Adversaries: WW2 Japanese.
Most of these aircraft, but not all, have tangled in some way (mostly unsuccessfully) with the Fleet Air Arm:
Hasegawa (early issue) out the box.
The Zero was an unpleasant surprise to Allied forces in the early part of the war. However, although agile and fast by the standards of the early 1940s, by 1944 it was largely outclassed by the Seafires of the British Pacific Fleet and the many other modern US types (Corsairs & Hellcats) then being deployed by the Allies.
Fujimi out the box
Lacking any equivalent of the Allies' powerful Merlin, Griffon, Wasp & Cyclone engines,
Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) designers concentrated on lightweight and aerodynamically
advanced designs to compensate. The D4Y Suisei dive bomber exemplified this approach,
building on a Heinkel concept (for which Japan had acquired manufacturing rights).
Fast, with an impressive range and payload, but vulnerable to combat damage due to
On 6 April 1945 a D4Y3 Judy struck HMS ILLUSTRIOUS' island in a suicide attack, before skidding into the sea where its bomb exploded. Damage to the hull was significant, although the ship was able to continue with flying operations. Nevertheless, with her top speed now severely limited, it marked the end of ILLUSTRIOUS' war and she was forced to returned to home waters, arriving at Rosyth Dockyard in June 1945 for extensive repairs that lasted for over a year.
Attacks by Kamikaze (Divine Wind), or more correctly Tokubetsu Ko-
721st Naval Air Group, 708th Attack Squadron. Okinawa, June 1945
Hasegawa (out the box)
The Betty was a highly successful Japanese bomber design that remained in production throughout WW2. Very fast for its time, its early successes were helped by its ability to outrun most Allied fighter aircraft.
With the arrival of the Seafire, Corsair and Hellcat in theatre this advantage was soon lost and the Betty’s light construction and lack of armour began to take their toll. Despite frantic attempts to add simple rubber protection to its fuel tanks, It quickly gained a reputation for catching fire with the lightest of hits on the fuel carrying wings.
As the war in the Pacific drew to its climax, Bettys were used in such diverse roles as as troop transports and heavy escort fighters as well as carrying rocket powered Ohka suicide bombers to attack the Allied fleet.
The Betty’s final duty came as transport for the Japanese surrender delegation on
the first leg of their flight the Philippines to deliver the formal surrender documents.
The disarmed G4Ms were painted all-
The Betty’s intended cargo was this Ohka (“Cherry Blossom”) rocket powered Kamikaze flying bomb. Carrying a 1.200kg warhead, it could achieve a top speed of over 570 Mph and would be dived into the decks of Allied warships . Over 750 were built and used mainly during the battles off Okinawa, where they proved of little value, with only a few successful hits on smaller ships, and no confirmed hits on any of the target capital ships or carriers. As with German attempts at radio controlled anti shipping missiles, the Ohka’s main weakness was the vulnerability of the heavily laden “Betty” carrying aircraft needed to get it with in range of its target.
Allied reporting name: “George”
343rd Naval Air Group, 301st Squadron, July 1945
Aircraft of Lt. Naoshi Kanno, IJN
Hasegawa (out the box)
By early 1945, the IJN had already lost most of its most capable pilots and all of its aircraft carriers. Those remaining were gathered in elite units equipped with the latest equipment, including the 343rd Kokutai commanded by Minori Genda, architect of the Pearl Harbor attacks.
The 343rd was the main user of the “George”. Despite an impressive combat record and undoubted qualities of its pilots and aircraft, unit losses could no longer be replaced; with overwhelming losses, the 343rd was withdrawn from combat and finally disbanded on 14th August 1945.
Allied reporting name: “Myrt”
Hikotai 11, Kokutai 762, Katori Air Base, Imperial Japanese Navy, January 1945
Entering Service in September 1944, the Myrt was a very fast 3-
Over 460 Myrts were built, including night fighter versions armed with oblique mounted 30mm guns in place of the centrally seated observer.
On 15 Aug 1945, a Myrt that was shadowing the Allied Fleet became the last aircraft
to be shot down during WW2 (although there were several further engagements after
the official cease-