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  D3A1 Model 11 Val Manufacture Number ?  
IJN
Zuikaku
2nd Shotai

Pilot  Petty Officer Yukio Hikiune (survived, KIA November 5, 1942)
Observer  P.O. Goichi Koretsune
(survived, KIA November 5, 1942)
Ditched  August 24, 1942

Aircraft History
Built by Aichi. Delivered to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN). Assigned to the Zuikaku, 2nd Shotai. No known markings or tail code.

Mission History
On August 24, 1942 during the Battle of the Eastern Solomons took off from Zuikaku on a bombing missing against USS Enterprise (CV-6) and lost contact with his section and at 1646 dived and dropped his bomb against the "rear aircraft carrier", but missed. Departing, this Val continued to experienced radio trouble and had difficulty finding their carrier. Ditched after dusk off Malu'u at Cape Astolabe on the northern tip Malaita Island. Both crew survived the ditching unhurt.

Fate of the Crew
After the crash, both joined a small party of Japanese coastwatchers near the village of Afufu. For nine weeks they survived on little food. On November 5, 1942 a landing by the 2nd Marines attacked the outpost and killed twenty, including the crew of this aircraft. After the firefight, one of the Marines captured Goichi's diary and it was translated by Allied intelligence.

Paul Vanderhaar reports:
"I was part of the International Peace Monitoring Team in Malu'u in Malaita. About three kilometers from Malu'u at a village called Gwa'ako I was shown a 14 cylinder radial aircraft engine that local people told me was from a Japanese WWII aircraft which crashed into the sea nearby. The local people told me that the two aircrew were captured and later 'executed' by the American located on North Malaita. I was later shown the remains on the aircraft in about two meters of water a few hundred metres off the coast of Gwa'ako. It is upside down with its wheel struts visible at low tide, facing out to sea."

Wreckage
The engine was removed from the plane not long after it crashed. It was displayed next to the Gwa'ako market until 2001.

Paul Vanderhaar reports:
"A few weeks before I left Malu'u in early December 2001, the local people moved the engine to an as yet unknown location when I showed some interest in it. I am sure they will disclose its location if asked. I was proposing to include it in a memorial in the market place but could not meet the local chief to discuss the matter before I finished my mission. I have asked my colleagues to pursue the matter but don't yet know if they have.

Small pieces of this wreckage, were removed by an Australian visitor, including a dataplate from vacuum pump and a small piece of heavily corroded piece of exterior skin were auction on Ebay during December 2008, but failed to sell and were erroniously listed as part of a "Zero".

References
The First Team And the Guadalcanal Campaign
page 140, 145, 147 (chart), 156, 614

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Last Updated
January 5, 2018

 

Tech Info
Val

SCUBA
2m

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