation fuel pour down on him. Walking in the jungle, he met a wounded Japanese aviator, Hisao Sato, a crewmen of a B5N2 Kate piloted by Kuno, he reported that one of his crew died and the other was trapped in the aircraft dead. Together, they stayed with the bodies overnight then departed together.
Kaname Harada adds:
"I think the mountains were far away. I did not see a river, but I think there was one not far away. I crashed into a palm tree jungle. The other plane [Kate] crashed within 500 meters of my Zero. The [Kate] was wrapped around a palm tree [when it crashed]."
Harada and Sato reached Kamimbo Bay (Tambea) where they met a group of Japanese engineers building a submarine base. Both were rescued and returned to duty.
The First Team And the Guadalcanal Campaign pages 317-319 incorrectly lists Harada's aircraft was listed as ditching at Rekata Bay
Enemy Pilots Meet as Friends by Marcus Perkins April 2002 (via Wayback Machine)
Legacy of October 17, 1942 Mission by Justin Taylan
Beyond Pearl Harbor "Head-on Duel Over Guadalcanal"
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January 5, 2018