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  P1Y1 Francis Tail 762-T22
IJN
762 Kōkūtai

Click For Enlargement
Click For Enlargement
1945

Click For Enlargement
Pat Ranfranz 2006

Pilot  WO Ochiai (KIA)
Crew  ? (KIA)
Observer  PO1 Toshio Yoshida (survived)

Ditched  March 11, 1945

Aircraft History
Built by Yokosuka. Delivered to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN). Assigned to the 762 Kokutai. No known markings.

Wartime History
The wartime history of this aircraft is unknown.

Mission History
On March 11, 1945 one of twenty-four Yokosuka P1Y Ginga "Frances" took off at 9:00 from Kanoya Airfield, led by Lt Kuromaru Naoto for a one-way "tokko" (suicide) mission against Ulithi. Each carried a single 1,764-lb bomb. Eight hours after take off the Azusa Special Attack Unit descended through the overcast. As a result of a navigational error and unexpected head winds, they found themselves near Yap, 120 miles west of target. Three P1Ys of the Special Attack Unit arrived at Yap. One P1Y landed at the airfield. One P1Y failed in landing at the airfield and was damaged.

This P1Y ditched off of Rumung near dark, after one of the engines stopped. The Japanese garrison mistook the airplane for American, and two of the crew were accidentally shot and the commander was injured. The survivor was PO1 Toshio Yoshida (Otsu 17), the observer.

At 1852, the sun set. Only two P1Ys, instead of the original 24 bombers, reached Ulithi, both well after dark. The Gingas approached Ulithi at high altitude. They dropped tin foil chaff to deceive the American’s radars. then dove and flew in low over the water. The two Gingas flew into Ulithi's anchorage undetected. They wanted one of the large fast carriers. The pilot of the first Ginga radioed "Successful attack!” before crashing. No alert had been sounded. The islets and ships were all well lit, the ships' crews relaxed and movies were being shown.

At 2007, a P1Y slammed into the starboard side of the USS Randolph (CV-15) anchored off Sorlen Islet. The bomber hit aft just below the flight deck, but had so little fuel left in its tanks that it did not burst into flames. The explosion of its bomb destroyed planes in the vicinity of the flight and hangar decks. The RANDOLPH was badly damaged and 26 men were killed and another 105 wounded. The other Ginga mistook Sorlen Islet for another aircraft carrier and plowed into it. The RANDOLPH was repaired locally and returned to action in early April 1945. She served as flagship of Task Force 58 during the latter part of the Okinawa campaign.

Results of the twenty-four P1Ys that took off on the "tokko" (suicide) mission to Ulithi:

5 P1Ys aborted the attack
2 P1Ys ditched
17 P1Ys reached near Ulithi
1 P1Y rammed to USS Randolph
1 P1Y crashed into a hill
12 P1Ys ditched? (MIA)
3 P1Ys landed at Yap

Wreckage
The wreckage of this aircraft, mainly just its engines remains off Rumung Island near Yap.

References
Missing Air Crew - Japanese P1Y Ginga "Frances" Crash Site, Rumung, Yap Island
Thanks to Pat Ranfranz, Masami Jinno "Azusa", Yukitoshi and Minoru Kamada for additional information

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Last Updated
January 5, 2018

 

Tech Info
P1Y1

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