Genzan Air Group

The Genzan Air Group (元山海軍航空隊, Genzan Kaigun Kōkūtai) was an aircraft and airbase garrison unit of the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service during the Second Sino-Japanese War and Pacific campaign of World War II.

Genzan Air Group
Genzan Zero.jpg
Genzan A6M2b fighters at Genzan (Wonsan), Korea in April 1945.
Active15 Nov 1940 – 1 Nov 1942
15 Aug 1944 – the end of war
CountryEmpire of Japan
AllegianceImperial Japanese Navy
BranchImperial Japanese Navy Air Service
TypeNaval aviation unit
RoleBomber and fighter support (1940)
Training (1944)
Garrison/HQWonsan, Korea
Hankou, China
Saigon, French Indochina
Rabaul, New Britain
Kanoya, Japan
Engagements
Insignia
Identification
symbol
ゲン (Gen, 1940, Japan homeland)
Identification
symbol
G (1940, outside Japan homeland)
Identification
symbol
ケ (Ke, 1944)
Identification
symbol
ゲン (Gen, August 1945)

HistoryEdit

The Genzan Air Group was founded on 15 November 1940 at Genzan, Korea, then a part of the Empire of Japan. It was initially a mixed-unit equipped with 33 Type 96 Mitsubishi G3M1 bombers and 25 Type 96 Mitsubishi A5M4 fighters under the command of the Second Air Fleet. On January 15, 1941, it was reassigned to the 22nd Kōkū Sentai and deployed to Hankou in central China.

Operations in ChinaEdit

While based at Hankou, the bombers of the Genzan Air Group was primarily assigned to strategic bombing missions in Sichuan Province, while the fighters were assigned to combat air patrol and ground support missions in support of Imperial Japanese Army operations. The Genzan Air Group was withdrawn from China in September, 1941, returning to its home base at Genzan for training, and at the end of October, 1941 was forward deployed to Takao in Taiwan.

Operations in Southeast AsiaEdit

With the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the outbreak of the Pacific War, the Genzan Air Group was deployed to Saigon, French Indochina. The group was a key participant in the sinking of the British capital ships HMS Prince of Wales (53) and HMS Repulse (1916) off the coast of Malaya on 10 December 1941, losing one aircraft and its crew during the battle.

On January 22, 1942, bombers from the Genzan Air Group attacked Kallang Airport in Singapore, and subsequently provided air support for Japanese offensives in Malaya including the landings at Endau. At the end of February, the unit was transferred to Bangkok and assigned to patrols over the Indian Ocean; however, facilities at Bangkok were not satisfactory and the unit was soon reassigned to Palembang in Sumatra in the Netherlands East Indies, with some aircraft dispersed to Kuching in Sarawak.

On May 1, 1942, Genzan's flying unit was redeployed to Rabaul, New Britain to support the Japanese campaign in New Guinea. The group participated in the Battle of the Coral Sea, without success, and made numerous bombing attacks against Port Moresby.

In July, after the cancellation of Operation Mo, the unit was withdrawn to Japan and was based at Misawa, Aomori for training. Its fighter unit was detached and redesignated as the 252 Kōkūtai in September. The Genzan's flying unit was disbanded by being redesignated as the 755 Kōkūtai on 1 November 1942.

Personnel AssignedEdit

Commanding OfficersEdit

  • Capt. Izawa Ishinosuke (43) - 15 November 1940 - 1 October 1941
  • Cdr. / Capt. Maeda Takanari (47) – 1 October 1941 – 20 September 1942 (Promoted Captain on 15 October 1941.)
  • Cdr. Yamashita Sakae (49) – 20 September 1942 – 1 November 1942

Executive OfficersEdit

  • Cdr. Minematsu Iwao (48) – 15 November 1940 – 10 October 1941
  • VACANT – 10 October 1941 – 1 November 1942

Maintenance OfficersEdit

  • LtCdr. (Eng.) Hata Nobukuma (Eng. 31) – 15 November 1940 – 1 September 1941
  • LtCdr. (Eng.) Azuma Tetsuo (Eng. 33) – 1 September 1941 – 25 September 1942
  • Lt. (Eng.) Kataoka Shoichi (Eng. 42) – 25 September 1942 – 1 November 1942

SurgeonsEdit

  • LtCdr. (Med.) Masuoka Satoru (1927) - 15 November 1940 – 10 April 1942
  • LtCdr. (Med.) Takeyasu Sueharu (1930) – 10 April 1942 – 13 October 1942
  • LtCdr. (Med.) Suzuki Keiichiro (1928) – 13 October 1942 – 1 November 1942

PaymastersEdit

  • LtCdr. (Pay.) Kishida Mizunari (Pay. 16) – 15 November 1940 – 20 September 1941
  • Lt. (Pay.) Sudo Hiroshi (Pay. 24) – 20 September 1941 – 5 August 1942
  • Lt. (Pay.) Nagai Hora (Pay. Aux. 2) – 5 August 1942 – 1 November 1942

Communications OfficersEdit

  • LtCdr. Ikeda Iwao (55) – 15 November 1940 – 15 September 1941
  • LtCdr. Minekawa Minoru (57) – 15 September 1941 – 1 November 1942

Air OfficersEdit

  • Cdr. Asada Masahiko (52) – 15 November 1940 – 1 September 1941
  • LtCdr. Sonokawa Kameo (52) – 1 September 1941 – 1 April 1942
  • LtCdr. Tokoro Shigehachiro (51) – 1 April 1942 – 1 November 1942

ReferencesEdit

  • Bullard, Steven (translator). Army Operations in the South Pacific Area, New Britain and Papua campaigns, 1942–43 Senshi Sōshō (translated excerpts). Canberra: Australian War Memorial, 2007. ISBN 978-0-9751904-8-7.
  • Cea, Edwardo (2008). Aircraft of the Imperial Japanese Navy. Valaldolid, Spain: AF Editions. ISBN 978-84-96935-12-9.
  • Hata, Ikuhiko with Yasuho Izawa and Don Cyril Gorham (translator). Japanese Naval Aces and Fighter Units in World War II. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1975 (Japanese original) 1989 (translation). ISBN 0-87021-315-6.
  • Peattie, Mark R. Sunburst: The Rise of Japanese Naval Air Power, 1909-1941. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1999. ISBN 1-59114-664-X.
  • Tagaya, Osamu. Mitsubishi Type 1 "Rikko" 'Betty' Units of World War 2. Botley, Oxfordshire, UK: Osprey Publishing, 2001. ISBN 1-84176-082-X.
  • Monthly Kōkū-Fan, Illustrated No. 42, Japanese Imperial Army & Navy Aircraft Color, Marking, Tōkyō, Japan, Bunrindō Co. Ltd., 1988.
  • Monthly Air World, Photo album of Imperial Japanese Navy Aircraft, Tōkyō, Japan, Air World Inc., 1987.
  • Model Art No. 458, Special issue Imperial Japanese Navy Air Force Suicide Attack Unit "Kamikaze", Tōkyō, Japan, Model Art Co. Ltd., 1995.