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24th Hiko Sentai (24th Flying Regiment)
Japanese Army Air Force (JAAF)
Background
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 between July 1939 to 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 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 operate the Ki-43-I Oscar.

In February 1943 transitioned to operate the Ki-43-II Oscar.

In January 1944 reorganized into Hikotai.

In early 1945 transitioned to operate the Ki-43-III Oscar.

During October 1944 recieved three Ki-84 Franks.

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

Established
Aircraft
Areas of Operation
China Ki-43
Ki-44
Ki-84
China
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.

August 15, 1943 twelve Ki-43-II Oscars plus twenty-two Ki-43 Oscars of the 59th Sentai escort twelve Ki-48 Lilys of the 208th Sentai.

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

During 1944 operated from Babo Airfield.

Markings
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
References
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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