|Pilot LS Ishisugi (MIA / KIA)
Gunner PO1c Sakurai (MIA / KIA)
Crashed December 27, 1943
Built by Aichi. Delivered to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN). Assigned to the 522 Kōkūtai. Tail code 52-???. During November 1943 operated from Kavieng Airfield then Keravat Airfield until lost on December 27, 1943.
On December 27, 1943 took off from Keravat Airfield near Rabaul as part of a mixed formation of dive bombers from the 552 Kōkūtai and 582 Kōkūtai escorted by Zeros on a mission to attack the American landing force off Arawe (Cape Merkus) on West New Britain. This Val was flying in 2nd Shotai, 4th position. When this aircraft failed to return it was listed as Missing In Action (MIA).
At Close Quarters page 217 might describe this Val's demise:
"[December 27, 1943 Aboard PT-100 TM3C Stephen P.] LeFebver scrambled back to his gun and opened fire on a plane off the port quarter, following it around to the starboard bow. The plane caught fire, and crashed ashore."
Kodochosho 552 Kōkūtai, December 27, 1943
At Close Quarters page 217
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January 5, 2018