From: Bratislava, Slovakia
64th Sentai war diary entry No.179
Date: June 4th, 1942 Tokyo time
Another ground support mission was flown today after a previous request by the 33rd Division facing a mix of Chinese and British units on a road to Lashio. 30 Heavy bombers provided the striking force, while the 64th Sentai dispatched all 21 Hayabusas as a fighter escort. No enemy opposition was encountered in the air, bombing was accurate and the target area was well covered by the bombs. Two formations of Type 99 Light bombers numbering 22 and 14 followed about an hour later but their bombing was not very accurate and some bombs even fell close to the friendly troops. 33rd Division, reinforced with tanks, artillery and two regiments of infantry, pressed on with assault and by the night managed to breach the enemy position in several places forcing him to retreat during the night. Almost 2000 enemy soldiers were killed or captured before nightfall.
When the pilots and planes of the 64th Sentai returned to the airfield they were surprised to find two of the Army Type 100 Transport aircraft parked on the runway. Lt.Col. Kato had hardly stopped the engine and hastened to the operations hut. There he was greeted by Lt.Gen. Sugawara, Michio, the Commander of the 3rd Air Division to which 64th Sentai was assigned. With him came 20 pilots. Fresh from the air school they were sent here to the front line to replace the men with ample combat experience and amid the combat operations. The order came from the highest places, and even Sugawara's objections were rejected.
When the old hands of the 64th Sentai were debriefed after the last mission, some were told to pack and report back at the operation room right after dinner. The pilots were called in one by one and handed the sealed orders. Several of the men, all seasoned warriors, couldn’t keep their tears hidden as they saluted Lt.Col. Kato, turned about and boarded the waiting planes.
W/O Kizuka, J. of the staff flight, W/O Uchida, V. of the 1st Chutai, W/O Kikuchi, A. and 2nd Lt. Oba, U. of the 2nd Chutai– were posted to the 1st Sentai flying Hayabusas as a combat replacement pilot.
2nd Lt. Fujimoto U. of the staff flight, W/O Chuyaburo, P., W/O Shimizu, Takeshi and 2nd Lt. Koda, I. of the 1st Chutai – were posted to 13th Sentai still in Japan about to be equipped with the new Type 2 Two-Seat Fighter.
2nd Lt. Fujimoto, S. of the staff flight and 2nd Lt. Hashimoto, K. of the 2nd Chutai – were posted to the 70th Sentai in Manchuria to provide operational training flying the Type 97 Fighter.
W/O Chojiro, V. of the 1st Chutai and W/O Mitsumasa, T. of the 2nd Chutai - were posted to the newly formed 246th Sentai in Japan, currently engaged in operational training on Type 97 Fighters.
2nd Lt. Ban, H. of the 1st Chutai – was attached to the 1st Hikotai of the Imperial Manchurian Air Force at Manchukuo to train the Manchurian pilots on Type 97 Fighters.
Major Hinoki, Yohei, commander of the 1st Chutai, W/O Shibazama, N., W/O Okamoto, J. of the 1st Chutai and W/O Ohmori, Sokochi of the 2nd Chutai - were assigned to the 5th Sentai in Tokyo still training in Type 97 Fighters.
2nd Lt. Nakamura, Saburo of the staff flight, W/O Inokuchi, G. of the 1st Chutai – were posted to the Air Training and Instruction Department to help train new pilots.
W/O Kaoki, F. and W/O Renzo, E. of the 2nd Chutai – were posted to the 4th Sentai in Japan, another operational training unit about to be equipped by Type 2 Two-Seat Fighter.
Thus most of the old guard departs the scene...
< Message edited by Barb -- 5/4/2017 6:25:46 AM >