Old Thailand Aircrash

Shinpachi

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My first impression was this Ki-51 but exact "sentai (squadron)" was unknown.
I have confirmed that the 71st independent flight company (独立飛行第七十一中隊) stayed in Burma from February to December in 1943 as a branch company of the 83rd sentai. There was this model too.

Mitsubishi_Ki-51-1.jpg

Source: 九九式襲撃機 - Wikipedia
 
You say that メーラルアン村に不時着した日本軍機1 seems to assume that a single engine aircraft was involved. The sketch on that webpage reinforces your point.
I had my Thai translator check Cherdchay's interview in Thai in 2008 for mention of number of engines --- there was none.
And she called our current 83-year-old witness to ask about the number of engines --- he said it had been too long ago and did not recall.

I believe that nouns in both Thai and Japanese languages, standing alone, do not give information as to number, ie, single or plural (eg, in English, engine vs engines). Hence, since there is no specific mention of number of engines, it could be logical to assume that, if the plane that crash landed at Mae La Luang had two-engines, which would have been "out of the ordinary", that detail would have been worthy of mention; but it wasn't, so, in fact, the aircraft was single engined.

21st Sentai: Wikipedia Kawasaki Ki-45, lists 13 IJAAF "operators", and one of them is No. 21 Hikō Sentai IJAAF; none of the other units with Ki-45s were in the Burma Theatre (except, curiously the 71st Dokuritsu). And, as you opined, Wikipedia also lists the 21st Sentai as having Nakajima Ki-27s. But Wikipedia does not list units using Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusas.

Okay, I see that Shores (vol 3, p427) had the 71st Independent Flying Chutai using Ki-51s; and that chutai was absorbed by the 83rd Sentai in late 1943.
Umemoto lists no IJAAF loss in 1943 for unit number 71 or 83. I can't check for a Ki-51 casualty because he doesn't identify Japanese aircraft using "Ki" numbers.

There is one serious obstacle to speculating that it was not Ushijima who crash landed in Mae La Luang: Umemoto offers two key details that, in combination, point very strongly towards Ushijima and his Ki-45:
  1. no loss of life
  2. a riverbank
Umemoto's books came out in 2002; Cherdchay's interviews were conducted several years later, in 2008 --- and after, and were eventually translated into Japanese and put on the Internet. It's possible that the Japanese translator or the webmaster was familiar with Umemoto's listings, checked for an event that did not involve death but did involve a river bank, an unusual detail, decided that Ushijima's crash fit those details, and added a photo of a Ki-45 to the Internet article. Whether the guess was right or wrong, lucky or misleading, is not clear.
 

Shinpachi

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10th to 11th lines in the page tells -

「地面がでこぼこだった為に機体はごろんごろんと転がった。何回か転がった後に小川の手前で止まった。」

"Because the ground was uneven, the aircraft rolled around. After rolling a few times, it stopped just before the stream."

As the twin-engined ki-45 was not so small and weak as to roll on the ground, I thought it would be a single engined plane naturally.
 
Mae La Luang crash landing: no hard evidence is available just now, not even a photo; however, a round aluminum disk, salvaged from the wreckage, had been used for years to ring the hour at the local police station. The Thai coordinator (now deceased) for the Thai-Japanese Memorial Hall in Khun Yuam eventually collected the disk to exhibit at the Hall. It was about 30cm in diameter, with holes drilled round its perimeter. The coordinator had asked someone supposedly knowledgeable about IJAAF aircraft what it was. The answer: it was the firewall from the fuselage of the aircraft.

While the disk went to the Hall to be exhibited, it, along with many other items, is in storage pending enlargement of the Hall to handle additional exhibits. The officer who had been assigned in his early years at the police station to ring the hour, drew a picture of the disk, which I attach. Does it in any way look familiar to you?
 

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Shinpachi

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Mae La Luang crash landing: no hard evidence is available just now, not even a photo; however, a round aluminum disk, salvaged from the wreckage, had been used for years to ring the hour at the local police station. The Thai coordinator (now deceased) for the Thai-Japanese Memorial Hall in Khun Yuam eventually collected the disk to exhibit at the Hall. It was about 30cm in diameter, with holes drilled round its perimeter. The coordinator had asked someone supposedly knowledgeable about IJAAF aircraft what it was. The answer: it was the firewall from the fuselage of the aircraft.

While the disk went to the Hall to be exhibited, it, along with many other items, is in storage pending enlargement of the Hall to handle additional exhibits. The officer who had been assigned in his early years at the police station to ring the hour, drew a picture of the disk, which I attach. Does it in any way look familiar to you?
The about 30cm in diameter looks too small as the firewall even for a single-engined plane.
I will try to check.
 
The Ki-51. (Caution: I'm relying on Google translations, so some (or all) of what follows from Japanese sources, Umemoto and Wikipedia, may be wrong.)

I correct my comment on my message #63 that Umemoto does not list any event involving a unit with number "71": He does list one event for an IJAAF unit with "71" and that is on 17 Apr 1943: 独飛71 with a 九八直協 shot down at Lashiio [Umemoto 1:466]. But that doesn't seem to fit the event at Mae La Luang.

Umemoto doesn't use Ki numbers to identify IJAAF aircraft. In looking thru the Japanese language Wikipedia, I believe that Umemoto should have designated the Ki-51 as 九九式軍偵察機, 九九襲, and/or 九九襲撃. I don't find those designations anywhere in Umemoto's lists; but he does list two events involving "九九軍偵" --- Ki-51s? --- on 23 Apr 1944 and ties them to 独飛89; but they were both destroyed on the ground at Nawnghkia [Umemoto 2:505]. Shores lists two similar events the day before at that location, but involving Ki-43s [Shores 3:208-209]. If "九九軍偵" are Ki-51s, that seems to be the extent of Ki-51 losses in the Burma Theatre.

Type 九九 aircraft show up in quantity as 九九双軽I型. and 九九双軽II型 assigned to Sentai 8. But these would be Ki-48s, not Ki-51s?

On the Internet, is there somewhere a cross listing of Ki numbers for the aircraft designations that Umemoto uses, such as 一式戦II型, ニ式戦型, 九七戦, 九七大艇, 九八直協, etc?

I thank you.
 
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Shinpachi

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Umemoto seems to use abbreviation quite often like -

独飛71 for 独立飛行第71中隊 (the 71st independent flight company)
九八直協 for 九八式直接協同偵察機 (Ki-36)
九九軍偵 for 九九式軍偵察機 (Ki-51)
九九襲 for 九九式襲撃機 (Ki-51)

独飛89 for 独立飛行第89中隊 (the 89th independent flight company)

九九双軽I型 or 九九双軽II型 for 九九式双発軽爆撃機 I型 or II型 (Ki-48-I or Ki-48-II)

一式戦II型 for 一式戦闘機II型 (Ki-43-II)
ニ式戦型(?) for 二式戦闘機I型 or II型 (Ki-44-I or II)
九七戦 for 九七式戦闘機 (Ki-27)
九七大艇 for 九七式飛行艇 (H6K)

Here is a full list for the Ki-numbers


Attached diagram shows two types of magazine drum for Ki-36 for reference
九八直協_弾倉.jpg
 
Shinpachi, thank you for the comments (and your patience), and for the Wikipedia article cross-linking Ki-numbers with abbreviated descriptions. And thanks for the additional illustrations of ammunition magazine drums: but, as you've mentioned before, not much can be done definitively on identification of the aluminum disk until we have it in hand. And that may not happen in the near future.
 

Shinpachi

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Correction to my #73:

The 独飛71 event should be dated 17 Apr 1942, not 1943; and the aircraft involved was a 九八直協, not with a different third character.
Here is a brief history of the 71st Independent Flight Company.
Source: 陸軍航空部隊略歴 (Army Air Corps History) JACAR
 

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Clarification. Umemoto's abbreviations of aircraft types seem to be occasionally ambiguous. With my apologies, can you double check this list cross-referencing his abbreviations to Ki-numbers that I've compiled. I attach list as table. Just now I'm particularly interested in Ki-36 and Ki-51.

I thank you.
 

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Okay, I appreciate your guidance. FYI:

I find Umemoto listing two events for the 独飛71. Both fit in the Feb - Nov 1942 Burma window:

the first was downed in Lashio:
Date: 4月17日 [1942]​
Unit: 独飛71​
Aircraft down: 九八直協​
Personnel: 山岡敏夫少尉​
Location: ラシオ​
Shooter: AVG.P-40E​
Details: 家田中尉•重傷​

The second was downed around Mangshi, Yunnan:
Date: 9月22日 [1942]​
Unit: 独飛71​
Aircraft down: 九八直協​
Personnel: 久野辰雄中尉​
Location: 芒市で対地協力中​
Shooter: P-40​
Details: 余縄准正中尉同乗•両名戦死​

Neither of these events can apply to the event at Mae La Luang.

Umemoto identifies both aircraft as 九八直協, ie, Ki-36s.

Umemoto and Shores differ on the aircraft used by 独飛71. While Umemoto lists 九八直協, ie, Ki-36s, Shores states Ki-51s (Shores 3:427)

I find Umemoto listing only two events involving Ki-51s:

The first involved a takeoff accident at Lashio:
Date: [1942 04 29]​
Unit: 27​
Aircraft down: 九九軍偵​
Personnel: 不雙​
Location: ラシオ飛行場​
Shooter: 離陸事故•衝突(百式司偵)​
Details: 爆発炎上•人員の損害不明​

The second involved a landing accident at Naunkio:
Date: [1944 04 23]​
Unit: 独飛89​
Aircraft down: 九九軍偵​
Personnel: 久住国男曹長​
Location: ナウンキオ飛行場​
Shooter: 着陸中にP-51の統擎で炎上​
Details: 久住曹長負傷•深山喜年中尉戦傷死​

Neither of these events can be applicable to Mae La Luang.
 

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