First Lieutenant Tezio Kanamaru
Kanamaru was born on 1 October 1916 in Miyazaki City.
He entered the Tokorozawa Flying School in February 1934 and graduated from there with the 1st intake of Juvenile Flying Soldiers.
After fighter training at Akeno he joined the 8th Rentai in February 1936.
In July 1937 the China Incident broke out, and as the fighting spread, Corporal Kanamaru moved to the Shanghai front with the 10th Independent Flying Chutai, seeing action over Nanking, Hangzhou and Bangbu.
He first met enemy fighters and bombers over Nanking on 2 December 1937, claiming two of the bombers shot down.
On 10 April he shot and killed the crew of an SB, which had baled out over Bangbu, this episode creating some fame for him.
He claimed a Chinese bomber over Mengcheng on 20 May 1938.
In December 1940 he entered the Army Flying Military Academy, graduating in July 1941, when he was posted to the 3rd chutai of the 50th Sentai.
On 10 December Second Lieutenant Kanamaru led two Ki-27s on a patrol over a Japanese convoy en route to the Philippines, which two B-17s attempted to attack over Aparri. He attacked, claiming to have shot one down with a single burst, the pursuing the other to the east of Tuguegaro, where he claimed to have despatched this as well. Kanamaru’s aircraft was hit in the engine when exchanging fire and he had to make a forced-landing on Colayan Island.
The first B-17 was the aircraft of Lieutenant George E. Schaetzel of 14th BS (B-17 40-3091) which managed to return to San Marcelino, with one engine shot out and a wing full of bullet holes but with an uninjured crew.
The second was according to some sources the aircraft of Lieutenant Colin Kelly Jr. of 14th BS, which was subsequently shot down by Navy Zeros after sustaining damage during Kanamaru’s attack. According to other sources it was the aircraft of Lieutenant Earl R. Tash of 14th BS, who in fact wasn’t part of the attacking force. Tash had been ordered to take his aircraft to Clark Field for repairs, and on approach was intercepted by three fighters. Although badly damaged, the bomber was able to evade further attacks and returned to Del Monte. One of the gunners, Staff Sergeant M. Bibin, had been severly wounded while another Pfc A. E. Norgaard, claimed one of the attackers shot down – presumably Kanamaru’s aircraft.
Kanamaru returned to his base on 27 December.
He claimed a P-40 over Limai on 9 February 1942, but again his aircraft was hit and he was obliged to force-land again.
During April 1942 his unit was re-equipped with Nakajima Ki-43-Is.
In autumn 1942 his unit moved to Burma.
During the night of 24 December he endeavoured to take off from Magwe as British bombers attacked, but one bomb struck his aircraft and killed him.
At the time of his death Kanamaru was credited with 3 biplane victories and a total of 8.
Considered a typical example of the Juvenile Flying Soldier, his death was widely mourned.
|Kill no.||Date||Number||Type||Result||Plane type||Serial no.||Locality||Unit|
|1||02/12/37||1||Enemy bomber||Destroyed||Ki-10||Nanking area||10th I F Chutai|
|2||02/12/37||1||Enemy bomber||Destroyed||Ki-10||Nanking area||10th I F Chutai|
|3||20/05/38||1||Enemy bomber||Destroyed||Ki-10||Nanking area||10th I F Chutai|
|4||10/12/41||1||B-17 (a)||Destroyed||Ki-27||Aparri||50th Sentai|
|5||10/12/41||1||B-17 (b)||Destroyed||Ki-27||E Tuguegaro||50th Sentai|
Biplane victories: 3 destroyed.
TOTAL: 8 destroyed.
(a) The aircraft of Lieutenant George E. Schaetzel of 14th BS (B-17 40-3091), which managed to return with one engine shot out and a wing full of bullet holes but with an uninjured crew.
(b) The aircraft of Lieutenant Colin Kelly Jr. of 14th BS, which subsequently was shot down by Navy Zeros after sustaining damage during Kanamaru’s attack or the aircraft of Lieutenant Earl R. Tash of 14th BS, which returned damaged and with one gunner (S/Sgt M. Bibin) wounded.
Bloody Shambles Volume One - Christopher Shores and Brian Cull with Yasuho Izawa, 1992 Grub Street, London, ISBN 0-948817-50-X
Japanese Army Air Force fighter units and their aces 1931-1945 - Ikuhiko Hata, Yasuho Izawa and Christopher Shores, 2002 Grub Street, London, ISBN 1-902304-89-6