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  H8K2 Emily Manufacture Number ?  
IJN
? Kōkūtai

Crew  Matsutare Okanura
Engineer  Keis Okkjesimi
Crew  Tomido Olasogi
Crew  Nasa Tusi Yusito
Passenger  Admiral Mineichi Koga, C in C Combined Fleet (KIA in crash)
Passenger  Vice Admiral Fukodomei, C in C land & sea forces in Makassar
Passenger  Yoji Yamamoto, Marine officer traveling to Makassar
Passenger  Yasukichi
Passenger  Ushikisa Inanishi

Crashed  April 1, 1944


Admiral Koga

Wartime History
Admiral Mineichi Koga was appointed as the Commander in Chief (C-in-C) Combined Fleet after the April 18, 1943 death of Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto as a passenger aboard G4M1 Betty 2656 Tail 323. Koga was appointed In late March 1944, he was overseeing the withdrawal of the Combined Fleet headquarters from Palau.

This Emily took off from Palau on a flight to Mindanao. Flying into a typhoon, the seaplane crashed into the sea off Cebu around 2:00am.

Wreckage
On Cebu, at Barrio Balud and Sangat in San Fernando, Filipinos heard the crash and exploded. Several Filipinos went out to sea to investigate the crash: Ricardo Bolo, Edilberto Bolo and Valeriano Paradero, plus others who had noticed the crash.

Capture
Roughly three kilometers out to sea, they found survivors swimming for shore, towing a body. Spotting the Filipinos, they clung to their canoes and twelve survivors reached the beach. One Japanese attempted to resist capture, afterwards all were bound as prisoners.

Two other Japanese had swum to barrio Sangat and made contact of the Japanese supported town mayor, and were taken to Tina-an in Naga, where there was a Japanese garrison.

The group had dragged a dead, burned body to shore, laid it on the beach and chanted "Koga". As dawn was approaching, the Japanese were taken inland by the Filipinos and the body abandoned on the beach. Later, unburied body was eaten by dogs (later, his bones were recovered by Japanese soldiers). The same Japanese who attempted to resist attacked one of the Filipinos, who killed him.

Search
Around 10:00, Filipinos observed a Japanese seaplane searching the area. The Filipinos had the Japanese remove their uniforms and wear civilian clothes. At this point, one of the Japanese presented himself as the leader, and the prisoners were carried by the Filipinos further, taking them inland to the guerilla headquarters, passing through several guerilla groups along the way, before reaching Tabunan and Col. Cushing.

Japanese soldiers searched for any survivors and the whereabouts of documents aboard the plane. They terrorizing civilians at Sangat, torturing and killing, and offering rewards. Seven different Japanese patrols drove inland towards the guerilla headquarters at Tabunan. The Japanese dropped propaganda leaflets demanding the return of the documents and prisoners, and even released a guerilla prisoner.

On April 8, Cushing reported by SWPA HQ that he had ten prisoners and was being pressured by the Japanese. The next day he identified the prisoners, stating they had "General Furomei" (Fukodomei) and other high level officers and documents including maps. Japanese forces were approaching and pressuring the guerillas, and were within rifle range and bombed by a seaplane. Since the guerillas suffered casualties, two of the prisoners were summary executed with a bladed weapon, to avoid giving away their position to the nearby Japanese.

The Japanese held over a hundred Filipino civilians as ransom and continued to persecute others. Since they had not yet heard back from SWPA HQ, the guerillas decided to negotiate with the Japanese, and had the prisoners write a message to the Japanese, saying they would hand over the prisoners in exchange for an end to the attacks on civilians, but also attempted to stall for time.

At noon on April 10, the prisoners were released to the Japanese. That afternoon, SWPA HQ radioed that the prisoners should be held at all costs and evacuated by submarine and taken to Australia. Getting this message, Cushing wept openly, and said he should have kept the prisoners. Later, he was severely reprimanded for this mistake.

Koga Papers
After the crash, at Sitio Bas barrio Perilos in Carcar, a Filipino Pedro Gantuangko heard the sound of a large plane, and later saw something floating in the sea, and asked a friend Rufo Wamar to retrieve it. The wooden box contained a leather portfolio with six or seven files. Since the Japanese had begun to search the area, Gantuangko buried the box.

Japanese entered his village on April 3 and forced the civilians to the church and searched houses for the box. The next day, they returned and continued searching. Gantuangko feared being caught and turned the files over to guerillas, who eventually delivered them to Cushing at Tabunan. Back at the village, the Japanese continued to threaten civilians searching for the documents. Gantuangko fled to Pangangan Island off Bohol. Tipped off to his involvement, Japanese reportedly murdering as many as 70 civilians on Pangangan.

The Japanese offered a reward of 50,000 Pesos for the documents and continued to drop leaflets until at least May 17, demanding the "robbed documents". Now known to be of great value, the documents were smuggled in two empty mortar tubes and sent to Tolong, Negros and removed by submarine.

Studied by US Army G-2, the documents were part of Plan "Sho" or "Z", revealing Leyte was lightly defended. On October 20, Army planners changed the planned the initial amphibious invasion in the Philippines from the proposed landing at Cotabato Bay on southern Mindanao to Leyte instead.

Memorials
Admiral Koga's death was not reported in Japan until May 1944, and reported that he was lost at sea in a storm, when his successor Admiral Soemu Toyoda was appointed. In Japan, Koga was posthumously promoted to Admiral of the Fleet posthumously and he was accorded a state funeral. Koga is memorialized in Tama Cemetery near Tokyo.

References
Micronesian Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences "The Capture of the Koga Papers and its effect on the plan to retake the Philippines in 1944". Vol 4 No 2, December 2005

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Last Updated
October 27, 2018

 

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