Miho Naval Air Corps (美保海軍航空隊)

Miho Naval Air Corps was one of the troops and educational institutions of the Imerpial Japanese Navy. It was an educational Air Corps of the preparatory pilot training course that was expanded in order to educate the students of the 13th group of the Ko-type preparatory pilot training course, which recruited as many as 30000 students. The construction of Miho Airport started in the fall of 1939, but the construction did not make much progress until around 1942. Along with the installation of the educational Air Corps of the preparatory pilot training course, the Kure Marine Team was introduced for a rush construction job, but it was not finished before the opening, and even the students of the 13th group of the Ko-type preparatory pilot training course were required to do the remaining construction job. In the beginning, it had trainer airplanes for onboard training, but in January 1944, it became an independent elementary training corps called "the second Miho Naval Air Corps". The second Miho Naval Air Corps was transferred to Yanagimoto Airport in Nara Prefecture on February 11, 1945, and became "Yamato Naval Air Corps". In this document, in addition to the first and second Miho Naval Air Corps, the Yamato Naval Air Corps after the transfer is described.

The First Miho Naval Air Corps
The 13th group of the Ko-type preparatory pilot training course recruited an unprecedented 30000 students. In order to accommodate the students, the Navy installed three new educational Air Corps. They are the Miho Naval Air Corps, the Matsuyama Naval Air Corps, and the Nara Naval Air Corps. In order to make use of Miho Airport, which was relatively well maintained, several trainer airplanes were supplied for the aviation training.

In 1943
October 1: Naval Air Corps was started. The 381st Naval Air Corps, which the original unit was Miho, was opened.

October 5: The 13th group of the Ko-type preparatory pilot training course was enrolled (graduated on July 25, 1944).
In 1944
April 6: The 14th group of the Ko-type preparatory pilot training course was enrolled (the graduation on October 31 was postponed). September 8: With the opening of Komatsu Naval Air Corps, a part of the 14th group was transferred.

September 20: The 15th group of the Ko-type preparatory pilot training course was enrolled in the first half year. October 20: The 15th group of the Ko-type preparatory pilot training course was enrolled in the last half year. December 2: A part of the 15th group of the first half year was transferred to the Komatsu Naval Air Corps.

In 1945
March 1: The 19th Combined Naval Air Corps was demobilized. It was transferred to the 23rd Combined Naval Air Corps.

March 3: The 14th and 15th groups were transferred (due to the expansion of Miho Airport or construction of Shinkawa Base and so on). April 5: The 16th group of the Ko-type preparatory pilot training course was enrolled. May 29: The first Kamikaze Corps in the 14th group was transferred to the Yanai Submarine School for the Koryu (a type of submarine) training.

June 13: The second Kamikaze Corps in the 14th group was transferred to the Mie Naval Air Corps for the Shusui (a Japanese World War II rocket-powered interceptor aircraft) training.

June 14: The 16th group left the Corps.

June 20: The third Kamikaze Corps in the 14th group was transferred to the Saeki Defense Corps.

June 23: The remaining members in the 14th group were transferred to the Kurashiki Naval Air Corps as a Kamikaze Reserve Corps.

June 30: The Miho Naval Air Corps was demobilized.

The freezing of the education of the preparatory pilot training course triggered the dispatch of the 14th and 15th groups to the other corps, and all the students of the Miho Naval Air Corps were transferred before it was demobilized. The vacant Miho Airport was used as an operating base of the Otsu Naval Air Corps and Sanin Naval Air Corps of the Otsu Air Corps, but the war ended before the homeland defense war started.

Main Models
Various Trainer Airplanes

Successive Commanders
Shunsaku TAKAHASHI (From October 1, 1943 to -)
Isamu KAMATA (From June 21, 1944 to -)
Yoshi Yamazaki (From February 14 to June 30, 1945 [the Corps was demobilized.])

The Second Miho Naval Air Corps
It was opened in 1944 in order to train the students enrolled before the 12th group of the preparatory pilot training course. The graduates from the Miho Naval Air Corps were limited to the 13th group of Ko-type, therefore only they were able to finish their training at the Miho Airport.

In 1944
January 15: Naval Air Corps was started. It was placed to the 12th Combined Air Corps.

March 15: The Mineyama Navy Air Corps was inaugurated.

April 1: The 1081st Naval Air Corps, which the original unit was Miho, was opened.

July 25: The 40th group of aviation training students was enrolled.

In 1945
February 1: All the airplanes (54 trainer airplanes) departed for Yanagimoto.

February 11: The Corps was demobilized. All the troops were transferred to Yamagimoto Airport in Nara Prefecture.

In 1945, the troops were successively stationed in Miho Airport, and it was getting difficult to have elementary and intermediate training. As the construction of Yanagimoto Airport was making progress, the training group left Miho Airport and was transferred to Yanagimoto. At the same time, the Mineyama Contingent Force was delegated to the Himeji Naval Air Corps.

Main Models
The Yokosuka K5Y
Various trainer airplanes.

Successive Commanders
Shunsaku TAKAHASHI (From October 1, 1943, to -)
After him, Unknown

Yamato Naval Air Corps
The preliminary construction was started around 1943, and the Corps was started at Yamagimoto Airport, which was rapidly constructed by volunteers and Koreans in the neighborhood in 1944. Before the opening, the members had arrived at Yanagimoto by air. It is said that the Navy planned to move the Headquarter of the third Air Corps of the Aviation Fleet to Yanagimoto, since the Navy was on the alert for the landing on Ki Peninsula in the homeland defense war.

In 1945
February 11: Naval Air Corps was started. It was placed to the 11th Combined Air Corps.

May 5: The 11th Combined Air Corps was demobilized and was transferred to the 13th Air Corps.

It was demobilized after the war.

In July, the fighting troops moved to Yanagimoto, and Yanagimoto was increasingly reinforced with the Headquarter of the Kinki Naval Air Corps of Naval Otsu Air Corps of Otsu Air Corps. The training of the Yamato Naval Air Corps also focused on suicide attacks, and the war was ended while only a few activate airplanes was preserved for the suicide attacks. As well as the third fleet, it is said that there was a plan of the advancement of the Navy of the Imperial Headquarters.

Main Models
The Yokosuka K5Y
Various trainer airplanes

Successive Commanders
Ichitaro UCHIDA (From February 11, 1945 until the Corps was demobilized after the war.)

Miho Airport and Yanagimoto Airport after the war
The Miho Airport was returned in 1958 after the stationing of the United States Forces. Since 1955, the Japan Air Self-Defense Force has been stationed in the airport, and although it is currently the airport under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Defense, it has been open for private aviation (even during the stationing of the U.S. forces), and used under the name of 'Miho Airport'.

On the other hand, the Yanagimoto Airport was turned back into the agricultural land after the seizure of the U.S. Forces was finished. Although the traces of the airport have faded due to the land improvement, the remains of the affiliated facilities such as bomb shelters can be found in the surrounding area.