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24th Hiko Sentai (24th Flying Regiment)
Japanese Army Air Force (JAAF)
The Japanese Army Air Force (JAAF) 24th Hiko Sentai (24th Flying Regiment) operated fighter aircraft including the Ki-27 Nate and later the Ki-43 Oscar.

Wartime History
In Septermber 1938 established at Harbin Airfield in Manchuria under the command of Lt. Col. Kojiro Matsumura with the 1st Chutai and 2nd Chutai formed with a cadre from the 11th Sentai operating the Ki-27 Nate. The 24th Sentai also opeated from Hailar Airfield until June 1939.

During the Battle of Khalkhin Gol / Nomonhan Incident, the 24th Sentai participated in their first aerial combat. In July 1939, the 24th Sentai, 1st Chutai operated from Arai Airfield and Kanchuerhmiao Airfield until August 1939.

On July 29, 1939 at dawn a strike by I-16 made strafing passes over Arai Airfield destroying ten parked Ki-27 and two Ki-27 were shot down in air combat including C. O. Captain Saiji Kani (9 victories) and 2nd Lt Shoichi Suzuki (17 victories). Due to this attack, the 24th Sentai, 1st Chutai aircraft strength was cut in half.

On September 1, 1939 placed under the command of Major Hidemi Yushara and the 3rd Chutai was added. On September 16, 1939 a cease-fire goes into effect ending the undeclared border war.

In April 1942 transitioned to the Type 1 Fighter Hayabusa / Ki-43-I Oscar.

In February 1943 operated both models of the Ki-43-I Oscar and Ki-43-II Oscar. During May 1943 moves from Sumatra to New Guinea to operate from Dagua Airfield near Wewak with the 1st Chutai operating from Babo Airfield.

On June 2, 1943 Ki-43 Oscars from 24th Sentai escort sixteen Ki-48 Lilys from 208th Hiko Sentai (208th Flying Regiment) strike Bulldog Airfield and Bulldog. Three of fifteen bombs hit the runway. Strafing severly damaged a parked C-47 Dakota. Injured were two Europeans and three natives. Lost is Ki-48 Lily pilot Lt. Ezaki failed to return.

On August 15, 1943 twelve twelve Ki-43 Oscars from 24th Sentai escort seven Ki-48 Lilys from 208th Hiko Sentai (208th Flying Regiment) on a mission to bomb Tsili Tsili Airfield for the first time. Also escorting were twenty-two Ki-43s from 59th Sentai led by Captain Shigeo Nongo. Over the target, intercepted by P-39N Airacobras with seven Lilys shot down and three Oscars lost.

During November 1943 departs New Guinea and returns to Japan.

During January 1944 reorganized into Hikotai.

On May 27, 1944 a joint Japanese Army Air Force (JAAF) and Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) air raid was launched to attack the U.S. landing on Biak. The JAAF sent four Ki-45 Nicks from 5th Hiko Sentai (5th Flying Regiment) led by Major Takada from Sorong escorted by seven Ki-43-II Oscars from 24th Hiko Sentai led by Lt. Oshima.  The Nicks attempted to bomb and strafe the ships, followed by the Oscars doing the same. Over Biak, intercepted by P-47D Thunderbolts from 342nd Fighter Squadron (342nd FS) from Wakde that claim 5 of the single engines fighters shot down, but actual losses were four Oscars including Lt Oshima. All four Nicks were lost including the Ki-45 pilot Major Takada.

In early 1945 transitioned to the Type 1 Fighter Hayabusa / Ki-43-III Oscar.

During October 1944 recieved three Ki-84 Franks.

In May 1945 transitioned to the Ki-84 Frank until the end of the Pacific War.

Areas of Operation
China Ki-43
Wewak May - November 1943 (Ki-43-I & Ki-43-II)
Babo (1st Chutai) May 1943
Dagua May - October 1943
Murphy Field 1945

During April 1942, converted to Ki-43-I Oscar. Some of the Lae Oscars had these markings. Interestingly that tail marking was first noted on Type 1 model 1 fighters captured at Munda Airfield. Former K-43s of the 1st Sentai birds that were hand downs, and the paint over the old marking had worn off.

During May 1943 operated from Dagua Airfield.

On June 2, 1943 sixteen Japanese Army Air Force (JAAF) Type 99 Light Bomber / Ki-48 Lily from the 208th Sentai escorted by Type 1 fighter / Ki-43 Oscars from the 24th Sentai attacked Bulldog Airfield and Bulldog.

On August 15, 1943 twelve Ki-43-II Oscars plus twenty-two Ki-43 Oscars from 59th Sentai escort twelve Ki-48 Lilys from 208th Sentai on a bombing mission against Tsili-Tsili Airfield. Over the target area, intercepted by P-39N Airacobras with seven Lilys shot down and three Oscars.

On August 24, 1943 a formation of Ki-43-II Oscars from 24th Sentai and 59th Sentai plus Ki-61 Tonys from the 68th Sentai intercept B-24 Liberators from 43rd Bombardment Group (43rd BG).

During 1944 operated from Babo Airfield.

During 1938–1942 the 24th Sentai unit tail motif was two thick stripes on the front of the tail and four smaller stripes on the tail rudder forming 2-4. The 1st Chutai had white stripes with red outlines. The 2nd Chutai had red stripes with white outlines. The 3rd Chutai had yellow stripes with red outlines.

During 1942–1945 the 24th Sentai tail motif was a stylized lightning bolt. The Sentai Hombu (Headquarters) was blue, 1st Chutai white, 2nd Chutai red and 3rd Chutai yellow.

24th 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 Click For Enlargement
Emblems of the Rising Sun (1999) page 23 (24th Sentai 1938–1945)
Japanese Army Air Force Fighter Units And Their Aces 1931–1945 (2002) pages 124-126 (24th Sentai)

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