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20th Dokuritsu Hiko Chutai
Built by Mitsubishi. True serial number unknown (three digits). Delivered to the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force (JAAF) as Type 97 Heavy Bomber / Ki-21-II Sally manufacture number 4??? (last three digits unknown).
The tail section had two manufacture numbers visible on the tail. Visible on left side of the tail was 4484 (?) on the tail cone and 4104 (?) on the rudder. Possibly, one of these is the manufacture number for the entire aircraft or one number is a replacement part installed during repairs or maintenance to the tail section.
Assigned to the 20th Dokuritsu Hiko Chutai (20th Independent Flying Company) with tail number "II" (Roman numeral II) with the motif of the squadron painted on the tail a "Z" inside a circle painted in yellow. Below was tail number "II" (roman numerals II). This aircraft had a natural aluminum finish and was spray painted with dark green splotches on the upper surfaces applied in the field.
This Ki-21 departed Japan and was flown southward via the Philippines and Dutch East Indies before arriving in western New Guinea.
Likely, This aircraft operated as a transport. During 1944, this aircraft likely force landed in the Hollandia area likely at or near Hollandia Airfield, Sentani Airfield or Cyclops Airfield. During the crash, the nose and fuselage burned. The tail and left wing remained intact.
During late April 1944, the wreckage of this aircraft were captured by the U. S. Army when they liberated the area. This aircraft was photographed by SSgt Carl R. Thien, photographer attached to the 201st Counter Intelligence Corp (201st CIC) with American and Indonesian soldiers inspecting the bomber's tail and left wing. A later photo shows the engine cowls were removed and aluminum pieces taken from the leading edge of the wing.
Production Record for the Type 97 Heavy Bomber (Ki-21) (Sally) by James Long
Emblems of the Rising Sun - Imperial Japanese Army Air Force Unit Markings 1939-1945 page 41
Thanks to Carl R. Thien for additional information
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