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Japan's Nakajima B5N torpedo bomber, Navy Type 97
Allied code name: Kate

Photos

Nakajima B5N1, "Kate" torpedo bomber:
Japan's Nakajima B5N1, "Kate"  torpedo bomber
Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook
Nakajima Type 97 torpedo bomber:
Japan's Nakajima Type 97 torpedo bomber
Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook
Nakajima B5N, "Kate" torpedo bomber:
Japan's Nakajima B5N, "Kate" torpedo bomber
wwiivehicles.com production
Nakajima B5N, "Kate" torpedo bomber:
Japan's Nakajima B5N, "Kate" torpedo bomber

Design

The Nakajima B5N was designed to a 1935 requirement. The design team was headed by Katsuji Nakamura. The aircraft had to have a wingspan less than 54' and be able to be folded to 24'. It was to carry a 1,760 lb torpedo. Other requirements were that it had to be able to cruise between four and seven hours, fly at 210 mph at 6,500'.

Wings

The wings were foldable for storage on a carrier.

Undercarriage

Unusual for a plane, much less a carrier plane, at the time, the B5N had an inward retracting landing gear.

Fuselage

The fuselage was all metal stressed skin.

Engine

The engine drove a variable pitch propeller.

1941 Torpedo Bomber Comparison

Prototype

In January 1937 the B5N prototype first flew.

Production

  • Total: 1,149
    • Manufactured by: Nakajima (669), Nakajima Hikoki K.K., Aichi (200), Dai-Juichi (280)
    • Production: 1937 - 1943

Torpedo Bomber All Production Comparison

Variants

  • Nakajima B5N: Prototype. Had a Nakajima Hikari radial engine.
  • Nakajima B5N1: Production model.
  • Nakajima B5N1 Model 11: Production model. First delivered in late 1937.
  • Nakajima B5N1-K: Trainer. Converted B5N1.
  • Nakajima B5N2: Arrived in 1939. The engine cowling was smaller to fit the Nakajima Sakae 11 engine.
  • Nakajima B5N2 Model 12: Had Nakajima Sakae engine. Cowling was smaller. First flew in December 1939.

Usage

China

The B5N1s were deployed to land based units in China for their first combat use.

Attack on United States

The B5N2 had replaced all the B5N1s in combat units before the attack on the United States in December 1941. There were 144 B5N2s used in the attack on Pearl Harbor. Around 100 were used as bombers and the rest carried torpedos.

Sank United States Carriers

In the first year of the war with the United States, the B5N2s were instrumental in the sinking of the carriers USS Hornet, USS Lexington, and USS Yorktown.

Withdrawn from Combat

After the battles in the Philippines in 1944 the B5Ns were withdrawn from combat. They were then used for anti-submarine and reconnaissance roles that were outside the range of Allied fighters.

Specifications

  Nakajima B5N
Type Carrier bomber, Carrier torpedo bomber
Crew 3
Engine (Type)  
Cylinders  
Cooling  
Net HP  
Propeller blades  
Dimensions  
Span 50' 11"
15.52 m
Length 33' 9.5"
10.3 m
Height 12' 1.5"
3.7 m
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded  
Performance  
Speed  
Cruising speed  
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range  
Armament  
Rear cockpit 1: 7.7 mm MG
Torpedo 1
OR  
Bombs 1,764 lb
800 kg
  Nakajima Type 97
Type Torpedo bomber
Crew  
Engine (Type)  
Cylinders Radial
Cooling  
Net HP  
Propeller blades  
Dimensions  
Span 51' 2"
Length 34' 8"
Height  
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded  
Performance  
Speed  
Cruising speed  
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range  
Armament 3: MG
Torpedo 1
  Nakajima B5N1
Type  
Crew  
Engine (Type) 1: Nakajima Hikari 3
Cylinders Radial 9
Cooling  
Net HP 770, 840
Propeller blades 3
Dimensions  
Span  
Length  
Height  
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty 4,643 lb
2,106 kg
Loaded 8,852 lb
4,015 kg
Performance  
Speed  
Speed @ 6,560' /
2,000 m
229 mph
368 kph
Cruising speed 159 mph
256 kph
Climb to 9,840' /
3,000 m
7.9 minutes
Service ceiling 24,280'
7,400 m
Range 679 miles
1,092 km
Armament  
  Nakajima B5N2
Type Torpedo, Torpedo bomber
Crew 3
Engine (Type) Nakajima NK1B Sakae 11 piston
Cylinders Radial, Radial 14
Cooling Air
Net HP 1,000
Propeller blades 3
Dimensions  
Span 50' 10 7/8", 50' 11"
15.52 m
Length 33' 9", 33' 9.5"
10.3 m
Height 12' 1 5/8", 12' 2"
3.7 m
Wing area 405.8 ft2
37.7 m2
Weight  
Empty 5,024 lb
2,279 kg
Loaded 8,360 lb, 9,039 lb
4,100 kg
Performance  
Speed  
Speed @ 11,810' /
3,600 m
235 mph
378 kph
Cruising speed 161 mph
259 kph
Climb to 9,840' /
3,000 m
7.7 minutes
Service ceiling 27,100'
8,260 m
Range 608 miles, 1,237 miles
978 km, 1,990 km
Armament 1: MG
Rear cockpit 1: 7.7 mm Type 92 MG
Torpedo 1: 1,760 lb, 1: 1,764 lb
1: 800 kg
OR  
Bombs 1,764 lb
800 kg

Sources:

  1. Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Editor: Karen Leverington, 1995
  2. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  3. World War II Airplanes Volume 2, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
  4. Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook, Ensign L. C. Guthman, 1943
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site