Anybody have info on IJN ace Shigeo Fukumoto?

Discussion in 'Stories' started by smilefan, Apr 20, 2011.

  1. smilefan

    smilefan New Member

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    #1 smilefan, Apr 20, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2011
    This guy is a total enigma. Supposedly, he was one of the great
    Zero aces of the South Pacific with 72 kills. I find almost no information on this
    pilot other than he held the rank of Warrant Officer in 253 Ku, and wound up staying behind
    in Rabaul, with fellow ace Sekizen Shibayama, to attempt to train up a
    combat ready air unit with the remaining pilots and planes left there. Reportedly,
    he did not survive the war.

    How does a 72 kill ace live and die in almost total anonymity?
    Could this guy have been a fiction? Does anyone know ANYTHING else
    about this pilot who should be a legend?


    The only supposed pic of this guy I could find:

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Wayne Little

    Wayne Little Well-Known Member

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    Will check my Aces book but don't recall the name.....?
     
  3. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    #3 syscom3, Apr 29, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2011
    I looked through my book "Japanese Naval Aces and Fighter Units in WW2" and came up with nothing, aside a picture of him and some of his fellow pilots.
     
  4. smilefan

    smilefan New Member

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  5. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    All what I know about him is he belonged to 302-Ku in 1945.
     
  6. Wayne Little

    Wayne Little Well-Known Member

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    That's where I went too....
     
  7. smilefan

    smilefan New Member

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    Do you have any info on where 302-Ku was based in '45? Home islands?
    At least this suggests he made it thru to '45.
     
  8. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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  9. le_steph40

    le_steph40 Well-Known Member

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    Hello,

    I think I read that he flew A6M3 T.32 Hamp in 253 Kok. during 2nd half 1943.
     
  10. Ivan1GFP

    Ivan1GFP Member

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    Hi Shinpachi,

    The J2M that is being pushed shows a Yo-D tail marking. Does that mean that this was a Yokosuka based plane that just happened to be at Atsugi?

    - Ivan.
     
  11. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    #12 Shinpachi, May 14, 2011
    Last edited: May 14, 2011
    Hello, Ivan.
    Sorry for my late answer as I just noticed your post today.

    The 302-Ku flying corps was originally organized by fighters of Gekko(Irvin), Ginga(P1Y1 Frances), Suisei(D4Y Judy), Raiden(J2M Jack) and Reisen(A6M Zero) in Yokosuka naval station for defense of Tokyo on March 1, 1944.

    Squadron of Raiden, however, stayed separately at Oppama airfield of Yokosuka City sharing the base with Yokosuka naval flying corps.
    Gekko squadron also separately stayed at Kisarazu airbase which was located opposite to Yokosuka City across Tokyo Bay because the runway was large enough for such twin-engined night fighter as Gekko.

    And, only a few weeks later, all squadrons of 302-Ku moved to Atsugi airfield nearby Tokyo since the original Atsugi flying corps known as 203-Ku had suddenly moved to the northern Chishima(Russian name: Kuril) islands.
     
  12. Wayne Little

    Wayne Little Well-Known Member

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    The J2M3 was flown by Lt. Susumo ITO aircraft code was Yo-D-152
     
  13. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    Such detailed research was totally beyond my imagination!
    Great study, Wayne:shock:
     
  14. windswords

    windswords Member

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    I was trying to find out more info on this particular pilot and came across this old thread. From what I can tell the reason that his name and victory count are on so many lists with no other information is because these web pages are just copying from one another. Unfortunately that is one of the drawbacks of the internet, especially if the information that is repeated is incorrect.

    I did have in my notes some additional info. It came from a website that no longer exists:

    "This is Shigeo Fukumoto, He led Rabaul's "Guerrilla Air Force" of eight Zero fighters after the 253rd AG had retreated to Truk. Having survived the war with an impressive score of 72 victories, he was killed in a road accident in December 1945."

    Hopefully that additional info can lead someone with more resources than I to locate some definitive information on this aviator.

    Frank
     
  15. cherry blossom

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    Likely origins of the information are two books by Henry Sakaida “Imperial Japanese Navy Aces 1937-45” Imperial Japanese Navy Aces 1937-45 - Henry Sakaida - Google Books and “The Siege of Rabaul”.

    One could add that the circumstances of Rabaul's "Guerrilla Air Force" with Fukumoto as the senior pilot were not ideal for keeping a perfect record of Fukumoto's victories (rather like Malta in 1941 only much worse).
     
  16. windswords

    windswords Member

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    Great find Cherry Blossom! So it appears that everything known about him, his victory count, his accidental death, where he served, etc. was from Sakaida's book. Now the question is, what was source of Sakaida's information? If anyone has a copy of his book, could you check to see if there are any footnotes for the material about Shigeo Fukumoto?

    Frank
     
  17. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    Data source was Kazuhiko Osuo - a Japanese war historian/writer.

    Attached image from "Imperial Japanese Navy Aces 1937-45" by Henry Sakaida
    Data_source.JPG
     
  18. windswords

    windswords Member

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    Thank you Shinpachi, I would have thought that K Osuo was only the photographer.

    Frank
     
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