Lt. Kunio Kanzaki, CO of Hikōtai 311 of Kōkūtai 381, Kendari airfield, Celebes island, May 1944

Kōkūtai 381 was established in October 1943 at

Kendari Base on the island of Celebes. It was

a mixed Kōkūtai with 48 fighter-bombers (Hikōtai

602), 24 night fighters (Hikōtai 902) and 48 fighter

aircraft in Hikōtai 311, the latter commanded by Lt.

Kanzaki. During the 1944 he operated from bases

on islands in Indonesia and the Philippines. Their

most frequent opponents were U.S. Army aircraft.

Kanzaki's unit used special phosphorus anti-aircraft bombs to attack enemy bombers. Kanzaki's

aircraft, manufactured by the Nakajima company,

has been reconstructed in the past with various

color markings. It is assumed that the vertical

tail surfaces and part of the upper wing surfaces

were painted the same color like lower surfaces.

The front part of the engine may also have been

painted grey or yellow. It is not entirely clear from

the photograph of the aircraft whether the white

stripes on the lower fuselage are joined. It may

have been designed to improve the mutual iden-

tification of Army and Navy aircraft when fighting

Allied fighters. Another reason for this camouflage may have been for easier identification during night fighter flights. For example, Lt. Kanzaki

and his wingman shot down a B-24 of the 380th

BG over Balikpapan on the night of January 12-13,

1944. Some aircraft of Kōkūtai 331 were also painted in the same upper and tailplane camouflage.

Both units operated in one tactical group during

part of 1944.

Cat. No. 481076

A6M2 landing flaps

1/48 (PE-Set)

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February 2023

INFO Eduard