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Captured F4U question


JohnB
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I'm wondering if any of you have info as to the circumstances, etc around this VBF-85 Corsair from the Shangra La captured by the Japanese. I would think it would be very interesting. I have seen other photos, before and after, but haven't really seen any info.

 

 

Corsair japan 3.jpg

Corsair japan 2.jpg

Corsair japan.jpg

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In 1945, a F4U Corsair was captured near the Kasumigaura flight school by U.S. forces. The Japanese had repaired it, covering damaged parts on the wing with fabric and using spare parts from crashed F4Us. It seems Japan captured two force landed Corsairs fairly late in the war and may have even tested one in flight.

The Japanese learned from the analysis of Allied aircraft they had shot down or captured.  American intelligence analysts were examining aerial reconnaissance photos taken over the Japanese base Tachikawa late in May 1945 when they discovered a large four-engine bomber on what was code-named the "Tachikawa Field 104."  After the war investigators discovered the plane had actually been an American B-17 Flying Fortress, modified and put into the air by Japanese air technical intelligence.  Tachikawa happened to be the location of the Army's Aviation Technical Research Institute.  Yokosuka housed the Japanese Navy's 1st Air Technical Research Arsenal.  Both units sent specialized investigation teams to examine captured aircraft and equipment behind the Japanese assault troops.  From Clark Field the Japanese recovered the turbo-supercharger of a B-17 plus other kinds of spare parts.  Eventually an entire B-17E was put together from the collection.  Another would be recovered in the Netherlands East Indies, put together from the remains of fifteen B-17s wrecked on airfields there, and a third was found in pretty good shape in the same area.  Designer Kikuhara Shizuo, who had originated the Kawanishi H8K Emily flying boat, noted how impressed he was that the United States had perfected the B-17's subsystems to such a degree that a minimum of controls were needed in the cockpit.

What the Japanese did with the B-17 they tried with many other aircraft, studying crashed aircraft, making photos and drawings, salvaging parts, etc.  This effort, like so many others, began as early as the China Incident, where the Japanese recovered a Curtiss P-40E Warhawk fighter and a Douglas A-20A Havoc twin-engine bomber.  Within the JNAF these studies were conducted by the same people who did the design work for Navy planes.  Thus, of 327 personnel at the Yokosuka main office of the Research Technical Arsenal and 186 at the branch office in Isogo, it has been estimated that roughly 10 officers, 10 civilian designers, and 150 enlisted men worked on studies of foreign aircraft.

Navy Lieutenant Toyoda Takago was one designer who worked in the foreign-technology program.  He reports that the Japanese Army sent out most of the field teams, subsequently supplying the JNAF with copies of their reports and lending them aircraft as desired.  The single team Takogo remembers the JNAF dispatching went to Burma to study a crashed De Havilland DH.98 Mosquito light bomber.  But the Navy center would be sent aircraft recovered in the Southern Areas and would send teams to crash sites in the Empire area, including Okinawa, where a Grumman F6F Hellcat was recovered after raids in October 1944.  British carrier raids in the Netherlands East Indies earlier that year yielded a Grumman TBM-1C Avenger.  Yokosuka's specialists were surprised at the "extremely strong construction."  When a Vought F4U Corsair was captured near the Kasumigaura flight school, "we were surprised there were places on the wing covered with fabric."  The JNAF recovered the flight manual for the Consolidated B-24 Liberator in the summer of 1944, and flew a captured Grumman F6F Hellcat.  The comparable Army unit also flew the Brewster Buffalo, the Hawker Hurricane, the Boeing B-17D and E Flying Fortress, and the Martin PBM Mariner.

Flying experience and ground studies were used to compile reports on the foreign aircraft, but because the specialists were preoccupied by their own design work, the studies of foreign planes were fairly basic.  Only very late in the war was a special section of three officers and twelve to fourteen men formed just to track foreign technology, first under Commander Nomura Suetsu, then under Iwaya Eichi.  (War Relics Eu)

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  • 2 years later...

I'm a little late to the party, but here goes.

Shangri-La was not involved in the strikes on Tokyo on 16-17 Feb 45. So it's not a VBF-85 Corsair according to the caption. The caption for the first photo has the plane lost on the 16th of Feb from the Essex. I have no Essex Corsair losses on the 16th or 17th. The Caption for the 2nd photo states "61" was a Bennington Corsair from VMF-123 piloted by Robert M. Cies. Twenty-four year old 2nd Lt. Robert Mervin Cies (026780) from Chillicothe MO, was flying BuNo 82344 on 16 Feb. He was last seen during a dogfight involving 5-6 Zekes over Hamamatsu Airfield, Honshu, Japan. Cies was not reported as a POW nor were his remains recovered. Another possibility if the caption is not correct is a Wasp Corsair of VMF-217 Corsair BuNo 57858 piloted by 217's CO Maj. Jack Ralph Amende, Jr. (06909). Amende from Seattle WA, was hit by AA after making a strafing run on Hamamatsu Airfield. The plane smoked and dropped off into a shallow gliding turn. The plane was not seen to crash and Amende was not seen to bail out. He was last seen approximately five miles south of the mouth of the Tenryu River which is near Hamamatsu A/F. Amende also was not reported as a POW and his remains were not recovered. The reason I believe that Amende's plane is a possibility is because it was seen in a "shallow gliding turn". The damage to the corsair in the photos appears to be fairly minor which would fit with a plane in a shallow glide. It's too bad that the photos don't show the tail of the plane so we could see which carrier the plane was from. Does anybody know which Japanese magazine the photos were from?

Jim MacDonald

http://www.ww2nar-pac.com/

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Thanks for the welcome, Phil.

I don't currently have any modeling to contribute. It seems like forever I've been in the planning and prep stages to kit bash and super detail a 1/16 Deagostini Zero. I've made an Excel spreadsheet Master Parts List and have been bagging and tagging all of the parts. I've also been working on learning Solidworks 3D drawing program to help with the designing and modification of the original Deagostini parts. Hopefully, I'll actually be able to start working on the model itself sometime early next year.

Jim

http://www.ww2nar-pac.com/

Deagostini Parts.jpg

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6 hours ago, GazzaS said:

For half a second there, I was thinking John was gonna break out an orange Corsair with Japanese meatballs, with a black cowling and anti glare panel forward of the cockpit.

 

John?

LOL Gaz. Not a chance. :)

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I seem to remember seeing a photo of this airplane that shows a full right hand side view and it has markings for the Sangri-La.  I'm not sure but I "think" it may have been in this book (which I don't have a copy of unfortunately). If any of you have it take a look and see. Worth a try.

s-l1600.jpg

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