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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 OB-96-2 Soyokaze (freight carrier):
Japan's Mitsubishi OB-96-2 Soyokaze (freight carrier)
Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook

Mitsubishi OB-96-2 Soyokaze (freight carrier):
Japan's Mitsubishi OB-96-2 Soyokaze (freight carrier)
Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook

Mitsubishi G3M, "Nell" bomber:
Japan's Mitsubishi G3M, "Nell"  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. In the mid 1930s the Mitsubishi G3M was developed.

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

Prototype

The first Ka-15 prototype flew in April 1934 / July 1935.

Production

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

  • Mitsubishi Ka-15: 21
  • Mitsubishi G3M1: 34
  • Mitsubishi G3M2 Model 21: 343
  • Mitsubishi G3M2 Model 22: ~400
  • Mitsubishi G3M2 and Mitsubishi G3M3: 993
  • Mitsubishi G3M3 Model 23:
    • Manufacturer: Nakajima
    • Production: 1941
  • Total: 1,048
    • Manufacturer: Mitsubishi Jukogyo K.K., Nakajima
    • Production: 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: First flew in the middle of 1936.
  • 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: Transport. Conversion of G3M1. Allied code name: Tina.
  • Mitsubishi L3Y-2: Transport. Conversion of G3M2. Allied code name: Tina. Used by Nippon Koku K.K. and Dai Nippon Koku K.K. airlines.
  • Mitsubishi OB-92-2: Long range heavy bomber.

Usage

Sino-Japanese War

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

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.

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

  Mitsubishi G3M
Type Medium bomber
Crew 7
Engine (Type)  
Cylinders  
Cooling  
Net HP  
Propeller blades  
Fuel capacity  
Dimensions  
Span 82' 0.25"
25 m
Length 53' 11.5"
16.45 m
Height 12' 1"
3.68 m
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded  
Performance  
Speed  
Cruising speed  
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range  
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
Type  
Crew  
Engine (Type) 2: Mitsubishi Kinsei 3
Cylinders Radial 14
Cooling  
Net HP 910 each
Propeller blades 3 each
Fuel capacity  
Dimensions  
Span  
Length  
Height  
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded  
Performance  
Speed  
Cruising speed  
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range  
Armament  
  Mitsubishi G3M2
Type Bomber
Crew 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
Fuel capacity  
Dimensions  
Span 82'
Length 53' 11"
Height 12' 1"
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty 10,946 lb
4,965 kg
Loaded 17,637 lb
8,000 kg
Performance  
Speed @ 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
Bombs or torpedo 1,264 lb
  Mitsubishi G3M3
Type  
Crew  
Engine (Type) 2: Mitsubishi Kinsei 51
Cylinders  
Cooling  
Net HP 1,300 each
Propeller blades 3 each
Fuel capacity 1,400 gallons
Dimensions  
Span  
Length  
Height  
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty 11,560 lb
5,244 kg
Loaded 17,637 lb
8,000 kg
Performance  
Speed @ 19,360' /
5,900 m
258 mph
415 kph
Cruising speed 184 mph
296 kph
Climb  
Service ceiling 33,730'
10,280 m
Range 3,871 miles
6,230 km
Armament  
  Mitsubishi OB-96-2
Type Heavy bomber
Crew  
Engine (Type) 2: Mitsubishi Kinsei
Cylinders  
Cooling  
Net HP 950 each
Propeller blades 3 each
Fuel capacity  
Dimensions  
Span 82'
Length 52' 6"
Height 12' 1"
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded 11,000 lb
Performance  
Speed 190 mph
Cruising speed  
Climb  
Service ceiling  
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
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site