|Pilot PO2c Yoshio Yoshida (MIA / KIA)
Crashed February 14, 1943
Built by Mitsubishi or Nakajima. Model unknown either an A6M2 Model 21 Zero or A6M3 Model 32 Zero. Delivered to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN). Assigned to the 252 Kōkūtai. No known markings.
On February 14, 1943 took off from Ballale Airfield piloted by
PO2c Yoshio Yoshida on a mission to intercept an incoming formation of U. S. bombers and fighters. This Zero failed to retun from the mission and was the only Japanese loss on the mission.
Some sources state F4U Corsair 02187 (MIA) collided with a Zero, possibly this aircraft, causing both to crash.
Kodochosho, 252 Kōkūtai, December 28, 1942
Japanese Naval Air Force Fighter Units and Their Aces, 1932-1945 pages 50, 196-197 (204 Ku) 392, 203-204 (252 Ku), 238-239 (802 Ku)
(Page 50) "Next day [14 February 1943] 253 Ku intercepted a raid on Buin [Kahili], 24 A6M taking part, pilots claiming a B-24, nine P-38s, a P-39 and two new Vought F4U Corsairs, for one loss. They also shared a further B-24, a P-38, two P-39s and an F4U and four P-38s, while ten A6M2N pilots of 802 Ku claimed two more B-24s and probably a P-40 [sic], without loss."
(Page 239) "Until 14 February  the unit continued to fly patrols and air defence sorties over Shortland."
(Page 392) "Yoshio Yoshida PO2c Otsu 11 252 Ku Feb/13/43 Buin"
Thanks to Minoru Kamada for additional information
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February 4, 2018