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Tainan Kokutai pilots with J1N1 Gekko at Lae Airfield
(Standing, far right) Shigetoshi Kudo
Richard Dunn adds: "In May 43 when 251 Kokutai (ex Tainan) returned to Rabaul only one of its Type 2 land recon planes (J1N1 Irving) was configured as a fighter. The others were still in recce configuration and the name 'Gekko' had not yet been adopted for the fighter version. So...the only designation either version was known by was Type 2 land recce. A document recovered at Lae contains a list of a/c arriving there in May 43. The entry for 18 May 43 includes: 'Navy Air 251 Air...Type 2 Army Recce...1 plane' "Army" is no doubt a mistranslation of "land." So at least one Type 2 land recce arrived at Lae. Whether it was a recce version or a fighter version is unclear though I suspect it is unlikely the sole fighter would have been sent to a dangerous forward afld that was under army jurisdiction. More likely it was a recce flying to some distant target."
Credit: via Night Fighter Gekko, page 28 Date: 1943
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