Flight Sergeant Rinpei Tanaka
Rinpei Tanaka served with the 1st chutai of the 2nd Hiko Daitai (flight battalion) during the Sino-Japanese conflict prior the outbreak of the Second World War. Up until 3 April 1938 the unit used the Kawasaki Ki-10 Type 95 ‘Perry’ biplane fighter.
On 25 March 1938 the 1st chutai of the 2nd Daitai (Ki-10s), commanded by Captain Tateo Kato fought with Chinese I-15bis over Guide. Although outnumbered 5 to 18 the Japanese pilots took a heavy tool of the Chinese aircraft. Captain Kato shot down four I-15bis, Flight Sergeant Tanaka shot down two and Sergeant Major Hiroshi Sekiguchi shot down one.
First Lieutenant Kosuke Kawahara (leading the second element) was seen to shoot down two and pursue a third to the ground, when his aircraft was hit from behind and burst into flames. He waved to his wingman, Sekiguchi, before diving into the ground. First Lieutenant Mitsugu Sawada shared in the destruction of a large aircraft. Also in this combat was Tanaka forced to make an emergency landing and Sekiguchi was badly wounded in the thigh but managed to land and being transported to hospital.
The 2nd chutai of the 2nd Daitai also took part in this combat claiming 9 more victories, one of these being claimed by Yonesuke Fukuyama. Totally the 2nd Daitai’s 16 fighters claimed 19 victories for the loss of Kawahara.
According to Chinese records it seems that at least the 3rd PG took part in this combat. They lost six I-15bis and got three pilots killed when they were attacked by 19 Kawasaki Type 95 (Ki-10) biplane fighters of the 2nd Daitai near Kwei-teh airfield (Koi-toh in Japanese).
On return Kato could not believe that such a brilliant pilot as First Lieutenant Kawahara had been lost, and waited at the airfield until sunset in the hope of his late return. Next day as a sign of mourning, he shaved off a much beloved moustache.
Tanaka ended the war with 2 biplane victories and a total of 5.
|Kill no.||Date||Number||Type||Result||Plane type||Serial no.||Locality||Unit|
|1||25/03/38||1||I-15bis (a)||Destroyed||Ki-10||Guide area||2nd Hiko Daitai|
|2||25/03/38||1||I-15bis (a)||Destroyed||Ki-10||Guide area||2nd Hiko Daitai|
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