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Japan's Imperial Navy flag

Japan's Mitsubishi G3M bomber, Navy Type 96
Allied name for bomber: Nell, for transport: Tina

Photos

  • Mitsubishi G3M Nell bomber
  • Mitsubishi G3M Model 22 and Model 21 Nell bombers
  • Mitsubishi Soyokaze OB-96-2 bomber
  • Mitsubishi Soyokaze OB-96-2 bomber

Design

Admiral Irosoku Yamamoto recommended the development of a long range medium bomber to support the Imperial Japanese Navy when he was the chief of the Technical Division of the Naval Bureau of Aeronautics in 1933. An 8-Shi specification was given to Mitsubishi. In the mid 1930s the Mitsubishi G3M was developed.

Sueo Honjo, Tomio Kubo, and Nobuhiko Kusabake designed the Ka-15 prototype.

Armament

As the G3M was a navy bomber it could carry a single torpedo under the fuselage.

Prototype

Ka-9

The Ka-9 prototype had two Hiro Type 91 (500 hp) liquid cooled 12 cylinder engines. It could go a maximum of 3,760 miles.

The first Ka-9 prototype was flown in April 1934 by Yoshita Kajima.

Ka-15

The tests of the prototype were very successful and a 9-Shi specification was developed for a bomber that could carry 1,764 lb / 800 kg of bombs and be defended by three 7.7 mm / 0.303" machine guns. This was to become the Ka-15 prototype.

At Kagamigahara in July 1935, Yoshita Kajima and Lieutenant Sada test flew the Ka-15.

Production

Mitsubishi stopped production in 1941 to focus on the G4M. Nakajima continued production until 1943.

  • Mitsubishi Ka-9: 1
  • Mitsubishi Ka-15: 21
    • Manufacturer: Mitsubishi
    • Production: 1935 - 1936
  • Mitsubishi G3M1, Navy Type 96 Attack Bomber Model 11: 24, 34
    • Manufacturer: Mitsubishi
    • Production: June 1936 - 1937
  • Mitsubishi G3M2: 581
    • Production: ? - Mid-1941
  • Mitsubishi G3M2 Model 21: 343
    • Manufacturer: Mitsubishi
    • Production: 1937 - 1939
  • Mitsubishi G3M2 Model 22: 238, ~400
    • Manufacturer: Mitsubishi
    • Production: 1939 - 1941
  • Mitsubishi G3M2 and Mitsubishi G3M3: 993
  • Mitsubishi G3M2:
    • Manufacturer: Nakajima
    • Production: 1941 - 1943
  • Mitsubishi G3M2 Model 22, Mitsubishi G3M3 Model 23: 412
    • Manufacturer: Nakajima
    • Production: 1941, 1941 - 1943
  • Total: 1,048
    • Manufacturer: Mitsubishi Jukogyo K.K. at Nagoya, Nakajima Hikoki K.K. at Koizumi
    • Production: 1936 - 1943, June 1936 - 1943
  • Mitsubishi G3M2 conversion: 20
    • Conversion: 1938

Variants

  • Mitsubishi Ka-15: Prototype. First models used two Hiro 91 inline engines (750 HP). Later models used the Mitsubishi Kinsei radial engines. First appeared in June 1935.
  • Mitsubishi G3M1 Model 11, Navy Type 96 Attack Bomber Model 11: First flew in the middle of 1936.
  • Mitsubishi G3M1a: Had a solid nose. Powered by two Hiro Type 91 engines.
  • Mitsubishi G3M1b: Powered by Kinsei engines.
  • Mitsubishi G3M1c: Had glazed glass nose.
  • Mitsubishi G3M2: Used Kinsei engine.
  • Mitsubishi G3M2 Model 21: First flew in 1937. Increased fuel capacity.
  • Mitsubishi G3M2 Model 22: First flew in 1939. Increased armament.
  • Mitsubishi G3M3 Model 23: First flew in 1941. Increased fuel capacity.
  • Mitsubishi L3Y-1 Model 11: Transport. Conversion of G3M1. Allied code name: Tina. Was powered by Kinsei 3 engines.
  • Mitsubishi L3Y-2 Model 21: Transport. Conversion of G3M2. Allied code name: Tina. Used by Nippon Koku K.K. and Dai Nippon Koku K.K. airlines. Was powered by Kinsei 45 engines.
  • Mitsubishi OB-92-2: Long range heavy bomber.

Usage

Units

  • Kokutais: 762, 1001, Chitose, Genzan, Kanoya, Kisarazu, Matsushima, Mihoro, Misawa, Ominato, Takao

Sino-Japanese War

Starting in 1937 the G3Ms were used in the Sino-Japanese war.

The Japanese Imperial Navy's Kanoya Kokutai, based at Tapei, first used G3M2 Model 21s in raids on Hangchow and Kwangteh in August 1937 / August 14, 1937. As they went over 1,250 miles of open water, this was the first ever trans-ocean bombing raid in history.

On August 15, 1937, the Kisarazu Kokutai, based at Omura, Kyushu, executed a raid on China with G3M2s.

By 1940 there were around 130 G3M2s in four kokutais. By December 1941 there were 204.

As the G3Ms were beyond the range of fighter escorts they did suffer heavy losses.

Around the World

From August 26 to October 20, 1939, a L3Y-2 flew 33,000 miles in 194 hours around the world.

Pacific War

By December 1941 there were approximately 250 G3Ms in service. During the first two years of the Pacific War, the G3M was the main medium bomber of the Imperial Japanese Navy.

HMS Repulse and Prince of Wales

The G3M2s played a major part in the sinking, off of Malaya on December 10, 1941, of the HMS Repulse and Prince of Wales.

Sixty G3M2s of the Genzan and Mihoro Kokutais flew from Indo-China and took part in the attack.

Secondary Roles

After 1942 the G3M was primarily relegated to secondary roles such as transport, training, and glider towing. Some had search radar added and were used as long range maritime patrol bombers.

Specifications

  Ka-15 Prototype
Dimensions  
Span 82' 0.25"
25 m
Length 53' 11.625"
16.45 m
Height 12' 1.0625"
3.685 m
Wing Area 807.3 sq ft
75 sq m
Weight  
Empty 9.700 lb
4,400 kg
Loaded 15,984 lb
7,250 kg
Performance  
Speed at 4,920' / 1,500 m 196 mph
Climb to 9,845' / 3,000 m 9 minutes 40 seconds
  Mitsubishi G3M
Type Medium bomber
Crew 5, 7
Dimensions  
Span 82' 0.25"
25 m
Length 53' 11.5"
16.45 m
Height 12' 1"
3.68 m
Armament 3: 7.7 mm MG
OR 1: 20 mm
Dorsal 1: 7.7 mm MG
Ventral 1: 7.7 mm MG
Lateral 2: 7.7 mm MG
Bombs or torpedo 1,764 lb
800 kg
  Mitsubishi G3M1, G3M1 Model 11
Type Bomber
Crew 5
Engine (Type) 2: Mitsubishi Kinsei 3
Cylinders Radial, Radial 14
Cooling Air
Net HP 910 each
Propeller blades 3 each
3 blade metal variable pitch
OR 4 blade MW126 fixed pitch
Dimensions  
Span 82' 0.24"
25 m
Length 53' 0.625"
16.45 m
Height 12' 1.0625"
3.685 m
Wing Area 807.3 sq ft
75 sq m
Weight  
Empty 10,516 lb
4,770 kg
Loaded 16,848 lb
7,642 kg
Performance  
Speed at 6,480' / 1,975 m 224 mph
360 kph
Speed at 6,560' / 2,000 m 216 mph
Climb to 9,845' / 3,000 m 9 minutes 47 seconds
Service Ceiling 24,540'
7,480 m
Armament  
Turrets - Dorsal (2) 1: 7.7 mm Type 92 each
Turret - Ventral 1: 7.7 mm Type 92
Bombs or Torpedo 1,764 lb
800 kg
  Mitsubishi G3M2
Type Bomber
Crew 5, 7
Engine (Type) 2: Mitsubishi Kinsei 41
OR 2: Mitsubishi Kinsei 42
OR 2: Mitsubishi Kinsei 45
Cylinders Radial 14
Cooling Air
Net HP 1,075 each
Propeller blades 3 each, 3 metal blade variable pitch
Dimensions  
Span 82'
Length 53' 11"
Height 12' 1"
Weight  
Empty 10,946 lb
4,965 kg
Loaded 17,637 lb
8,000 kg
Performance  
Speed 232 mph
374 kph
Speed at 13,715' / 4,180 m 232 mph
373 kph
Cruising speed 173 mph
278 kph
Climb  
Service ceiling 29,950'
9,130 m
Range 2,722 miles
4,380 km
Armament 3: MG, 7.7 mm / 0.303" MG
Bombs or Torpedo 1,264 lb, 1,764 lb
800 kg
  Mitsubishi G3M2 Model 21
Type Bomber
Crew 7
Engine (Type) 2: Kinsei 41
OR 2: Kinsei 42
Late Production 2: Kinsei 45
Fuel capacity 852 gallons
3,874 liters
Armament 3: 7.7 mm / 0.303" MG
Turrets - Dorsal (2) 1: 7.7 mm Type 92 MG
Turret - Ventral 1: 7.7 mm Type 92 MG
Bombs or Torpedo 1,764 lb
800 kg
  Mitsubishi G3M2 Model 22
Type Medium Torpedo Bomber
Crew 7
Engine (Type) 2: Mitsubishi Kinsei 45
Cylinders Radial 14
Cooling Air
Net HP 1,075 each
Dimensions  
Span 82' 0.25"
25 m
Length 53' 11.3125", 53' 11.66"
16.45 m
Height 12' 0.0262", 12' 1.1"
3.685 m
Wing area 807.3 sq ft, 807.32 sq ft
75 sq m
Weight  
Empty 10,936 lb, 10,946 lb
4,965 kg
Loaded - Maximum 17,637 lb, 17,659 lb
8,000 kg, 8,010 kg
Performance  
Speed at 13,715' / 4,180 m 232 mph
Speed at 13,780' / 4,200 m 232 mph
374 kph
Speed - Cruising at 13,125' / 4,000 m 173 mph
Climb to 9,843' / 9,845' / 3,000 m 8 minutes 19 seconds, 8.34 minutes
Service ceiling 29,950', 29,954'
9,130 km
Range 2,722 miles
4,380 km
Armament  
Turret - Dorsal 1: 7.7 mm / 0.303" MG, 7.7 mm Type 92
Turret - Dorsal Secondary 1: 20 mm Type 99, 20 mm Type 99 Model 1
Lateral Blisters 2: 7.7 mm / 0.303" MG
Bombs or Torpedo 1,764 lb
800 kg
  Mitsubishi G3M3, G3M3 Model 23
Type Bomber
Crew 7
Engine (Type) 2: Mitsubishi Kinsei 51
Cylinders Radial, Radial 14
Cooling Air
Net HP 1,300 each
Propeller blades 3 each, 3 metal blade variable pitch
Fuel capacity 1,400 gallons
Dimensions  
Span 82' 0.25"
25 m
Length 53' 11.3125"
16.45 m
Height 12' 1.0625"
3.685 m
Wing Area 807.3 sq ft
75 sq m
Weight  
Empty 11,551 lb, 11,560 lb
5,243 kg, 5,244 kg
Loaded 17,637 lb
8,000 kg
Performance  
Speed at 19,360' / 5,900 m 258 mph
415 kph
Speed - Cruising 184 mph
296 kph
Speed - Cruising at 13,125' / 4,000 m 184 mph
Climb to 9,845' / 3,000 m 5 minutes 29 seconds
Service ceiling 33,730'
10,280 m
Range 3,871 miles
6,230 km
Armament  
Turret - Dorsal 1: 20 mm Type 99 Model 1
Turret - Dorsal - Retractable 1: 7.7 mm Type 92 MG
Lateral Blisters 2: 7.7 mm Type 92 MG
Bombs or Torpedo 1,764 lb
800 kg
  Mitsubishi OB-96-2
Type Heavy bomber
Engine (Type) 2: Mitsubishi Kinsei
Net HP 950 each
Propeller blades 3 each
Dimensions  
Span 82'
Length 52' 6"
Height 12' 1"
Weight  
Loaded 11,000 lb
Performance  
Speed 190 mph
Range 1,600 miles
Armament  
Dorsal 2: MG
Ventral 1: MG
Bombs 1,100 lb

Sources:

  1. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  2. World War II Airplanes Volume 2, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
  3. Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook, Ensign L. C. Guthman, 1943
  4. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
  5. Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War, René J Francillon, 1970
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site