KITS 04/2022

c/n 4593, PO1c Todayoshi Koga, Ryūjō Fighter Squadron, June 1942

This aircraft was released by Mitsubishi on February

19, 1942. In late April and early May the Ryūjō Fighter

Squadron received Zeros instead of older A5M „Claude“ aircraft. PO1c Koga, a veteran of 12th Kōkūtai in

China, piloted “DI-108” on June 4 during the attack

on the Aleutians. He was one of the two wingmen

of CPO Endō. Near Egg Island they shot down Ens.

Albert E. Mitchell´s Catalina of VP-42, which was

carrying mail to Umnak. The burning aircraft landed

on the sea and several airmen managed to get into

the dingy. However, they were strafed and killed by

the Japanese airmen. Koga's Zero was hit either by

defensive fire from Catalina or, moments later, by

ground fire. Koga attempted to land on Akutan Island,

which was intended for the rescue of the Japanese

airmen. The aircraft with retracted undercarriage

and stopped engine overturned after touching soft

marsh ground and Koga was killed. The Japanese

attempted to rescue the pilot but were unable to

find him due to bad weather. Five weeks later, the

Zero was spotted by the crew of Lt. Williams “Bill”

Thies’ Catalina. On July 5, a US Navy team reached

the plane. The Americans transported the aircraft to

NAS North Island in San Diego. The Zero was repaired,

given a Hamilton-Standard propeller and registration number TAIC 1. It underwent intensive testing but

was apparently scrapped after the war. In memory of

the Ens. Mitchell and his crew, the destroyer DE-43

was christened Mitchell.

c/n 3647, Warrant Officer Tora-ichi Takatsuka, Tainan Kōkūtai, Lakunai airfield, Rabaul, September 1942

This aircraft was produced by Mitsubishi on March 3,

1942. It was flown in legendary Tainan Kōkūtai by the

also famous fighter aces Saburō Sakai and Hiroyoshi

Nishizawa. It is believed that with this Zero, on September 13, 1942 over Guadalcanal, Shōtai leader W. O.

Takatsuka was shot down in a dogfight with Wildcats

from VF-5 and VMF-223. Three of his wingmen were

also shot down in the same action. The wreckage of

this Zero was found in 1993 in a swamp about five miles

east of Henderson Field. Remnants of code and markings remained on some parts. Takatsuka had served

in the IJN aviation since 1933. In the 12th Kōkūtai he

was one of the fighter pilots who achieved the first

victories with Zeros in aviation history on September

13, 1940. He was promoted to Warrant Officer in October 1941 and demobilized. However he was soon called

back into service by the IJ Navy and from June 1942

was assigned to Tainan Kōkūtai in Rabaul. He mainly

took part in the fighting over New Guinea. In total he

was credited with 16 victories including three in China.

Fighting with the Wildcats had already nearly proved

fatal to him once. During the raid on Guadalcanal on

August 7, 1942, although he claimed four victories, he

flew in front of one of his opponents and immediately

was hit. The victor was Thomas Rhodes of VF-6 (USS

Enterprise). Takatsuka's Zero caught fire, but he managed to put it out and escape.

Lt. Hideki Shingō, Shōkaku Fighter Squadron, October 1942

This aircraft manufactured by Mitsubishi carries an

unusually large yellow identification stripe. Hideki

Shingō (NA, 1931) served from 1934 in the Tateyama

Kōkūtai, on the HIJMS Ryūjō, he became an instructor

in the Yokosuka Kōkūtai, and then held Buntaichō position in the Ômura Kōkūtai. In the second half of 1937

he fought in China with the Kaga Fighter Squadron. He

then served as Buntaichō at Kanoya, Saiki, Kasumigaura, Ôita and 14th Kōkūtai. In October 1941, Shingō became Hikōtaichō in charge of training at Tainan Kōkūtai,


INFO Eduard

Taiwan. He trained primarily the long-range flying. On

December 8 he led 44 Zeros in an attack on the Philippine airfields of Iba and Clark Field. From April 1942

he served briefly with the 6th and Genzan Kōkūtai, then

in July he became Hikōtaichō of the Shōkaku Fighter

Squadron and participated in the Battle of the Eastern

Solomons. At the end of August he led a detachment

operating from Buka airfield. He was shot down over

Guadalcanal but avoided capture. During the Battle

of Santa Cruz (October 1942), he led five Zeros in the

second attack wave and descended to a lower altitude

in order to draw the anti-aircraft fire away from the

dive bombers. He was promoted to Lt. Commander in

November 1942 and in the following years served as

a Hikōtaichō of Tsuiki Kōkūtai in Japan, in Indonesia

and Burma with Kōkūtai 331 and Hikōtai 603, and till

April 1945 with Kōkūtai 252 in Japan. After the war, he

worked in the police, later joined the JSDAF, and retired

in 1967 with 6,000 hours flying time and rank of Lieutenant General. Shingō-san passed away in 1982.

April 2022