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Japanese P1Y Ginga "Frances" Crash Site, Rumung, Yap Island
In September 2006 we found two unidentified 18 cylinder engines located near the forbidden Island of Rumung, Yap. We now believe this is the crash site of a Japanese P1Y Ginga.


Japanese P1Y Ginga "Frances"
Masami, Jinno from Japan has identified number of this plane as 762-22.
In October 2005 we received information from Yapese dive guides about the wreckage of a plane near the forbidden island of Rumung north of Yap. We received permission to view the crash site in September 2005. When we arrived at the crash site we found two 18 cylinder engines about 30 feet apart. One of the engines still had it's props intact and sticking out of the water during low tide. The rest of the plane has been destroyed by the surf and storms over the years. We right away assumed the engines and the props were from a Japanese plane due to the props, spinner, and engine types.

Since returning from our September 2005 Yap search trip we have received information from Yukitoshi in Japan that has helped us identify this crash site. The site is "very likely" the wreckage of a Japanese P1Y Ginga plane from the Azusa Special Attack Unit that flew a "tokko" (suicide) mission to Ulithi in March 1945. Information about the Ginga's mission and Yap crash sites can be found at http://www.combinedfleet.com/Tan%20No.%202.htm.

Excerpt Describing the March 1945 Azusa Special Attack Unit:

Sept 06 picture of engine wreckage we
found in the water near Yap.

Picture of a Ginga prop
and spinner. The spinner
and props matchup with the
pieces we found in Sept 06.

In March 1945 twenty-four Yokosuka P1Y Ginga "Frances" attack bombers led by Lt Kuromaru Naoto (67th) took off on a one-way "tokko" (suicide) mission to Ulithi. Each Ginga carried a single 1,764-lb bomb. Eight hours after take off the Azusa Special Attack Unit descended through the overcast. As a result of a navigational error and unexpected head winds, they found themselves near Yap Island, 120 miles west of Ulithi. Three P1Ys of the Special Attack Unit arrived at Yap. One P1Y landed at the airfield. One P1Y failed in landing at the airfield and was damaged and one P1Y ditched off of Rumung (The plane we likely found).

At 1852, the sun set. Only two P1Ys, instead of the original 24 bombers, reached Ulithi, both well after dark. The Gingas approached Ulithi at high altitude. They dropped tin foil chaff to deceive the American’s radars. then dove and flew in low over the water. The two Gingas flew into Ulithi's anchorage undetected. They wanted one of the large fast carriers. The pilot of the first Ginga radioed "Successful attack!” before crashing. No alert had been sounded. The islets and ships were all well lit, the ships' crews relaxed and movies were being shown. At 2007, a P1Y slammed into the starboard side of the USS RANDOLPH (CV-15), a 27,100-ton TICONDEROGA-class carrier, anchored off Sorlen Islet. The bomber hit aft just below the flight deck, but had so little fuel left in its tanks that it did not burst into flames. The explosion of its bomb destroyed planes in the vicinity of the flight and hangar decks. The RANDOLPH was badly damaged and 26 men were killed and another 105 wounded. The other Ginga mistook Sorlen Islet for another aircraft carrier and plowed into it. The RANDOLPH was repaired locally and returned to action in early April 1945. She served as flagship of Task Force 58 during the latter part of the Okinawa campaign.

Results of the twenty-four P1Ys that took off on a one-way "tokko" (suicide) mission to Ulithi and the three planes that reached Yap Island:

The aircraft which has landed at Yap was flown by WO Ochiai. Tail number "762-24", http://www5d.biglobe.ne.jp/~cocoro/sub56.htm. The aircraft damaged in landing at the Yap airfield was likley the plane that included Capt. Kuromaru's P1Y ("762-T25"). Capt. Kuromaru was the Unit Commander and his pilot was PO1/C Fujii.

The tail number of P1Y that ditched was "762-T22". Three crew members were on each airplane. Two crew members were shot by the garrison of Yap at Rumung when the P1Y's arrived at night and the soldiers of Rumung, Yap thought the aircraft was American. The survivor was PO1 YOSHIDA Toshio (Otsu 17) in aircraft 762-T22. He was the observer in the aircraft.

The P1Y that was damaged on landing and the P1Y that landed in the water off Rumung were not able to take off. Several days after landing P1Y "762-24" took off from Yap with seven crew members. The seven crew members included three crew of "762-24", three crew of "762-T25" and observer of "762-T22". "762-24" returned to their airbase at Kanoya.

  • 5 P1Ys turn back.
  • 2 P1Ys ditched.
  • 17 P1Ys reached near Ulithi.
    • 1 P1Y rammed to USS Randolph.
    • 1 P1Y rammed to hill.
    • 12 P1Ys ditched? (MIA)
    • 3 P1Ys to Yap.

Matching up historic pictures with the crash sites we found: The following historic picture of a plane in the water off of Yap and the pictures we took of the engine wreckage located off of the Forbidden Island of Rumung seem to line up regarding the location and general direction of the engines (plane) and the distance from the shore. Click on the pictures below to view enlarged pictures.


P1Y "Ginga" (Francis) ditched at
the seashore of Rumung.
Azusa Special Attack Unit, March 11, 1945.
Masami, Jinno from Japan provided the following information: "One of two engines stopped and it ditched near of Rumung Island at 1907(-9) on March 11,1945. 762-25 is correct for KUROMARU's plane.

Sept 2006 picture of a crash
site we found off the northern
Yap island of Rumung.

Please feel free to submit comments to Pat at: pat@missingaircrew.com

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