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Saigo No Hikotei 1983
|Commander Lt Tsuneo Hitsuji
Pilot Ensign Kobayashi
Co-Pilot PO1 Kira
Crew Lt(jg) Ide
Engineer Leading Mechanic Nakano
Gunner PO1 Takahashi
Radio PO2 Watanabe (WIA)
Damaged November 21, 1942
Built by Kawanishi Kokuki K. K. at Naruo. Delivered to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) as Type 97 Large Flying Boat / H6K Mavis manufacture number unknown. This flying boat was either model H6K4 or H6K5.
Assigned to Toko Kōkūtai (Toko Air Group). This flying boat was assigned tail number 36. On November 1, 1942 redesignated as the 851 Kōkūtai (851 Air Group). When lost, the tail code was either 36, O-36 or 851-36 or 51-36.
On November 21, 1942 took off from Shortland Harbor Seaplane Base piloted by Lt Tsuneo Hitsuji on a patrol over the Solomon Sea. At 7:00am this flying boat was roughly 150 nautical miles south of Guadalcanal when it encountered a B-17 Flying Fortress that trailed. The Mavis made a turn into the B-17 and the tail gunner fired at it, leaving the port engine smoking, and caused the enemy plane to flee. Afterwards, the flying boat continued the search mission.
At 8:50, they encountered another bomber, B-17E "Miss Fit" 41-2433. Faster, the bomber flew alongside and passed the flyingboat, then made six firing passes, down to nearly sea level. Heavily damaging the flyingboat and wounding some of the crew. Finally, the shoot out ended when both disengaged. The B-17 was damaged and made an emergency landing at 2:30pm at Henderson Field on Guadalcanal.
Meanwhile, this damaged flying boat successfully landing in Shortland Harbor Seaplane Base. In the combat, the nose was damaged and seawater flooded inside as they landed and taxied. Inspected afterwards, the plane had ninety-three .50 caliber bullet holes on the flying boat. Ultimate fate unknown, likely abandoned or sunk.
Kodochosho 851 Kōkūtai - November 21, 1942
Saigo No Hikotei (The Last Flying Boat) (1983) by Tsuneo Hitsuji
Shootout Between H6K5 Mavis and B-17 by Tsuneo Hitsuji (November 21, 1942 air combat)
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November 20, 2021
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