New 1/35th-scale Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) figure set from Dragon Models: No. 6555: 1/35th Japanese Army Infantry Peleliu, 1944.
Japanese Plane Names Are Given
Navy, Army Adopt Title Listing
The Navy and Army have adopted an official list of designations for Japanese military planes. Fighters carry men’s names, bombers are named after women, as are flying boats, while reconnaissance aircraft carry both men’s and women’s names. The list follows
Nickname — Type
CLAUDE — Single engine fighter
NATE — Single engine fighter
HAMP — Single engine fighter
OSCAR — Single engine fighter
RUFE — Single engine floatplane fighter
NICK — Twin engine fighter
TOJO — Single engine fighter
TONY — Single engine fighter
NELL — Twin engine bomber-reconnaissance
SALLY — Twin engine medium bomber
HELEN — Twin engine bomber
KATE — Single engine medium bomber
VAL — Single engine dive bomber
LILY — Twin engine light bomber
JILL — Single engine torpedo bomber
IDA — Single engine bomber-reconnaissance
BABS — Single engine bomber-reconnaissance
SONIA — Single engine bomber-reconnaissance
MARY — Single engine light bomber
LIZ — Heavy bomber
DINAH — Twin engine reconnaissance
JUDY — Single engine reconnaissance
ALF — Single engine floatplane reconnaissance
DAVE — Single engine floatplane reconnaissance
SLIM — Single engine floatplane reconnaissance
PETE — Single engine floatplane reconnaissance
GLEN — Single engine floatplane reconnaissance
JAKE — Single engine floatplane reconnaissance
MAVIS — Four engine flying boat
CHERRY — Twin engine flying boat
EMILY — Four engine flying boat
TESS — Single engine transport
TOPSY — Twin engine transport
THELMA — Single engine transport
Source: Naval Aviation News, June 1944.
Intelligence report on a Japanese Zero fighter forced down over the Aleutian Islands and captured by American forces. Source: Bureau of Naval Personnel Information Bulletin, (“All Hands Magazine”), November 1942.
|Though it now wears American colors, the airplane above is a vaunted Japanese Zero warplane (Mitsubishi ’00), disabled and forced down during an air battle over the Aleutian Islands. Salvaged by Americans and shipped to San Diego for repair and testing, the highly maneuverable fighter has a wing span of 39 feet 5 inches and an over-all length of 30 feet 3 inches. It mounts two 22-mm. low velocity cannon in the wings and two 7.7 guns in the nose.|
The Japanese “Zero” Fighter
Plane proves maneuverable but protection is poor
A Japanese Zero fighter (Mitsubishi ’00), which was salvaged after being only slightly damaged when forced down in the Aleutian Islands, has been brought to the United States and repaired at the Naval Air Station, San Diego, Calif.
The enemy plane will be brought to the Naval Air Station at Anacostia, D.C., where Navy pilots will put it through exhaustive tests in order to obtain data on its performance characteristics. Preliminary tests already have taken place at San Diego.
Present plans call for the Zero to be flown across the United States, in view of the difficulties attached to shipping it. Because the Zero’s airframe is a single unit and the wings are riveted solidly to the fuselage, it is not considered feasible to attempt disassembly of the plane. Details of the proposed cross-country flight have not been worked out.
When salvaged, the Zero was painted a smooth light grey tinted with blue and light green, a coloring selected for operations in the foggy Aleutian area. It has been repainted in Navy colors.
Preliminary flight tests of the Zero developed a top speed of slightly less than 300 m.p.h. Later tests may increase this speed somewhat.
The Zero shows to best advantage in a dogfight where tight turns make high speeds impossible. Then its maneuverability and climbing speed come into play.
Around 200 m.p.h. the Zero is very light on the controls, but at higher speeds the controls become stiff. Above 225 m.p.h. the Zero will not make a fast roll because of this stiffness. At 380 m.p.h., in a dive, the Zero develops marked flutter and vibration, which may be inherent or due to some undetected disalignment caused by its rough landing in the Aleutians.
Otherwise the Zero is a stable, easy-to-fly plane with generally good flying characteristics. Its lightness is not gained by flimsy construction, as it is well designed. The lack of self-sealing tanks and armor protection for the pilot, which mainly accounts for its lightness, have made its over-all combat record against the Navy’s Grumman Wildcat a poor one. The Zero’s empty weight is 3,781 pounds and its combat weight, without belly tank, is approximately 5,200 pounds.
The 900-horsepower radial engine is a 14-cylinder, double-row design using modifications or direct adoption of many features found in our Pratt & Whitney and Wright engines. The propeller is a three-bladed, constant speed, hydraulic type identical with the Hamilton model. Radio equipment is copied after Fairchild units.
The over-all length of the Zero is 30’3″, its wing span 39’5″. The wings are hinged 2 feet from the tips to allow folding for easier carrier handling. The cockpit would be uncomfortably small for most of our pilots.
Armament consists of two 22-mm. low velocity cannon, one mounted in each wing, with 60 rounds of ammunition, and two 7.7 guns, with 500 rounds each, in the nose to fire through the propeller disk.
Japanese Infantry Weapons:
( Click to Enlarge )
Source: Newsmap, U.S. Army Service Forces, Army Information Branch, December 11, 1944.
“Submersible Baka” from C.I.C. (Combat Information Center), U.S. Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Vol. II, No. 7, July 1945.
Some midget subs are to the Japanese I and RO class sub what BAKA is to the Betty 22. The parent sub gives her hitchhiker the necessary cruising range, while the midget’s own torpedo load has deadly striking power for far reaching effects. Other midgets are carried cargo fashion on specially fitted seaplane tenders and Japanese capital ships. Midget subs are standard in size. A captured midget sub manual indicates three types–the KO, OTSU, and HEI. The KO type is thought to be standard. 82 feet in length and with a 6 foot beam this type can make 22 knots for a short period (about ten minutes). For normal operations speeds of 6 to 9 knots are probable. The HEI is 82 feet long, 6 feet wide with speeds up to 16 knots and an operating radius of 60 to 80 miles (submerged in the daytime, surfaced at night). The midgets can and do operate without the hitch-hiking feature having a cruising range of 120 to 180 miles on their own without battery recharge from an outside source. This limits them to a 60 mile cruising radius unless a suicide venture is prescribed. Coastal indentations near areas of obvious future operations provide concealment for midget bases. When they go pick-a-back on larger subs, attacks are possible at any distance.
Further intelligence reports on Japanese aerial-bombs used against Allied bombers:
JAPANESE AERIAL-BURST BOMBS
This article briefly outlines information received from the South Pacific regarding Japanese aerial-burst incendiary bombs.
At the present time two types of Japanese bombs are known which are designed to give aerial bursts. These bombs correspond with descriptions by pilots of bombs dropped on flights of our planes.
32 KILOGRAM BOMB
The 32-kilogram (70-pound) Model 99 high-explosive incendiary bomb appears to be the most commonly used type. This bomb is equipped with an impact nose fuse and a mechanical time tail fuse. The body of the bomb contains 198 incendiary pellets of steel filled with phosphorus and the tail contains 3J pounds of high explosive. On explosion the incendiary pellets shoot downwards in the form of a cone with an estimated danger radius of 50 to 75 yards. In addition to the incendiary effect of these pellets the bomb case supplies a fragmentation effect though probably not extending beyond 75 yards.
The bomb has angled tail fins which cause it to spin in the air.
250 KILOGRAM BOMB
The 250-kilogram (550-pound) high-explosive incendiary bomb is Type 2, Mark 3, Model 1. It is equipped with an impact nose fuse and mechanical time tail fuse. The bomb contains 73 pounds of high explosive and 756 incendiary fragments. On explosion fragments are sprayed conically downwards with great force to a range of 200 yards. Due to its angled tail fins this bomb also spins in the air.
The aerial-burst fuses used by the Japanese are all mechanical time fuses. Settings cannot be made in the airplane. The fuses do not arm until the bomb spins at the rate of 1,000 revolutions a minute. To attain this rate of spin the 250-kilogram bomb requires a drop of 3,000 feet and, therefore, must be released at this altitude or higher to insure a burst. The 32-kilogram bomb requires a similar drop. They may be set, however, to drop much greater distances before bursting.
Captured documents indicate that bomb clusters may be used against aircraft in flight. One type contains 76 bombs each weighing two-thirds of a pound while another variety contains 40 two-pound bombs. These bombs detonate on impact and are of the hollow charge variety.
For additional intelligence reports on German and Japanese use of aerial bombs against Allied bombers, see:
- "Aerial Bombing Attacks on Aircraft", Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 26, June 3, 1943.
- "Japanese Aerial Burst Bombs", Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 47, June 1, 1944.
- "Oscars Drop Aerial Bombs on B-24 Moulmein Mission", Eastern Air Command Weekly Intelligence Summary, No. 10, Nov. 1944.
Description of the WWII Japanese Model 88 (1928) 75-mm Antiaircraft Gun from Japanese Field Artillery, Special Series No. 25, Military Intelligence Division, U.S. War Department, Washington, D.C., October 15, 1944.
Model 88 (1928) 75-mm AA Gun.
Model 88 (1928) 75-mm AA gun is the standard Japanese mobile antiaircraft artillery weapon. It has been encountered more generally in U.S. campaigns against the Japanese than any other artillery weapon. It has a high velocity which makes it suitable for use against ground targets, especially armor. It has been used both in defense of airfields against ground attack and in a dual-purpose role as an antiaircraft and coast-defense gun. For antitank purposes it has the advantage of all-round traverse and the disadvantage of limited mobility. It thus can be quite effective when fired from ambush against tanks, but it cannot shoot and run.
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It’s a trap! A humorous cartoon with a serious message.
Source: Engineer Intelligence Bulletin No. 3, Engineer Section, HQ. Eighth Army, May 1945.
Tactics to evade Japanese antiaircraft fire when strafing airfields during WWII from Informational Intelligence Summary, Office of the Assistant Chief of Air Staff, Intelligence, Washington, D.C., 1944.
P-38s EVADE JAPANESE AA BY CONTINUOUS TURN
One tactical secret of the outstanding success of a P-38 Squadron engaged in recent airdrome strafing missions in Burma consisted of maintaining a continuous turn from the time of arrival in the target area until the last instant before making the firing pass across the airdrome.
(AC /AS, Intelligence Flak Note: This technique doubtless was employed when terrain features and identification problems made absolute surprise, which is the cardinal rule of ground strafing, difficult to attain. This practice prevented Japanese heavy antiaircraft gunners from putting up an accurate barrage ahead of the attacking aircraft and threw off the calculations of their fire control directors. The computing sights of Japanese automatic weapons, which make up the larger portion of airdrome antiaircraft defenses in Burma, were also rendered comparatively ineffective by this stratagem.)
Organization of the WWII Japanese Army Air Service and Naval Air Service from the U.S. War Department’s Handbook for Combat Air Intelligence Officers, Army Air Forces Air Intelligence School, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, March 1944.
(1) Owing to the excellence of Japanese counterintelligence during the years in which they were building their air strength, and owing to the difficulty of the Japanese language, Allied information about the organization of the Japanese Air Services is scanty and possibly inaccurate. (Charts C and D give the latest information available about the organization of both the Army and Naval Air Services.)
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