JNAF Lieutenant J/G

Born in June 1916 in Shimane (Hata/Izawa) or Hokkaido (Sakaida) Prefecture
Graduated from Masuda Agriculture & Forestry School
Tetsu did not want to be a farmer and so
Joined Imperial Japanese navy in June 1934
December 1936 - Graduated as fighter pilot from 34th pilot training course
February 25 1938 - His baptism of fire is with 12 AG claims 4 destroyed & 1 probable
- (I-15s & I-16s)
April 29 over Hankow - downs 4 more fighters
September 1938 - sent to Japan to join Saiki AG
At war's end he had flown 82 sorties & claimed 14 Kills
He was Japan's top Ace of the China War


Serving aboard the carrier Zuikaku, Iwamoto flew top cover
- for the Japanese Invasion Fleet at Pearl Harbor
Returned to Japan December 24th
participated in the battles of the Indian Ocean & Coral Sea
August 1942 - became an instructor
Transferred to Air Group 281 - spring 1943
Spent summer on Paramushir Island doing air defense
November '43 - went with 15 new fighters to Rabaul
Where he joined 204 AG & later 253 AG
February 1944 - withdrew to Truk Island to
- protect against near constant B-24 bombardment
June 1944 - He returned to Japan
September '44 - attached to Fighter Hikotai 316, 252 AG
& Promoted to ensign
October - air battles over Taiwan & Philippines
by November he's back in Japan
Spring 1945 - transferred to AG 203 & sent to Kyushu
- for more air defense operations
He spent the last months of the war training
- Kamikaze pilots at Iwakuni Airfield


Tetsuzo Iwamoto finished the war credited with approximately 80 planes destroyed in China & WW2. He had almost 8 years of combat under his belt, had flown against a myriad of enemy & downed a large share of them as well. This makes him one of the most experienced fighter pilots of all time.
His own writings, which were found after his death, have him claiming 202 planes destroyed, 27 unconfirmed destroyed, 26 shared destroyed & 2 destroyed OTG [on the ground]. The Japanese were probably the biggest over-claimers* of WW2 however and since Nishizawa was considered "Top Dog" by the Japanese at the time, I consider the estimate of 80 to be somewhat high. No doubt others consider it far too low!

Like many Japanese veterans, Iwamoto did not adjust well to Japan's defeat. This was not helped by the fact that he was "blacklisted" from most employment opportunities & had turned to alcohol.

On 20 May 1955, after a series of bad surgeries, he passed away, his wife claiming his last words to be, roughly, "When I get better, I want to fly again."


[* It should be noted that the over-claiming was probably a result of poor record keeping techniques as opposed to pilot boasting]

Japanese Aces ---
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