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  D3A1 Model 11 Val   Tail Number Q-276
2nd Kokutai
Bomber Buntai

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AWM December 1942

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Norman Wilford 1943

Aircraft History
Built by Aichi. Delivered to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN). Assigned to the 2nd Kokutai. Tail code Q-276.

Wartime History
On August 24, 1942 eight D3A2 Val dive bombers from the 2nd Kokutai, Bomber Buntai led by Lt Fumitô Inoue were flown to Buna Airfield. Used during late August 1942 for missions against Milne Bay and combat patrols over northern New Guinea.

Sometime between August 24-28, 1942 this Val was disabled or destroyed on the ground at Buna Airfield and burned destroying most of the aircraft aside from the tail section. On August 28, 1942 the remaining Vals were withdrawn from Buna Airfield.

The tail wreckage of this Val was abandoned at Buna Airfield. In late December 1942 or early January 1943 after the U. S. Army captured the airfield area the tail was photographed showing tail code Q-276 painted in white and a black stencil confirming it was a D3A1 Val. This Val was not noted by Allied intelligence, possibly because it was only a portion of wreckage. Ultimate fate unknown likely scrapped or otherwise disappeared.

Osamu Tagaya adds:
"The only time Vals operated from Buna Airfield was August 26-28, 1942. On 26 August, 8 D3A1 took off from Rabaul, headed for Milne Bay (Rabi), but aborted due to bad weather and landed at Buna. Next day, they took off and landed at Buna, losing two over Milne Bay as we previously discussed. On the 28th they were recalled to Rabaul. Eight minus the two lost on the 27th would make six. But the next entry for Type 99s in the 2nd Ku kodo is one for 1 September in which only five fly a routine patrol. So nothing definite, but it is possible that one was left behind at Buna because of battle damage or mechanical problems, later to be burned on the ground by Allied air attack. That would appear to be the most plausible explanation."

"Serial Number & Production Sequence D3A1 Carrier Bombers" by Jim Long
Allied intelligence did not record the presence of this Val as a wreck at the airfield
AWM photo is incorrectly identified as "Japanese aircraft destroyed on Vivigani airfield earlier in 1943"

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Last Updated
December 27, 2018


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