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  D3A2 Model 22 Val Manufacture Number 3077  
IJN
? Kokutai

Click For Enlargement
Yoji Sakaida 2005

Click For Enlargement
Andrew Dickes 2006

Aircraft History
Built by Aichi, estimated date of assembly early December 1942. Delivered to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN). Assigned to ? Kokutai.

Wartime History
During early April 1942, operated from Ballale Airfield during Operation I-Go Sakusen. Abandoned at the airfield.

The fuselage was propped up on empty fuel drums in a bone yard area. The skin is rippled from nearby bomb blasts. The tail is missing, likely unbolted by the Japanese during the war. The engine is attached with the propeller removed. Stripped of all instruments and weapons.

Wreckage
Until the late 1960s, this aircraft remained in situ in a bone yard area. Both wings have been removed, cut off with a hacksaw or chisel. Only one of the wings remains upside down next to the fuselage. Likely Robert Diemert attempted to salvage this aircraft in the late 1960s, but gave up and left it, instead salvaging D3A2 Val 3178.

Pacific Aircraft Wrecks, page 63:
"Another victim of ignorance, incompetence and myopia, this Aichi D3A2 Val 3077. was almost complete and eminently restorable apart from blast damage in the structurally simple rear fuselage. Then a few years ago a collector [Diemert ?] removed the wings - with hacksaws and cold chisels. It is little wonder that independent nations of the South West Pacific now prohibit any interference with war relics."

Charles Darby adds:
"I do not believe that locals cut off the wings. First, there's no reason to do so, and Melanesian people never waste energy and wear-out expensive metal tools for nothing. Second, no Japs would have cut off the wings in the war. The aircraft was a write off so it was dumped. Maybe the folding part of the wings would have been un-bolted for use as spares, but hacking off the fin and centre section stubs was pointless from the Japanese angle. However, 3077 was well away from the strip."

Justin Taylan adds:
"Near this wreck was a piece of wreckage with stenciled 440 visible on it. It is unclear if this is associated with this, or another wreck."

Salvage
During December 2005, moved from the bone yard area to the beach area by Australian Craig Turner / Solomon National Museum Project where it remained due to a dispute with locals. Turner returned on November 6, 2007 with Gary Spoors / GJD Services Ltd. This aircraft was likely salvaged with other aircraft from the island on November 8, 2007 aboard the barge MV Tina. Transported to Honiara, the aircraft were presumably shipped overseas to either Australia or the United Kingdom.

References
Pacific Aircraft Wrecks page 63 (lower left)
"Serial Number & Production Sequence D3A2 Carrier Bombers" by Jim Long
OneNews "Shortland & Ballalae Aircraft Salvage" November 20, 2007
GJD Services - Solomon's (accessed via WaybackMachine.org) circa February 2008

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Last Updated
January 9, 2018

 

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Broken Wings of Ballale

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