Biplane fighter aces


Sergeant Major Katsura Kichise

Kichise undertook his original training with the 54th intake of the NCO Cadet flying program.

In March 1938, Kichise served in the 10th Independent Flying Chutai in China. The unit was at this time equipped with Kawasaki Ki-10s (Type 95).

On 16 March, while flying a patrol in the Hangchow five SBs were intercepted by Captain Isao Abe, Sergeant Major Katsura Kichise and Sergeant Shuzo Kogawa of the 10th I F Chutai. Two of the bombers were claimed shot down.

Captain Takatsuki led five Ki-10s of the 10th I F Chutai from Jiujiang on 30 April and intercepted three SBs over Bangbu. Sergeant Shuzo Kogawa claimed one and killed one of two crew members who took to their parachutes. Sergeant Major Katsura Kichise claimed a second while the third was claimed as a shared by Yutaka Kozuki and Warrant Officer Seitaro Awao.

At 07:00 on 26 June, three Chinese SB bombers flown by Soviet volunteers took off from Nanchang to attack the Japanese airfield at Anking. During June the 10th I F Chutai flew patrols in the Yangtze area and now four Ki-10s from the unit led by First Lieutenant Shizuzo Tsuruta (45th Class) were scrambled to intercept them.
The Japanese recalled only seeing two SBs and chased them back to Nanchang. The SBs managed to land at Nanchang at 10:30 (the landing gear of B-1573 collapsed on landing, causing slight damage).
The Japanese pilots reported that 60 Polikarpov I-16s were encountered over Nanchang. Despite the disparity in numbers, they attacked, claiming nine shot down, but First Lieutenant Tsuruta and Sergeant Major Kichise where both shot down and killed, while Sergeant Major Kiyonori Sano returned with more than 20 bullet holes in his aircraft; only Second Lieutenant Tokuo Obe’s aircraft escaped damage.
In fact, the Chinese 1st Route Command at Nanchang scrambled only six I-16s in two separate flights flown by Soviet volunteers to intercept the four Ki-10s. The first flight of three intercepted the Japanese fighters north-east of the airfield. Kapitan Anton Gubenko was credited with shooting down both Ki-10s claimed that day. One crashed on Yangze Zhou and the other on the beach at Qingzhou.

At the time of his death, Kichise was credited with 1 biplane victory.

Kill no. Date Number Type Result Plane type Serial no. Locality Unit
1 30/04/38 1 SB Destroyed Ki-10   Bangbu area 10th I. F. Chutai

Biplane victories: 1 destroyed.
TOTAL: 1 destroyed.

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
Additional information kindly provided by Raymond Cheung.

Last modified 26 January 2011