Designed to a 1935 requirement, and
already in service for four years when
Japan entered the war, the Nakajima
B5N was in 1941 without question the
best carrierborne torpedo-bomber in
the world. Powered by a Nakajima
Hikan radial engine, the low-wing
three-crew monoplane with inwards-retracting
wide-track landing gear
was exceptionally clean, and first flew
in January 1937. The following year
production B5N1 aircraft were
embarking in Japan's carriers and
shore-based units were deployed in
China. In 1939 the improved B5N2
appeared with a more powerful Sakae
11 engine in a smaller cowling,
although armament and bombload
were unchanged, and this version remained
in production until 1943. When
Japan attacked the USA the B5N2 had
wholly replaced the B5N1 with operational
units, and 144 B5N2s were involved
in the fateful attack on Pearl
Harbor; within the next 12 months aircraft
of this type sank the American
carriers USS Hornet, Lexington and
Yorktown. Given the reporting name
'Kate' by the Allies, the B5N certainly
earned the respect of the Americans,
and in all the major carrier battles of
the Pacific War attracted the undivided
attention of defending fighters.
With its puny defensive armament of a
single machine-gun and laden with a
large bomb or torpedo, however, the
B5N began to suffer very heavily, and
although the type was fully committed
during the Solomons campaign the
survivors were withdrawn from combat
after the Philippine battles of 1944.
Thereafter, on account of their excellent
range, they were assigned to antisubmarine
and maritime reconnaissance
duties in areas beyond the range
of Allied fighters. Production of all
B5Ns reached 1,149.
| ENGINE||1 x Nakajima NK1B "Sakae", 746kW|
| Take-off weight||4100 kg||9039 lb|
| Empty weight||2279 kg||5024 lb|
| Wingspan||15.52 m||51 ft 11 in|
| Length||10.3 m||34 ft 10 in|
| Height||3.7 m||12 ft 2 in|
| Wing area||37.7 m2||405.80 sq ft|
| Max. speed||378 km/h||235 mph|
| Ceiling||8260 m||27100 ft|
| Range w/max.fuel||1990 km||1237 miles|
| ARMAMENT||1 x 7.7mm machine-guns, 800kg of bombs|
|A three-view drawing (752 x 870)|
I always love how they list the bomb load as 800 kg when only one of all the versions of IJN 45cm Aireal Torpedoes weighed under 800kg, the rest weighing in between 850kg and 1100kg. The B5N, B6N, and B7A all had at least a 1000kg bomb load.
Hell, the Fairey SWORDFISH was far superior to the Devastator LOL
The B5N was a very effective torpedo-bomber, with far superior performance to the Douglas TBD Devastator and Fairey Barracuda. However, it's excellent speed and range performance was gained at the expense of defensive armament, as well as of armor protection for the crew and fuel tanks. That state of affairs would not have been deemed acceptable in similar aircraft operated by either the Royal Navy or the U.S. Navy.
This plane was FAR FAR superior, as a carrier based bomber, than the 'opposition' (Blackburn Roc. Vought Vindicator etc)...did a helluva lot of damage to enemy ships too!
Nakajima B5N KATE
it was later armed with type 97 machineguns making it good at keeping fighters away, it was a very long leap ahead of its counterparts (fairey albcore, fairey swordfish, TBD devestator, etc) the plane was considrably fast, sank alot of allied ships and served potently as kamikaze.
Kates didn't carry Long Lances, those were shipboard-only weapons. The Kate couldn't carry that much weight.
Roughly contemporary to, and unquestionably better than, the U.S. Navy's Douglas Devastator. Even worse, at the time Japanese Navy pilots were flying these, the Royal Navy was introducing the Fairey Swordfish. What were the British thinking!
The name of the motor is Hikari,not Hikan
The Kate is a well-desigened torpedo-bomber. The only reason it failed to do so much was lack of adequate support and only a handful of aircraft.
Well, the tactics were to cover the torpedo bombers with a screen of fighters. To add heavy defensive armament would simply reduce range.
what an alsome bomber
Not only was this the best torpedo bomber but if it carried the 21 inch Long Lance it was carrying the best torpedo in the world. Any drawings available
i really think that this kate was a good choice of the japs to use to attack pearl harbor with.
Is there any resource that would include a more complete 3 view, showing bulkheads, etc.?
|Mick Dunn, 23.11.2008|
Bugger the popgun defence armament! This plane was FAR FAR superior, as a carrier based bomber, than the 'opposition' (Blackburn Roc. Vought Vindicator etc)...did a helluva lot of damage to enemy ships too!
How do the japs expect a 7.7mm machine gun to defend a 378km/h plane that is heavily laden with a torpedo. Even the B6N2 with a single 13mm machine gun was useless.
Do you have any comments about this aircraft ?