|Pilot NP Kihachi Ninomiya (KIA)
Crashed August 27, 1942
Built by Mitsubishi. Assigned to the Tainan Kōkūtai. Unclear if this aircraft was an A6M2 or A6M3.
One of five Tainan Kokutai Zeros that took off from Buna Airfield on a mission to escort 2nd Kokutai D3A Val dive bombers, and arrived over Milne Bay, at 8:20am due to bad weather as the dive bombers were completing their dive bombing attacks and departing the area.
Afterwards, the Tainan Kokutai Zeros dove down to strafe Gurney Airfield (No. 1 Strip, Fall River), firing at LB-30 Liberator AL-818 that was already destroyed and unservicable.
Afterwards, Ninomiya was flying with PO/1 Sadaô Yamashita and observed the ditching of A6M3 piloted by Kakimoto and thought his Zero had ditched in very shallow water because they could see it from the air in very clear water. They dove down and strafed the water, in an attempt to destroy it to prevent it from being salvaged by the Allies.
While strafing, the were surprised by two P-40s from 75 Squadron piloted by CO Les Jackson and his wingman Sgt Roy Riddel, who shot down both Zeros.
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January 5, 2018