POWER PLANT: One Hitachi GK2B Amakaze 21 radial engine, rated at 515 hp
PERFORMANCE: 140 mph at 5,577 ft
COMMENT: The Kyushu K11W Shiragiku (“White Chrysanthemum”) was a land-based bombing trainer aircraft which served in the Imperial Japanese Navy Airforce Service (IJN) in the latter years of World War II.
In late 1940 work on a single-engined crew trainer began at K.K. Watanabe Tekkosho to meet the requirements set by the Japanese Navy in the 15-Shi specification calling for an aircraft intended to replace the Navy Type 90 Operations Trainer Mitsubishi K3M. Even though the aircraft was to be used to train a complete bomber crew, Watanabe retained a single-engine configuration and, with its wings mounted at mid-fuselage, deep belly and retactable main undercarriage, the aircraft bore a strong resemblage to the North American O-47 observation monoplane. The pilot and radio-operator/gunner were seated above the wing under a transparent canopy while the instructor, navigator and bombardier were housed in a cabin under the wing.
Powered by a 515 hp Hitachi GK2B Amakaze 21 air-cooled radial, the prototype K11W1 made its first flight in November 1942, and the flight trials programm was completed rapidly, as no major problems were encountered. Shortly after the reorganization of K.K. Watanabe Tekkosho into Kyushu Hikoki K.K. , the company received a production contract for the K11W1 which entered service in summer 1943 as the Navy Operations Trainer Shiragiku (White Crysanthemum) Model 11. For armament training the Shiragiku carried a single flexible rear-firing 7.7 mm machine-gun and two 30 kg bombs, but late in the war the aircraft was modified to carry a single 250 kg bomb for Kamikaze sorties.
Development of the Shiragiku led to the K11W2, an all-wood version, which was built in small numbers and saw limited service as a utility transport and anti-submarine aircraft. Experience with this version led to the design of a specialzed anti-submarine patrol aircraft, the Q3W1 Nankai (South Sea). The Nankai was a two seater retaining much of the structure oft he K11W2 and fitted with redesigned square-tipped tail surfaces, but its development was suspended when in January 1945 the maiden flight of the single prototype ended in a wheels-up landing (Ref.: 1).
POWER PLANT: One Nakajima Kotobuki 2 KAI 2 radial engine, rated at 630 hp
PERFORMANCE: 186 mph
COMMENT: The Nakajima E8N was developed as a replacement for the same company’s E4N and was essentially an evolutionary development of the earlier type, with revised wings of lesser area and taller tail surfaces. Seven prototypes were constructed, under the company designation MS, first flying in March 1934. These were duly engaged in comparative trials against competitors from Aichi and Kawanishi.
The MS was ordered into production, designated Navy Type 95 Reconnaissance Seaplane Model 1 in October 1935. A total of 755 E8Ns were built by Nakajima and Kawanishi, production continuing until 1940. Operating as a catapult-launched reconnaissance aircraft the E8N was subsequently shipped aboard all the capital ships then in service, battleships, cruisers and aircraft tenders. It was used successfully in the Second Sino-Japanese War and distinguished itself on several occasions by destroying opposing Chinese fighters. Occasionally the aircraft was operated as a dive-bomber but was more often employed as a reconnaissance and artillery spotting aircraft.
One E8N was purchased in early 1941 by the German Naval Attaché to Japan, Vice-Admiral Wenneker, and dispatched on board “KM Münsterland” to rendezvous with the German auxiliary cruiser “Orion” at Maug Island in the Marianas. The meeting occurred on 1 Feb 1941, and “Orion” thus became the only German naval vessel of the Second World War to employ a Japanese float plane.
Some aircraft remained in service with the fleet at the outbreak of the Pacific War, and one flew reconnaissance from the battleship Haruna during the Battle of Midway. The type was coded “Dave” by the Allies. Later, they were replaced by more modern aircraft such as the Aichi E13A and the Mitsubishi F1M and the remaining aircraft were reassigned to second-line duties for instance communications, liaison and training (Ref.: 24).
POWER PLANT: One Mitsubishi “Zusei” 11 radial engine, rated at 870 hp
PERFORMANCE: 171 mph
COMMENT: The Kawanishi E7K was a Japanese 1930s three-seat reconnaissance floatplane. It was allocated the reporting name “Alf” by the Allies of WW II.
In 1932 the Imperial Japanese Navy requested the Kawanishi Aircraft Company to produce a replacement for the company’s Kawanishi E5K. The resulting design, designated the Kawanishi E7K1, was an equal span biplane powered by a 620 hp “Hiro Type 91W-12 liquid-cooled inline engine. The first aircraft flew on 6 February 1933 and was handed over to the navy for trials three months later. It was flown in competition with the Aichi AB-6 which was designed to meet the same 7-Shi requirement. The E7K1 was ordered into production as the Navy Type 94 Reconnaissance Seaplane and entered service in early 1935. It became a popular aircraft, but was hindered by the unreliability of the “Hiro” engine. Later production E7K1s were fitted with a more powerful version of the “Hiro 91”, but this did not improve the reliability. In 1938 Kawanishi developed an improved E7K2 with a Mitsubishi “Zuisei 11” radial engine. It first flew in August 1938 and was ordered by the Navy as the Navy Type 94 Reconnaissance Seaplane Model 2. The earlier E7K1 was renamed to Navy Type 94 Reconnaissance Seaplane Model 1.
The type was used extensively by the Japanese Navy from 1938 until the beginning of the Pacific War, when E7K1 were relegated to training duties but the E7K2, despite their obsolescence, remained in first-line service until 1943. The aircraft was initially used for convoy escort, anti-submarine patrol and reconnaissance. Later in the war, the E7K2s were retained in the liaison and training role and as mother aircraft for the MXY4 radio-controlled target plane. Also both versions were used in Kamikaze operations in the closing stages of the war (Ref.: 1, 24).
POWER PLANT: One Hitachi “Amakaze” radial engine, rated at 300 hp
PERFORMANCE: 132 mph
COMMENT: The Yokosuka K5Y2 was a two-seat unequal-span biplane trainer (Allied reporting name “Willow”) that served in the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II. Due to its bright orange paint scheme (applied to all Japanese military trainers for visibility), it earned the nickname “Red dragonfly”, after a type of insect common throughout Japan.
The aircraft was based on the Yokosuka Navy Type 91 Intermediate Trainer, but stability problems led to a redesign by Kawanishi in 1933. It entered service in 1934 as Navy Type 93 Intermediate Trainer K5Y1 with fixed tail-skid landing gear, and remained in use throughout the war. Floatplane types K5Y2 and K5Y3 were also produced. After the initial 60 examples by Kawanishi, production was continued by Watanabe (556 aircraft built), Mitsubishi (60), Hitachi (1,393), First Naval Air Technical Arsenal (75), Nakajima (24), Nippon (2,733), and Fuji (896), for a total of 5,770. These aircraft were the mainstay of Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service’s flight training’s, and as intermediate trainers, they were capable of performing demanding aerobatic maneuvers. Two further land-based versions, the K5Y4 with a 480 hp “Amakaze” 21A engine and the K5Y5 with a 515 hp “Amakaze” 15, were projected but never built.
A K5Y of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps 3rd Ryuko Squadron was credited with sinking the destroyer USS Callaghan on July 29, 1945, the last US warship lost to kamikaze attack during the war (Ref.: 24).
POWER PLANT: One Aichi Atsuta Type 32 liquid-cooled engine, rated at 1,400 hp
PERFORMANCE: 310 mph at 17,060 ft
COMMENT:The Aichi M6A1-K “Seiran Kai” was a trainer version of the submarine-launched attack floatplane Aichi M6A1 “Seiran”. It was fitted with an inwardly-retracting undercarriage, and the folding tip of the rudder was dispensed with as the absence of floats improved directional stability. The popular name of the M6A1-K was later changed to “Nanzan” (Southern Mountain”).
Two prototypes of this aircraft were built and flight tested before the war in the Pacific ended in 1945 (Ref.: 24).
COMMENT: The Yokosuka MXY8 “Akigusa” (“Autumn grass”) was a training glider built in parallel with the Mitsubishi J8M rocket-powered interceptor aircraft.
The J8M was to have simply been a licence-built Messerschmitt Me 163 “Komet” (“Comet”), but due to difficulties in obtaining technical materials from Germany, it eventually had to be designed almost from scratch. The MXY8 was designed in parallel with the J8M to validate the design, and then to provide pilot training during the development of the actual interceptor. The Imperial Japanese Army Airforce designation for the trainer was Mitsubishi Ku-13
The MXY8 was built entirely of wood, and fitted with ballast tanks that would be filled with water to simulate the weight and therefore flight characteristics of a fully equipped J8M. Some 50-60 of these gliders were eventually built.
A more advanced trainer, the MXY9, equipped with a primitive turbojet engine was planned, but was never produced (Ref.: 24).
Scale 1:72 aircraft models of World War II
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