Gotha-MMW Ka 430A-0 (Huma)

TYPE: Medium Assault and Freight Glider

ACCOMMODATION: Crew of two + 12 troops or 1,600 kg freight



COMMENT: The Gotha Ka 430 was a medium assault and freight glider, first built in 1944. The glider was designed by A. Kalkert and Gotha design team as a potential successor of the Gotha Go 242 glider. Somewhat smaller than the earlier glider, the new design introduced a rear loading ramp, some armor protection for the crew and a manually-operated gun turret.
The Ka 430 had a conventional structure with a wing of laminated plywood construction and plywood and fabric cowering, and a welded steel-tube fuselage covered by fabric aft of the cockpit, the nose being a moulded plywood shell fitting over the metal frame work and bolted in place. The undercarriage was of fixed, levered-suspension tricycle type, and the cargo hold extended from the cockpit to just aft of the mainwheels and terminated in a loading ramp hinged  at the point where the rear fuselage swept upwards to merge with the tail-carrying boom, a section of the decking aft of the ramp hinged upwards to enlarge the opening. Slatted airbrakes were provided in the wings to steepen the glide angle and provision was made in the extreme nose for the installation of a battery of braking rockets.
To evaluate the rear fuselage and integral loading ramp a Go 242A-2 was modified to serve as a Ka 430 prototype, and the successful trials led to the placing of an order for 30 pre-production Ka 430A-0 gliders which were to be built be the Mitteldeutsche Metallwerke (MMW) at Erfurt.
The first Ka 430 A-0 (without gun turret) were completed late in 1944, successful towing trials being performed with Heinkel He 111H and Junkers Ju 88A as tugs, but only 12 of the pre-production gliders had been completed when the war situation necessitated the abandoning of the construction program (Ref.: 7)

Kawanishi N1K1-J „Shiden“ (Violet Lightning“, “George“) 341.Kokutai, 402. Hikotai (MPM)

TYPE: Land-based interceptor fighter


POWER PLANT: One Nakajima NK9H “Homare” radial engine, rated at 1,990 hp

PERFORMANCE: 363 mph at 19,355 ft

COMMENT: The Kawanishi N1K1-J “Shiden” (“Violet Lightning”) was an Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service land-based version of the N1K. Assigned the Allied codename “George”, the N1K-J was considered by both its pilots and opponents to be one of the finest land-based fighters flown by the Japanese during World War II.
Kawanishi’s N1K was originally built as a single pontoon floatplane fighter to support forward offensive operations where no airstrips were available, but by 1943 when the aircraft entered service, Japan was firmly on the defensive, and there was no more need for a fighter to fulfil this role.
The requirement to carry a bulky, heavy float essentially crippled the N1K against contemporary American fighters. Kawanishi engineers, however, had proposed in late 1941 that the N1K would be the basis of a formidable land-based fighter too, and a land-based version was produced as a private venture by the company. This version flew on 27 December 1942, powered by a Nakajima NK9A “Homare 11” radial engine, replacing the less powerful Mitsubishi MK4C “Kasei 13”  of the N1K. The aircraft retained the mid-mounted wing of the floatplane, and combined with the large propeller necessitated a long, stalky main landing gear. A unique feature was the aircraft’s combat flaps that adjusted their angle in response to acceleration; thus freeing up the pilot’s concentration and reducing the chance of stalling in combat. The N1K1-J did have temperamental flight characteristics, however, that required an experienced touch at the controls
The Nakajima “Homare” was powerful, but had been rushed into production before it was sufficiently developed, and proved troublesome. Another problem was that, due to poor heat treatment of the wheels, their failure on landing would result in the landing gear being torn off. Apart from engine problems and the landing gear the flight test program showed that the aircraft was promising. Prototypes were evaluated by the Navy, and since the aircraft was faster than the Zero and had a much longer range than the Mitsubishi J2M “Raiden”, it was ordered into production as the N1K1-J, the -J indicating a land-based fighter modification of the original floatplane fighter. The N1K1-J aircraft were used very effectively over Formosa (Taiwan), the Philippines, and, later, Okinawa. Before production was switched to the improved Kawanishi N1K2-J “Shiden-Kai”, 1,007 aircraft were produced, including prototypes (Ref.: 24).

Chance Vought XTBU-1”Sea Wolf” (Pavla Models)

TYPE: Carrier-borne torpedo bomber

ACCOMMODATION: Crew of three

POWER PLANT: One Pratt & Whitney R-2800-2 “Double Wasp 2” radial engine, rated at 2,000 hp


COMMENT: The Chance-Vought XTBU-1 “Sea Wolf” was a torpedo bomber designed as a rival to the Grumman TBF “Avenger”, and that entered production as the Consolidated TBY-“Sea Wolf”.
In October 1939 the US Navy issued a request for proposals for a new torpedo bomber to the US aircraft industry. The new aircraft was to carry a crew of three, have a top speed of 300mph, be able to carry one torpedo or three 500lb bombs internally, have self-sealing fuel tanks and armor and a powered dorsal gun turret.
A number of companies submitted designs to satisfy this specification, but only Grumman and Chance-Vought received orders to build prototypes. The Chance-Vought design resembled a less ‘chunky’ version of the Grumman TBF “Avenger”, with a longer greenhouse canopy, although it took up more space with its wings folded than the Grumman design. The prototype was powered by a Pratt & Whitney R-2800-6 engine for its first flight, then by an R-2800-2. One unusual feature was a single control that lowered undercarriage and flaps and set propeller pitch and fuel mixture ready for landing.
Chance-Vought received an order on April 1940, and the prototype made its first flight on December 1941. By this time it was already almost too late. Grumman had received a production order for the TBF-1 “Avenger” in December 1940, and the first prototype made its maiden flight in August 1941. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the resulting US entry into the WW II meant that the need for a new torpedo bomber was suddenly very urgent. The XTBU-1 reached NAS Anacostia for trials in March 1942, but despite proving to be 30 mph faster than the “Avenger” it was not put into production until the following year.
The XTBU-1 was armed with one fixed forward firing 0.50in gun in the engine cowling, one 0.50in gun in the power operated dorsal turret and one 0.30in gun mounted in the ‘stinger’ or ventral tunnel position (the same defensive layout as the original “Avenger”).
By 1942 Chance Vought was building fighter aircraft, most famously the F4U “Corsair. When the Navy finally decided to put their torpedo-bomber into production in 1943 they had to find an alternative manufacturer, and so in September 1943 Consolidated Vultee received an order to produce 1,100 aircraft with the new designation TBY-2 “Sea Wolf” (Ref.: 23, 24).

Horten/Gotha Go 229B-1 (Pioneer)

TYPE: Night- and all-weather fighter. Project

ACCOMMODATION: Pilot and radar observer

POWER PLANT: Two Junkers Jumo 004C turbojet engines, rated at 1.100 kp each

PERFORMANCE: 600 mph at 40,000 ft

COMMENT: The Horten/Gotha Go 229B-1 was a night- and all-weather fighter variant of the basic Horten/ Gotha- Go 229A-0. The design based on the projected Horten Ho 229B V-7. Again the fuselage was lengthened to accommodate two crew members in tandem and FuG 240 Berlin radar. The flight characteristics were unchanged compared with the Horten/Gotha Go 229A-0. The project never left the drawing board.

Nakajima A6M2-N “Rufe”, Sasebo Naval Flying Group

TYPE: Float seaplane fighter


POWER PLANT: One Nakajima NK1C “Sakae” 12 radial engine, rated at 950 hp

PERFORMANCE: 270 mph at 16,400 ft

COMMENT: The Nakajima A6M2-N (Navy Type 2 Interceptor/Fighter-Bomber) was a single-crew floatplane based on the Mitsubishi A6M “Zero” Model 11. The Allied reporting name for the aircraft was “Rufe”.
The A6M2-N floatplane was developed from the Mitsubishi A6M “Zero” Type 0, mainly to support amphibious operations and defend remote bases. It was based on the A6M-2 Model 11 fuselage, with a modified tail and added floats.
The aircraft was deployed in 1942, referred to as the “Suisen 2” (“Hydro fighter type 2”), and was only utilized in defensive actions in the Aleutians and Salomon Islands operations. Such seaplanes were effective in harassing American PT boats at night. They could also drop flares to illuminate the PTs which were vulnerable to destroyer gunfire, and depended on cover of darkness.
The seaplane also served as an interceptor for protecting fueling depots they also served as fighters aboard seaplane carriers “Kamikawa Maru” in the Salomons and Kuriles areas and aboard Japanese raiders “Hokaku Maru” and “Aikoku Mari” in Indian Ocean raids. In the Aleutian Campaign this fighter engaged with RCAF Curtiss P-40 “Warhawk”, Lockheed P-38 “Lightning” fighters and Boeing B-17 “Flying Fortress” bombers. The aircraft was used for interceptor, fighter-bomber, and short reconnaissance support for amphibious landing, among other uses.
Later in the conflict the Otsu Air Group utilized the A6M2gs-N as an interceptor alongside Kawanishi N1K1 “Kyofu”(“Rex”) aircraft based in Biwa lake in the Honshū area.
The large float and wing pontoons of the A6M2-N degraded its performance by only about 20%. However, this caused the A6M2-N to be unable to confront the first generation of Allied fighters. A total of 327 were built, including the original prototype (Ref. 24).