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Japan's Imperial Navy flag

Japan's Nakajima B6N Tenzan ("heavenly mountain", "mountain of the sky") torpedo bomber
Allied code name: Jill

Photos

  • Nakajima B6N Tenzan Jill torpedo bomber
  • Nakajima B6N2 Tenzan Jill torpedo bomber

Design

In 1939 the Nakajima B6N was designed by Kenichi Matsumura to meet the 14-Shi specification to replace the B5N. The requirements were:

  • Speed: 288 mph
  • Cruising Speed: 230 mph
  • Range with 1,764 lb / 800 kg bombs: 1,151 miles
  • Range with no bombs: 2,072 miles

The B6N was similar to the B5N but had more power and torque delivered from the engine.

Prototype

The prototype of the B6N first flew in early 1941. There were difficulties during the carrier trials. The vertical tail surface was moved to counteract the torque from the engine. Directional stability was poor.

Carrier Trials

The prototypes were tested at the end of 1942 on the Ryuho and Zuikaku. It was found that the arrester hook wasn't strong enough.

In early 1943 the B6N1 was accepted for production.

Production

  • Prototypes, Navy Experimental 14-Shi Carrier Attack Bomber: 2
    • Production: 1941 - 1942
  • Nakajima B6N1, Navy Carrier Attack Bomber Tenzan Model 11: 133
    • Production: February 1943 - July 1943
  • Nakajima B6N2, Navy Carrier Attack Bomber Tenzan Model 12: 1,133
    • Production: June 1943 - August 1945
  • Total: 1,268
    • Manufacturer: Nakajima Hikoki K.K. at Koizumi (296) and at Handa (970)
  • Nakajima B6N3 prototype: 2 converted B6N2 airframes

Variants

  • Prototypes, Navy Experimental 14-Shi Carrier Attack Bomber: Had Nakajima Mamoru radial engine.
  • Nakajima B6N1, Navy Carrier Attack Bomber Tenzan Model 11: Had a Nakajima Mamoru 11 radial engine (1,870 HP). The tail wheel could be retracted.
  • Nakajima B6N2, Navy Carrier Attack Bomber Tenzan Model 12: The Mamoru engine production was suspended so the Mitsubishi Kasei 25 engine was used (1,850 HP). Tail wheel was fixed. Appeared in late 1943.
  • Nakajima B6N2a Model 12A: Had 13 mm Type 2 machine gun in the rear cockpit.
  • Nakajima B6N3 Model 13: Undercarriage was made stronger. Larger wheels. Had Mitsubishi MK4T-C Kasei 25c engine (1,850 HP) installed.

Usage

The B6N was put into service until late 1943.

Units

Deployed to Carriers

The B6Ns were first deployed to the aircraft carriers Hiyo, Junyo, Shokaku, Taiho, and Zuikaku.

Philippine Sea Battle

The B6N1s took part in the battle of the Philippine Sea in June 1944. Many B6Ns were lost when Hiyo, Shokaku, and Taiho and were sunk.

Battle of Leyte Gulf

The B6Ns took part in the Battle of Leyte Gulf, primarily from land based units.

Specifications

  Nakajima B6N
Type Carrier torpedo bomber
Crew 3
Armament  
Rear cockpit 1: 7.7 mm MG
OR 1: 13 mm MG
Ventral turret 1: 7.7 mm MG
Torpedo or Bombs 1,764 lb
800 kg
  Nakajima B6N1
Type Torpedo Bomber
Crew 3
Pilot, Navigator / Bombardier, Radio Operator / Gunner
Engine (Type) Nakajima NK7A Mamoru 11
Cylinders Radial 14
Cooling Air
Net HP 1,870
Propeller blades 4, 4 metal constant speed
Dimensions  
Span 48' 10.375"
14.894 m
Length 34' 0.0625"
10.365 m
Height 12' 1.65625"
3.7 m
Wing area 400.416 sq ft
37.2 sq m
Weight  
Empty 7,105 lb
3,223 kg
Loaded 11,464 lb
5,200 kg
Loaded - Maximum 12,456 lb
5,650 kg
Performance  
Speed at 15,750' / 4,800 m 289 mph
Speed - Cruising at 13,125' / 4,000 m 207 mph
Climb to 16,405' / 5,000 m 11 minutes 1 second
Service Ceiling 28,380'
8,650 m
Range 909 miles
Range - Maximum 2,142 miles
Armament  
Cockpit - Rear 1: 7.7 mm Type 97
Ventral Tunnel 1: 7.7 mm Type 97
Torpedo or Bombs 1,764 lb
800 kg
  Nakajima B6N2
Type Torpedo bomber
Crew 2, 3
Pilot, Navigator / Bombardier, Radio Operator / Gunner
Engine (Type) Mitsubishi MK4T Kasei 25
Cylinders Radial, Radial 14
Cooling Air
Net HP 1,540, 1,850
Propeller blades 4, 4 metal constant speed, 4 Hamilton constant speed
Dimensions  
Span 48' 6", 48' 10", 48' 10.375" , 48' 10.5"
14.8 m, 14.89 m, 14.894 m
Length 35', 35' 7", 35' 7.5", 35' 7.75", 35' 8"
10.7 m, 10.86 m, 10.865 m, 10.87 m
Height 12' 5.125", 12' 5.5", 12' 5.6", 12' 5.59375", 12' 6", 14'
3.8 m, 4.3 m
Wing area 400 sq ft, 400.416 sq ft, 400.42 sq ft, 400.43 sq ft
37.2 sq m
Weight  
Empty 6,636 lb, 6,797 lb
3,010 kg, 3,090 kg
Loaded 11,464 lb
5,650 kg
Loaded - Torpedo-Bomber 11,464 lb
5,210 kg
Loaded - Reconnaissance 10,740 lb
4,880 kg
Loaded - Maximum 12,456 lb
5,650 kg
Performance  
Speed at 16,075' / 16,076' / 16,080' / 4,900 m 299 mph, 300 mph
480 kph, 481 kph
Speed - Cruising 207 mph
333 kph
Speed - Cruising at 13,125' / 4,000 m 207 mph
Climb 1,885'/minute
575 m/minute
Climb to 16,400' / 16,404' / 16,405' / 5,000 m 10 minutes 24 seconds, 10.4 minutes, 10.5 minutes
Service Ceiling 29,659', 29,660'
9,040 m, 9,050 m
Range 1,085 miles, 1,892 miles
1,746 km, 1,747 km
Range - Torpedo-Bomber at 209 mph / 334 kph at 13,120' / 4,000 m 1,080 miles
1,728 km
Range - Reconnaissance at 209 mph / 334 kph at 13,120' / 4,000 m 2,300 miles
3,680 km
Range - Maximum 1,892 miles
3,045 km
Armament 2: MG
Wing - Port 1: 7.7 mm MG
Cockpit - Rear 1: 7.7 mm / 0.303" Type 97 MG, 7.7 mm MG
1: 13 mm / 0.51" Type 2 MG
Ventral Tunnel 1: 7.7 mm / 0.303" Type 97 MG, 7.7 mm MG
Torpedo or Bombs 1: 1,764 lb
1: 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. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
  5. Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War, René J Francillon, 1970
  6. Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Bill Gunston, 1989
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site