Thursday 29 April 2021

302 Kokutai - Mitsubishi J2M "Raiden" (Jack) - video Pt.1

The last video in the NHK news series features the 302 Kokutai (San Maru Futa Kokutai) of the IJNAF and the Mitsubishi J2M "Raiden" fighters they flew. We present the video in two parts due to size limitations.

The video starts:
"The "Raiden" Flighter Unit of the "Sea Wild Eagles" spread their wings over the mainland, shooting down an uncountable number of B-29s"

Then it follows with the "Raiden" song. Here are the lyrics in Japanese, Romaji and our English translation. 

呼べよ瑞雲 富士に射す
Yobeyo Zuiun  Fuji ni sasu 
Call the Auspicious Cloud, wrapped around Fuji-san

旭陽浴びて 羽ばたけば
Kyokuyo abite  Habatakeba
Bathe in the sunshine, flap your wings

醜夷の翼 挑むとも
Shuui no tsubasa Idomu tomo
Challenge the ugly wings of the enemy

皇土守らん 若桜
Kodo mamoran  Wakazakura
Protect our Imperial land, young cherry blossoms

我等 雷電戦闘機隊
Warera Raiden sentokitai
We are the "Raiden" Fighter Unit

全機進発 振る旗は
Zenki shinpai  Furu hata wa
All the aircraft are taking off, waving flags

興廃懸けし Z旗ぞ
Kohai kakeshi Z-ki zo
The rise and fall of the Z-flag

撃墜マーク 輝かし
Gekitsui maaku  Kagayakashi
Kill markings shine

疾風をまいて 征く愛機
Hayate o maite  Yuku aiki
Throwing up a gale of wind,  (our) beloved fighters take off  

我等 雷電戦闘機隊
Warera  Raiden sentokitai
We are the "Raiden" Fighter Unit

見たり敵曳く 飛行機雲
Mitari teki hiku  Hikoki gumo
Looking at the contrails of the enemy airplanes

巻雲裂きて 益荒男が
Kenun sakite  Masurao ga
Rip the cirrus clouds, brave men 

まなじり高く 襲いゆき
Manajiri takaku  Osoi yuki
In high spirits, we attack the enemy

衝くは疾風か  稲妻か
Tsuku wa Hayate ka  Inazuma ka
Hitting like a gale or thunder

我等 雷電戦闘機隊
Warera Raiden sentokitai
We are the "Raiden" Fighter Unit

弾幕衝いて 突撃す
Danmaku tsuite  Totsugeki su
Oppose a barrage, attack

降下反転 必殺の
Koka hanten  Hissatsu no
Dive and turn over, (strike a) deadly blow

機銃轟然 火を吐けば 
Kiju sozen  Hi wo hakeba
The roaring machine gun, spitting fire

燃えて墜ち行く ボーイング
Moete ochiyuku  Boingu
Shooting down burning Boeings

我等 雷電戦闘機隊
Warera Raiden sentokitai
We are the "Raiden" Fighter Unit

At 0:30 we can see a J2M3 Model 21 with tail marking "ヨD - 1164". The particular aircraft was flown by NAP1/C Sasazawa Hitoshi when the 302Ku was based in Kanoya. On April 28-29 shot down one B-29 and damaged four more. It made an emergency landing in Miyazaki base, Miyazaki Prefecture, and was damaged beyond repair. 
The kanji under the tail marking was the name of the maintenance group leader responsible for this aircraft.

The life vest of a pilot, probably NAP1/C Murakami ? and under it says "Raiden".

At 01:04 the shout "KEREI!" (salute!) can be heard, followed by "NAORE!" (at ease!)...

...and Hikotai-cho (unit leader) LT Yamada Kushichiro, calls the pilots and is giving a speech:
"The mission of our fighter unit is extremely important. We have to protect the industrial areas that manufacture aircraft, weapons, ammunition, the transportation network and the warehouses that store them. We have to protect these places from the bombing of the enemy. This is our mission now. Therefore, everyone must do their outmost to knock down all our enemies, flying these brilliant "Raiden" aircraft."

Yamada Kushichiro was orginally a floatplane pilot who flew "Rufe" during the Aleutian Campaign and shot down one P-38, check HERE.
He is the pilot in this photo, from KFI#96, and he's sometimes mistaken for a non-Japanese.


WK said...

I am currently building 3 Hasegawa Raiden and I am always on the lookout for nice pictures of weathered Raiden. The last photo is excellent, both for weathering and showing how the pilot aged from combat.

Antoine said...

A Rufe shoot down a P 38 ????

Unknown said...

Fascinating story and equally well-done research ...Thanks

Arawasi said...

@Antoine, yes, example: "December 30, 1942 ALEUTIAN ISLANDS: 28th Composite Bombardment Group B-25s and 343d Fighter Group P-38s mount a low-level attack against two ships and three submarines in Kiska harbor. A 343d Fighter Group P-38 pilot downs one of four A6M2-Ns that engage the attack force near Kiska at 1145 hours, but two other P-38s are downed, as is one B-25. A Patrol Wing 4 PBY later reports that it has picked up several survivors, but it fails to return to its base."

Antoine said...

Thank you for this answer.