|Pilot Keiryu Hanahiro (KIA)
Observer Kameichi Hasegawa (KIA)
Crashed August 4, 1942
Built by Mitsubishi. Delivered to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN). Assigned to the Tainan Kokutai. No known markings or tail code.
On August 4, 1942 took off on a reconnaissance mission over Milne Bay escorted by four A6M2 Zeros. Over the target, intercepted by RAAF P-40 Kittyhawks from 76 Squadron and shot down. The P-40s incorrectly claimed this aircraft as a "dive bomber".
Afterwards, the crash site was located by natives in the mountains. On August 21, 1942 a group of nine Australians from 75 Squadron with four native guides trekked to the crash site of what they believed was a "Zero". The group included F/O Harding (75 Squadron equipment officer), Sgt Charles Thomas Walmsley, Sgt Rowbotto, Jim Gregory and three other storekeepers. At the crash site, they identified the aircraft as a two-seat reconassiance plane with retractable landing gear and a rear gunner. They recovered the rear gun. Inside the aircraft, they located partially burned maps and sketches that were recovered.
These maps included accurate representations of the layout of airfields around Port Moresby including “Old Aerodrome” (7 Mile Drome) and Kila Kila Airfield. They also showed the “new aerodrome” indicating Bomana Airfield and “Kido Airfield" probably 30-Mile Drome. Target locations were indicated on the sketches. Maps showed course lines to Cairns, Cooktown and Townsville. One map included a penciled compass circle with a 50-mile radius centered on Port Moresby.
RAAF 76 Squadron, 4 August 1942 - Milne Bay
"On 4 August 1942 RAAF Kittyhawk fighters engaged and shot down a “dive bomber” escorted by four Zeros at Milne Bay. Actually the dive bomber was a Type 98 reconnaissance plane [Mitsubishi Ki-15 - Babs]. Its wreckage was found two weeks later so badly damaged that inspectors could do little more than conclude it was a two-seat monoplane manufactured by Mitsubishi. However, some partially burned maps and sketches were recovered. These included accurate representations of the lay-out of the “old aerodrome” (7-mile) and Kila Kila airfield at Port Moresby. They also showed the “new aerodrome” indicating Bomana, 14 miles from Port Moresby as well as “Kido” airfield probably indication 30-mile airdrome. Target locations were indicated on the sketches. Maps showed course lines to Cairns, Cooktown and Townsville. One map included a penciled compass circle with a 50-mile radius centered on Port Moresby."
AWM PR00742 Diary of Sgt Charles Thomas Walmsley 75 Squadron pages 14-16
Eagles of the Southern Sky pages ?
Thanks to Richard Dunn and Edward Rogers for historical and wreckage information
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February 4, 2018