Re: WWI and Japan

Joseph R. Boeke (
Sun, 11 Jun 1995 13:03:15 -0400 (EDT)

> I've recently converted the guy who works at the local hobby shop to WWI
> models. I was there today talking with him and the conversation turned
> around to Japan and WWI. Does anyone know anything about the Japanese Air
> Force.

Well, the only air combat (that I can confirm) by the Japanese during the
Great War, took place during the siege of Tsingtao (1914). The Japanese
were flying box kites (like the Maurice Farman) against a lone German Taube.

I have the autobiography of the German naval pilot (his name escapes me
right now) packed up in some boxes being moved from California. When I
find it, I will post more about this. However, as you can expect, these
early compats were executed with revolvers, rifles and hand-grenades.

The German pilot escaped from Tsingtao to mainland China, was captured by
the British, spent some time in a POW camp in Great Britain, and finally
escaped and made it back to Germany (where I beileve he was awarded the
Iron Cross) and put in charge of a Naval Station on the Baltic.

The Japanese also had aircraft with them when they went to russian
Siberia in 1918-1920. I can not determine whether or not these planes
were in combat versus the Red Air Force or not, but the models of
aircraft in the Japanese arsenal were as follows:

Farman M.F.11 Shorthorn
Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter
Nieuport 17
Spad VII
Breuguet 14
Caudron G.4
Nieuport 28
Salmson S.2

>From _Pictoral History of Japanese Military Aviation_ by Eiichiro
Sekigawa, 1974.

By the way, does anyone have any information on the German Taube that was
in Tsingtao in 1914? (actually there were two planes and pilots, but
tone was wrecked on the first take off).

I always thought it would be interesting to model this particular
aircraft, but I don't know what kind of Taube it was, or how it was painted.