Famous Aircraft of the
World #27 A5M Claude Photo Translations
Original Japanese Text, copyright Burindo
-186" or "Yo-186",
PO1c Hideo OISHI (6), Yokosuka Kokutai,
December 1939. Oishi, nicknamed
"Oscar", was known for his flying skill and his expertise at
aerial photography. He
graduated as a member of the Pilot 26 training class.
At the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese war he was aboard the Hosho.
In 1938 he was posted aboard the Soryu
serving as a wingman to his buntaicho,
Lt. Tomatsu Yokoyama. He
then went to the Yokosuka Ku.
In July 1940 Oishi was one of the pilots who ferried the first Zero
fighters (from the Yokosuka Ku) to Hankow, China for the 12th Kokutai.
He flew with this unit for a year after which he became a test pilot.
On the raid to Chengtu on 4 October 1940 he, along Masayuki Nakase,
Matsuo Hagiri and Ichiro Higashiyama, landed at Taipingsze airfield, set
fire to field command post and then took off again.
After a short air battle they all returned safely to their base.
In June 1944 Oishi joined the 306 Hikotai of the 201 Kokutai
at Subic Bay in the Philippines. On
12 September, during an air raid, he took off to meet the attacking U.S.
aircraft and never returned to base. (Koku-Fan
- p. 2 "31",
an A5M1 of the 12th Kokutai flown
by PO3c Hitoshi Sato.
He would later serve aboard the Shokaku
and would be KIA on 11 November 1943. Though
not listed on the Hata/Izawa aces list, according to this source he
was credited with at least 8 victories during the ferocious air battles in
the Solomons area during this time.
PO3c Tetsuzo IWAMOTO (80+/14),
12th Kokutai, 2nd Hikotai, 1938. Iwamoto
joined the 12th Ku in China in February 1938 and became the top Navy ace
during the China Incident with 14 kills.
He was assigned to the Zuikaku
AG as a shotaicho in 1941 and
participated in the Pearl Harbor attack ("EII-102")
flying combat air patrol over the fleet, on operations in the Indian Ocean
and in the Battle of Coral Sea. In
August 1942 he was transferred as instructor to Oppama Kokutai.
In March 1943 he was posted to 281 Kokutai
on Paramushir Island in Northern Japan.
His next assignments were with 204 Ku and 253 Ku at Rabaul.
In February 1944 he withdrew to Truk and fought in air defense
operations at this base. He
later flew with 252 Ku and 203 Ku in the Philippines, Taiwan and over
Okinawa. He survived the war. By
his own account he claimed some 202 victories, 142 over Rabaul alone!
After surviving 8 years of war he succumbed to blood poisoning at the
age of 38.
The aircraft of the 12th with the code numbers all in line are
described in the caption as being from the 2nd Hikotai. (Hata/Izawa)
PO1c Mitsugu MORI (9+/4), 1st Hikotai,
12th Kokutai, 1938. He first
flew in combat during the Shanghai Incident in 1932 at which time he was
aboard the Kaga. In January 1938 he was posted to the 13th Ku and in March to
the 12th Ku. In his first air
action over Hankow on February 18 he was credited with 4 victories.
Although not reflected in his score, he apparently had continued
success until he returned home a year and a half later.
In July 1942 Mori was posted aboard the Hiyo
and particpated in battles in the Rabaul-Solomons area.
In May 1943 he was promoted to Ensign and returned to Japan where he
served as a test pilot. In
August 1944 he was retired from active duty.
The aircraft from the 12th Ku with the "3"
over the three digit plane number are described in the caption as being from
the 1st Hikotai. (Hata/Izawa)
PO1c Kyosaku Aoki (Pilot 25),
12th Kokutai, 1938.
- p. 3 "3-162",
PO1c Kazuo TSUNODA (9/1), 12th Kokutai,
August 1938. Tsunoda scored his
first victory while serving with this unit in China.
He fought throughout the war while serving with various fighter units
and in the late war period flew with the special attack forces. To his good fortune (as well as Allied naval forces) the
missions that he flew with the special attack units proved unsuccessful in
finding and engaging the enemy.
On 14 November 1942 while leading an 8 plane formation providing air
cover for a Guadalcanal bound convoy and claiming a victory, his airplane
was hit and he was forced to ditch near the Russell Islands.
He was picked up by the destroyer
"3-105", PO1c Saburo KITAHATA (10+/4), 12th Kokutai, October 1940. After
two tours with the Ryujo AG and
stints with the Kasumigaura and Saeki Kokutai, Kitahata was assigned to the 12th Ku in July 1937.
In September 1938 he went to the Soryu
and later to the Yokosuka Ku. In
July 1940 he was again posted to the 12th Ku, this time as one of the pilots
delivering the new Zero fighter.
In May 1942 he joined the Junyo AG. He
participated in the Dutch Harbor raids, attacks on Guadalcanal and the
Battle of Santa Cruz. On
17.1.43 the unit was sent to Wewak for air defense purposes.
On the 23rd while attacking a formation of B-24s, Kitahata's plane
was hit and he deliberately crashed it.
- p. 4 "4-122",
PO1c Mitsugu MORI, 13th Kokutai,
18 February 1938. This plane
may also have been flown on occasion by PO3c
Kiyonobu Suzuki (9+/9), particularly around the time of his
commendation. He was
photographed while sitting in this machine.
(see Maru Mechanic # ? )
"4-133", PO1c Tetsuzo IWAMOTO, 13th Kokutai,
25 February 1938.
PO1c Toshio KURA-IWA (13/13),
13th Kokutai, 25 February 1938.
Kuro-iwa was one of the first NCO fighter pilots, graduating in 1928
with the Pilot 13 training class. With
the outbreak of the first Shanghai Incident in 1932 Kuro-iwa went aboard the
Kaga which then sailed for
Shanghai. Along with his CO,
Lt. Nokiji Ikuta, he was responsible for shooting down an American volunteer
pilot named Short (in a Boeing P-12). This was the first officially recognized aerial victory for
the Japanese air forces. Both
pilots received commendations.
In the spring of 1938 Kuro-iwa joined the 12th Kokutai. During a 3 month period he shot down 13 aircraft.
The following year he left the Navy and joined the Greater Japan
Airlines. He flew continuously
as a transport pilot until on 26 August 1944 he went missing over the Malay
"9-151", Lt. Motonari SUHO (15/11), 14th Kokutai,
Wichow Island, China, September 1940. Note
the color of the aircraft. This
is described as a "coppery" color. (see
JIC #2) This coloration
is something of a mystery. One source says that the planes were painted with a lacquer
which yellowed as it aged, while Koku Fan Illustrated #53 mentions
some of the early Zeros being painted in two different tones of amber which
would seem to relate in some fashion to the "copper" A5Ms.
Suho joined the 12th Ku in February 1938.
He scored his first kill on 29 April 1938.
In late 1939, after his promotion to Lieutenant, Suho was posted as a
buntaicho to the 14th Ku where he
claimed another 4+ victories. In the fall of 1940 he was introduced to the Zero.
Suho saw considerable action in the Pacific and spent a year and a
half as a test pilot. Suho was
said to be the greatest officer pilot in the JNAF as regards to flying
ability, while his 11 kills in China was the highest total for an officer.
After the war he flew with the JASDF and rose to the rank of general.
(see Flying Colors, Hata/Izawa)
- p. 5 "10-118",
Lt. Mochifumi NANGO, 15th Kokutai,
18 July 1938. Nango was a 1927
graduate of the Naval Academy. In
November 1932 he finished flight school and became a fighter pilot.
After tours aboard the Akagi
and with the Yokosuka Ku he spent two years in London as the Assistant Naval
Attache. In October 1937, after
the outbreak of the China war he was posted to the 13th Kokutai as a division officer.
On 2 December 1937 he got his first victories claiming 2 kills over
Nanking. That same month he was
transferred aboard the Soryu as
In the summer of 1938 Nango became Group Leader of the newly formed
15th Kokutai in China.
On the 18th of July over Nanchang, after shooting down a Gladiator,
he collided with an out of control enemy and was KIA.
His younger brother, Lt. Col. Shigeo Nango, was a successful fighter
pilot with the JAAF, scoring some 15 victories before being KIA on 23
January 1944. (Hata/Izawa)
PO3c Shigetaka OMORI (13), 15th Kokutai,
17 July 1938. In February 1938
he was posted to the 13th Ku in China.
He scored his first victory on 25 February 1938 over Nanchang.
In March he was transferred to the 12th Ku with which he flew until
December. At the beginning of
WWII he was aboard the Hosho.
In May 1942 he went aboard the Akagi
and was a shotaicho in the Shirane chutai.
At Midway he was involved in the air battle over the Japanese fleet
and after the Akagi was destroyed
he landed on the Hiryu.
He later flew in defense of this ship and, with his CO, ditched near
the Nagara at 7 PM.
After Midway Omori went aboard the Shokaku
as shotaicho. At the
Battle of Santa Cruz he was credited with shooting down 5 dive bombers.
According to Hata/Izawa he rammed another that was about to
drop its bomb on his carrier and was killed.
In actuality Omori's machine, “EI-131”,
blew up while attacking SBDs, apparently hit by their return fire.
PO1c Watari HANDA (13/6), 15th Kokutai,
18 July 1938. He graduated with
the Pilot 19 training class in 1933. At
the outbreak of the China Incident he was posted aboard the Kaga
in August 1937. He scored his
first victory, over a Curtis Hawk, on 7 September over Tahu.
On the 20th he got 3 more over Nanking.
In June 1938 he went to the 15th Ku.
When he returned to Japan in November he was credited with 6 kills.
In February 1942 Handa joined the Tainan Kokutai
and fought over the Dutch East Indies, Rabaul and New Guinea.
On 13 May 1942 he borrowed one of Saburo Sakai's wingmen, PO3c
Toshiaki Honda, for a reconnaissance mission to Port Moresby.
The small flight of Zeros was bounced near Port Moresby and Honda was
killed. This loss broke Handa's
spirit. At some point he
contracted tuberculosis and was invalided home at the end of 1942.
He died of the disease in 1948.
PO1c Sada-aki AKAMATSU (27/11),
15th Kokutai, 17 July 1938.
He graduated with the Pilot 17 training class in 1932.
In December 1937 he joined the 13th Ku.
At this time he was a PO1c and 27 years old.
On 25 February 1938 he shot down 4 enemy aircraft over Nanchang. When he left China to be posted to the Soryu he was credited with 11 kills. Akamatsu was promoted to WO in April 1941 and joined the 3rd Kokutai
at about the time of its formation in October.
He fought over the Philippines and the Dutch East Indies.
He returned to Japan in May 1942.
In July 1943 Akamatsu was posted to the 331 Kokutai
and participated in the attack on Calcutta in December.
After this he joined the 302 Ku with which he served till the end of
the war. He flew the Raiden with this unit. Akamatsu
was well known as a rather incorridgible character.
While he is officially credited with 27 kills, he himself claimed
that he had shot down no less than 350 enemy machines!
PO3c Yukio Aiso, 15th Kokutai,
- p. 6 "W-101",
Lt. Tomatsu YOKOYAMA (5), Soryu
AG, November 1938. During his
career Yokoyama also served with the Yokosuka, 12th and 3rd Kokutai,
among other units. When the
first Zeros were delivered to the 12th Ku in China, Yokoyama was chosen to
lead the first flight of 6. These
machines were delivered from the Yokosuka Kokutai.
This unit had been test flying the initial production batches of the
"W-102", PO1c Matsuo HAGIRI (13/7), Soryu
AG, November 1938. He was
famous for the moustache he wore. In
1935 he joined the Yokosuka Ku. In
August 1940 he joined the 12th Ku and was one of the pilots chosen to
transport Zeros to Hankow, China (home of the 12th Ku).
He was one of the pilots to fly the Zero on its first combat mission
on 19 August to Chungking though there was no enemy opposition. On the 4 October raid to Chungking Hagiri was one of the
group that landed at Taipingsze (see first Oishi entry). He also shot down 3 enemy aircraft on this raid.
In March 1941 he got three I-15s over Chengtu.
That summer Hagiri returned to the Yokosuka Ku where, along with
being promoted to Warrant Officer, he tested new aircraft and weapons.
In July 1943 he joined the 204 Kokutai
at Rabaul. On 24 September
1943 he scored victories over Buin but was WIA.
Hagiri returned home and flew with the Yokosuka Ku till the end of
the war. In April 1945 he was
again WIA while attacking a force of B-29s.
PO1c Hideo OISHI, Soryu
AG, November 1938.
PO1c Matsuo HAGIRI, Soryu
AG, 1939. Drawings on page 7
are top views of these machines.
- p. 8 "V-116",
PO3c Takashi Kura-uchi, Akagi
AG, 1941. He would later
fly with the 6th Kokutai. As a member of this unit, he was aboard the Akagi at Midway. The
6th Ku was to be stationed on Midway after its capture.
- p.11 This photo, taken
on 3 October 1940, shows a Navy carrier-based Type 96-4 fighter "9-165"
belonging to the 14th Kokutai. The
plane is on the way from Haikou AB in Hainan Dao to Leizhou Bandao in South
China where a Japanese Army division has just made a landing attack on the
face of the enemy. Underneath
the wings one can see 30 Kg bombs installed on the bomb racks.
This was the first time the Type 96 carrier-based fighter planes were
revealed in this condition.
- p.24 (top) Navy
Type 96 Carrier Fighter, Model 1 (A5M1) "31"
and Model 2-1 "32" of
the 12th Kokutai at Gungdai Air Base near Shanghai, China in March 1938.
"31" was flown
by PO3c Hitoshi Sato (Pilot 26)
and "32" by PO3c
Shigeru Makino (Pilot 27).
flown by PO3c Katsuhiro Hashimoto,
12th Kokutai. Note the rear
landing gear cover has been removed. Mud
accumulating at the rear of the covers had caused 6 aircraft to break their
landing gear. The removal of
the rear portion of the cover was an attempt to rectify the situation.
(bottom) A Type 96 Model
1 of the 12th Kokutai. The
pilot's name is unknown. Camouflage
- p.27 (top) Lt. Taro Nonaka, 13th Kokutai.
-191" of the Oita Kokutai.
-150", a Model 1 of the Yokasuka Kokutai during a flight
demonstration. These pilots
were vying for a position in the elite Air Group being prepared for the
Pearl Harbor raid. LTCR. Minoru
Genda was responsible for selecting the pilots.
- p.29 (middle) "3-138"
was flown by Lt. Shigema Yoshitomi,
a buntaicho in the in 12th Kokutai in 1938.
- p.38 (top) This photo shows a Type 96-4, "9-139", belonged to the 14th Kokutai flying over South China in
1940. The Type 96-4 was the
last and most manufactured variant since the introduction of the Type 96
carrier-based fighter. They
went through several changes; the engine was replaced with the
"Kotobuki" Type 41 (785 hp), the ceiling of the windscreen was
rounded and an antenna pole for the Type 96 radio was adopted as standard
equipment. As a result, there
was an improvement in the aircraft's performance such as: the maximum speed
increased nearly 20kt over that of the Type 96-2-2 which had an open
windscreen and attained 235kt (435.22Km/h), and the climb rate increased to
3 minutes 35 seconds to 3000m altitude. This means that the plane was restored to the performance of
the Type 96-trial 1~2 machines which were lighter by 400Kg.
Thus the Type 96-4 became, both in name and reality, the best
carrier-based fighter in the world at that time.
In Europe and America, however, fighters equipped with retracting
landing gear and capable of acheiving 500 km/h or more were being
introduced. The fuselage of the
14th Ku fighter shown here looks dark (not shiny).
This is because that, ever since the discovery in 1940 of corrosion
damage to the carrier-based fighters from salt, all Type 96 fighters were
coated with a transparent protective paint over the silver paint.
Although the protective paint was considered transparent, it had a
slight brown color, therefore the fuselage looked reddish-brown.
- (bottom right) This
photo shows the old and the new masterpieces of fighter planes produced by
Mitsubishi, displayed at Iwakuni AB in Yamaguchi Prefecture.
The two lines from the top of the photo are Type 96-4 machines and
the next two lines are Type 21 Zero fighters.
These all belonged to the Iwakuni Kokutai.
The bottom plane's tail marking is "Yo" indicating that
that the plane belongs to the Yokosuka Ku (possibly came to Iwakuni for
communication). Please note
that the difference in brightness between these two types of planes,
transparent paint over silver paint on the Type 96-4 machines and grey paint
on the Type 21 Zero aircraft. The
photo was taken in 1943.
- p.39 (three photos on this page)
These planes are Type 96-4
carrier-based fighters belonging to the 14th Kokutai at Nanning AB in South
China in the spring of 1940. The
top photo was taken from right behind the plane and is very useful for
seeing the cross sectional shape of the windshield and the dorsal fin.
The plane is the same one shown on the previous page, "9-139".
The two white stripes across the vertical fin seem to be used to
identify each buntai (squadron) in the 14th Ku. There were
some exceptions (like "9-188"
and "9-170") which do
not have such stripes. By the
way, the total number of fighters belonging to the 14th Ku was 18, and
therefore, the unit might have been divided into two buntais of 9 planes
The photo in the middle shows a shotai commander's plane parked in a
protective revetment. the
shotaicho's identification marking (red stripe with white outline) is shown
right beside the oversea plane identification marking on the fuselage (the
white fuselage band).
The photo below shows the lined up planes inside the protective
embankment, and is one of the photos in the series presented on pages 54-55.
The left most plane, which has two red stripes on both side of the
oversea plane identication marking, is the buntaicho (squadron commander) Captain
Motonari SUHO's plane, "9-151".
This plane is also shown at the bottom right in the top photo on page
54. Captain Suho came to the
14th Ku as a buntaicho in October 1939.
Later he shot down 11 planes, including 4 while flying a Zero, which
was the top score acheived by an officer pilot.
- p.45 Photos of the machines of the 3 pilots from the Soryu
Kokutai which are illustrated in the color section.
These are, from top to bottom, Yokoyama, Hagiri, and Oishi.
There are photos of two other machines from this unit which display
diagonal fuselage stripes. These
are "W-114" and "W-121"
and are thought to be planes flown by shotaichos.
According to Hata/Izawa, Sada-aki Akamatsu served aboard the
Soryu as a shotaicho at about this time.
One of these machines may have been his.
pictured aboard the Soryu on
December 6th, 1938 off of Xiamen, China.
This machine was flown by a shotaicho.
piloted by Lt. Tomatsu YOKOYAMA
takes off from the Soryu while on
operations in the East China Sea, November 1938.
from the carrier Hiryu in northern
Burma, 15 September 1940. The
pilot is Lt. Shigeru Itaya.
Another photo of this machine appears on page 12.
During his career Itaya served
with the 15th Kokutai, 12th Kokutai and aboard the Ryujo.
He is best known for his time aboard the Akagi
and as the commander of the 43 fighters that flew as air cover for the 1st
wave strike force at Pearl Harbor. He
was killed in the Kuriles on 24.7.1944, shot down by Japanese anti-aircraft
gunners who mistook his plane for an enemy machine.
At the time of his death he was a LCDR and was serving on the staff
of the 51st Air Flotilla. At
least one source states that Itaya had become an ace over China.
of the 12th Kokutai, September 1940. The
pilot is PO2c Takio Dannoue (Ko
(all) Dramatic photos of
PO3c Kan-ichi KASHIMURA (12/10), of the 13th Kokutai, returning to
base with his damaged machine. On
9 December 1937 in a raid on Nanking "Kashimura, who returned with one
wing", after destroying one enemy fighter, collided with another enemy
plane during a head-on attack. Though
losing 1/3 of his left wing he managed to keep his plane in the air.
He was able to fly his A5M back to his base.
Though he crashing on landing, he was unhurt.
Prior to being assigned to the 13th Kokutai he had served with the
Omura, Yokosuka and Kanoya AGs.At the end of 1939 he joined the 12th Kokutai.
After another tour with the Yokosuka Kokutai he was posted to the 582
Kokutai in December 1942. He
was MIA over the Russells Islands on 6.3.43.
A drawing of this machine appears on page 71. (Hata/Izawa)
(bottom) A shotai from
the 12th Kokutai taking off on 17.9.38.
PO1c Tora-ichi TAKATSUKA (16/3) is in "3-137", PO2c Hideo MAEDA
(13) in "3-154" and PO3c
SUZUKI in "3-155".
a pilot since 1933, participated in the 13 September 1940 attack on Chunking
with the Zero squadron attached to the 12th AG.
He got 3 kills on this raid. In
October 1941 he was promoted to W.O., placed on the inactive list and
immediately re-activated as a member of the Tainan AG.
He went MIA over Guadalcanal on 13.9.1942.
MAEDA was posted to the 12th Kokutai in January 1940, flying mostly air
defense and ground attack missions. After
serving in a number of training positions and reaching the rank of Warrant
Officer he was transferred to the 204 Kokutai at Rabaul in October 1943.
He fought from this base for several months until the unit was
withdrawn to Truk at the end of January 1944.
On 17.2.44 U.S. carrier planes
attacked Truk and the 204 Ku mustered a force of 31 fighters in opposition.
Of this force 18 were lost including Maeda, who went missing after
shooting down 2 of the attackers. Maeda
had flown in combat for less than 6 months total.
He was posthumously promoted to Ltjg.
Hiromori Shimomura (Pilot 33) of the 13th Kokutai.
He was KIA over Hankow, China on 23.10.38 after being hit by AA fire.
- p.54-55 (top)
A chutai of the 14th Kokutai in revetments.
Noto "9-151" of
Suho (left) and "9-158"
of Kofukuda (right).
Hitoshi Sato of the 12th Kokutai seated in the cockpit of "3-104".
of the 12th Kokutai, Hankow, China. Note
the aircraft number on the landing gear leg.
Lt. Kiyokuma Okajima
stands in front of the Type 96 Model 2-2.
Okajima would later serve as one of the flight leaders in the Pearl
Two shots of PO1c Kyosaku Aoki
"9-158" of Kofukuda.
Okawa" presented by Kensaburo Okawa to the Navy at Edan Air Base
near Osaka. The aircraft was
received by PO2c Yueo Kimura on behalf of the Navy.
(top) A shotai of the
12th Kokutai in flight. "3-108"
also appears on page 63 and in the color section. The aircraft was flown by PO1c
12th Kokutai, China, 1938. Is
this same the same machine from page 57 with Sato
in the cockpit?
- P.70 "4-122"
of 13th Kokutai, supposedly flown by Lt.
Shigeru Takuma when he was KIA on February 25th, 1938.
of PO3c Kan-ichi KASHIMURA, 13th
Kokutai, December 1937.
as flown by W.O. Isamu MOCHIZUKI
(9/9) of the 13th Kokutai, 1938. He
completed his pilot training in 1926. Prior
to the China Incident he had served aboard the Hosho
and the Kaga and with the Omura
and Yokosuka Kokutais. With the
outbreak of hostilities in China he was posted to the 13th Kokutai in
mid-1938. He scored all of his
victories in China. He returned
to Japan in January 1939. Later
he served as a flight instructor and was promoted to Ensign.
In March 1943 he was posted as a division officer with the newly
formed 281 Kokutai which was stationed in the Kuriles.
He was transferred to the Marshalls Islands as the war situation
worsened. Mochizuki is presumed
KIA on February 6, 1944 on Roi Island, probably in a Banzai attack after all
of the aircraft on the island had been destroyed.
His flying career spanned 18 years.
Two shots of "9-122"
of the 14th Kokutai which were obtained from the U.S. National Archives.
This aircraft was captured by Chinese soldiers when it crash-landed
at Weizhou (Wichow in some sources) Island in Southern China.
The pilot's name was not released by the Japanese.
Suho and Kofukuda again.
Soryu AG, December 1938. See
page 46. This plane was the
mount of a shotaicho.
Soryu AG, China 1941. This plane was presented by the Fukui Prefecture on
July 7, 1940. The pilot's name
from the carrier Akagi and stationed at Omura Air Base in April 1941.
The pilot is PO3c Takashi Kura-uchi.
"Yo-186" of by
Hideo Oishi in flight. This is
from the Yokasuka Kokutai.