PO1c Yukuo Hanzawa, Shōkaku Fighter Squadron, patrol during the second attack wave,

Pearl Harbor

Fighters from Shōkaku did not participate in the second attack wave on Pearl Harbor.

Instead, 12 aircraft from Shōkaku patrolled successively over the carrier group under the

command of Lt. Masao Iizuka. PO1c Hanzawa led the 1st shōtai on patrol. At that time, he had

nearly three years of operational service under his belt, including a tour of duty with the

12th Kōkūtai in China. Hanzawa gained fame on May 8, 1942 during the Battle of the Coral Sea

when he landed on the smoke-covered deck of a damaged carrier without help of arresting

wire. He was killed in action at the Battle of Santa Cruz on October 26, 1942 in a duel with

Lt. „Ken” Bliss, the Blue 29 section leader of VF-72, USS Hornet. Hanzawa attacked Bliss from

behind, severely damaging his Wildcat. Apparently believing that Bliss was bailing out, he

pulled up in front of him, but the American shot him down at that moment. Bliss ditched and

survived. Hanzawa held the rank of Warrant Officer at that time.

This wrecked A6M2 aircraft found in March 1944 by a reconnaissance patrol on Gasmata airstrip, New Britain

was labelled “out of bounds to all troops by order of Commanding General Allied Air Forces” to discourage

souvenir hunters. Note the aluminium paint peeling off propeller blade, showing red-brown primer color.

(Photo: AWM)

c/n 5379, PO1c Tsuguo Matsuyama, Hiryū Fighter Squadron, aircraft carrier Hiryū,

December 7, 1941

During second attack against Hawaii the Hiryū aircraft carrier sent nine Zeros under the

command of Lt. Sumio Nōno. His pilots attacked Kaneohe and Bellows bases, claiming two

destroyed aircraft and one car. Third Shōtai was led by PO1c Matsuyama, who shot down

in cooperation with his wingman P-40s piloted by 2nd Lieutenants George Whiteman and

Samuel Bishop of the 44th Pursuit Squadron. Matsuyama had combat missions with the 13th

Kōkūtai in China on his account already. On February 25, 1938, as wingman of the legendary

Sadaaki Akamatsu, he participated in shooting down four aircraft. During the raids on Ceylon

on April 9, 1942, Matsuyama's shōtai shot down a Blenheim Mk.IV, probably of S/Ldr Kenneth

Ault´s crew, who was leading formation of No. 11 Squadron RAF in an attack on Japanese

ships. Matsuyama later served on the aircraft carrier Hiyō and was killed on April 7, 1943 in

combat with the Wildcats off Guadalcanal. The airplane BII-124 was shot down on February

19, 1942 during the raid on Darwin. After being hit by anti-aircraft fire, Seaman 1st class Hajime Toyoshima landed on Melville Island and was captured by Aboriginal Matthias Ulungura.

Toyoshima was the first captured Zero pilot and used alias „Tadao Minami”. He became one

of the organizers of the largest prisoner escape in World War II. On August 5, 1944 at Cowra

POW Camp he gave signal to escape. Total of 1,104 POWs attempted to espace, 231 were killed

and four Australians lost their lives as well. Toyoshima was mortally wounded, so he lighted

a cigarette and committed suicide.

Lt. Zenjirō Miyano, 3. Kōkūtai, Poeleti airfield, Timor, March 1942

This aircraft, manufactured by Mitsubishi, was photographed in April 1942 in Rabaul with

partially repainted markings that originally belonged to Lieutenant Miyano. The bands and

stripes may have been in dark blue or black color. Zenjirō Miyano served from 1939 with the

12th Kōkūtai in China and was appointed as a Buntaichō with the 3rd Kōkūtai in October 1941.

He participated in the campaigns in the Philippines and the Dutch East Indies. During a raid

on Broome, Australia, on March 3, 1942, Miyano attacked a Dutch civil DC-3. The pilot was

Capt. Ivan Smirnov, a World War I Russian fighter ace. With one engine on fire, he managed

to make an emergency landing, but the Zero pilots killed four passengers on the ground.

In April 1942 Miyano was transferred to the 6th Kōkūtai, which was to be based at Midway.

Part of his unit was on the way to Midway aboard the carrier Jun´yō, which participated in

the attack against Dutch Harbor in the Aleutians. Miyano also participated in the raid. His

unit was based at Rabaul from August 1942 and was redesignated Kōkūtai 204 in November.

From March 1943 Miyano took position of Hikōtaichō. He was one of the innovators of combat

tactics and was the first to introduce the finger-four formation in Japanese naval aviation.

Miyano achieved a total of 16 victories and was killed on June 16, 1943, over Guadalcanal

during escort of dive bombers.


INFO Eduard

The armament of Japanese fighters included phosphorus bombs, which were used against bomber formations.

This image from the fall of 1944 shows an American B-24 near Iwo Jima under the blast of this weapon.

(Photo: Fold3)

April 2022