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  Ki-43-II Oscar (Bong's 27th Victory Claim)   
JAAF
? Sentai

Aircraft History
Built by Nakajima. Assigned to the Japanese Army Air Force (JAAF) as Type 1 Fighter Hayabusa / Ki-43-II Oscar. Assigned to an unknown Sentai. No known markings or tail code.

Mission History
On April 12, 1944 this Oscar was reportedly shot down by P-38 Lightning pilot Richard I. Bong and claimed as his 27th aerial victory and was observed to crash into Tanahmerah Bay near Hollandia killing the pilot in the cockpit. This Oscar was claimed by Bong as his 27th aerial victory claim.

Wreckage
After the American occupation of the Hollandia, General George Kenney reportedly ordered a U. S. Navy (USN) salvage divers to recover this aircraft to confirm Bong's 27th aerial victory to surpass Eddie Rickenbacker, World War I ace as America's highest scoring ace. When U. S. Navy divers salvaged the wreckage, they reportedly found body of the pilot still inside the cockpit.

Justin Taylan adds:
"It is possible the aircraft salvage was an unrelated wreck, claimed to be the one shot down by Major Richard I. Bong for public relations purposes. Despite the importance of this aircraft, I've never seen any photographs of the salvage or wreckage to confirm the story."

References
USAF Historical Study No. 85 USAF Credits For The Destruction of Enemy Aircraft, World War II Alphabetical: Bong, Richard I. pages 25 (PDF page 30) Chronological List: 04/12/44 page 430 (PDF page 435)

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Last Updated
July 13, 2020

 

Tech Info
Ki-43
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