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B5N file photo [2288]

B5N

CountryJapan
ManufacturerNakajima Aircraft Company
Primary RoleTorpedo Bomber
Maiden Flight1 January 1937

Contributor:

ww2dbaseManufactured by Nakajima, the B5N Navy Type 97 Carrier Attack Bombers were the Japanese Navy's standard torpedo bombers at the start of the Pacific War. They were designed by Katsuji Nakamura in response to a 1935 Navy specification, and first took flight in Jan 1937 with a contract from the Japanese Navy very soon after that. They were manned by a crew of three: one pilot, one navigator/bombardier/observer, and one radio operator/gunner. They first saw combat in the Second Sino-Japanese War where combat experience on the Chinese coast revealed the design's weakness with crew protection. Reluctant to add armor, which would add weight to the aircraft, Nakajima decided on a modified design in 1939 with slightly better performance so that the pilots would have better odds at evading hostile interceptors. In Dec 1941, B5N torpedo bombers played a key role in the attack on Pearl Harbor at the start of the Pacific War. American pilots soon found these "Kate" bombers significantly faster and more capable than the Devastator torpedo bombers they they used. As the war went on, B5N torpedo bombers also played parts in the sinking of American carriers Yorktown, Lexington, and Hornet. Although obsolete within the first two years of the Pacific War, they remained in service until the end, serving in training, anti-submarine, or homeland defense roles. By the end of the war, 1,150 were built.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Mar 2007

SPECIFICATIONS

B5N2
MachineryOne Nakajima Sakae 11 radial engine rated at 1,000hp
Armament1x7.7mm Type 92 machine gun, 1x800kg Type 91 torpedo or 3x250kg bombs or 6x60kg bombs
Crew3
Span15.52 m
Length10.30 m
Height3.70 m
Wing Area37.70 m
Weight, Empty2,279 kg
Weight, Loaded3,800 kg
Weight, Maximum4,100 kg
Speed, Maximum367 km/h
Rate of Climb6.50 m/s
Service Ceiling8,260 m
Range, Normal1,935 km

Photographs

B5N1 aircraft of a training unit in flight, date unknownJapanese B5N torpedo bomber crews posing before a B5N aircraft aboard carrier Kaga, 6 Dec 1941
See all 26 photographs of B5N Torpedo Bomber



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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Commenter identity confirmed BILL says:
22 Mar 2009 02:40:57 PM

Above photo of Nakajima B5N2 Torpedo Bomber T.A.I.C. # 6 Repainted in simulated Japanese Navy camouflage and markings,for recognition photographs undergoing flight testing. The Kate was captured on Saipan, in June 1944. Technical Air Intelligence Unit, Anacostia Naval Air Station, Washington D.C.
2. Commenter identity confirmed BILL says:
22 Mar 2009 02:42:37 PM

Above photo of Nakajima B5N2 Torpedo Bomber T.A.I.C. # 6 Repainted in simulated Japanese Navy camouflage and markings,for recognition photographs undergoing flight testing. The Kate was captured on Saipan, in June 1944. Technical Air Intelligence Unit, Anacostia Naval Air Station, Washington D.C.
3. Commenter identity confirmed BILL says:
29 Mar 2009 10:42:02 AM

The last Japanese aircraft shot down at 05:40 hrs. was a Nakajima C6N1 Saiun (Myrt). The last confirmed victory of WWII. Five minutes later the war was over, and all Japanese aircraft were grounded.
4. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
23 Apr 2010 08:20:00 PM

The Kate continued to be built until 1943. Total production was 1,100 However, by 1944/ 1945, like most other Japanese aircraft, the Kate was converted to kamikaze operations. The Kate had a crew of three: Pilot Navigator/bombardier/observer Radio operator/gunner Armament: 1x800kg (1,760lb) type 91 torpedo or 3x250kg (550lb) bombs or 6x60kg (132lb) bombs 1x7.7mm machine gun (lewis type) hand held, drum fed magazine w/97 rounds operated by the rear gunner.
5. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
28 Jul 2011 08:40:47 AM

Followup information about the Kate captured on Saipan. Continued from comment dated Mar, 2009. After capture on Saipan in June 1944 the B5N Kate KEB-306 was found abandoned at Aslito airfield. The Kate was equipped with H-6 radar, and was assigned to the 931st Kokutai. The unit was formed at Saeki Air Base, Japan, in February 1944. The Kate was made airworthy and evaluated by Technical Air Intelligence, Anacostia Naval Air Station. This aircraft could have been scrapped at the end of WWII
6. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
11 Jan 2012 10:56:54 AM

CODE NAME "KATE" In 1935 the Imperial Navy requested a new carrier attack bomber, to replace the older Yokosuka B4Y, Biplane bomber both Mitsubishi and Nakajima sent designs, Nakajima won the competition and started work on the new bomber. The B5N1 was a modern design all metal, low wing monoplane, with wide-track retractable landing gear, folding wings, fabric covered control surfaces, enclosed greehouse canopy for the three man crew. The B5N1 entered service in 1937 and was sent to China supporting the Army bombing Chinese positions. Aircraft at this time, were painted silver overall w/red tails later camouflage was introduced and aircraft were painted dark green and brown. The new model, B5N2 replaced the older B5N1s in 1939, and were sent to training schools used as target tugs, glider tugs and sent to second line units for operational training.

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B5N Torpedo Bomber Photo Gallery
B5N1 aircraft of a training unit in flight, date unknownJapanese B5N torpedo bomber crews posing before a B5N aircraft aboard carrier Kaga, 6 Dec 1941
See all 26 photographs of B5N Torpedo Bomber


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