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  D3A1 Model 11 Val Manufacture Number 3381  
IJN
Shokaku Air Group

Pilot  ? (survived)
Gunner  ? (survived)

Force Landed  May 8, 1942


Aircraft History
Built by Aichi, completed on February 14, 1942. Delivered to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN). Assigned to the Shokaku.

Mission History
On May 8, 1942 one of fourteen Vals led by Lt. Tamatsu Ema that took off from Shokaku on a strike against USS Hornet during the Battle of the Coral Sea. Two Vals were lost over the target, and seen to crash. Returning, this aircraft crashed or ditched at (Sudest Island (Tagula).

Rescue
A Japanese destroyer (possibly Shiratsuyu) was notified to rescue the crew, but before they could respond, both were rescued the following day by a seaplane from the Kamikawa Maru.

The loss of this aircraft and rescue of this crew does not appear on the Kodochosho. Possibly, since the crew was rescue and returned to duty meant it was not recorded as a loss. Therefore, the names of the crew are unavailable from this record.

Wreckage
In July 1942 the wreckage was visited by the Australian Army and the manufacture number and date of construction were noted.

Lt Mac Rich, Lousiade Archipelago Patrol diary: May 25, 1942:
"Accompanied by Sgt. Rice, one of our landing party and the three launch boys, made an early start punching into a fresh S.E. and after a slow trip arrived at Cape Siri, the most easterly point of Sudest Island at 1.pm. Here on account of the shallow water had to anchor nearly half a mile from the shore line and wide ashore, then another half mile through scrub to a grass patch where we found the remains of a Japanese two seater single engine plane.  This according to the identification booklet issued to the troops was Japanese 99 [D3A1 Val].  The cockpit and engine section had been burnt out and the local natives informed us later that the day after it crash landed a Japanese sea-plane had landed on the lagoon and picked up the two airmen, apparently unhurt."

Allied intelligence noted the wreck as; 'AD 5 Val Mk1 3381 crashed 8 May 1942'.

References
Kodochosho, Shokaku, May 8, 1942
CEAR "Japanese Aircraft Makers' Plates and Markings", page 17
Thanks to Jim Sawruk, John Douglas, Osamu Tagaya and Minoru Kamada for additional information
Another wartime reference notes a wreck as (likely this same wreck): "A6M2 Zero: located at the eastern tip of the island, near East Point (this reference is possibly D3A1 Val 3381) Wartime reference: S 11° 37 E 153° 47"
Jim Sawruk adds: "I found an entry in the IJN records in regard to the D3A that crashed on Tagula Island on 8 May 1942. Originally, it was thought to be a Zuikaku D3A and even the IJN thought this. However, when the crew was rescued, it turns out that it was a Shokaku D3A!"

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018

 

Tech Info
Val
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