Ki-21 Sallys Attack Munda and Rendova
Translated by Alfred Weinzierl
The Japanese navy had already flown a mission against Munda and had lost 16 Bettys. So they asked the Army Air Force to participate in the attacks.
First Raid - July 2, 1943
On July 2, 18 Ki-21 Sally bombers of the 14th Sentai took off from Rapopo Airfield, under the command of Sentai leader Major Misao Endo sortied and returned with no losses. In American histories, these aircraft were misidentified as Bettys and no claims were made. Reports say the "the Japanese airmen dropped some 50 to 60 bombs with unusual accuracy on US Forces"
Follow up Raid - July 4, 1943
Two days, July 4, 1943 the 14th Sentai attacked again. 16 aircraft lead by 2nd Chutai leader Yasuki Hidaka with the Sentai C.O Major Endo on board met up with Ki-43 Oscars and were joined by Zeros over Buin. They began their bombing run at 4,000m but the targets were obscured by clouds. They made another run turning 180 degrees. This time all the Sallys released their bombs. US anti-aircraft fire was severe and the Ki-21 of 1st Lieut. Noboru Takahashi burst into 2 pieces. 1st Lieut. Masahisa Koga's plane was hit and then 1st Lieut. Masatsune Horibe's Sally received a hit in its belly. The Lieutenant saluted with a smile and his aircraft slipped out of formation. It then blew up in mid-air. Another bomber was hit and vanished from view. After the anti-aircraft fire stopped F4Fs came into view and 1st. Lieut. Kosaku Kamiyama's aircraft was hit and its canopy blew off. The flight engineer, Corporal Masazumi Ando was sucked out of the aircraft. Kamiyama tried to stay in formation but was soon lost from view. 1st. Lt. Narutani's Sally was most likely shot down by anti-aircraft fire, too. 1st Lieut. Kohei Nakayama's bomber was hit in the engines and crash-dived into the ocean near a small island. Two crewmen were killed and Corporal Kazuaki Kanamori was mortally wounded and committed suicide. The other 5 crewmen were rescued by a Japanese Navy vessel. 1st Lt. Norito Yasuda's Ki-21 was hit in both engines, but the upper rear gunner, Sgt. Maj. Furuguchi was able to shoot down 3 F4Fs. The plane then made it back to Ballale Island.
American histories claim 5 Sallys and admit losses of 3 F4Fs. American records say that this happened on the 3rd and NOT the 4th, as the Japanese claim. US records again show that it was a Betty attack.