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26th Air Flotilla
Active 1 April 1942
Country Empire of Japan Empire of Japan
Branch Empire of Japan Imperial Japanese Navy
Type Naval aviation unit
Role Bomber, Fighter, Dive Bomber
Part of 11th Air Fleet
Garrison/HQ Rabaul
Buin
Engagements Solomon Islands Campaign
New Guinea Campaign
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Yamagata Seigo
Masafumi Arima

The 26th Air Flotilla (第二六航空戦隊 Dai Nijūroku Kōkū Sentai?) was a combat aviation unit of the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service (IJNAS) during the Pacific Campaign of World War II.

History[]

The 26th Air Flotilla was established on 1 April 1942 as a part of the 11th Air Fleet, and was originally composed of the Misawa Air Group and Kisarazu Air Group, both operating Mitsubishi G4M medium bombers. Under the command of Rear Admiral Seigo Yamagata, the unit was deployed to Rabaul on New Britain in August 1942 in order to reinforce the Japanese air power in the area and conduct operations in the New Guinea and Solomon Islands Campaigns. While being primarily a medium bomber unit, it eventually absorbed fighter (6th Air Group and Hiyō Air Group) and dive bomber (31st Air Group and 582nd Air Group) units too. The operational title for this hybrid organization was the 6th Air Attack Force. Due to vulnerability of G4M medium bombers, the unit took heavy losses in air combat over Guadalcanal.[1][2][3]

Organization[]

Date Higher unit Aviation units
1 April 1942 (original) 11th Air Fleet Misawa Air Group, Kisarazu Air Group[4]
12 September 1942 Misawa Air Group, Kisarazu Air Group, 6th Air Group (detachment), Chitose Air Group (detachment)[4]
10 October 1942 Misawa Air Group, Kisarazu Air Group, 753rd Air Group[lower-alpha 1] (detachment), 6th Air Group, 31st Air group[5]
11 November 1942 705th Air Group,[lower-alpha 2] 707th Air Group,[lower-alpha 3] 204th Air Group,[lower-alpha 4] 582nd Air Group,[lower-alpha 5] 703rd Air Group,[lower-alpha 6] 956th Air Group, Hiyō Air Group (detachment)[6]

Commanding officers[]

Rank Name Date Note
1 Rear Admiral Seigo Yamagata 1 April 1942
2 Rear Admiral Kanae Kosaka 25 February 1943
3 Rear Admiral / Vice Admiral Munetaka Sakamaki 1 September 1943 Vice Admiral on 1 November 1943.
4 Rear Admiral Masafumi Arima 9 April 1944 Vice Admiral (posthumous) on 15 October 1944.
x vacant 15 October 1944
5 Rear Admiral Ushie Sugimoto 27 October 1944 Vice Admiral (posthumous) on 12 June 1945.
x vacant 12 June 1945
x dissolved 15 August 1945

References[]

Footnotes
  1. Renamed Takao Air Group.
  2. Renamed Misawa Air Group.
  3. Renamed Kisarazu Air Group.
  4. Renamed 6th Air Group.
  5. Renamed 2nd Air Group.
  6. Renamed Chitose Air Group.
Citations
Bibliography
  • Hata, Ikuhiko; Izawa, Yasuho; Shores, Christopher (2011). Japanese Naval Air Force Fighter Units and their aces, 1932-1945. London, UK: Grub Street. ISBN 9781906502843. 
  • Lundstrom, John B. (2005). First Team and the Guadalcanal Campaign: Naval Fighter Combat from August to November 1942 (New ed.). Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 1-59114-472-8. 
  • Tagaya, Osamu (2001). Mitsubishi Type 1 Rikko 'Betty' Units of World War 2. Osprey Combat Aircraft #22. Osprey Publishing. ISBN 184176082X. 


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