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4th Sentai

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Kenichi 1944
Pilot  Sgt Shigeo Nobe (KIA)
Gunner  Sgt Denzo Takagi (KIA)
Crashed  August 20, 1944

Aircraft History
Built by Kawasaki. Delivered to the Japanese Army Air Force (JAAF) as Type 2 Two-Seat Fighter / Ki-45 Nick manufacture number unknown (likely four digits).

Wartime History
Assigned to the 4th Sentai. No known markings or tail code.

Mission History
On August 20, 1944 took off piloted by Sgt Shigeo Nobe with gunner Sgt Denzo Takagi on a mission to intercept an air raid by B-29 Superfortresses bombing Yawata Steel Works on Kyūshū Island. Over the target, Nobe radioed that he was going deliberately ram an enemy bomber, and made the first deliberate ramming over Japan.

This aircraft collided with B-29 "Gertrude C" 42-6368 causing it to explode with debris falling downward. During the impact, this aircraft was destroyed and both crew missing. Afterwards, a piece of wreckage from the bomber struck the tail of B-29 "Calamity Sue" 42-6334 causing it to enter a spin and also crash. Nobe's attack claimed his life and his gunner and was also credited with the destruction of two bombers. On the ground, the explosion and falling debris was visible to many in the target area.

Afterwards, artists Nakamura Kenichi created a painting titled "Sgt Nobe rams and downs two B-29s over Kyushu" that depicted the aftermath of the ramming and wreckage falling. Postwar, this painting was seized during the U. S. occupation of Japan as war artwork deemed to be subversive and was photographed and part of the U. S. National Archives (NARA) archives.

Painting "Sgt Nobe rams and downs two B-29s over Kyushu" by Nakamura Kenichi
B-29 Hunters of the JAAF (2000) by Koji Takaki and Henry Sakaida page 88-90

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Last Updated
August 16, 2019


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