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Topic: Fuchida's B5N2 Kate, Peeling away the onion skin of paint< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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David Aiken Search for posts by this member.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 06 2001,9:13  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Aloha All,
In his book, MIDWAY: THE BATTLE THAT DOOMED JAPAN, Mitsuo Fuchida detailed that the back of his plane had red and yellow stripes...we now know that this referenced a single red "carrier identification" stripe and three yellow hikotaicho [air group CO] "command" stripes.

In 1966, Dr Michael Hawkins wrote a B5N monograph for the Profile series in which the artist used raw notes from Fuchida that his plane was the number "301" plane, and came up with a silver/natural metal finish plane with red and yellow horizontal stripes across the vertical surfaces. The B5N profile

In 1967, Chuck Graham illustrated Al Makiel's article for IPMS-USA a page on Japanese aircraft "at Pearl Harbor" including an dotted outline of AI-301 based on movie film found at the US National Archives -but Al would not reveal the film number.

In the mid-1970s, Don Bratt interviewed Mitsuo Fuchida for more details to discover that AI-301 was kept "gleaming" during training to let his men know of his location in the air, yet en route to Hawaii AI-301 was camouflaged to hide the plane from American pursuit. The commanding info on the vertical surfaces was retained to keep his aviators informed of his presence.

The film of AI-301 landing on Akagi in April 1942 was found at the National Archives by Koku-Fan, a Japanese magazine. On viewing stills printed in the magazine, Japanese researcher M. Asano determined that AI-301 had a "pre-war" red tail which had received the yellow command markings. Another researcher, H. Yoshimura, published this in Japan in Jan 1990 in Replica magazine in the article, "Shinjuwan no 101 Ki" [with M. Asano, D. Aiken, et al]

The film of AI-301 landing in April 1942 reveals that salt water does prevent good adhesion of paint as the aircraft's surfaces are peeling paint. Note the style of red tail is left over from China [there were about three styles of horizontal to vertical tail 'scallop curves on Kates...one is unique to the prototype].

So the markings at select stages may be determined -like peeling away layers of an onion. The B5N2 AI-301 had a pre-war scheme of natural metal with red tail that had three yellow command stripes and a red vertical "carrier" stripe.

The plane was painted, IF WE BELIEVE FUCHIDA: "en route to Hawaii" with SEMI-GLOSS green upper surface camouflage. The TRAINING numbers on the wing's undersurface conform to PRE-war use...

While some folk continue to suggest that the lower surface was still natural metal, based on Fuchida's memory...or imagination... others look at the film stills to say that paint chips are flaking from the upper surfaces to show natural metal while the undersurface is painted with the same GLOSS Gray-GREEN viewed on Akagi VALs.....and the painting of the plane was accomplished NOT "enroute", but where the landing base paint shops sprayed the plane...with gray-GREEN, then the dark green upper surface.

Given the errors in Fuchida's memory, I side with the movie film and the layers of paint FLAKING to NMF shining brightly on the uppersurface/fuselage side...while the undersurface is darker, like the darker appearance in the photo of BI-323, which reveals BI-323 is covered OVERALL with the first layer of 'undersurface' paint before application of the upper surface dark green.
Cheers,
David Aiken

PS: In GODS SAMURAI by Gordon Prange, a biography of Fuchida, that author calls attention to a March 1942 crash in Borneo of a KATE in which Fuchida was riding. It suggests that the plane was AI-301 with three yellow command stripes. Further research has revealed that the crashed plane in Borneo should be AI-311 flown by Shigeharu Murata, the other B5N hikotaicho from Akagi...which also had three yellow command stripes. This is perhaps why AI-301, used at Pearl Harbor, was landing on Akagi in April 1942.

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These images are from a movie film at the National Archives.  Special thanks goes to Tom Matlosz for using his video capture equipment to obtain these superb shots.

Note the large black "1" just outboard of the wing fold on the underside [of both wings] in the front view photo.

HTH,



An excellent rendering of Fuchida's aircraft is done in miniature by Manuel Prego.

Edited by David Aiken on --

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Tracy White Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 15 2001,12:21 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Excellent work David. I just picked up your Torpedoing Pearl Harbor article and it's a definate keeper.

If I could add to the mud in the waters, how goes the question as to whether or not  the bottom was painted or not? I looked at the ai301b.jpg picture and noticed that there's a lighter border around the carrier identification stripe. It wraps around the tail and is consistant with the tone of the areas which the paint peeled away from. Has anyone commented on this? It would appear to me from this that the bottom of the fuselage is somewhat darker, which could be caused by paint.

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stevea41 Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 20 2004,9:29 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

It is generally agreed that the B5N2 that crashed on Borneo was Murata's.  The question I have is does anyone know the fate of Fuchida's PH aircraft, AI-301?
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David Aiken Search for posts by this member.
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 20 2004,9:56 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Aloha Steve,
Fuchida was to lead the strikes in the Battle of Midway, but -enroute to Midway- Fuchida's vermiform appendix became inflamed causing him to pass the leadership to the next in command...Tomonaga on Hiryu [flying BII-310]...

AI-301 was at Midway and aboard Akagi...which was sunk.

Cheers,
David Aiken
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Mike Wenger Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 26 2004,9:58 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Re: "It is generally agreed that the B5N2 that crashed on Borneo was Murata's."

After reviewing all of the Japanese primary and secondary material in my possession, I am forced to conclude that the story of Fuchida's "Borneo ordeal" is a product of his overactive imagination.  Coming to that conclusion is all the more regrettable as it is such a compelling story.  However, there is just no other conclusion to draw.

After my last research trip to Japan, I remembered that I had forgotten to check out Fuchida's story regarding the Borneo incident and the Tjilitjap raid of 5 March.  Needless to say, I waited breathlessly for the document copies to arrive to see what additional information might be contained therein.

It is very interesting to observe the following:

1. There is no such loss (of either Murata or Fuchida) noted in Akagi's kodochoshos for the period of March, 1942.

2. In the Japanese War History volume chronicling the activities of Kido Butai during February-March, 1942, there is no mention made of this incident, which is quite remarkable.  The loss- even temporarily- of Fuchida and Murata would have hit Kido Butai like a thunderbolt, and it is inconceivable that any such occurrence would have gone unnoted.

3. I have been able to find nothing in Murata's biography concerning such an incident.

4. At the time of the Tjilitjap raid, Nagumo's carriers operated SOUTH of Java.  It should be noted that Borneo is NORTH of Java, and situated about 400 miles north of Kido Butai, completely on the other side of Java.  What in the name of heaven would Fuchida (or anyone else) be doing up there?

5. Finally, and most importantly, this story emanated from Goldstein and Dillon.  Need I say more!  There are a number of problems with what they wrote, quite apart from the story itself.  To wit…
a. The Tjilitjap raid occurred on 5 March, NOT 3 March.
b. Akagi's VT strike unit split into three (3) divisions of six (6) aircraft each, with the division commanders being Fuchida, Murata, and Furukawa.  Hence, Murata and Fuchida were not even in the same aircraft.
c. There were no aircraft WHATSOEVER lost from Akagi during this strike.
d. The raid did NOT consist of 180 aircraft.  The Tjilitjap strike was organized into two separate waves- a mixed strike of 96 aircraft under Fuchida and a follow-up strike of 53 aircraft under Kusumi, for a total of 149 aircraft.

The endnotes in God's Samurai support the incident with a single interview with Fuchida in 1964, further supported by some unidentified manuscript material.

As my unabashed friend Jon Parschall would say, by the 1960s, Fuchida was a pathological liar.  I have had to completely revamp the content of several manuscripts base on this premise which, though unfortunate, is necessary.

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Mike Wenger
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stevea41 Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 26 2004,6:33 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Dang, Mike, your analysis is so compelling I'm glad I didn't go on that "find Murata's B5N2" expedition!!

Steve Athanas
Durham, NC
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Mike Wenger Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 29 2004,11:02 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Steve,

I didn't realize you were so close.  I'm over in Raleigh.  Contact me at the following email:
wengerm@mindspring.com

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Mike Wenger
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cewentzel Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 21 2004,9:47 Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I can't seem to obtain the enlarged images.  Can they be reposted please?  I am building a model of Fuchida's Kate.

Clare
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David Aiken Search for posts by this member.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 21 2004,10:32 Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

Aloha,
The recent hacking incident caused some loss on the site. We are working to restore the variety of missing links, etc. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Cheers,
David
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8 replies since Nov. 06 2001,9:13 < Next Oldest | Next Newest >

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