When the alarm went off we left our tents and went into our slit trenches that had been dug on two sides of each tent in the area. This of may sound like a very simple process. However, for the past year these trenches had often been used as convenient urinals. It did not take very long for our stay in the trenches to become unbearable and most vowed never to make such use again.
After a while the 40mm antiaircraft batteries around the air base opened up. They seemed to be firing in almost every direction. A 40mm pom-pom was about a hundred yards from us. It seemed to be firing in every direction into the starlit night but not at anything we could see.
From our positions in the slit trenches we could occasionally see the Japanese bombers pass through the starlit night. I have no recollection of any tracers going anywhere near any of the enemy. On one occasion I did see a plane as it cut through the stars but no one was firing at it.
When the firing ceased many of us left the trenches. We could see the glow of fires burning about a mile away by the aircraft line. Four of us commandeered a small truck and drove to where a barracks-like warehouse was aflame. I took a fire hose and proceeded to wet down the building as best I could. I later learned it was a clothing warehouse.
We were told that more planes were coming and that we should get the fire out as soon as possible. I took a hose and directed it where the flames seemed brightest. This happened to be right at the peak of the roof that was burning though. After about ten minutes a fellow came around the building to urge me to aim the hose lower since I was getting the crews on the other side wet. I kept my hose pointed lower after that. I also remember that at one point we were urged to get the fire out since it appeared that the bombers were returning.
Just as we got the worst of the flames out a soldier walked up to me carrying a 100lb bomb cradled in both arms that had failed to go off. He asked what he should do with it!
One of the other fellows suggested that we put into one of the water barrels near by and fill it with water. The bomb was lowered gently into a barrel tail first and I used the hose to cover it with water. This we did very carefully, tail first but I'm not sure to this day if we did the right thing.
Afterwards the four of us went back to the tent area and told them where we had been. They didn't believe us until they smelled the smoke odor in our clothes. The bomb showed no damage from ground impact for whatever reason. The bomb had not detonated because the fuse spinner was still intact with the retainer fork in place and a short piece of cotton string attached.
Sometime around midnight we got the fire out and proceeded back to our tent area. Our tent mates at first refused to believe that we had gone to fight the fires but the smoke odor on our clothes soon convinced them otherwise.
I must have been quite tired in spite of the excitement of the evening. That night, for some reason, I slept on the folding cot with my right arm under me. The wooden inserts into canvas cut off all the blood circulation in my right hand. A day later I was still unable to use my fingers. I went on sick call and was sent to the Kalampur Base Hospital about thirty miles away. I remember hearing from my ward the screams of the flyers in the next ward across the way. They had been burned in a takeoff accident. Since they couldn't find anything wrong with my arm I was told to go to the hobby shop for physical therapy. I proceeded to make a Plexiglass B-29 about ten inches long as I gradually recovered use of my fingers. After about a week I was returned to duty.
We found out that the planes had been Japanese twin engine bombers. They burned a C-8, a B-24 used as a transport, and the storage barracks full of clothing. I don't know of any other damage. We were told that British twin-engine night fighters named Beaufighters had shot all the Japanese down before they could get back to Burma.
(by Katie, Daughter of Bart Kirk F/E/444th/679th/676th)
Plane over Paris
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The Consolidated B-24 Liberator
Article written by Forest Garner
More of the B-24 and its derivatives were built than any other multi-engine aircraft of the Second World War, and more than any other American aircraft in history. Sources seem to disagree on how many Liberators were built, with totals usually quoted between 18,188 and 19,203, making the Liberator about six percent of total American wartime production. The differences in the totals are probably due to the extremely complex production program. First production was at the Consolidated factory in San Diego, California. As orders increased, this factory was rapidly expanded until it employed 45,000 people and eventually built 6,724 examples of the complex B-24. Demand for the B-24 was such that even this impressive production was inadequate. Convair (Consolidated merged with Vultee in 1941 to form Convair) set up an additional factory in Fort Worth, Texas, and 30,000 workers built 3,034 additional Liberators there. Additionally, Douglas Aircraft Corporation built about 964 B-24s in its factory in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and North American Aviation built about 966 in Dallas, Texas. The largest Liberator factory was Ford's huge new factory built at Willow Run, Michigan, which turned out 6,792 completed aircraft and 1,893 disassembled, crated airframes for final assembly elsewhere. In 1944, the Willow Run factory alone turned out 92,000,000 pounds (42,000,000 kg) of airframes, nearly equaling the production of the entire Japanese aircraft industry that year, or almost half of the entire German output. Peak production by all factories produced a B-24 every 55 minutes. These factories and several major depots also performed many conversions, often of hundreds of aircraft. This lead to more than sixty different designations for variations of the B-24 airframe. There were bomber, patrol bomber, reconnaissance, cargo, tanker, trainer, experimental, civil, and other variants.
All versions of the Liberator were powered by the Pratt and Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp, a 14-cylinder air cooled radial engine. The XB-24 prototype and the six LB-30A models had R-1830-33 engines without superchargers. Subsequent versions of the B-24, including bomber, cargo, and trainer variants and the US Navy's PB4Y-1 had General Electric turbo-superchargers to enhance performance at high altitudes. The PB4Y-2 dispensed with turbo-superchargers because their patrol bomber missions were expected to be strictly low-altitude operations.
The semi-monocoque fuselage had a boxy cross section. Bomber crews took full advantage of the flat sides, often painting extravagant artwork, and usually including a provocative female on the nose of the aircraft. The bomb bay doors were a unique design which rolled up the sides to reveal two racks in each of the two bays. A narrow catwalk between the racks allowed brave crewmen to transit between the forward and aft fuselage sections, or to service the bombs and racks.
Early versions of the B-24 were heavily armed by pre-war standards, the B-24A having two .30 caliber machine guns in the tail and six .50 caliber weapons (one in the nose, one in a ventral position, two in an upper turret, and one on each side at the waist positions). Early in the war, both the RAF and the USAAF found this armament inadequate, and additional machine guns were added in subsequent versions.
The first major production variant was the B-24D, of which 2,738 were built. This aircraft was 20.2 m in length, spanned 33.5 m, weighed 15,413 kg empty and 27,216 kg loaded. Powered by four Pratt & Whitney R-1830-43 (later R-1830-65) engines of 1,200 hp, the maximum speed was 303 mph. Armament was initially 9 .50 caliber machine guns. Late B-24Ds received a retractable Sperry ball turret instead of the single ventral gun, giving a total of ten .50 caliber weapons. Officially, the B-24D could carry up to 8,000 pounds of bombs internally. Potential maximum internal loads were 20 100-pound bombs, 12 500-pound bombs, 8 1,000-pound bombs, or 4 2,000-pound bombs. Over Europe, B-24s delivered an average of about 4,600 pounds (2,090 kg) of bombs per sortie, as did B-17s. In comparison with the contemporary B17F, the B-24D cruised a little faster, but also a bit lower.
The USAAF and US Navy quickly perceived a need for vast numbers of B-24s, and five large factories were eventually set up for B-24 construction. The B-24D was built by Consolidated Vultee in San Diego, California (2,425 built) and in Fort Worth, Texas (303 built), and by Douglas Aircraft Corporation in Tulsa, Oklahoma (10 built).
The B-24E was very similar to the B-24D, but had different propellers. Consolidated produced 144 of the B-24E, while Douglas built 167, and Ford built 490 in its huge, newly constructed factory at Willow Run, Michigan.
The B-24H added detail improvements, including Emerson electric nose and tail turrets and improved waist gun mounts. Consolidated, Douglas, and Ford built 3.100 of these.
The B-24J was the most numerous production variant, with 6,678 being produced by all four manufacturers. It included improved nose and tail turrets, jettisonable waist gun mounts, a new autopilot, and an improved bombsight. Ford and Consolidated also built 1,667 of the B-24L, and 2,593 of the B-24M, which featured variations in the tail gun turrets.
The US Navy acquired many B-24Ds from the USAAF for anti-submarine operations, and also 977 of the PB4Y-1, which were either converted from the B-24D with the addition of an Erco nose turret, or from the B-24J, B-24L, or B-24M with a Consolidated nose turret. Later came 736 of the much-modified PB4Y-2, with unsupercharged engines, single tail, two upper turrets, no ball turret, twin guns in each waist position, an extra 2.1 m added to the length of the fuselage, and many other improvements. The PB4Y-2 was so modified that it got a different name, being called Privateer.
Given the massive commitment the United States made to the B-24, it is interesting to note that the US initially showed little interest in the aircraft, and it was France which, in 1940, placed the first production order for 139 of these bombers, to be called LB-30. France surrendered long before any could be delivered, so the order was taken over by the RAF. Twenty were taken by Coastal Command as the Liberator I. These were very early B-24s with armor, extra machine guns, and self-sealing fuel tanks added. They were followed by 140 of the Liberator II, with fuselage lengthened to equal that of the B-24D, but with Hamilton Standard propellers. These were the last of the contract Liberators for the RAF, as all subsequent RAF Liberators were procured through lend-lease. The Liberator III and IIIA were based on the B-24D, the Liberator IV was derived from the B-24E, and the Liberator V was a conversion of the B-24G. The Liberator VI came form the B-24H and B-24J. The Liberator VII was a transport based on the C-87 cargo variant of the Liberator. The Liberator VIII was an improved Liberator VI, while the Liberator IX was another Cargo variant based on the US Navy's R3Y.
One B-24A was parked at Hickam field on the morning of December 7, 1941. This aircraft, 40-2370, was so large that it attracted immediate attention from Japanese bombers and became the first American aircraft destroyed by enemy action in the Second World War.
Service in the Atlantic OceanThe Liberator contributed heavily in the Atlantic battles. According to one author, RAF Coastal Command Liberators sank, or assisted in sinking, 70 U-boats, starting with U-597 sunk off Iceland 12 October, 1942 by No. 120 Squadron. Four of these kills were made by Czech pilots of RAF No. 311 Squadron. Some of No. 311 Squadron's Liberators were equipped with four 5-inch rockets on airfoil-shaped mounts forward of the bomb bays, and such rockets were used in sinking one U-boat.
The RCAF's No 10 Squadron sank or helped in sinking 2 U-boats ( U-341 and U-520. The latter boat was not sunk by a Liberator though).
USAAF Liberators participated in sinking 10 U-boats, while US Navy Liberators added 13 more.
Liberators were also operated by the RAAF (in the Pacific), the South African Air Force (over Southern Europe), the Dutch Air Force (in the Pacific), and by India and France post-war.
Service over EuropeThe most famous Liberator mission was made from the Benghazi area of Libya on 1 August, 1943 by 179 B-24s of the USAAF IX Bomber Command. The targets were seven refineries near Ploesti, Rumania, well out of reach of any other Allied bomber at that time. While the target was badly damaged, it was quickly repaired. Two bombers crashed on or shortly after take-off, 12 aborted, 43 were shot down by the enemy, 56 others received significant battle damage, and 8 were interned in Turkey. Only 99 returned to their own bases, while 15 others managed to land in other Allied-controlled areas.
The US 8th Air Force used Liberators along with B-17s to attack strategic targets in Europe from English bases. Loss rates were initially very high for both bomber types, but eased considerably as Luftwaffe resistance collapsed in the face of long-range fighter escort in the first half of 1944. The accurate German flak was always a serious threat and the Liberators, because they flew a few thousand feet lower than the Fortresses, became known as "flak magnets". A positive aspect of the lower altitudes was improved bombing accuracy.
There are many who believe the Liberator was not as tough as the B-17 against the fierce opposition over Europe. There are various arguments as to the validity of this assessment. One might point out that the highest losses of any 8th Air Force bomb group was achieved by a B-17 unit, but this is not entirely fair because B-17 and B-24 groups often did not hit the same targets. It is enough to say that both types did the job they had to do.
U-boats sunk by this aircraft
U-597, U-216, U-599, U-611,
U-529, U-623, U-524, U-635, U-632, U-189, U-332,
U-109, U-456, U-258, U-304, U-200, U-628, U-535, U-951,
U-232, U-514, U-506, U-558 +, U-598, U-404 +, U-706 +, U-84,
U-468, U-604 +, U-341, U-389, U-419, U-643, U-470, U-844,
U-964, U-540, U-274 +, U-848 +, U-966 +, U-508, U-280, U-849,
U-271, U-177, U-990, U-292, U-629, U-373, U-441,
U-821 +, U-971 +, U-317, U-988 +, U-478 +, U-586, U-319, U-347,
U-471 +, U-969, U-608 +, U-618 +, U-466, U-867, U-863, U-1060 +,
U-681, U-1106, U-326, U-1017, U-534, U-579, U-1008,
75 U-boats lost to B-24 aircraft. + means that the B-24 shared the credit for the sinking.
There is always a very slight chance we might have missed one or two boats in this lookup. If you suspect so please let us know.
OVERVIEW OF JAPANESE AIRCRAFT
ALF KAWANISHI E7K2 SEAPLANE
This is an airplane that should have called it "quits" after 1940: ....But the Japanese needed seaplanes, as 90% of the territory they had captured was water! Alf's guns are too light to be a threat, but 60kg bombs are nothing to sneeze at! Fortunately, ALF is agonizingly slow for a combat aircraft: .....So let Socko conduct some AA practice drills!
ANN MITSUBISHI KI-30 LIGHT BOMBER (Army)
This aircraft is a credible threat. While ANN's guns are barely adequate, she carries a decent bomb load, and with her respectable top speed, she is able to deliver it! Expect Hull Damage.
BABS MITSUBISHI C5M RECON PLANE
By herself, this girl poses no threat: .....But remember, her job is long range recon, .....and her appearance may be the first warning you get that something nastier is on the way!
BETTY MITSUBISHI G4M2A BOMBER
This is a great example of a really fine twin engine bomber. Good range and speed, a heavy bomb load, and an impressive array of guns make BETTY a girl you'll want to date with care! You will definitely see this aircraft, as it was used everywhere by the Japanese. (A crash dive upon sighting is a good way to go!)
CLAUDE MITSUBISHI A5M4 FIGHTER (ALSO "SANDY")
A "between-the-wars" design, this aircraft saw frontline service in only the first year of the war. It was then relegated to rear area support and training. CLAUDE reappeared late in the war as a kamikaze aircraft.
DAVE NAKAJIMA E8N1 RECON SEAPLANE
This is another aircraft that probably would have been retired before the U.S. entered the War, if only the Japanese didn't need seaplanes so badly. Lightly gunned, with a small bomb load, this guy is a minimal threat by himself. DAVE's main job was recon, and he was frequently used as the catapult-launched scout plane on cruisers and battleships. (Where his low take-off speed was an advantage.) Let your AA gunners play!
EMILY KAWANISHI H8K2 FLYING BOAT
This aircraft is a thoroughly modern, long range, four engine flying boat. Bristling with guns, and carrying an impressive bomb load, EMILY is pure, unadulterated trouble! Sub skippers should particularly note the remarkable top speed! This girl will "rock your boat"!
FRANCES YOKOSUKA P1Y1 GINGA BOMBER
This aircraft is another example of the Japanese talent for building very good twin engine bombers. Produced in several versions, FRANCIS was frequently seen with attack radar. Give FRANCIS the respect she is due!
FRANK NAKAJIMA KI-84-IA HAYATE FIGHTER
First flown in early 1943, this aircraft was specifically designed to counter the threat posed by Allied P-47s and P-51s. It carried seriously heavy guns, and still was able to deliver two heavy bombs, when employed as a fighter/bomber. A commonly heard comment in Allied radar rooms was; "Forget it! ....It's a FRANK!!". They knew that if there wasn't a P-51 in the immediate area, nothing was going to catch FRANK.
GEORGE KAWANISHI N1K1-J SHIDEN FIGHTER
Introduced in early 1944, this guy was a match for Allied aircraft like the F6F HELLCAT and the F4U CORSAIR. Like most of the modern Japanese fighters, it was capable of carrying a respectable bomb load, and it's speed will leave your AA gunners wondering; "Where did it go????". Engage at your own risk.
HELEN NAKAJIMA KI-49-IIB DONRYU HEAVY BOMBER
Still another fast, well armed, twin engine bomber; ......with a big payload of "love letters" just for you. By now, you "skippers" are probably figuring out that if you see a Japanese twin engine bomber, it's time to check out what 300 feet looks like!
IDA TACHIKAWA KI-36 SUPPORT AC
Originally designed as a light bomber, this aircraft found it's niche as a tactical ground support plane, and advanced trainer. It did this job well enough that it was produced up until the middle of 1944. In keeping with it's support role, it would not be surprising to find a couple of IDAs sitting on a sand strip on some remote island. Because of this type of deployment, you may see IDA around.
IRVING NAKAJIMA J1N1-C GEKKO SUPPORT AC
This guy is a big, fast, long range recon aircraft. While IRVING carries no bomb load, his speed, and downward firing 20mm Cannon make him a credible threat: ......And like all recon aircraft, his appearance is a good indication that his uglier cousins are probably on the way!
JACK MITSUBISHI J2M3 RAIDEN FIGHTER
Originally designed as a naval interceptor, JACK had all the standard tools needed for that Job: ....Heavy guns, lots of horsepower, and an excellent rate of climb. As the War dragged on, Japanese aircraft carriers were becoming rather scarce, and JACK had to find something else to do, and somewhere else to do it. Like many of the Japanese fighters, Jack had "hardpoints" for the mounting of bombs; .....and if you sit still long enough, he'll show you what they're used for!
JAKE AICHI E13A1 SEAPLANE (ALSO "JUNE")
While officially listed as a "Recon Seaplane", JAKE is actually a pretty nasty piece of work: ...With his downward firing 20mm cannon, and 250kg bomb or Depth Charge capability, it seems pretty clear that the Japanese intended JAKE to be a "pain-in-the-azz" to submarines. Handle with care!
JEAN YOKOSUKA B4Y1 SUPPORT AC (ALSO KUGISHO)
Here we have an aircraft very similar to the British "Swordfish". Clearly obsolete by most standards, but still able to carry a torpedo or heavy bomb load to it's target. (...or at least most of the way.) Jean's poor top speed is what makes her into a victim more often than a victor; ....so give your AA gunners some practice!
JILL NAKAJIMA B6N2 TENZAN BOMBER
This aircraft is the classic example of "a day late and a dollar short"! Intended as an offensive torpedo bomber, JILL wasn't deployed until AFTER high performance Allied fighters were present in force. After some disastrous encounters in fleet actions, where the downside of "a little bit too slow" was made clear, Jill was delegated to defensive roles, which is where SH4 skippers will probably encounter her.
JUDY YOKOSUKA D4Y3 SUISEI BOMBER (ALSO KUGISHO)
A good, solid, high performance dive bomber. Her lack of self sealing gas tanks and armor made her prey to other aircraft, but against her primary target, naval vessels, she was a solid performer! (One JUDY nearly sank the carrier U.S.S. Franklin single-handedly!)
KATE NAKAJIMA B5N2 TORPEDO BOMBER
This was the torpedo bomber that caused so much grief and aggravation at Pearl Harbor. Although technically close to obsolescence in December of 1941, KATE continued to serve through most of the War. (But again, regardless of how KATE did against other aircraft, it is the substantial bomb load that commands respect from sub commanders.)
LILLY KAWASAKI KI-48-IIA LIGHT BOMBER (ARMY)
Well, .....I bet by now you're tired of hearing about the virtues of Japanese twin engine bombers! Too Bad: .....here's another fast, supremely capable aircraft to worry about!
LORNA KYUSHU Q1W1 TOKAI ANTI- SUBMARINE PATROL
Based on the JU-88 design, LORNA was one of the Japanese aircraft that was produced in a version that was dedicated to ASW. This version was equipped with MAD (Magnetic Anomaly Detection) gear that let her search for submerged submarines by their tell-tail disturbance of the Earth's magnetic field. If you see a LORNA in your neighborhood, ......start worrying! (Diving deep won't help!)
MABEL MITSUBISHI B5M1 CARRIER ATTACK BOMBER
This is simply a solid, carrier based torpedo bomber. Like many Japanese carrier based plane, MABEL had to find land based duties when Japanese aircraft carriers became less common. In these more defensive roles, MABEL's heavy bomb load was a significant plus.
MARY KAWASAKI KI-32 LIGHT BOMBER
Designed as a basic dive bomber, MARY was in frontline service from 1938 to 1942. After 1942, she was relegated to rear area defensive operations. While not particularly fast by Allied aircraft standards, she still moves well enough to be difficult for your AA gunners: Handle carefully!
MAVIS KAWANISHI H6K FLYING BOAT
Designed in the middle ˜30s, MAVIS was conceived as a heavy, long range, long duration Flying Boat. Her range capabilities made 24 hour patrol missions easily possible, which means that MAVIS could stick to your submerged sub as tenuously as any surface escort. The fact that she's bristling with guns, and has a 1000kg bomb load does nothing to make her "more pleasant company"!
MYRT NAKAJIMA C6N1 SAIUN SUPPORT AC
This aircraft was the last word in high speed, long range recon. MYRT's speed allowed him to laugh at Allied fighters, and he could operate with impunity even in Allied controlled airspaces. Like most dedicated recon aircraft, MYRT is no real threat to a sub by himself; ....but he will happily "rat you out" to his unpleasant friends!
NATE NAKAJIMA KI-27B FIGHTER (also called "CLINT")
Although technically obsolete in 1940, NATE continued in active service because of the Japanese tendency to value maneuverability over speed and armament. With his light machine guns, and non-existent bomb load, the sighting of a NATE is a good excuse to give your AA gunners some advanced practice.
NELL MITSUBISHI G3M2 BOMBER
Here we go again: ......yet another modern, fast, high performance twin engine bomber. It is historically interesting to note that NELLs played a crucial role in the sinking of the HMS Prince of Wales, and the HMS Repulse. Everything that has been said about the other Japanese twin engine bombers applies here. If your sub is sunk by aircraft, they will probably be twin engine bombers!
NICK KAWASAKI KI-45 KAI TWO SEAT FIGHTER (ARMY)
This thing is a rattlesnake with wings!! Although originally intended as an interceptor, this aircraft was produced in several versions, including the Anti-Ship version described here. This aircraft packs a 37mm auto-cannon and two 20mm cannon, along with a very respectable bomb load! It was deadly against shipping and small naval vessels: ......If you see one of these in your area, a crash dive is the only sane option.
OSCAR NAKAJIMA KI-43-IIB HAYABUSA FIGHTER
This guy is just a good, solid fighter/bomber! With it's two heavy machine guns and VERY respectable bomb load, it is entitled to your respect! (Besides, wouldn't you feel silly being sunk by a guy named OSCAR???)
PEGGY MITSUBISHI KI-67 HEAVY BOMBER (ARMY)
This girl is serious business! "Just" another twin engine bomber; ...but this girl packs a complement of guns that compares well with a B-17! Add to that a 1000kg (2200lb) bomb load, and a 537kmph (334 mph) top speed, and you have something to worry about! (....And I thought I liked "fast women"!)
PETE MITSUBISHI F1M2 SEAPLANE
From 1936 to 1944, PETE served as a patrol seaplane. While a little light in the gun department, he did carry a respectable bomb load. While faster than some of the other Bi-Plane Seaplanes, he shouldn't be beyond the capabilities of an experienced AA crew.
RUFE NAKAJIMA A6M2-N SEAPLANE
This seaplane was developed from the Zero!!! .......Enough said!!
RUTH FIAT B.R.20 HEAVY BOMBER (ARMY)
The Japanese purchased these from Italy, and then decided they didn't like them: .....But since they were stuck with 85 of them in their inventory, you may see one.
SALLY MITSUBISHI KI-21 HEAVY BOMBER (ALSO "JANE", ALSO "GWEN")
Another example of a good, fast twin engine bomber! These girls were trouble whenever they appeared! (...And just like in the singles bars, these girls tend to travel in groups!)
SONIA MITSUBISHI KI-51 ASSAULT/TACTICAL RECON (ARMY)
Originally intended as a Dive Bomber, the Sonia soon found it tough to deal with the faster Allied fighters. Noting the aircraft's ability to operate from short, rough strips, the Japanese began to use them as support and recon aircraft in remote areas: ......Just like most of the Island Garrisons whose shipping you will be trying to mess with!! Don't be surprised if "Sonia" pays you a visit!
SUSIE AICHI D1A2 BOMBER
Poor Susie!!! ....Her "Glory Days" were back in China in the late ˜30s! She has a fairly good bomb load for such a small plane; .....but she is simply WAY too slow! Let your AA gunners have some fun!
TOJO NAKAJIMA KI-44-IIB SHOKI FIGHTER
This little guy was originally intended to be a fast-climbing interceptor. Even though TOJO doesn't carry bombs, caution is advised; ....as his four .50 cal machineguns will make your conning tower sound like a harmonica in less time than it takes to tell about it!
TONY KAWASAKI KI-61 FIGHTER (ARMY)
The TONY was the only production Japanese fighter to use a liquid cooled V-12 powerplant. When you look at the design, and the performance, you quickly realize that the Tony's resemblance to a P-51 is probably NOT coincidental. This is another very competent aircraft, and a very dangerous adversary. The heavy guns he carries and the respectable bomb load make this aircraft a real threat to surface targets. Later in the War, the 20mm Cannon in the wings were replaced with 30mm Cannon: ......That's just not funny!
VAL AICHI D3A2 CARRIER BOMBER
This girl was a solid, workhorse, dive bomber. The VALs made a name for themselves at Pearl Harbor, and continued to be an irritation to the Allies for another couple of years. Once the high performance Allied fighters started to assert themselves, the VALs were relegated to second string roles. They re-appeared late in the war as part of the kamikaze effort.
ZEKE/ZERO MITSUBISHI A6M5 REISEN FIGHTER
What can one say about the ZEKE/ZERO??? (ZEKE being the Allied codename for the ZERO) If you say the words "Japanese Fighter", the first thing that comes to most peoples minds is the ZERO. Fast, well armed, and above all, maneuverable, the ZERO was one of the definitive aircraft of WWII. In spite of the fact that some of the later designs were actually much faster, the ZERO continued to be a favorite of the Japanese Air Force pilots because of it's demon-like maneuverability. Like most Japanese fighters, the ZEKE had wing hardpoints that allowed for up to 60kg bombs.