Profile no 51. Nakajima Ki-43-II Hayabusa

White 00, flown by Shosa Toshio Sakagawa, HQ of the 25th Sentai, Hankow/China, December 1943
Toshio Sakagawa, a legend within the IJAAF, was posted to the 25th Sentai in October of 1942, leading this unit until late 1944. During this time the 25th Sentai had emerged as most successful fighter unit in China. During December of 1943, there was a lull in the fighting and the claims and losses were few. Then, on the 27th, the 25th and 11th Sentai attacked Suichwan airdrome, with the two units filing claims of no less than 10 enemy fighters with four Ki-43s lost. For the loss of one P-40 however, the pilots of the 23rd Fighter Group´s 76th Fighter Squadron claimed five kills during the dogfights. One of the pilots from the 25th Sentai killed that day was the ace, Capt. Nazakazu Ozaki, the 2nd chutai leader. Sakagawa graduated from the Army Military Academy in 1931, and later in 1936 he participated in the war in China. Here as the leader of the 2nd chutai of the 11th Rentai, Sakagawa flew ground support sorties in the northern part of China. After he returned to Japan, he became a flight instructor at Akeno in March 1939. Thereafter he held commands in the 24th Sentai, and after that he was promoted to Major, he then took command to the 47th I F Chutai. This unit was created for operational testing of the new Army type 2 fighter, the Nakajima Ki-44 Shoki. Thereafter he was transferred to the 25th Sentai and after leaving this unit he was transferred back to the Ateno Test Centre. Then he became the deputy commander of the 200th Sentai in October 1944, fighting in the Philippines. Finally, he was posted to the 22nd Sentai, another unit in the Philippines. This unit was flying the Ki-84 Hayate and had experienced high losses and morale was low. Toshio Sakagawa led by example however and improved morale in the unit significantly. When the 22nd was ordered back to Japan to recuperate, the personnel flew out of Fabrica on 19 December 1944, but the transport they were traveling in was lost en route. Sakagawa is credited with a total of 15 victories during the Pacific War.

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

© Claes Sundin 2020