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  A6M2 Model 21 Zero Manufacture Number ? Tail V-1??
IJN
Tainan Kōkūtai

Pilot  PO2c Nobuo Tokushige (MIA / KIA)
Crashed  August 17, 1942

Aircraft History
Built by Mitsubishi or Nakajima. Delivered to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN). Assigned to the Tainan Kōkūtai. Tail number V-1?? (last two digits unknown).

Mission History
On August 17, 1942 took off from Lakunai Airfield near Rabaul on a mission to provide close escort for G4M1 Bettys from the 4th Kōkūtai and Misawa Kōkūtai on a mission to bomb 7 Mile Drome near Port Moresby. This Zero was part of the 2nd Chutai, 2nd Shotai led by WO Tora'ichi Takatsuka, PO2c Nobuo Tokushige and FPO2c Masayoshi Yonekawa.

Arriving over the target at high altitude by 9:15am, Japanese caught the Allies by surprise and no Allied fighters intercepted the formation. After the Betty bombers released their bombs over 7 Mile Drome by 9:23am, the formation turned back towards Rabaul.

Returning, the formation experienced bad weather between New Guinea and New Britain that caused the formation to split up, with many bombers and Zeros diverting to Lae Airfield instead.

Instead, PO2c Nobuo Tokushige and PO2c Masayoshi Yonekawa attempted to fly back to Rabaul. Alone, Yonekawa successfully landed at Lakunai Airfield around 1:00pm, the only Zero pilot to return to Rabaul after the mission. When Tokushige failed to return, he was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA). He was presumed lost due to bad weather in the mountains near Gasmata.

References
Other sources list the pilot's first name as "Norio" versus "Nobuo".
Kodochosho, Tainan Kōkūtai, August 17, 1942
Winged Samurai "Tainan Kōkūtai Pilot Casualties" page 88
Eagles of the Southern Sky pages 249-251

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Last Updated
January 5, 2018

 

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