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    Saeki Airfield Tokyo Japan

Location
Located at Saeki on the coast of Saeki Bay, near the mouth of the Bungo Straits.

Construction
Built during 1934.

Wartime History
During the Sino-Japanese War and Pacific War, Saeki Airfield was used as an advanced training base for Japanese Navy fighter pilots, including Saburo Sakai and Yoshio Shiga.

During the autumn of 1941, Cdr Minoru Genda, staff air officer of the 1st Air Fleet, flew to Saeki Airfield and disclosed the secret plan to squadron commanders and vice commanders of the carrier fighter groups, including Lt Shiga who were training there about the Hawaii Operation.

Japanese units based at Saeki
Saeki Kokutai
56th Sentai (Ki-61 Tony) April 29, 1945 - early May 1945

Saeki Airfield was used by the Saeki Kokutai. During late April until early May 1945 a Japanese Army Air Force (JAAF) Ki-61 Tonys from the 56th Sentai was temporarily based at Saeki Naval Airfield to intercept B-29s. They shot down one B-29 Superfortress on May 4, 1945 over Cape Ashizuri, but all their aircraft were bombed and destroyed or damaged on the ground. On May 7, 1945 N1K1 Shiden-Kais from the 343 Kokutai shot down a B-29.

On March 18, 1945 and May 13, 1945 Saeki Airfield was attacked by U. S. Navy (USN) carrier aircraft B-29s bombed Saeki four times during April to May 1945.

American missions against Saeki
April 26 - July 23, 1945

Koji Takaki recalls:
"I was born in 1933. I was brought up under the engine sounds of Navy planes. I saw Japanese Navy aircraft at the primetime. However, they decreased year by year. Instead, in 1945 we saw American planes flying in the sky over our town more often than Japanese!"

B-29 Superfortress
May 7, 1945 three B-29s are lost: B-29 "Maryanna" 42-65253, B-29 44-69887 and B-29 "Empire Express" 42-63549 (rammed by Ki-45 Nick piloted by MSgt Tsutomu Murata from the 4th Kokutai). Author Koji Takaki recalls: "There was a rumor that a new type of fighter called 'Shiden' could intercept US carrier planes and B-29s. In fact, there was a great shot-down scene over Saeki. It was on May 7, 1945 when Shiden-Kais shot down a B-29. I did not see it perhaps because I was in the home shelter, foxhole."

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Last Updated
January 9, 2018

 

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