Monday, February 16, 2015

With its gunner visible in the back cockpit, this Japanese dive bomber, smoke streaming from the cowling, is headed for destruction in the water below after being shot down near Truk, Japanese stronghold in the Carolines, by a Navy PB4Y on July 2, 1944. Lieutenant Commander William Janeshek, pilot of the American plane, said the gunner acted as though he was about to bail out and then suddenly sat down and was still in the plane when it hit the water and exploded.


  1. (1) It's a Nakajima 97 (Kate) - level bomber or torpedo bomber more often than the dive bombing role taken by the Aichi D3A (Val)

    (2) The story of how it was downed by the Navy variant of a B-24 Liberator has to be very interesting.

    1. The the tail gunner probably thought it was better to die for the emperor.

  2. I expect that the tail gunner by this point figured that he was already too low for his parachute to fully deploy. Rather than smack into the water at a high rate of speed, he probably made the Hobson's Choice of taking his [slim] chances with riding it in with the Kate.

  3. Or he suddenly realized that he could not swim.