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11th Hiko Sentai (11th Flying Regiment)
Japanese Army Air Force (JAAF)
Background
The Japanese Army Air Force (JAAF) 11th Hiko Sentai (11th Flying Regiment) operated fighter aircraft including the Perry, Nate, Oscar and Frank.

Wartime History
During the 1930s, equipped with the Type 97 Fighter / Ki-27 Nate. Between 1932 until June 1939 based at Harbin Airfield in Manchuria. In May-June 1939 transfered to Saienjo Airfield near the border with Mongolia and flew combat missions during the Nomonhan Incident (Battle of Khalkhin Gol) until September 1939 when a cease-fire ended the undeclared border war.

On July 25, 1939 force landed was Ki-27 Nate pilot MSgt Shintaro in Mongolia and was rescued by a fellow pilot MSgt Bunji Yosiyama. Afterwards, his largely intact aircraft was captured by the Soviets and taken to Moscow for technical evaluation.

On August 22, 1939 lost was Ki-27 Nate Aikokuki 292 with the wreckage captured by the Soviet forces.

Pacific War
During the Pacific War, equipped with the Type 1 Fighter / Ki-43 Oscar and deployed to the South Pacific under the 12th Hiko-dan comprised of the 1st Sentai and 11th Sentai. Before deployment, the unit became double strength and was equipped with sixty Ki-43-I Oscars previously assigned to the 50th Sentai and 64th Sentai and were loaded aboard a small aircraft carrier and transported to Truk.

On December 18, 1942 the unit's aircraft departed Truk escorted by a G4M1 Betty southward to Vunakanau Airfield near Rabaul.

Their first interception was on December 22, 1942 and December 23, 1942 intercepted B-17 Flying Fortresses from the 43rd Bombardment Group over Rabaul but failed to down any bombers despite firing all their ammunition.

On December 26, 1942 the 1st Chutai led by Captain Shigenori Miyabayshi flew a mission over Dobodura (Buna South Airfield) and strafed Hudson A16-3 as it took off and caused it to ditch. The Oscars (misidentified as "Zeros") were intercepted by P-40 Warhawks from the 49th Fighter Group, 9th Fighter Squadron that claimed 5 shot down. During the combat, the Oscars claimed six P-40s but only P-40E "The Rebel" 41-25164 pilot Landers bailed out and later returned to duty. Lost was Ki-43 pilot SgtM Fujii and SgtM Imamura. Also lost was Ki-43-I Oscar pilot W/O Yoshitake on a fighter sweep over Gona and was shot down by Wirraway A20-103.

On December 26, 1942 Oscars from 11th Sentai again attacked the Dobodura area with A6M Zeros and claimed seven P-38s shot down for the loss of a single Oscar.

On December 31, 1942 eight Oscars from 11th Sentai took off from Vunakanau Airfield near Rabaul on a mission to intercept U. S. aircraft attacking Lae Airfield. During the combat, Ki-43-I Oscar pilot Hasegawa collided with P-38F 42-12652 piloted by 2nd Lt. Kenneth Sparks, damaging his right aileron and outer wing tip. This Oscar was damaged in the tail and landed at Gasmata Airfield.

On January 5, 1943 at midday Oscars from 11th Sentai, 3rd Chutai led by Lt. Hiroatsu Hirano took off to intercept B-17 Flying Fortresses attacking Rabaul and four or five intercepted B-17E "San Antonio Rose" 41-24458 and likely damaged the bomber or caused it to go down. Two Oscars were shot down by defensive fire including Ki-43-I pilot Nagayo Kotobuki (1st Chutai) who chased a bomber too far alone and went missing. Also lost was a Ki-43-I pilot SgtM Haruo Takagaki (2nd Chutai) who bailed out and landed in the sea but was rescued and later returned to duty. During the combat, they claimed 2 x B-17s and 2 x B-24s probables. Some of the U. S. air crews reported seeing "Both old and new type Zero noted as well as E/A resembling ME-109. Enemy aircraft made determined attacks mostly from the front quarter". The "ME-109s" were in fact Ki-43 Oscars of the 11th Sentai.

Between January 5-10, 1943 the 11th Sentai escorted a convoy from Rabaul to Lae. During this five day period, they flew 283 sorties and claimed 15 aerial victories but suffered 23 aircraft lost and six pilot killed.

On January 9, 1943 when the 1st Sentai arrived, elements of the 11th Sentai moved forward to Buka Airfield on Buka Island north of Bougainville to support Operation KE the withdrawal of the Japanese Army from Guadalcanal.

On February 6, 1943 11th Sentai Oscars escorted Ki-48 Lilys bombing Wau Airfield.

On March 3, 1943 during the Battle of the Bismarck Sea 11th Sentai Oscars escorted the convoy from Rabaul to Lae.

On May 8, 1943 Ki-43 Oscars from the 11th Sentai, 1st Chutai led by Capt. Takashi Ninomiyo (C. O. 1st Chutai) escorted a convoy off Madang. At 9:13am three Oscars intercepted B-17F "Fightin Swede" 41-24520 made at least two head on passes then the bomber was intentionally rammed by Ki-43 Oscar pilot Tadao Oda who was killed in the ramming attack with both aircraft bursting into flames and crashing into the sea.

In June 1943 transfered to Wewak on the north coast of New Guinea.

During 1944-1945 operated the Ki-84 Frank.

Markings
The unit motif was a diagonal lightning bolt. Sentai Hombu (Headquarters) green, 1st Chutai white, 2nd Chutai red and 3rd Chutai yellow.

11th Hiko Sentai Known Aircraft
Ki-27 Nate pilot MSgt Shintaro  force landed July 25, 1939
Ki-27 Nate Aikokuki 292  crashed August 22, 1939
Click For Enlargement PacificWrecks.com
References
Shishimoto Dairy (11th Sentai / 1st Chutai) - January 5, 1943
Emblems of the Rising Sun (1999) page 19 (11th Sentai)
Ki-43 'Oscar' Aces of World War 2 (2009) pages 73-77
Air Power History "The Search General Walker: New Insights" Fall 2014 pages 6-19 [PDF] by Richard Dunn
Japanese Army Air Force Fighter Units And Their Aces 1931–1945 (2002) pages 110-113 (11th Sentai)
Japanese Naval Air Force Fighter Units and Their Aces, 1932-1945 (2011) by Hata, Izawa and Shores pages 110-113 (11th Hiko Sentai)
Thanks to Richard Dunn for additional information

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