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Japan World War 2 Aircraft

Japan World War 2 Aircraft

The first aircraft factory to be established in Japan was the Nakajima Hikoki, founded in 1916. By the following year, two other aircraft companies were formed, the Mitsubishi Jukogyo and Kawasaki Kokuki. Although Japan was late to join in aviation race, but under the leadership of Isoruku Yamamoto, Japan would soon undertake a massive building programme which would bring the Japanese Air Fleet on par with that of the western powers.

Aircraft Lists

Japan did not maintain an independent Air Force, so the Army and the Navy both operated and maintained their own air fleet. By 1941, feverish rearmament rate had put Japan as the third largest navy in the world, after the US Navy and Royal Navy. The Imperial Japanese Navy possessed ten large modern aircraft carriers and in terms of naval aviation, they were the most competent air power, built around some of the best airplanes in the world.

Among the important aircraft types in the Japanese Air Fleet included fighters, torpedo-bombers, dive-bombers and long-range bombers. The Mitsubishi A6M-Zero was considered the best carrier aircraft in the world and the Mitsubishi G3-M bomber was known for its remarkable speed and range. Also the Japanese were the first to use aircraft tactical bombing which surprised the world with the sinking of the Prince of Wales and Repulse.

Until the Battle of Midway in the summer of 1942, Japan’s air power had formed the backbone of Japan military might in the Pacific. But there was one vital weakness. As the war dragged on, Japan’s aircraft factories and ship building capacity could never keep up with the demands needed to replenish the losses on aircraft, warships and pilots.

As the Japanese Air Force gradually lost control of the Pacific, new tactics were devised to counter the threat. With the fall of Saipan in July 1944, a special attack group was formed, which impact was to again take the world by surprise. This was the suicide dive bombing squads, or known as “Kamikazes”.

Japan Aircraft Listing

Aichi D3A Val
Kawanishi H6K Mavis
Kawanishi H8K Emily
Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien Tony
Mitsubishi A5M Claude
Mitsubishi A6M Zero
Mitsubishi G4M Betty
Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa Oscar
Nakajima Ki-84 Frank

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