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Built by Aichi, estimated date of assembly early December 1942. At the factory, this aircraft was painted with dark green upper surfaces and light gray lower surfaces. Delivered to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) as Type 99 Dive Bomber Ku Ku Kamba (Kanbaku) / D3A2 Model 22 Val manufacture number 3077.
Assigned to an unknown Kōkūtai. No known tail code or markings. Possibly, this Val was assigned to a carrier air group or the 582 Kōkūtai. Likely, this Val arrived in theater in late December or January 1943.
Sometime between January 1943 until October 1943, this Val likely operated from or was damaged while parked at Ballale Airfield. This Val was abandoned in a bone yard area on Ballale Island.
This aircraft was abandoned with the engine attached in a bone yard area on Ballale Island.
During 1968, salvager Robert Diemert cut off both wings with a hacksaw or chisel. Robert Diemert salvaged parts from this aircraft including one wing, the wing fuel tanks and likely other parts and fittings. These parts were likely later used in his restoration of 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 [Robert 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."
After the 1968 salvage, only one of the wings remains upside down next to the fuselage propped up on empty fuel drums. The fuselage was propped up on empty fuel drums and one wing remained upside down next to the fuselage. 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.
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."
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. On November 6, 2007 Craig Turner returned with Gary Spoors / GJD Services Ltd to complete the salvage.
"Serial Number & Production Sequence D3A2 Carrier Bombers" by Jim Long
Pacific Aircraft Wrecks page 63 (lower left)
OneNews "Shortland & Ballalae Aircraft Salvage" November 20, 2007
GJD Services - Solomon's (accessed via WaybackMachine.org) circa February 2008
Broken Wings of Ballale - The Tragic Salvage History of the Last Undisturbed World War II Airfield
Thanks to Charles Darby, Jim Long, Justin Taylan, Andrew Dickes and Ryan Toews for additional information
Broken Wings of Ballale
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