Built by Mitsubishi estimated date of assembly April 1943. True serial number 1177. Delivered to the Japanese Army Air Force (JAAF). Assigned to the 14th Sentai. Tail number 4 painted in yellow. This bomber was painted with light blue under surface and mottled light blue, light green upper surfaces. Armed with a manual turret with a 12.7mm machine cannon. In the nose, remote tail and two waist positions (with saddle magazines) were 7.7mm machine guns.
On November 7, 1943 one of nine Ki-21 that took off on a bombing mission against Nadzab Airfield flying at an altitude of 19,700' to 21,000'. The bombers were escorted by Ki-43 Oscars from the 13th Sentai and 248th Sentai. Over the target, intercepted by U. S. fighters and shot down.
Reportedly parachuted out before the bomber exploded in mid air and crashed near Bandong (Baghmara) roughly 15 miles north of Nadzab. Two of the crew were burned in the wreckage and two others were thrown clear.
After the bomber exploded mid air, the wreckage landed on two sides of a steep valley. The crash site was located by Allied intelligence and investigated.
ATIU / Crashed Enemy Aircraft Report (CEAR) 17:
"The latest integral component is hydraulic cylinder dates 7 March 1943. The bomb release solenoid dated September 1943 is believed to be a replacement."
Richard Dunn adds:
"The wreckage was found on two different sides of a steep valley after the bomber exploded in air. Steep slopes and rain made inspection of some parts impossible."
248th Hiko Sentai: A Japanese “Hard luck” Fighter Unit, part 2
ATIU / Crashed Enemy Aircraft Report (CEAR) 17
Production Record for the Type 97 Heavy Bomber (Ki-21) (Sally) by Jim Long page 3
Thanks to Jim Long and Richard Dunn for historical information
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January 9, 2018