|Manufacturer||Nakajima Aircraft Company|
|Primary Role||Night Fighter|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseThe J1N twin-engined aircraft was originally designed as a fighter, but somewhere along the development cycle it became a reconnaissance aircraft large enough for a crew of three. Because it retained a fighter-like look, it was mistakenly identified as so by the Allied airmen and was given the code name "Irving". In 1943, some J1N aircraft were converted into night fighters under the direction of Commander Yasuna Kozono of the 251st Kobutai in Rabaul, and these modified aircraft were designated J1N1-C KAI; they shot down two B-17 bombers of the 43rd Bomb Group on 21 May 1943. The initial success of the J1N1-C KAI soon led to a new series, the J1N1-S "Gekko" ("Moonlight"), especially designed as night fighters. Though they lacked good radar and could often only get one pass at American bombers, skilled pilots could cause serious damage. Lieutenant Sachio Endo, for example, scored eight kills against B-29 bombers before he was shot down by another.
ww2dbaseOn 5 Sep 1944, a new use for J1N aircraft was found. Warrant Officer Yoshimasa Nakagawa and Chief Warrant Officer Isamu Osumi used their J1N aircraft to ram a B-24 bomber. Although the B-24 was seriously damaged, the American pilot was eventually able to level off the B-24. The J1N survived, too, providing an example of a successful mid-air ramming. Eventually, J1N pilots developed a method to avoid gunfire from the bombers' turrets while diving toward the rudder. As the J1N's propeller ripped the bomber's rudder, the J1N aircraft should only suffer minor damage and should be in good condition to return to base to receive repairs. Lieutenant Naoshi Kanno was one of the pilots who was able to successfully use this method to destroy a B-24 bomber with a J1N aircraft.
ww2dbaseSources: the Divine Wind, Wikipedia.
Last Major Revision: Nov 2006
|9 Jun 1943||21 B-17 bombers attacked Lakunai, Vunakanau, and Rapopo airfields at Rabaul, New Britain with 73,000 pounds of bombs between 0215 and 0520 hours. A J1N1 nightfighter (pilot Chief Flight Officer Satoru Ono, observer Lieutenant (jg) Kisaku Hamano) damaged two of the US bombers.|
|13 Jun 1943||21 B-17 bombers attacked Rabaul, New Britain with 87,000 pounds of bombs before dawn; a J1N1 nightfighter (pilot Senior Flight Petty Officer Shigetoshi Kudo, observer Lieutenant (jg) Akira Sugawara) shot down B-17 bomber "Georgia Peach" at 0326 hours.|
|15 Jun 1943||More than 20 B-17 and B-24 bombers attacked Lakunai airfield at Rabaul, New Britain before dawn. A J1N1 nightfighter (pilot Chief Flight Officer Satoru Ono, observer Lieutenant (jg) Kisaku Hamano) shot down one bomber, while two B-24 bombers fired on each other over Rabaul in confusion.|
|26 Jun 1943||11 B-17 bombers attacked Rabaul, New Britain before dawn. A J1N nightfighter (pilot Senior Flight Petty Officer Shigetoshi Kudo, observer Warrant Officer Michitaro Ichikawa) shot down B-17F bomber "Taxpayer's Pride" and B-17E bomber "Naughty But Nice", which made Shigetoshi Kudo the first Japanese nightfighter ace.|
|30 Jun 1943||Senior Flight Petty Officer Shigetoshi Kudo shot down B-17F bomber "Pluto" over Rabaul, New Britain.|
|Machinery||Two Nakajima Sakae engines rated at 1,130hp each|
|Armament||4x20mm Type 99 cannon|
|Wing Area||40.00 m²|
|Weight, Empty||4,840 kg|
|Weight, Loaded||7,010 kg|
|Weight, Maximum||8,184 kg|
|Speed, Maximum||507 km/h|
|Speed, Cruising||338 km/h|
|Rate of Climb||8.70 m/s|
|Service Ceiling||9,329 m|
|Range, Normal||3,778 km|
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