From: Bratislava, Slovakia
64th Sentai war diary entry No.110
Date: March 27th, 1942 Tokyo time
A little shake-up of formations was necessary after the recent changes, but the unit absorbed the arrivals quickly after saying goodbye to the departing members. The newcomers were checked out, assigned their flight positions and leaders to follow.
On this day the Sentai was called on to perform a fighter sweep of the Meiktila area - number of enemy fighters were reported on the local airfield and the mission goal was to whittle their numbers down. The early take off took out the whole Sentai - first the main force of 31 Hayabusas of the Staff flight as well as 1st and 2nd Chutai followed in short time by the 3rd Chutai to support the main force.
The formations flew low between steep valleys of the Shan hills, to keep out of observation for most of the way. Climbing up to 20,000 ft just before target they managed to surprise the enemy. The enemy fighters were just taking off the local airfield in light rain, when they were bounced by the main force of the 64th Sentai from above. RAF sent up 16 Hurricanes and American Volunteer Group participated with 17 Warhawks. Caught up in disadvantageous position, they were immediately forced onto defensive. Some enemy pilots were shot down before they could have spot their enemies, and soon the combat swirled around the whole area.
As each new enemy element was trying to get height advantage, it was counteracted by the Katos skillful handling of his Sentai. While he himself failed to shot down any enemy plane, 4 pilots of Staff Shotai scored on that day:
2nd Lt. Kizuka J. claimed his 2nd victory - a P-40E Warhawk caught up in a slow climbing left turn, quickly disintegrated after a deadly burst.
2nd Lt. Fujimoto U. claimed his 1st victory - a RAF Hurricane I Trop shot down after a long stern chase.
2nd Lt. Ariyoshi R. claimed his 1st victory too - a P-40E Warhawk whose pilot was dead before he knew what hit him.
W/O Agawa B. claimed his 3rd victory - a Hurricane I Trop whose pilot was caught low and crashed his plane into some trees while trying to shake off his enemy.
1st Chutai claimed 5 kills too, after a brawl mostly with the "Flying Tigers":
W/O Miyazaki C. claimed his 1st victory - a P-40E Warhawk whose pilot took to the silk after his plane was riddled by several hundred bullet holes.
W/O Okamoto J. also claimed his 1st victory - a fighter, later identified as a Hurricane I Trop that passed through his sights in the middle of the melee. A quick burst from the machine cannons and the Hurricane entered a deadly spiral after his left wing broke.
2nd Lt. Chojiro D. claimed his 2nd victory - a P-40E Warhawk whose pilot tried a head on attack, but the Chojiro D. aimed flawlessly and the enemy plane was last seen falling down in deadly spiral.
2nd Lt. Daigo P. claimed his 1st victory - a P-40E Warhawk that took heavy damage and was last seen with heavy trail of smoke.
W/O Shibayama N. claimed his 3rd victory - a P-40E Warhawk, shot down in the initial pass on the climbing enemy formation, the pilot jumped out.
2nd Chutai filled some serious claims too, mixing it with the RAF mainly:
W/O Ohmori, Sokochi claimed his 2nd victory - a Hurricane I Trop caught up in the initial bounce, riddled by bullets last seen falling to the ground in a spin.
W/O Mitsumasa T. also claimed his 2nd victory on this day - a Hurricane I Trop, caught from behind, his tail full of holes, cockpit cover blown off, and left landing gear down was abandoned by his pilot.
W/O Uchida S. claimed 2 kills - a Hurricane I Trop with pilot down on his control yoke and cockpit full of blood crashed several miles from the Meiktila town proper, and a P-40E Warhawk taking off lately to the fight and striving to get some height was shot down at the edge of the airfield.
W/O Gushi B. claimed his 1st victory - a Hurricane I Trop with dead engine falling down and a white parachute nearby.
W/O Ishimori W. also claimed his 1st victory - a P-40E Warhawk just taking off and just foots off the runway, his landing gear still down, was sent back to the ground in a great fireball after short burst.
3rd Chutai arriving later, just as the main force was withdrawing engaged 4 Hurricanes - spread out and separated as they were, they were quickly dealt with:
2nd Lt. Tsukamoto B. claimed his 2nd victory - a Hurricane I Trop whose pilot quickly parachuted from his damaged plane after accurate burst.
2nd Lt. Takenaka B. claimed his 1st victory - a Hurricane I Trop that ended in a big fireball.
Remainder of the enemy planes either escaped the area or were damaged to some extent. The 64th Sentai gained this success with just few bullet holes in the fuselages and flaps damaged, but not a single plane was lost or pilot injured. Good planning, surprise and skilled coordination of elements by Lt.Col. Kato brought a shining victory to the 64th Sentai with 17 confirmed kills without loss.