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  H6K Mavis  
851 Kōkūtai

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851 Ku Sept 42–Feb43
Pilot  Mashio Kira
Co-Pilot  Ensign Saburo
Reconnaissance  Takahashi
Reconnaissance  Myoshi Kiwoshita
Reconasissance  ? (WIA - light wounds)
Reconasissance  Hiyama Yamaguchi (WIA, light wounds)
Radio  Sachio Hirayama
Tail Gunner / Radio  Omeura (KIA)
Mechanic  Yujiro Tsuroka
Mechanic  Minooru Yokota

Force Landed  January 26, 1943

Aircraft History
Built by Kawanishi Kokuki K. K. at Naruo. This flying boat was either model H6K4 or H6K5. Assigned to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) to 851 Kōkūtai. No known markings or tail code.

Wartime History
On January 26, 1943 took off from Shortland Seaplane Base piloted by Mashio Kira at 6:45am to rescue a Zero pilot from 252 Kōkūtai who ditched off eastern Choisel Island. When the flyingboat arrived in the area, they spotted the pilot on the beach waving to them at 8:35am. After landing, they rescued him using a buoy [life ring].

While taking off, the flyingboat was attacked from below by a pair of P-39 Airacobras from the 70th Fighter Squadron (70th FS) P-39 piloted by McCulla and P-39 piloted by Fiedler. They made a single pass and managed to damaged the flying boat's hull and three aboard were slightly wounded and the tail gunner was killed. The five escorting Zeros had not noticed the low approach of the P-39s but dove down to intercepted, claiming one shot down, P-39 pilot McCulla and the other managed to escape.

Returning to Shortland Seaplane Base at 9:30am, the flying boat sank upon landing due to damage inflicted to the hull. Japanese Navy personnel and Shortland islanders attempted to tow it ashore. Afterwards, some gear was salvaged but it declared a total loss and then left to sink.

Dramatic Rescue off Choisel by Justin Taylan
Thanks to Sachio Hirayama and Yoji Sakaida for additional information.

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Last Updated
May 13, 2020


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