Profile no 108. Mitsubishi J2M3 Raiden

White 1195, flown by Dai-i Sadaaki Akamatsu, 302nd Kokutai, Atsug/Japan, 19 April 1945
Akamatsu was a notorious aviator within the IJN, known for his air combat skills as well as for his eccentricities. A really tough type of man not only in the air, but on the ground. It was known that the off-duty pilots of the 302nd Kokutai congregated in a small area on the airfield where they held sumo (wrestling) matches. Akamatsu was one tough guy who seldom lost. He also excelled at judo, earning himself a 4th grade "Vodan" black belt. According to research, he managed on this day, 19 April, to down two P-51 Mustangs from the 15th FG. The Americans in fact confirmed the loss of two Mustangs, but according to their statistics, both were lost due to ground-fire. What is more interesting is that Akamatsu did not claim any Mustangs shot down on this day. And knowing that he usually did under these circumstances he would definitely have done so. What is known however is the story of his only confirmed Mustang kill during his combat career, a combat that probably took place on 23 June 1945. As he related in his memoirs, "It was near the end of the war, after the great enemy air formations wrecked Tokyo, that I fought them. While they were returning home, we chased them. We spotted the enemy planes on the southern tip at the end of Tokyo Bay. Five of our Raiden´s raced in to fight. The enemy always kept the tail covered with the P-51. I hid behind one where he had a blind spot. After following for a while, I had the advantage of attack "I fired my guns from very close range and hit its fuel tank. Then suddenly, he fell, on fire. The others saw this and spiraled down to attack me. I had expended all of my ammunition, I couldn't run because they would chase me, so I made a head-on attack". Sadaaki Akamatsu served as a fighter pilot for more than 14 years, seven years in combat. By the end of the war, he had amassed more than 8,000 hours of flight time.

Note that this is one of the 130 profiles/captions included in my new Pacific Fighter Book.

© Claes Sundin 2019