By the spring of 1938, Chinese skies had become safer, because our bombers bombed during the winter almost all Japanese airfields.
January 25, 1938 a group of 25 bombers struck the aerodrome in Nanjing. February 23, 1938, Captain Polynin led a group of 28 bombers in a raid on the airbase Matsuyama, located on the then Japanese island of Taiwan. The bombers dropped 280 bombs and returned without loss to the airfield in Hankou, stayed in the air for more than seven hours.
As a result of the raid were destroyed 40 aircraft at the airport, a lot of aviation equipment in containers, hangars and a three-year supply of fuel.
However, in June, when the unit of Polynin was replaced by a new bomber aviation group led by Khriukin, our bombers were subjected to attacks by Japanese I-96 fighters , which in those years were designated as Japanese carrier-based fighters (aka A5M). It was suspected that somewhere nearby is based a Japanese aircraft carrier. Soon, this assumption was confirmed: one such plane being shot down by our gunners, made an emergency landing on the territory controlled by the Chinese, and the pilot was captured. During his interrogation he revealed that the I-96 were based on the aircraft carrier "Yamato Maru» (大和丸).I-96 (A5M)
During the period from 14 June to 28 July 1938 on the Yangtze river were sunk 49 Japanese ships, but the aircraft carrier could not be found: the ship appeared here and there, cleverly disguised, nestled along the shore, hid in the bay, and our pilots could not see her. Sometimes scouts were able to detect the aircraft carrier, but a group of bombers flying out on the trail of aerial reconnaissance, found nothing, only rocks, overcast haze, a maze of islands and bays for hundreds of kilometers ..
It took another two months, but "Yamato-maru" remained an invisible ship .
On 10 Aug 1938, Timothy Khriukin along with his co-pilot Ivan Selivanov circled high above the riverbed of the Yangtze. At that time, our aircraft had over the Yangtze complete dominance in the air and on the river could not see a single ship. Small boats, seeing flying bomber hurriedly pressed to shore. And suddenly Khriukin and Selivanov simultaneously saw in a remote bay, covered with camouflage nets, the aircraft carrier "Yamato Maru." The wind was blowing from the shore, and the veil of mist covering the boat slowly receded into the sea. Without wasting a second, the SB bomber went on the attack.
The pilots saw the first bomb drop and hit the ship. The second bomb bounced off the ship exploded in the water below the waterline, and at the same time, as if on cue, the AA barrage stopped. Aircraft carrier began to list to port.
The aircraft dropped more bombs on the last pass and set course for home.
Two fighters were dispatched to check the area. The pilots returned and reported - the carrier capsized and sank bottom up.
For the sinking of the Japanese aircraft carriers Timofey Khryukin and his co-pilot Ivan Pavlovich Selivanov were awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union.
All that remains of the aircraft carrier today.
"Yamato Maru" was converted into an auxiliary aircraft carrier from a cargo ship with a displacement of 9656 tons. It was built in Italy in 1915 under the name "Giuseppe Verdi". In 1920 it was bought by Japan. As an anti-aircraft armament on the "Yamato-maru" were installed six twin 13.2-mm machine guns. In May 31, 1923 the auxiliary aircraft carrier "Yamato-maru" joined the - Japanese land forces (Army Airforce). Her aircraft were to support the Imperial Army troops in theaters of operations with poorly equipped airfields. It is because of the ship belonging to the army and not the fleet, she is not in the list of Japanese warships, and on this basis the whole story was long considered a fake. "Giuseppe Verdi" before he became a "Yamato-maru"Japanese army carrier of "Akitsu Maru" class
....SB-3 bomber in Chinese Nationalist AF markingsTimofey Timofeevich Khryukin Ivan Pavlovich Selivanov Fedor Petrovich Polynin at the end of the mission in China