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  #1  
Old 27th May 2006, 17:04
NickM NickM is offline
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A ?? RE: IJNAF losses on 25 April 1942 at Darwin;

I'm reading James Morehead's re-done bio 'In my Sights' & the cover painting is one of a dogfight over Darwin in April 25, 1942; on that day the Allies(US 49th FG and RAAF units) were credited with downing 8 'Betty' type bombers & 3 Zeros for one loss--this was toutedd as a victory for the Allies--given the REALLY bad news that was going on at the time for the Allies it was probably understandable;
Now...does anyone know the actual losses suffered by the IJN Bomber & Fighter units involved in this fight? I don't know if the records or the personnel survived the war so I have my fingers crossed;

PS: Read Ford's book on the Flying Tigers gave me an appreciation of how hard it was to record IJAAF losses & how actual losses could be multiplied given the nature of a multi bogey multi unit furball--it's a great read by the way

thanks ahead of time

NickM
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Old 27th May 2006, 21:32
Brian Brian is offline
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Re: A ?? RE: IJNAF losses on 25 April 1942 at Darwin;

Hi Nick

I haven't had time to check properly but I note that Zero pilot PO1c Shiro Murakami of the 3rd Air Group was reported missing over Darwin on that date. Hopefully more to follow.

Cheers
Brian
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Old 28th May 2006, 00:55
fsbofk fsbofk is offline
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Re: A ?? RE: IJNAF losses on 25 April 1942 at Darwin;

In Osprey's book on the "Betty", author Osamu Tagaya states that 27 Type 1s headed for Darwin on 25 April with an escort of 15 Zeros; 3 Bettys turned back due to engine problems. Following a 35 minute fight with the 49th P-40s, 4 Type 1s were shot down and 3 others left the scene on one engine; of these, one ditched on the way home and one was written off in a belly landing at base. Also, one of the 3 that had aborted earlier was lost on ditching. So, the total loss in Bettys for the mission due to all causes was 7 out of the 27 sent.
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Old 28th May 2006, 01:47
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Re: A ?? RE: IJNAF losses on 25 April 1942 at Darwin;

There is an excellent account of this battle in "Protect and Avenge - The 49th FG in WWII" by Fergusan and Pascalis.

The Takeo Kokutai sent 24 G4M's escorted by 13 A6M's of the 3rd Kokutai. The 3rd Kokutai got seperated from the Takeo Ku in the heavy cloud over Darwin and were not flying in close escort when the bombers were hit by the enemy. Fifty P-40's of the 49th FG rose to intercept. The air fight lasted almost an hour in and out of the heavy clouds and extended 100 miles out to sea.

Confirmed claims were credited to Jim Moorehead (3 G4M), Dick Dennis (2 G4M), 'Big Ed' Miller (2 G4M), Mitchell Sims (1 G4M), 'Smiley' Barnett (1 Zero), Harvey Martin (1 G4M), Don Morse (1 Zero) and Bill Hennon (1 Zero). Six more G4M's and three Zero's were classed as probables.

(Actual losses noted in the book are four G4M and 1 Zero. That's one of the sterling qualities of this book, it attempts wherever possible to balance claims against actual losses).

Moorehead (considered a hothead) actually crashed on landing. On arriving back at Adelaide River he performed three victory rolls over the field, then came in to land. Unfortunately his landing gear had been damaged and did not extend. He ploughed into the drome and stopped just short of where his commanding officer, Captain Strauss, was standing!

By the by did anyone note that the 25th April is Anzac Day?
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Old 28th May 2006, 08:07
NickM NickM is offline
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Re: A ?? RE: IJNAF losses on 25 April 1942 at Darwin;

Thanks to all who answered;
Jim: So, only 4 'Bettys' lost & One Zero; but if you want to be charitable one more Betty ditched & one scrapped on landing, so you could say it's six lost for eight claimed---pretty good considering;
ANOTHER interesting thing: Morehead's bio reported engaging with only 8 P40s while the 49th FG history reported 50 P40s taking off to intercept;

NickM
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Old 28th May 2006, 23:42
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Re: A ?? RE: IJNAF losses on 25 April 1942 at Darwin;

Moorehead was leading 8 P-40's, perhaps that's why he only mentioned them. However elements of all three Squadrons did engage the Japanese force.

Of course I've often found in bio's that pilots do tend to downplay the overall effort in the air, concentrating on just who was actually flying on wing with them at the time. Never sure though whether this is because of the tunnel vision of combat, or whether they are un/consciously making their effort seem more profound.

That's why I like to balance bio's with unit histories if at all possible.
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Old 29th May 2006, 02:03
NickM NickM is offline
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Re: A ?? RE: IJNAF losses on 25 April 1942 at Darwin;

Jim:

Indeed, a well cross referenced unit history is, to me, the greatest asset a history buff can have;

NickM

PS: that's why my oh so dog-eared copy of Caldwell's JG26 War Diary is THE prize posession of my personal library;
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Old 29th May 2006, 06:31
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Re: A ?? RE: IJNAF losses on 25 April 1942 at Darwin;

Yes, both volumes are classic's to be treasured.
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Old 18th January 2016, 17:46
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Re: A ?? RE: IJNAF losses on 25 April 1942 at Darwin;

I have the 3rd Ku combat report in front of me now. I can confirm that Murakami was indeed the 3rd Ku's only loss. Six more aircraft were reported damaged.

They claimed 7 P-40s shot down plus 2 probables and another 9 damaged.
Under "number of enemy airplanes" [encountered] it says "unknown" but next to it a number is scribbled which looks like 24.
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Old 18th January 2016, 18:00
NickM NickM is offline
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Re: A ?? RE: IJNAF losses on 25 April 1942 at Darwin;

Thank you for the follow up...this was certainly a blast from the past.
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