KITS 07/2023

Kōkūtai 802, Faisi-Poporang base, Shortland Islands, February 1943

This aircraft was among the new ones that Kōkūtai

802 took over in Japan during early 1943. At the

unit level, the aircraft received a dark green paint

and it probably had a late production stencil on the

fuselage. The tail sported a horizontal red stripe

on the vertical tail surfaces, which was probably

the unit’s identifying marking. It is likely that the

aircraft took part in the aerial combat on February

13 and 14 during the defense of the Shortland

Islands and Buin, in which the American units

suffered fairly significant losses. After relocation

to the Marshall Islands area in March 1943, Kōkūtai

802, under the command of Lt.(jg) Yamazaki, was

primarily engaged in anti-submarine patrols and

the pursuit of four-engine bombers. Long-range

reconnaissance was carried out by another part of

this unit, which was armed with H8K Emily flying

boats. In September 1943, the designation of its

aircraft was changed to Y4 in connection with the

transition to the subordination of the 22nd Kōkū

Sentai (Air Flotilla). The identification markings

on the tail surfaces of Rufe seaplanes changed

from red to white during service in the Marshall

Islands. In October, fighter unit of Kōkūtai 802 was

integrated into Kōkūtai 902, and in November, the

fighter unit clashed with US Navy aircraft during

a raid on Truk.

Takuma Kōkūtai, Takuma base, Japan, 1944

This aircraft was originally finished with grey

paint on all surfaces. Later, at the unit, it was

given a dark green paint job on the upper surfaces.

By the time it was in service with Takuma Kōkūtai,

the green paint was badly worn, with reddishbrown primer and metal surfaces visible in some

areas. The stripe on the fuselage was probably

the designation of the aircraft flown by leader


INFO Eduard

of fighter unit. Takuma Kōkūtai was established

in mid-1943 to train seaplane crews and it

included a fighter unit with Rufe aircraft which

was also tasked with training, including dogfight

practicing. However, the command envisaged

the eventual deployment of Rufe aircraft by this

unit for the air defense of Japan. A photograph of

a Rufe seaplane from the Takuma Kōkūtai exists,

showing the mount of Ensign Kyoshi Suga armed

with 30 kg bombs for use against B-29 bombers,

but there is no evidence that such a combat

deployment occurred. In 1945, part of the Takuma

Kōkūtai was deployed on Kamikaze missions.

Takuma Kōkūtai was disbanded at the end of the


July 2023