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B5N torpedo bomber descending into the sea after being damaged in combat off Truk, Caroline Islands, 2 Jul 1944; note rear gunner standing up from open canopy

Caption     B5N torpedo bomber descending into the sea after being damaged in combat off Truk, Caroline Islands, 2 Jul 1944; note rear gunner standing up from open canopy ww2dbase
Photographer    Unknown
Source    ww2dbaseUnited States Navy
More on...   
B5N   Main article  Photos  
Photos on Same Day 2 Jul 1944
Added By C. Peter Chen

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
16 Oct 2011 05:49:02 PM

Looks like the Kate is going down smoke from the damaged engine, has filled the cockpits
the rear gunner with or without a parachute is struggling to exit the aircraft, its
difficult to tell how high the planes is above the water.


No Nakajima B5N Kate torpedo bombers survive
today, a few that can be found, are on the bottom of Truk Lagoon in the Pacific.
The B5N was the Imperial Japanese Navy's only ship-board torpedo bomber and were part of the attack force against Pearl Harbor, on December 7, 1941. 40 Kates armed w/torpedos
and 105 Kates armed with bombs took part in the raid.
The Kate was replaced by the Nakajima B6N Jill torpedo bomber surviving B5Ns were withdrawn to second-line units and used as maritime reconnaissance/anti-sub role and trainers, the Kate ended its service life as a Kamikaze attack aircraft very few survived WWII.
2. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
8 Jan 2012 01:53:47 PM

The B5N "Kate" was the Imperial Navy's only
torpedo and horizontal bomber at the time of Pearl Harbor. Flown by highly trained crews
and serviced by the best mechanics in the Navy assigned to Aircraft Carriers.
The "Kate" lacked armor protection for the crew and fuel tanks.

The Japanese Navy felt the added weight to the bomber would cut down on its range and performance. The B5Ns only protection, was 1x7.7mm machine gun w/97 round magazine that was operated by the rear gunner.
I have a cut-away drawing of the B5N, that shows five magazines stored on the port-side so I can assume another five magazines, are mounted on the starboard side plus one in the
weapon, this would give the gunner 1,067 rounds of ammunition but then again, I'm only gussing here.

1x7.7mm Machine Gun, 1x800kg(1760lb)Type 91 Torpedo or 1x800kg(1760lb)bomb or 3x250kg(550lb)bombs or 6x60kg(132lb)bombs.
A total of 1,149 Type 97 Bombers were built
669 by Nakajima, between 1936-1941, 200 were built by Aichi between 1942-1943 and 280 at Hiro between 1942-1943 Naval Air Arsenal
3. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
10 Feb 2012 05:55:30 PM


The lines were called drift indicator lines used for navigation over long open water flights. The lines were set at five degree
intervals originating from a point in the rear cockpit.


A dye or smoke marker would be dropped into the ocean, after a given distance or time the drift of the flight path would be measured and navigation corrected. While this
would not enable calculation of wind speed and bearing it would enable a true heading to be established.

Today military, Commerical and Private aircraft use GPS, to make this type of over water/overland navigation unnecessary.


Japanese combat aircraft painted in aluminum used red drift lines, green camouflaged used white lines. As the war progressed the lines became smaller or broken.
Some references have mistaken them for the gunner's "Aim off" warning to prevent the gunner from hitting the fin and rudder. The gunner had a mechanical stop to prevent him
from shooting the tail off.
4. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
11 Jan 2013 08:00:09 PM


Nakajima B5N (Kate) bomber shotdown by US Navy PB4Y Privateer, 1944 near Turk Is.
Photograph taken by Lt.Commander William Janeshek.


The gunner struggles to exit the aircraft he maybe wounded or was over come by smoke inhalation, fell back into the cockpit, and didn't get out, it hit the water and exploded.
5. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
8 Dec 2015 05:48:48 PM


Nakajima B5N2 (Kate) shotdown by US Navy
PB4Y Privateer, 1944 near Turk Is. Photograph taken by Lt. Cdr. William Janeshek.


Rear gunner struggles to exit aircraft, maybe he's wounded or over come by smoke inhalation
last seen falling back into his gunners position he failed to leave aircraft seconds later, the Kate hit the water and exploded.


At the start of the Pacific war, the B5N Kate was the world's best carrier borne torpedo bomber its crews highly trained. Japan's fighting ability was badly flawed it had the best trained pilots in the world, but lacked a second-line of pilots and air crew as the war progressed, with no replacement pool and losses mounting the Imperial Navy accepted trainees that in peace time would have been turned down for training.

The Nakajima B5N was a carrier and land-based bomber. The aircraft had good range and carried bombs, torpedoes and mines. It lacked performance had weak defensive armament of
1 x 7.7mm machine gun located in the aft position, common to all Japanese combat aircraft of that time period, it also lacked crew and fuel tank protection.
6. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
10 May 2016 05:57:17 PM


A Nakajima B5N2 (Kate) Bomber tail number 302 the aircraft was built in 1942, was the last airworthy bomber left at the Japanese Naval Base at Rabaul. It was assigned to the 105th Naval Air Group, at wars end it was surrendered to Allied forces, flown by warrant officer Kataoka Coro it was escorted by six F4U Corsairs of the Royal New Zealand Air Force the bomber was flown to Jacquinot Bay on October 14, 1945.


Nakajima built 1,149 of the bombers, number 302 is the last of its kind to exist. The Hawaii Pacific Aviation Museum didn't go into detail how they acquired the Kate. The museum came into possession of the bomber after 2010. Before that the aircraft was listed as stored in New Zealand.

Restoration will take about five years at a cost of
$1,000,000 dollars. The museum is located on Ford Island in the middle of Pearl Harbor...

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