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Ranfranz Sept 20, 2006
|Pilot ? (survived, accidentally shot)
Crew ? (survived, accidentally shot)
Observer PO1 Toshio Yoshida (injured, survived)
Ditched March 11, 1945 at 8:07pm
Built by Yokosuka. Delivered to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) as P1Y1 Ginga (Francis) manufacture number unknown.
Assigned to the 762 Kōkūtai. Tail code 762-T22. No known markings.
On March 11, 1945 took off from Kanoya Airfield armed with a single 1,764 pound bomb as one of twenty-four P1Y Ginga (Frances) led by Lt Kuromaru Naoto forming the "Azusa Special Attack Unit" on a one-way tokko (special attack) kamikaze mission against U. S. carriers inside Ulithi Lagoon.
Only two Ginga managed to reach Ulithi Lagoon and both made kamikaze attacks. The first P1Y1 Ginga radioed "Successful Attack!" before crashing into USS Randolph (CV-15) off Sorlen Island in Ulithi Lagoon. The second crashed into a warehouse / hill on Sorlen Island mistaking the island for another carrier.
After flying eight hours, the formation descended through overcast but as a result of a navigational error and unexpected head winds three bombers including this aircraft found themselves off course 120 miles west of target near Yap Island. The first P1Y1 Francis Tail 762-24 pilot WO Ochiai landed at Colonia Airfield. The second P1Y1 Francis Tail 762-T25 pilot Captain Kuromaru also landed at but was damaged while landing. At 8:07pm this bomber ditched off of Rumung Island with one engine stopped likely from lack of fuel.
The fates of the twenty-four P1Y1 Ginga that participated in this mission were:
5 x P1Y1 Ginga aborted the mission.
2 x P1Y1 Ginga ditched into the sea, crews missing.
12 x P1Y1Ginga ditched into the sea near Ulithi, crews missing.
P1Y1 Ginga Tail 762-24 pilot WO Ochiai landed safely at Colonia Airfield on Yap Island.
P1Y1 Ginga Tail 762-T25 pilot Captain Kuromaru was damaged landing at Colonia Airfield on Yap Island.
P1Y1 Ginga 762-T22 ditched off Rumung Island near Yap Island (this aircraft).
P1Y1 Ginga kamikaze attack crashed into USS Randolph (CV-15) off Sorlen Island in Ulithi Lagoon.
P1Y1 Ginga kamikaze attack crashed into a warehouse / hill on Sorlen Island in Ulithi Lagoon.
Fates of the Crew
After ditching, the Japanese garrison ashore mistook the airplane for American and the two surviving crew were accidentally shot and killed and the third injured. The sole survivor was PO1 Toshio Yoshida (Otsu 17) was transported to Yap Island. Several days later, he was transported with the other surviving air crews too off from Colonia Airfield aboard surviving P1Y1 Francis Tail 762-24 and returned to Kanoya Airfield.
After the ditching, the wreckage was photographed in shallow water with the left wing and fuselage visible above the surface. Today, the crash site of this Ginga remains in shallow water off Rumung Island and is known to local people. On September 20, 2006, snorkeled by Pat Ranfranz / MissingAirCrew.com who photographed the wreckage and with the help of Japanese historians was identified as a P1Y1 Ginga.
Missing Air Crew - Japanese P1Y Ginga "Frances" Crash Site, Rumung, Yap Island
Thanks to Pat Ranfranz, Masami Jinno "Azusa" Yukitoshi and Minoru Kamada for additional information
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March 11, 2020
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