The Survivors: Mitsubishi J2M Raiden – The Last Japanese Thunderbolt

This is some of what our airmen were up against in the Pacific.

Aces Flying High

One of the better fighter designs operated by the Imperial Japanese Navy in World War Two but not built in enough numbers, was the Mitsubishi J2M Raiden (“Thunderbolt” – Allied Code Name: Jack) land based interceptor used to attack Allied bombers such as the USAAF Boeing B-29 Superfortress. It was designed to be fast with a top speed 596km/h (370 mph – examples captured and tested by the United States using 92 octane fuel plus methanol, flew at speeds between 655km/h and 671km/h!), with an excellent rate of climb, to quickly reach the enemy bombers at altitude and later variants packed a punch with 4 x 20mm Type 99 wing mounted cannons to bring them down. It was armoured but maneuverability was sacrificed for speed and this pilot protection. Unfortunately performance at high altitude was hampered by the lack of an engine turbocharger on the main production Raiden aircraft.

Mitsubishi J2M1 Raiden prototype - the three J2M1 Raiden prototypes flew for the first time on March 20th, 1942 Mitsubishi…

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About GP

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GP is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on March 17, 2018, in Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 50 Comments.

  1. Pierre Lagacé

    Can’t get enough of Ace Flying High…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice pics,so I commented on that blog:D


    • I’m glad you found it interesting.
      Nasuko, do you happen to know of a first hand story about Iwo Jima by a Japanese soldier or sailor?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dr.GP Cox,
        one of first hand story↓

        Liked by 1 person

        • I am translating now, but I post it in the original ↓



          「凄惨な戦闘克明に 須崎市出身の故人が硫黄島生還記」


          Facebook 高知新聞 メディア:
          Twitter:高知新聞 (公式)Kochinews @Kochi_news

          Liked by 1 person

          • This comment publish OK 😀

            This author don’t write bad things about American in this Note.
            He was matter-of-fact ,but this first hand story seems that he actually wrote his real feeling.
            For example,
            One Boss ditched his team member in Iwo Jima,
            One Boss abused his team member,
            In the American prisoner of war facilities,Japanese Navy lynched Japanese Army,
            When he returned to Japan,In the train,nobody gave a seat to a sick veteran him,
            Japanese woman and USA Soldier seemed to be touching.
            He will be disappointed about that and bit get angry..but..
            All Japanese had a hard struggle for existence at that time.
            This first hand Note teach us which Japanese “reality ” lost the war,I think. 😀

            Liked by 1 person

            • This comment publish OK.

              About The war situation of “The Battle of Iwo Jima “,
              It is written from the other(Japanese) side by Soldier of real experience in the field.

              When the USA Army landed from the South coast,
              USA thought that the Japanese Army on the land wiped out, but Japanese were in the basement,
              There were Japanese Unit who attacked USA without( Ignore) General Kuribayashi’s orders,
              The situation which the Japanese army was hiding under the ground when USA attacked 天山 with a tank …

              Please have someone translate the whole sentence and read it,
              I think that it is very interesting for you!! 😀

              Liked by 1 person

            • Thank you. Factual information, plus feelings put everything into perspective – especially when you are looking from all sides. You have gone to a lot of research here and time to answer my question, I greatly appreciate all your work and thank you.

              Liked by 1 person

          • I appreciate all your hard work here.

            Liked by 1 person

        • Thank you very much, Nasuko. It is very interesting seeing the other side of the story – and it is important while relating the story. I appreciate you taking the time to do this.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Very informative post gp, as one of your other followers stated, it is great to see at least one remaining example of this Plane still being preserved, another piece of the Jig Saw that illustrates the aerial warfare days of the Second World War.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Don’t worry! It all worked out OK with the B-29, the B-25 and the Hellcat. That’s more than enough for any situation!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Fortunately, too little and way too late, like the Shiden-Kai (Violet Lightning) fighter.
    Both needing much training and flight time, the loss of their experienced pilots was more of a factor than even lack of resources and fuel.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. pretty plane and one i have never seen before, thank you for the article

    Liked by 1 person

  7. They are rather good looking planes but I’m glad they did not make enough of those. Otherwise we would be in deep trouble.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow. It’s marvelous to see the old plane — although you’re right GP — our guys would not think so at all. Happy St. Patrick’s Day hugs! ☘️

    Liked by 1 person

  9. That was an impressively large fighter indeed. Whenever I read about any Japanese aircraft, it seems that pilot protection was always sacrificed for more speed. If they had given that some thought, more pilots might have been able to survive to return with their planes to fight another day.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I had a plastic model of this plane when I was young. It was one of my favorite Japanese WW II planes.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Forunate then that they had limited supply of these.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Thanks for the repost!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Interesting! I know the P38 Lightning, the P51 Mustang, and the F4U Corsair were not that fast, maybe 450 (+ or -). They must gave been tough to deal with.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Yes, you are an Angel!


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