This elite unit was organized around April 25, 1945, was based in Kanoya, Kagoshima Prefecture, Kyushu, and was assigned to the protection of the air bases of south Kyushu against B-29 raids. It was an exclusive "Raiden" unit gathered from the 302 Kokutai, the 352 Kokutai and the 332 Kokutai. It was nicknamed "Tatsumaki Butai" (Tornado Unit) and commander was LCDR Yamada Kushichiro, the leader of the 302Ku air group.
The first "Raiden" from the 302Ku were to arrive on April 23 but three made emergency landings at Naruo airfield, one was forced to land at Matsuyama base and in the end, eight reached Kanoya. During the same day, 12 "Raiden" from the 332Ku arrived as well. Crews and supplies arrived with one Yokosuka L3Y, two Douglas L2D and three Mitsubishi G6M1-L2.
The next day, ten "Raiden" from the 302Ku landed in Kanoya together with two from the 332Ku.
They were followed on the 25th by one from the 302Ku and three from the 332Ku.
The next day, seven "Raiden" from the 352Ku arrived, but, during landing, one of them suffered serious damage.
All in all, the unit had 19 "Raiden" from the 302Ku, 17 from the 332Ku and six from the 352Ku.
On April 27, "Tatsumaki Butai" was organized as follows:
There were two main groups, "Ko" with all the 302Ku aircraft and "Otsu" with all the rest.
The "Ko" group was split into 1tai with 1st (four "Raiden") and 2nd Shotai (three "Raiden"), 3tai with 3rd Shotai (four "Raiden") and 4th Shotai (four "Raiden"), and the 5tai with the 5th Shotai (four "Raiden").
The "Otsu" group was split into 2tai, 4tai and 6tai with two shotai each. The shotai of the 2tai and the 4tai (from the 332Ku) had four "Raiden" each and the two shotai of the 6tai (from the 352Ku) had three "Raiden" each.
Below are all the aircraft of the "Tasumaki Butai" with their pilots as of April 27, 1945.
ヨD-147 - PO1c Murakami Yoshifumi
ヨD-150 - CPO Kaneda Tadashi
ヨD-151 - LTJG Ueno Norio
ヨD-155 - LTJG Sato Noriyasu
ヨD-156 - LdgSea Kurosu Rinji(?)
ヨD-157 - LT Ito Susumu (commander of the 302Ku group)
ヨD-158 - CPO Yamakawa Mitsuyasu
ヨD-167 - this aircraft was not mentioned in the register of that day
ヨD-185 - LdgSea Kuroda Shoji (actually 32-185, see pt.4)
ヨD-1163 - LTJG Tsukada Hiroshi
ヨD-1164 - PO1c Sasazawa Hitoshi
ヨD-1167 - CPO Suzuki Hironobu
ヨD-1173 - CPO Ito Seikichi
ヨD-1180 - LdgSea Tsukada Shigeo
ヨD-1183 - LTJG Katami Seijo
ヨD-1190 - WO Baba Takehiko
ヨD-1193 - CPO Kobayashi Katsuji
ヨD-1197 - LdgSea Oki Takeshi
ヨD-1199 - CPO Kawai Shigetsugu (Shigeji)
ヨD-185 - PO2c Oomine Minoru
The "battle reports" of the unit, mysteriously, mention two ヨD-185 "Raiden", which is highly unusual. On April 27, Kuroda's plane was part of the 1st Shotai and Oomine's part of the 4th Shotai. On April 29, Kuroda took off at 06:15 and the second "185", this time flown by LTJG Ueno, took off two minutes later at 06:17. In all the "battle reports" the planes are clearly mentioned as "185", so there is little possibility of making a mistake and writing "185" instead of, for example, "1185". Obviously, they were two separate aircraft.
Update: see pt.4, here.
In general, the 302Ku had "problematic" tail numbers. There are photos of different types of aircraft with the same register. For example, there is a "Ginga" ヨD-156 and a Zero ヨD-150. Perhaps when these aircraft were reassigned, destroyed or retired, new aircraft received their registrations.
There are photos of 302Ku "Raiden" with the same tail numbers as those of the "Tatsumaki Butai" but taken at a later date or at the end of the war. Perhaps they are the same aircraft but, because of the aforementioned problem, we can't be 100% sure.
|ヨD-155 & ヨD-1190 found at Atsugi at the end of the war.|
32-112 - WO Ishihara Susumu
32-113 - LdgSea Kunimoto Goro
32-160 - LTJG Watanabe ?
32-168 - PO1c Yamura Koichi
32-173 - PO2c Onaka Masayuki
32-175 - LTJG Aizawa Zenzaburo
32-178 - LdgSea Yahara Masayoshi
32-181 - LTJG Sato Kanji
32-182 - PO2c Azuma Fukuo
32-186 - CPO Matsumoto Saichi
32-187 - PO2c Dehara Kanichi
32-188 - LdgSea Hara Shigezo
32-189 - CPO Ochi Akeshi
32-190 - LT Nakajima Kohei (commander of the 332Ku group)
32-192 - CPO Saito Eigoro
32-195 - LdgSea Fukuda Toshikazu (?)
As mentioned in the previous post, the "Raiden" of the 332Ku should have their fuselage hinomaru with a darker surround.
352-32 - LdgSea Iwaki Hideo
352-37 - LTJG Aoki Yoshihiro (commander of the 352Ku group)
352-52 - ENS Kaneko Kiyotoshi
352-61 - LTJG Okamoto Toshiaki
352-62 - LTJG Yamamoto Sadao
352-67 - ENS Kikuchi Nobuo
Note that commander Aoki did not bring with him his "352-20" "Raiden". As we previously saw, the lack of photographic material in combination with the "Tatsumaki Butai" "battle reports" led Arii and Tamiya to conclude that the "Raiden" with the two bolts of lightning had the tail number "352-37".
Unfortunately the photograph of "352-20" proves that these depictions were inaccurate. Please, if you care about accuracy, don't apply the old Tamiya decals with the wrong tail number on your kit.
Arii nevertheless included one more "Tatsumaki Butai" "Raiden" in its old kit.
The Aeromaster decals include five "Tatsumaki Butai" "Raiden" in two sets in 1/48.
As before, this post will be updated. Stay tuned!