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4th South Sea Garrison Unit
May 24, 1945
William Bartsch 1975
Josh McDade 1999
Yoji Sakaida 2005
Justin Taylan 2005
Built by Mitsubishi built between 1931-1939. Delivered to the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) as Type 89B Otsu Yi-Go serial number unknown. Assigned to the 4th South Sea Garrison Unit formed at Wakayama on June 26, 1943.
This tank was transported from Japan via Truk to Rabaul then loaded aboard the Bunsan Maru as one of four tanks unloaded at Tarlena on northwest Bougainville in September 1943. After the American landing at Torokina on November 1, 1943 the tanks were carefully concealed. In July 1944, the tanks were assigned to the 38th Independent Mixed Brigade.
In early March 1945 then attempted to move them along the north coast road. On March 3, 1945 at 10:50am two RNZAF F4U Corsairs from No. 18 Squadron patrolling the Ruri Bay spotted a pair of Japanese tanks. Without bombs, the pair strafed the tanks, and reported them, returning with another F4U to drop 1,000 lbs bombs, and discovered a third tank. Later in the day, seven more aircraft from Piva bombed the tanks and left one on fire, and strafed the third tank which had not moved. It was hit and its ammunition exploded, 'completely wrecking it'.
During the morning of March 4, 1945 tanks in the jungle had been moved, but one of them was discovered by a Boomerang in the late afternoon, heavily camouflaged under trees. As soon as it was reported, three F4Us of No. 18 Squadron took off to bomb it. It was dark when they reached it, but the reconnaissance pilot marked the target with tracer fire.
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