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Japan's Imperial Navy flag

Japan's Nakajima J1N Gekko / Gekkō (moonlight); ; Navy Type 2
Allied code name: Irving

Design

The design of the Nakajima J1N started in 1938 and it was to be a land based long range escort for the Imperial Japanese Navy. It was to escort bombers on long range missions.

Night Fighter

LCDR Kozono equipped a J1N with oblique firing machines guns. It proved successful and more planes were converted.

Prototype

The first flight of the J1N prototype was in May 1941.

Production

J1Ns were first delivered in August 1942. The J1N1-S was first delivered in August 1943.

Production ended in December 1944.

  • Prototypes: 2
  • Nakajima J1N1-S/Sa: ~420
  • Total: 477, 479
    • Manufacturer: Nakajima Hikoki K.K.
    • Production: July 1942 - December 1944

Variants

  • Prototype: Had Sakae 21/22 engines. The propellers rotated in opposite directions. There were dorsal barbettes that were remotely controlled that contained the armament.
  • Nakajima J1N1-C: Reconnaissance. Armament was removed. Drop tanks could be placed under the center sections of the wings.
  • Nakajima J1N1-C KAI: Night fighter. Field modified. Obliquely mounted 20 mm cannon.
  • Nakajima J1N1-R: Reconnaissance. The C model became the R model.
  • Nakajima J1N1-S Model 11: Night fighter. The step in the upper rear fuselage was removed. Had two downward firing 20 mm cannons, but these were often removed in the field.
  • Nakajima J1N1-Sa: Night fighter. No downward firing guns.

Usage

Solomons

Allied forces first encountered the J1N over the Solomons.

Anti-Bomber

The J1N1-S Gekkos were able to go up against the B-24 Liberators used in the southwest Pacific. Later when used as home island defensive fighters the J1N1-S were unable to be effective against the B-29 Superfortresses.

Specifications

  Nakajima J1N
Type  
Crew 2 or 3
Engine (Type) 2: Nakajima Nk1F Sakae 21
Cylinders Radial 14
Cooling  
Net HP 1,130 each
Propeller blades 3 each
Fuel capacity  
Dimensions  
Span 55' 8.5"
16.98 m
Length 39' 11.5"
12.18 m
Height 14' 11.5"
4.56 m
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded  
Maximum load  
Performance  
Speed  
Cruising speed  
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range  
Maximum range  
Armament  
  Nakajima J1N1
Type Escort fighter
Crew  
Engine (Type)  
Cylinders  
Cooling  
Net HP  
Propeller blades  
Fuel capacity  
Dimensions  
Span  
Length  
Height  
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded  
Maximum load  
Performance  
Speed  
Cruising speed  
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range  
Maximum range  
Armament  
  Nakajima J1N1-C/R, Nakajima J1N1-C
Type Reconnaissance
Crew 3
Engine (Type) 2: Nakajima NK1F Sakae 21
Cylinders Radial 14
Cooling Air
Net HP 1,130 each
Propeller blades  
Fuel capacity  
Dimensions  
Span 55' 8"
Length 39' 11"
Height 14' 11"
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded 15,190 lb
Maximum load  
Performance  
Speed  
Speed @ 19,685' 329 mph
Cruising speed  
Climb  
Service ceiling 33,795'
Range 1,677 miles
Maximum range  
Armament 1: MG
  Nakajima J1N1-S/Sa
Type Night fighter
Crew  
Engine (Type) 2: Homare Model 21
Cylinders  
Cooling  
Net HP 1,100 each
Propeller blades  
Fuel capacity  
Dimensions  
Span  
Length  
Height  
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty 10,670 lb
4,840 kg
Loaded 15,454 lb
7,010 kg
Maximum load 18,043 lb
8,184 kg
Performance  
Speed 500 kph
Speed @ 19,160' /
5,840 m
315 mph
507 kph
Cruising speed 207 mph
333 kph
Climb to 16,405' /
5,000 m
9.6 minutes
Service ceiling 30,610'
9,330 m
Range 1,585 miles
2,550 km
Maximum range 2,330 miles
3,750 km
Armament  
Upward firing 2: 20 mm
Downward firing 2: 20 mm

Sources:

  1. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  2. Japanese Naval Aces and Fighter Units in World War II, Ikuhiko Hata, Yasuho Izawa, 1989
  3. World War II Airplanes Volume 2, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
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