Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Japanese World War 2 Aircraft

Japanese World War 2 Aircraft
A case of  'too little, too late'.

Kugisho MXY7 Ohka (Cherry Blossom) 22

Cockpit of the Ohka 22

While several rocket-powered Ohka 11s still exist, this Ohka 22 is the only surviving version powered by a motor-jet, which consisted of a reciprocating engine that pressurized a combustion chamber into which fuel was injected and ignited. Allied forces recovered the Ohka 22 in Japan in 1945. Unlike the Ohka 11, the Ohka 22 never became operational.

Aichi M6A1 Seiran (Clear Sky Storm)

Aichi chief engineer, Toshio Ozaki, designed the M6A1 Seiran to fulfill the requirement for a bomber that could operate exclusively from a submarine. Japanese war planners devised the idea as a means for striking directly at the United States mainland and other important strategic targets, like the Panama Canal, that lay thousands of kilometers from Japan. To support Seiran operations, the Japanese developed a fleet of submarine aircraft carriers to bring the aircraft within striking distance. No Seiran ever saw combat, but the Seiran/submarine weapons system represents an ingenious blend of aviation and marine technology.

This M6A1 was the last airframe built (serial number 28) and the only surviving example of the Seiran in the world. Imperial Japanese Navy Lt. Kazuo Akatsuka ferried this Seiran from Fukuyama to Yokosuka where he surrendered it to an American occupation contingent.

Kawanishi N1K2-Ja Shiden (Violet Lightning) Kai (Modified) GEORGE

Shiden Cockpit

GEORGE is the unlikely Allied nickname for the best Japanese naval fighter produced in quantity during World War II. The official Japanese name and designation was Kawanishi N1K2 Shiden (Violet Lightning). This outstanding land-based fighter sprang directly from a floatplane fighter design, the N1K1 REX (see NASM collection).

Many countries used floatplanes for scouting and reconnaissance duties, and to hunt submarines and surface ships, but only Japan built and fielded fighters on floats. The Japanese Imperial Navy intended to use these specialized aircraft to gain air superiority above a beachhead to support amphibious landing operations where carrier or land-based fighters were unavailable. The Kawanishi N1K1 (Allied codename REX) was the only airplane designed specifically for this purpose to fly during World War II.

The cockpit photos are from the Natl Air and Space museum web page. All others are mine.


Anonymous said...

The proper designation for the "George" was N1K2-J.
The J suffix is important because a "N" type is a Floatplane Fighter.
An example of this type of designation change is the A6M2-N "Rufe".
The "A" designation was a Carrier Fighter but the Rufe was a conversion to a Floatplane and thus the suffix of "N" was appended.

Arash Irandoust said...

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