Author Topic: Peruvian H6K2  (Read 2175 times)

Offline Acree

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Peruvian H6K2
« on: February 07, 2015, 05:42:15 AM »
In the Spring of 1940, the Imperial Japanese Navy took advantage of their efforts at fostering relations with Peru to deploy a detachment of two H6K2 long-range reconnaissance flying boats to Peru.  The purpose of this detachment was to reconnoiter the Panama Canal, and ultimately to set up surveillance of the Canal and its approaches, for the primary purpose of tracking US Navy ships transiting.  A secondary task, not disclosed to their Peruvian hosts, was to gather intelligence for a possible attack on the Canal by Japanese carrier based aircraft and/or surface vessels.  The Peruvians, of course, depended greatly on the Canal for international commerce, especially with Europe and the US eastern seaboard, and would not have approved of any plan to attack and disable the Canal.  A final consideration was to determine the feasibility of interdicting US merchant or naval traffic from Peru using a larger force of long range aircraft from Peru (at and following an expected outbreak of hostilities between the US and Japan).

In June, 1940, two H6K2s commanded by Commander Masaharu Soto, arrived in Peru, following the ground element which had arrived in May aboard the Shigeno Maru along with six disassembled Mitsubishi C5M2 reconnaissance aircraft for the Fuerza Aerea Peruana.  The H6K2s were to be home-based at Ancón, the primary Fuerza Aerea Peruana seaplane base.  However, a small forward element was set up Puerto Pizarro.  H6Ks would fly from Ancón to Puerto Pizarro, refuel, take on a fresh crew and then depart for the 900 mile journey to the Canal, where they were able to remain on station for approximately eight hours before returning to Puerto Pizarro. 

On most missions, a Fuerza Aerea Peruana representative joined the crew, though this was not always the case.  The H6Ks arrived in standard Japanese Navy markings, but the hinomarus were over-painted with Peruvian roundels before their first flights from Peru. 

Detachment Soto's small force of H6K2s gathered a tremendous amount of intel for the Japanese Navy.  From the commencement of operations in July 1940 until February 1942, the operation remained unknown to US Forces.  In that month, the US became aware of the H6Ks, and repeatedly attempted intercepts by the P-40Es of the 29th Fighter Squadron based at Albrook Field in the Canal Zone.  However, these attempts remained unsuccessful.  Later, in August of 1942, the 29th moved to Simon Bolivar airport in Guayaquil, Ecuador, from where 1LT Edward "Ted" Harbison successfully intercepted and destroyed H6K2 number 1.  Following this loss, Detachment Soto was disbanded, and the remaining H6K2 was transferred to the Fuerza Aerea Peruana, where it was used to establish the FAP's first dedicated maritime reconnaissance squadron, 73 Escuadrilla de Informacion Marítimo, based at Ancón.  The forward base at Puerto Pizarro was abandoned, being only 100 miles from the US fighter base at Guayaquil. 

The first drawing below shows the second H6K2 in the markings in which it operated as part of Detachment Soto.  The second drawing shows the same aircraft later in its career, after it had been transferred to the Peruvian Air Force's newly established 73 Escuadrilla de Informacion Marítimo. 
« Last Edit: February 07, 2015, 10:55:16 AM by Acree »

Online jcf

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Re: Peruvian H6K2
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2015, 05:53:02 AM »
Nice.  :)

Makes me want to build the Trumpeter 1/144 H6K5-L in Faucett orange.  ;D
"Evil our grandsires were, our fathers worse;
And we, till now unmatched in ill,
Must leave successors more corrupted still."
Horace, 65BC - 8BC. Marsh translation.

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Re: Peruvian H6K2
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2015, 07:11:31 AM »
 :)
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

Offline Acree

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Re: Peruvian H6K2
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2015, 10:50:50 AM »
"Makes me want to build the Trumpeter 1/144 H6K5-L in Faucett orange.  ;D"

Maybe this will help!

Online jcf

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Re: Peruvian H6K2
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2015, 12:21:14 PM »
"Makes me want to build the Trumpeter 1/144 H6K5-L in Faucett orange.  ;D"

Maybe this will help!

 :) :) :) :) :)  :icon_beer:  ;D ;D  :icon_fsm:
"Evil our grandsires were, our fathers worse;
And we, till now unmatched in ill,
Must leave successors more corrupted still."
Horace, 65BC - 8BC. Marsh translation.

Offline Tophe

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Re: Peruvian H6K2
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2015, 11:55:35 AM »
I never noticed before how close was the Peru markings from the Japan markings. In your World this is very logical, thanks to have explained us this. ;)