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  J1N1 Irving Manufacture Number ?  
IJN
251 Kōkūtai

Pilot  PO2 Tokumoto (survived)
Observer  WO Harukimatsuo (KIA)

Ditched  July 19, 1943


Aircraft History
Built by Nakajima. Delivered to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN). Assigned to the 251 Kōkūtai. Tail code V-? (last digit unknown. Painted with dark green upper surfaces and gray lower surfaces.

Mission History
On July 19, 1943 took off from Ballale Airfield at 22:40 on a night patrol of the area.

At 23:15, sighted a "B-24" (likely a B-17 Flying Fortress) and made three attacks, claiming it shot down. [this claim was erroneous].

At 2:15, sighted a "B-17" and made three attacks, claiming it shot down. In fact, this was B-17E "Tokyo Taxi" Serial Number 41-9153 that was hit, exploded and crashed.

Diary of Captain Anthony Dean Lucas aboard B-17 "L'ill Neil":
"July 19, 1943: Nine ships of our squadron took off around midnight to bomb Kahili airfield. All my bombs hit on the target from 14,000 feet. While on the beginning of my bombing run I saw one of my best friends go down in flames. Shot down by Jap night fighters. He was Lt., soon to be Capt., Eckles, of Santa Barbara."

Justin Taylan adds:
"Confirmed by B-17 pilot Captain Anthony Dean Lucas' diary entry, this night fighter's claim for the B-17 at 2:15 is most certainly B-17E 41-9153."

After the attacks, this Gekko was shot in both engines and ditched into the sea in the patrol vicinity at 2:25am. During the crash, observer Harukimatsuo was killed.

References
Captain Anthony Dean Lucas diary - July 19, 1943
Kodochosho, 251 Kōkūtai, July 19, 1943
Thanks to Minoru Kamada for additional information

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018

 

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