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  D3A1 Model 11 Val Manufacture Number 3110 Tail Q-216
IJN
2nd Kōkūtai

Pilot  ? (see below)
Gunner  ? (see below)

Force Landed  September 2, 1942


Aircraft History
Built by Aichi completed on November 26, 1940. Delivered to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN). Assigned to the 2nd Kokutai. Tail Q-216. The 2nd Kokutai first operated under the Combined Fleet, then under the Eighth Fleet at Rabaul, and finally under the 26th Air Flotilla at Rabaul. When lost, engine serial number 183566 built February 2, 1941 and overhauld once.

Mission History
On September 2, 1942 took off from Rabaul at 12:30pm on a mission to attack shipping off Milne Bay escorted by Zeros. Three hours after take off, they were never seen again. Their Zero escorts successfully landed at Buna Airfield at 5:30pm.

The three Vals: this aircraft and D3A1 3114 and D3A1 3287 force landed on the beach near Deba on Table Bay. Theories have been proposed over the years about a secret mission these planes were flying, but in fact the truth is that three probably landed after experiencing bad weather and running short of fuel.

Val #1
Pilot W/O Ota Genga
Gunner Matae Yamakado
Val #2
Pilot Hori Mitsuo
Gunner Tanaka Susumu
Val #3
Pilot Maruyama Takeshi
Gunner Iburi Hisao

Hunting Down The Crews
The crew set fire to their parachutes damaging the center sections. They removed the rear machine guns and supplies and moved inland. After the discovery of the aircraft, ANGAU Warrant Officer David Marsh was dispatched to investigate the aircraft at Table Bay by launch, along with Lt. Bilston, four Royal Papuan Constabularies, boat driver and a cook. They discovered the three aircraft about 100 meters apart, and buried supplies in a camp area, and a message from a native pastor that he was conscripted to lead them, but was leading them in circles until the authorities arrived.

Dixon called for reinforcements and then move inland after them. Marsh moved inland to follow them. On the second day, they located them, and fired and ordered them to surrender. Instead the Japanese fired their machine guns back, and fleeing into the hills. Giving chase the police killed three of them.

The remainder were caught in the open by two other police and called to surrender, but they fired back with pistols. Waiting for them to reload, the advanced and shot the remaining three with their rifles. All were buried where they fell. They returned to their launch, and took one of the jammed Lewis machine gun as a trophy for Abau Island.

Wreckage Visited
On September 5th, a P-40 piloted by Squadron Leader Wright spotted the aircraft and reported them. A Tiger Moth landed on the beach and Group Captain Bill Garing and Flight Lt. Lex Winten investigated them.

Recovery
In September, the wrecks were salvaged by a party consisting of Major C. H. Belvin, USAAF and Flying Officer N. O. Clappison, RAAF and Sgt Corly, US Army, with LAC Bath, Sgt Kelly and Sgt Gadsby all from the RAAF. With the help of ANGAU at Abau, they camped near the aircraft and salvaged the aircraft, disassembling them and removing burnt parts and carrying the wreckage in vine-built crates 3-4 miles down the beach, and then sailing them to Abau.

Evaluation
The three aircraft were then shipped to Port Moresby and then to Brisbane, and were the subject of an inteligence report about them on October 24, 1942 that recorded data about each.

References
Other sources incorrectly list the date of take off as September 3, 1942
The Hidden Chapters by Robert Piper pages 76-83
"Milne Bay 1942" pages 293 - 299
Enemy Material Report No.50" from HQ, Allied Air Forces, SWPA, dated 29 October 1942
Date of assembly confirmed by Jim Long

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018

 

Tech Info
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