When examining photos of Tainan Kōkūtai
tail codes, it can be seen that the letters
and numbers had serifs. This is a detail
that is often missed on illustrations and
model decals. See photo Nr. 14.
Reisen Model 21. These were manufactured in the October and November 1941 timeframe. Shipments of Reisen Model 21 to
replace losses were received periodically.
Photos show that some of these were Nakajima-built, including some with Hōkoku
inscriptions built in January 1942. After the
April 1, 1942 reorganization, Tainan Kōkūtai
left their aircraft at Denpasar Airfield, Bali
and these were taken over by 3rd Kōkūtai.
Not knowing this has caused confusion
for those that thought these earlier aircraft continued on at Rabaul. See the photo
Nr. 15 as example.
After April 1, 1942, the Tainan Kōkūtai was
equipped with the surviving Type 96 Kansen and Reisen Model 21 of 4th Kōkūtai at
Rabaul. Due to the work of the ATIU (Air
Technical Intelligence Unit) investigating
crash sites and derelict examples at captured airfields, we know the most about
the Reisen from this time period. These
4th Kōkūtai Reisen were new Nakajima and Mitsubishi-built, and some older
Mitsubishi-built examples. At least two
(V-136 and V-153) were older than Manufacture Number 2326, completed about
September 11, 1941, since they had external
There is a difference in the tail codes
applied by 4th Kōkūtai as compared to
Tainan Kōkūtai. The 4th Kōkūtai used
a font that appears narrow, while the
Tainan Kōkūtai appears bold. An example
of the narrow font is seen in the photo of
V-153 below. Compare this to the bold font
seen in the photo of V-110 above. This has
been useful in determining which aircraft
carried over from 4th Kōkūtai.
On December 8, 1941, the Tainan Kōkūtai
was equipped with new Mitsubishi-built