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  D3A1 Model 11 Val Manufacture Number 3287 Tail Q-218
IJN
2nd Kōkūtai

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M Claringbould

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RAAF Sept 5, 1942

Pilot  ? (see below)
Force Landed  September 2, 1942

Aircraft History
Built by Aichi, estimated date of manufacture during late September to early October 1940. Delivered to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN). Assigned to the 2nd Kokutai. This aircraft had number 73 on the tail and landing gear spats, later over painted when the tail number was changed to Q-218. When lost, engine serial number 182131 built December 19, 1939, overhauled December 27, 1941.

Mission History
Took off from Rabaul at 12:30pm to attack shipping at Milne Bay. (Other sources list this as September 3rd). 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 3110 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 YamakadoVal #2
Pilot Hori Mitsuo
Gunner Tanaka SusumuVal #3
Pilot Maruyama Takeshi
Gunner Iburi Hisao

Fate of 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 who called on them to surrender. Instead, they fired back with pistols. Waiting for them to reload, the police advanced and shot all three remaining Japanese with their rifles. Afterwards, the Japanese were buried where they were killed. Afterwards, the police returned to their launch, and took one of the jammed Lewis machine gun as a trophy to Abau.

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
Starting September 5, 1942, 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 sailed them to Abau.

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

References
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
January 5, 2018

 

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