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Built by Mitsubishi at the Dotokua Plant completed by the end of December 1943. Delivered to the Japanese Army Air Force (JAAF) as Type 100 Command Reconnaissance Aircraft / Ki-46-II Dinah manufacture number 2783.
This Dinah was assigned to the 10th Sentai (10th Flying Regiment) with a tail motif of a stylized backward "S" outlined in white above a stylized "V" shape outlined in white. Painted with green upper surfaces and gray lower surfaces with Hinomaru (Rising Sun) on each side of the fuselage and wings. The leading edge of the wings had a yellow recognition stripe. The rear fuselage had a white vertical stripe.
The tail also had a a chrysanthemum insignia, possibly indicating it was previously assigned to a unit that received a citation from the Emperor. Known units with this chrysanthemum insignia include the 18th Hikodan Shireibu Teisatsu Chutai (18th Direct Command Reconnaissance Company) and 16th Dokuritsu Hikotai (16th Independent Wing).
In early 1944, flown from Japan via Formosa (Taiwan), Clark Field, Davao Airfield, Ambon (Ambonia) to Hollandia.
On March 28, 1944 a Ki-46 Dinah with two extra pilots as passengers flew from Rabaul to Hollandia and the same day all returned ferrying two Ki-46 Dinahs (including this aircraft) back to Rabaul as replacements. When this Dinah landed, it hit a bomb crater and was damaged.
By September 1944, this Dinah was repaired and became the only JAAF aircraft in flying condition left at Rabaul. Each month, this Dinah was flown on roughly three test flights or local training flights, in addition to other reconnaissance missions flown.
During the middle of November 1944 at 1:00pm took off piloted by Captain Nario Iwanaga flying westward at low altitude over Cape Lambert to avoid Allied fighters then climbed to 25,000' to perform perform a photographic reconnaissance missions over the Admiralty Islands flying over the vicinity for roughly ten minute and observed roughly 70 vessels in Seeadler Harbor including battleships, cruisers, aircraft carriers (possibly Auxiliary Floating Dry Docks), destroyers, tankers, cargo vessels and smaller ships. Also roughly hundreds of aircraft were observed at the airfields in the vicinity. No enemy anti-aircraft fire was noted nor was any interception made although Allied fighters were observed at lower altitude. This Dinah returned to land around 5:00pm when Allied fighters patrolling the Rabaul area departed.
In late 1944 or early 1945, this Dinah flew at least six evening reconnaissance and photographic missions for mapping purposes over the Wide Bay area.
On October 2, 1944 at dawn took off piloted by Captain Nario Iwanaga with radio operator Warrant Officer Kodama Norio on a flight northward at 10,000' to 12,000' flying via Greenwich (Kapingamarangi) but failed to find it then proceeded to Truk delivering dispatches and returned transporting atabrine medicine returning to Rabaul at dusk. Each leg of the flight took roughly 3 1/2 to 4 hours.
On December 1, 1944 at 1:00pm took off piloted by Captain Nario Iwanaga flew a reconnaissance missions over the Admiralty Islands using only binoculars as their camera was unservicable and were able to observe accurately spotting many vessels in Seeadler Harbor and parked aircraft at the airfields in the vicinity. Returning, this Dinah encountered three Corsairs near Cape Lambert below and dove to gain speed and accelerated away flying over the Duke of York Islands at sea level. Next, turned over Cape Gazelle and spotted more Corsairs, then then turned and landed safely at Vunakanau Airfield.
On January 6, 1945 repeated the same reconnaissance missions over the Admiralty Islands using only binoculars and were able to observe accurately.
On April 5, 1945 at dawn took off piloted by Captain Nario Iwanaga with an unknown radio operator on a liaison mission directly to Truk but experienced bad weather and took an extra hour searching but landed safely and returned by dusk.
On July 13, 1945 took off piloted by an unknown pilot with radio operator Warrant Officer Kodama Norio on a liaison mission directly to Truk and experienced bad weather but landed safely and returned by dusk.
On August 15, 1945 after the surrender of Japan, this Dinah was one of only a handful of Japanese aircraft still in flying condition at Rabaul and was the only Army aircraft still operational. In accordance with the terms of surrender, the Dinah was hand painted white with green crosses next to each Hinomaru. The tail motif was covered by white paint. Afterwards, some of the green paint layer below showed through the layer of white because of uneven painting or due to weathering.
On September 6, 1945 the Japanese forces at Rabaul officially surrendered to Allies. When the Allies occupied Rabaul, the Japanese requested permission to surrender their remaining flyable aircraft to an Allied Air Force unit. Their request was granted and the planes including this Dinah were readied for the flight to Jacquinot Bay Airfield.
On September 18, 1945 took off from Vunakanau Airfield piloted by Captain Nario Iwanaga with radio operator Warrant Officer Kodama Norio on a surrender flight to Jacquinot Bay Airfield. The formation included A6M5 Zero 4043, A6M5 Zero 4379 and A6M5 Zero 4444 piloted by P.O. Gensaku Aoki, P. O. Yoshio Otsuki and P. O. Yasushi Shimbo. The Japanese aircraft were escorted by sixteen RNZAF Corsairs from Rabaul to Jacquinot Bay Airfield.
After landing, the pilots saluted, made a report then were flown back to Rabaul aboard a RNZAF Catalina and became Prisoners Of War (POWs). During late September 1945, former pilot Captain Nario Iwanaga and radio operator Warrant Officer Kodama Norio were interrogated by RNZAF Squadron Leader Denys S. Hamilton.
When landing, this Dinah suffered damaged to the main landing undercarriage leg.
By October 1945, this Dinah was parked on the side of the runway with the tail fin and stabilizers removed. The rear fuselage was placed atop fuel drums with wooden frames under the center section. Likely the Dinah was undergoing maintenance or was begin disassembling for shipment overseas. Instead it was abandoned at Jacquinot Bay Airfield.
This Dinah was abandoned Jacquinot Bay Airfield with the wings removed from the fuselage. By the early 1980s, the Dinah fuselage and wings plus B5N Kate Tail 302 were moved near the District Office. The Hinomaru was still visible on the wings. The rear fuselage had traces of the original green paint the Hinomaru and the vertical white stripe.
This aircraft was abandoned at Jacquinot Bay Airfield. The wings and center section abandoned at Jacquinot Bay. The remains of this aircraft and a B5N Kate Tail 302 were taken from the airfield area down to the shore and were displayed near the District Office.
Brian Bennett adds:
"The Ki-46 consisted of the fuselage less the tail group, the two main planes, I don't recall if the main carts were still attached. These wrecks I also tried to get something done about them years ago."
During the middle of 2003, this Dinah was recovered along with B5N2 Kate Tail 302 by Bruno Carnovale and Ian Whitney of '75 Squadron' and barged to Lae where it was put in a container for export to Melbourne Australia.
Instead, the container was impounded by the PNG Museum and their ownership disputed in court. Reportedly, the case was resolved in a local court case ending in 2005 and the container was exported to Australia. This recovery was cited as an illegal recovery in the PNG Government Public Accounts Committee Report in 2006.
Later, transported to New Zealand and placed into storage and offered for sale. Today, this Kate is reportedly in New Zealand and being offered for sale.
Note, some sources incorrectly state this Dinah was assigned to the 76th Dokuritsu Chutai (76th Independent Squadron) or assigned to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN).
Production figures of the Mitsubishi Ki.46 by Jim Long Ki-46-II Dinah 2783
Interrogation of Japanese Army Aircrew - Captain Iwanga Nario by RNZAF S/L Denys Staples Hamilton
Interrogation of Japanese Army Aircrew - Warrant Officer Kodama Norioby RNZAF S/L Denys Staples Hamilton
Auckland Museum Online Cenotaph Denys Staples Hamilton, NZ40767 / 131467
Pacific Aircraft Wrecks (1979) by Charles Darby page 20 (center)
Famous Aircraft of the World No. 38 (FAOW#38) Army Type 100 Command Reconnaissance Plane (artwork profile)
The Siege of Rabaul (1996) pages 86-89
Too Young To Die: The Story of a New Zealand fighter pilot in the Pacific War (1987) pages 178
"My squadron mate Andy Slater escorted the Dinah down from Rabaul, but unlike the Kate, I heard that they had difficulty in catching up to the speedy twin-engined aircraft which was more or less the Japanese equivalent of the Mosquito, but with radial engines. It had the misfortune to burst a tyre on landing at Jacquinot, but although slewing off the runway suffered no structural damage."
Emblems of the Rising Sun (1999) page 43 (18th Hikodan Shireibu Teisatsu Chutai / 16th Dokuritsu Hikotai)
Thanks to David Duxbury, Richard Dunn, Charles Darby and Brian Bennett for additional information
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