Operation Hailstone Japanese fighter types?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Phoenix9, Mar 11, 2008.

  1. Phoenix9

    Phoenix9 New Member

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    I have a question about the Japanese aircraft defending Truk Lagoon during Operation Hailstone on 17 and 18 February 1944.

    I wonder if the IJA's / IJN's fighter defense force consisted entirely out of Zeke's (A6M) or that there also were some Oscars (Ki-43) and/or Franks (Ki-84) stationed at the island. I know the first Franks were assigned to the 22nd sentai, at that time located in China, but the sentai later moved to the Philippines. Maybe later on they moved further east to Truk? Or maybe another sentai at Truk was equipped with Oscars or Franks?

    My explicit question: what Japanese fighter aircraft types were defending Truk Lagoon during Operation Hailstone?

    Maybe the question is a bit too specific, but I was hoping one of you would know. Thanks. :)

    Ps. if you don't know the answer to my question, but know where I might find the answer, please let me know.
     
  2. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    Think Truk was a Navy base, little Army input. Japanese had two distinct armed forces, each with their own Air Force, Ships and Troops. Army battles tended to have Army troops, support ships and aircraft.

    The majority of aircraft at Truk were Navy. Not sure if there were any Army Aircraft there, they sometimes got involved in primarily Navy battles (Rabaul was one) but on the whole, the Naval Air Units fought over their operations while the Army Air Forces fought over Army Operations.

    In short, majority were variations of the A6M.
     
  3. Phoenix9

    Phoenix9 New Member

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    Thanks, that makes sense. :)

    Truk is a relatively small isolated island, so the presence of navy forces is logical. But as it was so important to the Japanese I was wondering if maybe they sent in as much aircraft as they could, including army planes. As far as I know Truk had 4 land based airfields at the time of the battle.
     
  4. maxs75

    maxs75 Member

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    I also strongly believe that only Navy planes were there. And, also, the time was a bit too early for Ki-84s.
    Maybe, apart for Zekes, some Rufe seaplane could be there.

    Max
     
  5. maxs75

    maxs75 Member

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    ... and the following is from USSBS. I believe you find interesting. No army planes at all.
    Air groups are Kokutai, and land-based attack planes are probably G4M "Betty"

    ----------------------------------------------------------------

    Answers to U.S.S.B.S. questionnaire NAV-9 dated 15 October 1945.

    Q. Give the disposition of air strength in the area to the east of longitude 150° E. on 25 January 1944.

    A. Marshals Area:
    Ruotto
    HDQ Air Flot 24

    Air Group 752
    Air Group 753
    Air Group 281

    12 land-based attack.
    3 land-based attack.
    20 fighters.

    Taroa
    Air Group 252
    Air Group 752

    50 fighters.
    9 land-based attack.

    Wotje
    Air Group 531
    Comdr. of Air Group 80

    9 Tenzans
    No planes.

    Kwajalein
    Group 952 10 float reconnaissance.

    Eniwetok
    Air Group 753
    Air Group 752

    9 land-based attack.
    6 land-based attack.

    Truk

    Air Group 204
    Air Group 902
    Air Group 755

    About 50 fighters.
    About 10 float reconnaissance.
    About 8 land-based attack.

    Marianas:

    Saipan

    Air Group 201
    Air Group 802
    Air Group 902
    HDQ. of 4th Fleet and of Air Flot 26.

    About 30 fighters.
    About 5 flying boats.
    About 4 float reconnaissance.


    Tinian

    HDQ. of Air Flot 22.
    Air Group 755
    18 land-based attack.
     
  6. Phoenix9

    Phoenix9 New Member

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    Thanks!

    Yes, there were some Rufe's as well. Alexander Vraciu shot one down over Truk Lagoon on 16 Februari 1944.
     
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