|Pilot Lt(jg) Genkichi Oishi (MIA / KIA)
Crashed March 14, 1942
Took off from Lae Airfield on an escort mission to protect 4th Kōkūtai G4M1 Betty bombers attacking Horn Island at at 11:25am.
Over the target, this Zero was the third aircraft of the second squadron, in a three plane formation, along with Tooru Oshima and Kazuichi Miya.
Over the target, the Zeros were engaged by P-40s This Zero opened fire on a P-40E piloted by Captain Morrissey. Attacked by P-40E "Heros Poopy" piloted by Lt. A. T. House, whose guns failed to fire. Oishi began firing, then stopped and began pulling away. On impact, the Zero exploded and spiraled into the ocean. Lt. House's P-40 was damaged, but managed to land safely at Horn Island Airfield after three landing attempts.
Lt. A. T. House report adds:
"I continued my course directly at the enemy aircraft, expecting to get his fuselage in the heavy part of my wing. He started firing, but must have observed my approach and changed course. I continued to dive and the leading edge of my right wing went through his fuselage approx. in the middle of the canopy. I went to ram the plane, the wing went through the canopy and blew it up. There were pieces on fire and falling everywhere. My plane started falling and flipping over. The oxygen mask had me blinded for a while."
The wreckage of this Zero is unknown. On January 28, 1997 the Courier Mail (Brisbane) claimed:
Courier Mail (Brisbane), 28 January 1997:
"Relic found: A Japanese fighter plane shot down in World War II in Torres Strait has been found relatively intact 55 years later. The Mitsubishi Zero was discovered near Thursday Island. Arthur Seekee, manager of a tourist resort on nearby Horn Island, said it appeared to be in good condition. Mr. Seekee, who dived on the aircraft, said there was no evidence of human remains in the cockpit area.The aircraft is believed to be one of two shot down by American P-40 Kittyhawks in 1942 during a Japanese raid on an airfield and military installations on Horn Island."
Horn Island, page 17, 19, 21
Thanks to A. T. House for additional information
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May 22, 2017