54th Sentai late war questions

54th Sentai operated from Miyoshino Airfield, Shumushu Island and from 4 fields on Paramushiro Island. Question #1=When did they deploy there? (believe they were in the CBI. Transfered to the Kuriles mid/late 44. Seen photo dated 6 Nov. 44 in Kuriles.) #2= Did they operate any Ki-43 Is? (only seeing ref. to IIs. #3 which version of the Ki-44 did they operate and what were the markings?

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These three sits might help you in your research… and are a great starting point for similar Japanese WWII aircraft questions

https://j-aircraft.com

http://www.aviationofjapan.com

https://pacificwrecks.com

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Yeah, just found some info on Pacific Wrecks. Nothing on the 54th directly but the airfields gave up some intel.

Well, found one answer. Looks like April 43 at Kashiwabara Airfield. Pacific Wrecks - Paramushir Island (Paramushiro, Paramushiru), Kurile Islands (Chishima-Rettō) Russia

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The only reference book I have to units is the Osprey Japanese Army Air Force Aces 1937-45. It doesn’t even list the 54th Sentai being in the Kuriles. Accoring to their list, they flew KI-27, KI-43, KI-45, & KI-84. Areas of operation listed are China, Philippines, East Indies, & Okinawa. Sentai was established July 21, 1941 at Kashiwa in Gifu prefecture, and disbanded at the end of the war.

found this combat image of a 54th Sentai Ki-43 incepting a B-25 over the coast of Paramushir

also one more image of B-25s over the Kuriles in combat with an Oscar

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Too bad cant make out the tail numbers on the NMF B-25(s) . SWAG: Photos are from same incident.

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I’d agree there!

I never realized that the Kurile Islands were in range of B-25s from the Aleutians. I imagine that B-24s, being longer ranged, could have ranged even farther out into Japanese Home Islands territory.

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FAW-4s PV-1s were regularly hitting the area. They flew out of Attu (brutus?) too. About 750 miles. B-25 had a 1300 mile range (cut the bomb load and add a bomb bay tank … PV-1 could go 1600. Big issue though was weather. FAW-4s Venturas played pathfinder for B-24s with their radar. Pacific Wrecks - Allied missions against Paramushir (Paramushiro, Paramushiru)

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Flying the Empire Express | Naval History Magazine - February 2017 Volume 31, Number 1 (usni.org)

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Great stuff! Talk about an unknown campaign up there. Once the Aleutians were cleared of the Japanese, most histories of WWII don’t mention any subsequent operations such as these. Completely forgotten or overlooked.

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I have this in my stash! Not sure if Vol. 2 ever came out.
9780929521350-uk

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Looks like SN 2xx124. I think 23x124. Can’t tell if the third number is a 6 or an 8. I’m leaning towards a 6.

http://cgibin.rcn.com/jeremy.k/cgi-bin/gzUsafSearch.pl?target=&content=B-25

This guy also has thousands of serial numbers with information about what happened to a lot of them

https://www.joebaugher.com/usaf_serials/1942_1.html

I have looked up the serial number that I think I see, but they either turn out to be P47, C47, or a light observation aircraft.

Yeah, familiar with his site. Use it regularly. Way overkill for figuring out if it’s the same aircraft in both photos though.

Have a look through these photos by Life for some idea of conditions at US bases in the Aleutian Islands

Aleutians Photos