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  Ki-51B Sonia Manufacture Number 959  
26 Sentai (?)

Aircraft History
Built by Mitsubishi, estimated assembly date of late April 1943. This aircraft was the assault version of the Ki-51, with armor plate and bomb racks with an overall dark gray paint scheme. Assigned to the Japanese Army Air Force (JAAF) to ? Sentai.

Wartime History
Likely, assigned to 26th Sentai, although a small possibility it was assigned to one of the other units that also operated the Ki-51. Possibly, this Ki-51 was destroyed on the ground a bombing raid on November 30, 1943 by B-24s.

Crashed near Mount Talawe south of Tuluvu (Cape Gloucester). American bombing had destroyed its wings and a tree impact had broken the fuselage in half.

Inspected by US Army TIAU on January 27, 1944 and was the subject of a detailed reports about the fuel tanks, armament and protective armor, The team also noted the presence of bomb arming wires still attached.

CEAR No. 35 - Ki-51 Sony 959
Production Record of the Type 99 Assault / Recon Plane by Jim Long
"Note 5. No. 959 was built by Mitsubishi. It was reported by CEAR #35 when found at Cape Gloucester. Crash inspectors did not report whether it was a recon version or an assault version, but they did report finding armor plate. The CEAR writer apparently added the information that it was a recon version. But his assumption was apparently wrong, as the finding of the armor by the crash inspectors would indicate and as a translated Japanese mission report that identified No. 959 as an assault bomber would show."
Tuluvu's Air War Chapter X: The Aircraft of Tuluvu by Richard Dunn

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Last Updated
January 31, 2018


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