Bataan - WWII dogfight plane found

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by syscom3, Feb 21, 2010.

  1. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    WWII dogfight plane found | Manila Bulletin

    By MAR T. SUPNAD
    February 12, 2010, 5:17pm

    MARIVELES, Bataan — The wreckage of a World War II Japanese bomber plane and the skeletal remains of its pilot who engaged in a historic dogfight with an American aviator during World War II has been found accidentally in a forested area here.

    The remains have been turned over the other day to the relatives of the Japanese pilot who came here all the way from Japan for the nostalgic occasion.

    The remains of Sgt. Toshishada Kurusawa and the wreckage of his Tora-Tora plane were found by a team of Stone/Kurusawa, a joint American and Japanese expedition headed by American national Spike Nasmyth who started the expedition project, called the “Great Discovery”, way back in 2006.

    The group was actually searching for the remains of American pilot 2nd Lt. Earl Stone who was killed in the dogfight with the Japanese plane on February 9, 1942. Instead, they found the wreckage of the Japanese plane, followed by the skeletal remains of Kurusawa.

    Noel Duero, an Aeta volunteer, told the group that they were able to locate the Japanese plane's wreckage, together with the remains of Kurusawa, partially buried at the top of Mt. Tarak here.

    Nasmyth said the discovery of the wreckage will certainly impact World War II history. It was earlier considered that there was no more hope of recovering the two war planes that engaged in the famous, deadly dogfight at the height of the war in the Pacific theater.

    “There are many books written about that story... all the books say the same: No remains ever found of Earl Stone or his plane.

    “Now we're re-writing the books; we can say and tell now, we found it. It is a great discovery,” Nasmyth said.

    The turnover of the Japanese remains was witnessed by Mrs. Vicky Garcia, Chair of Bataan Tourism and wife of Governor Enrique Garcia, and Mayor Jesse Concepcion of this historical town.

    Edna Bautista Binkowski, a native of Limay town and author of a book entitled “American Espionage and the Japanese Forces”, was reportedly able to interview a number of surviving American pilots who witnessed and narrated the famous dogfight in Mt. Tarak.

    Nasmyth admitted to newsmen that the discovery of the Japanese plane was accidental since they were looking for the wreckage of the American plane that went down in flames after a huge explosion in the air.

    “We were not looking for the Jap's plane, so we thought we found Earl Stone’s plane; we were surprise when we found the round radial engine which was not the same kind of plane used by the American forces,” said Nasmyth.

    The relatives of the Japanese pilot were nevertheless glad to recover Kurusawa’s remains and said their travel from Hokkaido, Japan was well worth it.
     
  2. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    Thats cool
    but I've never heard of the Dogfight they mention looking at what stuff I could google , it must have been one of the last P40's left in the Philipines by the date and the aircraft recovered wasn't a bomber but a KI 27
     
  3. wheelsup_cavu

    wheelsup_cavu Well-Known Member

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    Interesting article Sys. :thumbup:


    Wheels
     
  4. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

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    Excellent find Syscom! Thank you for sharing!:) :cool:
     
  5. Wildcat

    Wildcat Well-Known Member

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    Interesting, but what exactly is a Tora-Tora plane??
     
  6. magnu

    magnu Member

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    Good find Syscom
    As to the Tora Tora One that took part in the attack on Pearl harbour ?
     
  7. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    Sgt. Toshisada Kurosawa and his plane, Type 97 fighter of Army 50th Flight Squadron was found by the kind American researchers in January, 2007 for the first time and have been under investigation for his family.

    His plane had nothing to do with the Pearl Harbor.

    Thanks for sharing the good news, syscom3.
    :salute:
     
  8. shiro_amada_jp

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    Wildcat, the article originated from Manila Bulletin, a newspaper in the Philippines. Most Filipinos call WWII-era planes as Tora-Toras, regardless of the plane's country of origin. Up to now I'm still unsure as to why they call it as such, but perhaps this can be attributed to the film that was shown in the 70s that highlighted the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor (Tora Tora Tora)
     
  9. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for your interesting information, shiro_amada_jp.

    This is the Type 97 Fighter(Ki-27) of Army 50th Flight Squadron.
    They captured 4 P-40Es later to use them as their own fighters.
     

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  10. JoeB

    JoeB Member

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    There were few P-40's left operational by then, but also actually few Japanese fighters still deployed in the Philippines either. By early January 1942, the JNAF units had deployed further south, and all the JAAF units were withdrawn also except one company of the 50th Sentai, with Type 97's. So though the Americans understandably assumed themselves still under siege by a larger force, actually the US fighter force was about as numerous as the Japanese, and a more modern type, the P-40. Likewise the US-Fil force on the ground outnumbered the Japanese investing them, but of course the US side was cut off from resupply.

    The particular battle Feb 9 was 4 P-40's covering the recon mission by the Philippine pilot Jesus Villamor flying a PT-13 biplane trying to photograph Japanese artillery sites firing on Corregidor. 6 Type 97's attacked. One P-40 was missing, another shot up and landed at another base returning to Bataan later. One Type 97 was missing, another force landed at a forward field on Bataan and was desrtroyed there by US artillery. The Japanese claimed 5, the US pilots actually didn't make any specific claims but US public announcements at the time credited them with 6. The famous Japanese ace (famous overclaimer among Japanese aces, actually) Satoshi Anabuki claimed 2 victories in this combat.

    Joe
     
  11. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    A phase of air combat that I must claim ignorance of , I assumed most US airpower was gone at this point
     
  12. diddyriddick

    diddyriddick Active Member

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    Very cool as usual, Sys! Thanks for the heads up!
     
  13. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    It was. The number of AC operational from Bataan at that point was "few" at most.
     
  14. Wildcat

    Wildcat Well-Known Member

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    Great info guys! And thanks for explaining the "Tora" term Shiro.
     
  15. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    Good find sys, thanks for sharing.
     
  16. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    Great find sys, and thanks for the extra info fellas.
     
  17. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    Hokkaido Newspaper dated February 12, 2010 says
    "Appreciating the American researchers' kindness, the pilot Kurosawa's niece Hisako Yokozawa(53), her daughter Kanae(24) and the staff from the Ministry of Health/Labour/Welfare of Japan, being accompanied with the kind American researchers, visited the crash site (about 1,100 meters high with the 45 degrees steep slope on the mountain) on 8-10 February. Her mother Kinuko Sugawara(86) is a younger sister of the pilot.

    .....They found out twenty or so pieces of his bones and teeth in the soil. Those are to be applied with DNA test later. The authority says 'this is the first case to identify MIA remains by the cooperation of volunteers'."

    Thanks again syscom3 for sharing the news from the Phillipines.

    Photo(above): Engine, Hisako and Kanae.
    Photo(below): Bone and teeth pieces.
     

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  18. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    #18 Shinpachi, Feb 23, 2010
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2010

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  19. Marcel

    Marcel Well-Known Member

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    And another lost sole found his way home. :salute:
     
  20. Loiner

    Loiner Member

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    This is a fascinating news article, and brings the war time exploits of two brave combat pilots up close and personal right up to the present day.

    It's amazing that aircraft wreck sites are still undiscovered out there, to think that no-one has stepped foot in the area around the crash site from that day till this, and there are many more yet to be discovered.
     
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