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Nakajima B5N Kanko (Kate)
Type 97 Carrier Attack Bomber

Technical Information

Background
Known to the Japanese as Kanko. Built by Nakajima as as a torpedo-bomber designed by Katsuji Nakamura of Nakajima to a 1935 specification by the Japanese Navy for a replacement for the Yokosuka B4Y. The first aircraft, Type K prototype made a first flight during January 1937. Three versions were built: Model 1, Model 2 and Model 3. The B5N1 was the first production variant, and many were converted to B5N1-K. Next was the B5N2 variant. Replaced by the B6N Tenzan Jill, but remained in service until the end of the Pacific War.

Wartime History
The first combat use was during the Sino-Japanese War. At the start of the Pacific War, the Kate was judged to be obsolete, but it was still superior to the TBD Devastator that was the shipboard torpedo plane of the U. S. Navy. On December 7, 1941 during the Japanese surprise attack against Hawaii, forty B5N2 Kates armed with torpedoes attacked warships in Pearl Harbor and 103 B5N1 Kates armed with bombs attacked other targets on Oahu.

Fleet at Coral Sea and Midway. During the Battle of Coral Sea Kates were responsible for the sinking of USS Lexington CV-5 during the , USS Yorktown CV-2 during Battle of Midway, and USS Hornet CV-8 at the Battle of Santa Cruz.

Production
Research by James Long indicates the number of aircraft were only 1,070 aircraft. An estimated 634 B5N1 and B5N1-K were built plus 236 B5N2 were built. In addition, 200 Type 97 Mark 3 Carrier-Based Attack Planes (B5N2) were built by Aichi Aircraft Company during 1942-1943. Other published references claim a a total of 1,149 aircraft were built.

References
Type 97 Carrier-based Attack Plane - A Production Record by James I. Long September 22, 2011
USSBS report on the Aichi Aircraft Company Ltd. (Aichi koukuuki KK)

Technical Details (B5N2)
Crew   Three (pilot, observer/commande, radio/gunner)
Engine  One 1,000 hp Nakajima NK1B Sakae 11 14 cylinder air cooled radial engine
Propeller  Three bladed propeller.
Wingspan  15.52m (50' 11")
Length  10.30m (33' 9.5")
Height  3.70m (12' 1⅝")
Maximum Speed  235 mph
Range 1,237 miles
Armament  (rear) 7.7 mm Type 92 machine gun with a 97 round drum magazine
Bombload  1,763 lb Type 95 aerial torpedo (800kg / 1,763 lb) or 2 x 250 kg (550 lb) aerial bombs or 6 x 132 kg (293 lb) aerial bombs

 

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