Accident Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien , Friday 2 July 1943
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Date:Friday 2 July 1943
Type:Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien
Owner/operator:68 Sentai, JAAF
Fatalities:Fatalities: 1 / Occupants: 1
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Aircraft missing
Location:Solomon Islands -   Solomon Islands
Phase: En route
Departure airport:
Destination airport:
On 30 June, American troops landed on the small island of Rendova, south of New Georgia in the Solomon Islands. All available Japanese aircraft were despatched against them but the weather conditions prevented immediate action. It was only on 2 July that the Ki-61 of the Rabaul-stationed 3 Chutai of 68 Sentai took off despite foggy weather and low cloud base for an escort of Ki 48 bombers from 75 Sentai, stationed at the new base of Dagua near Wewak. With intermediate landings at Buka and Ballale, the bombers arrived over the troop-filled beaches and dropped their bomb load.

According to the book “68 Sentai”, the Japanese bombardment was hampered by ships’ AA fire and did not prove very effective. The CINCPAC Report of Operations in Pacific Ocean Areas, July 1943, on the other hand says that this raid was the only horizontal boming attack that reached the beachhead during daylight hours. It was made when the usually very efficient air patrol was not on station. This report listed some material damage, 30 killed and 200 wounded as the result of this afternoon raid.

There was a sudden weather worsening on the way back. Streams of heavy rain poured from the sky, and dark leaden clouds pressed the aircraft closer to the ground. Drops of water settled on the cockpits at one moment, just to be blown away by the air current at the next. There was no higher altitude to fly at among the volcanic islands. Part of the aircraft turned toward the sea in hope of finding better weather over there. The fighters pilots landed at first encountered airfields. On return to Rabaul the next day, it appeared that three pilots were missing. One of them was Rikugun-Shōi (2nd Lt) Abe Toshio.


“68 Sentai”, by Krzysztof Janowicz. ISBN 83-89088-01-0, pages 27-28
"Japanese Army Air Force fighter units and their aces 1931-1945", by Ikuhito Hata, Yasuho Izawa and Christopher Shores. ISBN 1-902304-89-6
CINCPAC Report of Operations in Pacific Ocean Areas, July 1943, pages 14 ( and 55 (

Revision history:

23-Dec-2021 11:47 Laurent Rizzotti Updated [Date, Time, Aircraft type, Operator, Total fatalities, Total occupants, Location, Country, Phase, Source, Damage, Narrative]

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