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Warrant Officer Katsuma Shigemi
Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) Zuikaku Zero Pilot

Background
Katsuma Shigemi was born January 27, 1914 in Shimane Prefecture in Japan. Enlisted in the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN). During July 1933 graduated with the 20th class of the pilot trainee student course and assigned to aircraft carrier Kaga.

Wartime History
Shigemi was assigned to the 14th Kōkūtai in China and claimed three aerial victories against Chinese aircraft. Next, assigned to Ryujo, after this ship was refurbished in November 1940 and saw limited action in the first few months of the Pacific War. After the carrier re-equipped with A6M Zeros in late April 1942 it participated in a diversionary attack on the Aleutian Islands, then proceeded southward to the Solomon Islands and participated in missions 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. At Henderson Field, USMC Wildcats scrambled ten from VMF-212 and VMF-223 suffered three losses. During the Battle of the Eastern Solomons, Ryujo was sunk and the surviving aircraft diverted to land at Rabaul. Afterwards, Shigemi was assigned to Zuikaku.

On October 26, 1942 during the Battle of Santa Cruz Islands (Battle of the South Pacific) WO Shigemi commanded the four escorting Zeros of the second wave attack force of 17 Nakajima B5N Kate torpedo bombers that sortied from Zuikaku against USS Enterprise (CV-6). This attack went badly, with eight Kates were shot down by U. S. Navy (USN) fighters and anti-aircraft fire. Shigemi's four Zeros survived a dog fight with four Wildcats which were also unharmed. In the dogfight, Shigemi became separated and landed at Kahilli Airfield (Buin) on Bougainville.

Mission History
On February 4, 1943 took off from Kahilli Airfield (Buin) on Bougainville piloted by WO Katsuma Shigemi on a mission to support the Japanese evacuation from Cape Esperance on Guadalcanal and was shot down northwest of New Georgia and failed to return from the mission. When this Zero failed to return, Shigemi was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA). Also lost was A6M2 Zero piloted by PO2c Hitoshi Naito.

In total, Katsuma Shigemi was credited with eight aerial victories (three over China and five in the South Pacific).

References

Kodochosho, Zuikaku, February 1–4, 1943
Japanese Naval Air Force Fighter Units and Their Aces, 1932-1945 pages 48 (Feb 4, 1943), 333 (biography WO Shigemi) and 391 (pilot losses Feb/4/43: WO Katsuma Shigemi and PO2c Hitoshi Naito), 416 (20th Class Shigemi)
Operation KE pages 184, 186, 188-190 (Zuikaku Zeros February 1, 1943), 229-230 (Zuikaku Zeros CAP February 4, 1943), 240-241 (Zuikaku Zeros February 4, 1943), 368 (index Shigemi)
A Brief History of the Blayd Zero and Its Markings by Ryan Toews June 15, 2014 page 4

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