|Pilot Captain Kirita Hideo (KIA)
Observer ? (KIA)
Crashed October 25, 1942
Built by Mitsubishi. Assigned to the Japanese Army Air Force (JAAF) to the 76th Dokuritsu Dai Shijugo Chutai (Independent Squadron).
Based in the Philippines. During September 1942 this aircraft was flown on a ferry flight from the Philippines to Rabaul arriving during the middle October 1942.
On October 25, 1942 took off from Rabaul on a reconnaissance mission over Henderson
Field on Guadalcanal to asses the chances for capture of by the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) 17th Army. While flying low over the airfield, this aircraft was shot down by anti-aircraft and small arms fire and crashed nearby.
After the crash, investigated by American forces. Pieces of wreckage were taken as souvenirs by U. S. Marines. Japanese Army helmets were
recovered from the wreck and the dead aircrew were wearking Army uniforms.
Guadalcanal Battle Sites - A Piece of Guadalcanal History
L/3/5 On The Canal pages 181 - 182
The Leatherneck Boys page 113
L/3/5 On The Canal, pages 181 - 182
"One of our guys let
out a yell. I
looked his way and saw him pointing toward an approaching, low-fly in airplane
of a type [Army Ki-46] we hadn't seen before. It was coming towards us
from over the Matanikau - Point Cruz area, which meant that it had to be a Jap,
probably from Rabaul. As it got closer, I made out its details: a slow fling,
twin engine, non-combat plane with big shiny red meatball on each wing - and
its winner of a pilot was now bringing it in at treetop level with its wheels
down, showing every sign that he was coming in for a landing. Landing on
'What is that crazy bastard doing?' one of our guys yelled. Holy
shit! He's coming in for a landing! By now we were all heads-up, wide-eyed
and watching... Soon the mysterious plane was broadside to us, and we could
see four windows on the side of its fuselage, with faces looking out through
those windows - at us. Those faces belonged to Japanese officers wearing
white uniforms, and the fact that we could make out that much detail tells
you how close the plane was to our ridge. It couldn't have been much more
than 75 feet from our position, floating in at about the same elevation as
our ridge top. No one gave the signal or said a word, but no one had to. Everyone
started firing, using every weapon we had. From positions below the ridge and
several different directions other Marines were also firing on that misguided
champion of a pilot. The plane was flying so low and so slow that we couldn't
have missed it with a rock. At least a hundred tracers along with rounds from
all kinds of weapons went through that fuselage. The plane took a sudden,
sharp dip below the ridge level and sank into the treetops, out of sight. The
next thing we saw was the explosion and some of the thousand flying pieces
that recently had been the mystery plane. My guess is that someone back at
their headquarters had given these Japanese a bum scoop, leading them to believe
that the airfield was captured and they land safely. It had to be something
like that because this clearly wasn't a combat plane."
The Leatherneck Boys, page 113
25, 1942. One 2 motored reconnaissance plane came over airfield
taking pictures. It was beautiful with a big red circle on it and black numbers.
This field shot it down! You could
see the 20's bursting on the wing. It winged over, 1/2 left wing came off,
and it crashed and burned on the beach near us."
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February 4, 2018