Mineyama Naval Air Squadron (峰山海軍航空隊)

The Mineyama Naval Air Squadron was one of the squadrons of the Imperial Japanese Navy. It promoted on-the-ground training of preparatory school graduates in order to educate mid-level airmen. Mineyama is most often written with the Chinese characters 峰山, the same characters as used for Mineyama Town (currently Kyotango City) adjacent to Kawabe Village (which became Omiya Town, and now Kyotango City) where the squadron was stationed, but the members of the squadron more often used the characters 峯山.

The Imperial Navy began to plan for the offensive against the Soviet Union when the Second Sino-Japanese War was drawn into a quagmire and Changkufeng Incident and Nomonhan Incident occurred one after the other. The Maizuru Naval Air Squadron which belonged to the Maizuru Naval Rear Unit Headquarters was a patrol unit, so the Kawabe Air Base was constructed in Kyotango City, Chugun (Kyoto Prefecture) so that the army planes necessary to defend the air space above Maizuru military port could be stationed. Training units were established throughout Japan half way through the war in the Pacific in order to meet the high demand for airmen. The Imperial Navy had its eye on the Kawabe Airport which had been designated as a rear base and had not been used, decided to station a mid-level training air unit there.

March 15 Mineyama Detachment Unit of the Second Miho Naval Air Squadron of the Miho Naval Air Squadron was established. Graduates from the third special class of the preparatory school of Mie Naval Air Squadron joined the unit. They graduated in August.

July 25: Graduates from the 13th Ko class of the preparatory school in the First Miho Naval Air Squadron of the Miho Naval Air Squadron joined the unit.

September 20: Graduates from the 13th Ko class of the preparatory school in the Nara Naval Air Squadron joined the unit.

Around January, extraordinarily heavy snow made the flight training impossible, so the men were moved to the Fukuoka Naval Air Base for training.

February 1: The Second Miho Naval Air Squadron was disbanded and became the Mineyama Detachment of the Himeji Naval Air Squadron.

February 5: The graduates of the second half of the 13th Ko class of the preparatory school in the Nara Air Squadron joined the unit.

February 20: Flight training was put on the shelf and the forming of a suicide attack squadron began, which was named 'Hishin-tai Squadron.'
Those members who were not chosen returned to Mineyama.

March 1: The squadron became independent and formed the Mineyama Naval Air Squadron. The squadron was incorporated into the 20th Combined Air Group.

May 5: Those chosen for tokko (suicide) missions from Fukuoka and some members from the main unit were incorporated into the Kasumigaura Naval Air Squadron and began training for tokko suicide missions.

There were three plane crashes during May.

June 5: One plane crashed during night training using the destroyer Hatsushimo (Hatsuharu type destroyer) as the target in the Miyazu Bay.

June 6: The Naval Landing Forces began to be formed.

June 30: An enemy task force of carrier-based planes attacked Maizuru Military Port, Miyazu Port and Kawabe Air Base, and planes and facilities suffered damages from the combat.

July 14: The 'Chu' unit of the Hishin Squadron advanced to the Kanoya Air Base.

July 19: The 'Rei' unit and the 'Bu' unit of the Hishin Squadron advanced to the Iwakuni Air Base.

July 27: The 'Gi' unit of the Hishin Squadron advanced to Iwakuni.

With the end of the war, the squadron was disarmed and disbanded.

The Hishin Squadron which advanced from Mineyama never had the opportunity to rally before the war ended but some of the graduates did take part in battles. After the Hishin Squadron left the air base, soldiers who were organized to take part in the tokko (suicide) missions as part of the battle on the homeland moved in to be stationed at the base, and in the end their numbers expanded to be about the same as that of the members of the Mineyama Air Squadron. After-war administration was conducted smoothly and the chief of the Maizuru Rear Unit Headquarters, Minoru TAYUI, extended the highest praises. The base was handed down to the private sector after the war, and the runways became farmland and residential land. There are still magazines as well as hangars, which are used as storage for a textile factory.

Major aircrafts
A large number of the training aircrafts including Kyusan type Mid-size Training Aircraft were stationed at the base.

[Original Japanese]