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May 29, 1943



Distribution: All Units Afloat and Ashore concerned with Aircraft.


     New Type of Japanese Aircraft. Reports from the Southwest Pacific area indicate a new type of Japanese aircraft. It has been described from combat reports and high altitude photographs as a mid-wing, twin-engine, single seat fighter monoplane with a long slender fuselage and stubby nose and engine nacelles. The wings are elliptical in shape with rounded tips and a slight dihedral. The tail fin is similar to the Focke Wulf 187 except that it is more square on top. The horizontal stabilizer is nearly oval in shape. The aircraft was a greenish color with light colored belly and large orange circles on the top of the wings and side of the fuselage. It is reported to be armed with 20 mm. cannons and 7.7 mm. machine guns. Reports indicate that it is less maneuverable, than ZEKE, but faster in dives. Further information is requested.

     Type 1, SSF, (Single-Seat Fighter) OSCAR (Dive brakes?). The wreckage of an aircraft, which was possibly an OSCAR was located near Wau, New Guinea. A stressed skin structure was recovered near this crash which may be a dive brake, indicating the possible use of this type of fighter for dive bombing. This air foil is 7 feet 6 inches long, 18 inches at the wide rounded end and tapered to 4 inches at the square end. It is very light in weight with a maximum thickness of 1½ inches on the leading edge and a knife-like trailing edge. It is hinged at each end and in the middle.

     Previous reports have been received from ground troops of "Zeros" with undercarriage lowered, dive bombing troops. This may support the possibility of the use of Japanese fighters for dive bombing.

     Type 0, Mark 2, SSF, (Single-Seat Fighter) HAP. (Armament). Examination of recently captured Haps show that the 20 mm. ammunition drums carry 100 rounds per gun, compared to the 60 rounds reported for Zekes. This report may mean that the Zekes will carry 100 rounds per cannon in the future. Other reports indicate the possible installation of six machine guns, three guns in each wing.

     Type 99, D/B, (Dive Bomber) VAL (Mark 2). In the South Pacific area, a crashed aircraft was recently recovered which has been reported as an improved version of Val. It has been designated by the code name of VAL, Mark 2. The name plates designate it as "Type 99 Aichi, Ship-borne bomber, Model 22". Although the fuselage plate bore no date, the latest date on component parts was August 1942.




     The principle differences in the new bomber as compared to the usual VAL are reported as follows: (1) The leading edges of the wings are much less swept back and the trailing edge is much more tapered. (2) The rudder is not as broad, fore and aft, and resembles a hay stack from the side view. (3) The horizontal stabilizer has its leading edge sharply swept back in a straight line instead of a curve. (4) The fuselage is more streamlined, especially around the cowling and at the aft end. The cockpit enclosure is longer and more streamlined and faired into the fuselage. (5) A large spinner has been added to the propeller hub. (6) It is possible that the designation "Model 22" on the name plates indicates a new engine, however, the engine cowling does not appear to be any larger in diameter.

     Type 96, M/B, (Medium Bomber) NELL. In recent months, Type 96 medium bomber, NELL, has reappeared as an operational aircraft in the South Pacific theater. Examination of a crashed bomber of this type discloses for the first time that it is being manufactured by Nakajima Kikoki KK. Component parts are dated as late as August 20, 1942. This information suggests that production of NELL will be continued in addition to the manufacture of Type 1, M/B, BETTY, by Mitsubishi.

     Pilots have reported that a NELL recently encountered, appeared to have vertical tail fins that are not as square cut as formerly and that they are more rounded looking like a B-24 vertical tail fin. The enemy aircraft used 7.7 mm ammunition but probably had a 20 mm. gun in the top turret. This was used at a range of about 800 yards but switched to 7.7 mm waist guns at about 500 yards. It has also been reported that a plane of this type appeared to have a glassed-in stinger in the tail for a gun that was probably a 7.7 mm machine gun.

     Type 97, L/B, (Light Bomber) NORMA. An aircraft which was tentatively identified as NORMA, was shot down in the South Pacific area. It was a short-nosed, twin-engine medium bomber with no gun turret or rear gun installation. Only light fire from a small caliber gun which was located well forward on the right side was noticed. It was thought to have been fired from a window. The crew was composed of 6 or 7 men, based on the number that were sighted in the water after the crash.

     Type 97, M/B, (Medium Bomber) SALLY. Combat pilots who have returned from the Solomon Islands report that the tail gun on the medium bomber SALLY is a 20 mm. cannon and fires explosive ammunition. The puffs of smoke that were observed at about 800 yards from the tail gun were an indication that explosive ammunition was being used.

     Modified Type 97, M/B, (Medium Bomber) SALLY. In India the Japanese Army has put into operation a modified type 97, M/B, SALLY. It has been suggested that it be given the code designation of SALLY, Mark 2, for the present. Preliminary reports have been received which have been based on the examination of several crashed aircraft. There are no observable changes in silhouette or design, but the engines are larger and a remotely controlled tail gun has been added.

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     Name plates show the engines to be Type 100 manufactured by Mitsubishi Nagoya Engine Works in July 1942 and rated at 1450 h.p. Variable pitch propellers are controlled by electric motors housed in the spinners.

     The undercarriage retracts backwards into the rear of the engine nacelles. An interesting feature of construction is that the wing joins the center section between the engine nacelle and the fuselage, four feet from the center line of the nacelle, putting most of the shocks of landing and taxiing on this joint.

     One of the crashed aircraft was reported to have two red and blue signal lights on the top of the fuselage and three red lights on the top of each wing. It was thought that these lights might be used to facilitate pattern bombing at night.

     The armament consisted of;

1 x 7.7 mm free gun in the nose,

2 x 7.7 mm free lateral guns just below and forward of the leading edge of the tail plane.

1 x 7.7 mm ventral gun under the leading edge of the tail plane

1 x 7.7 mm free gun in the tail, operated by remote control from the dorsal turret.

1 x 12.7 mm free gun in a dorsal turret.

     All sights are ring and bead sights except the tail gun which has the reflector type. The cone of fire from the tail gun is about 20 degrees. A report on one crash states the possibility of the aircraft being equipped with a power gun turret.

     The bomb bay is about 15 feet by 3 feet by 1½ feet in depth and the maximum bomb load is estimated to be 2500 to 3000 pounds.

     The material and equipment that was found at the scene of one crash indicates that the plane was being used as a transport.

     Type (New) M/B, (Medium Bomber) HELEN. A new type of aircraft, recently reported as operational in the Southwest Pacific area, is a twin engined medium bomber to which has been alloted the code name HELEN. It has been compared to the Type 99 L/B, LILY, but some of the differences and other features noticed are as follows:

(1)  The fuselage projects beyond the rudder and tail planes.

(2)  There is no step in the lower rear part of the fuselage, that is, the fuselage is not the "Baltimore" type.


(3)  The engines give the appearance of an in line engine but this is probably due to the shape of the cowling and large spinners, as used by HAP.

(4)  Fire was encountered from the belly or tail.

(5)  Markings on the fuselage were a white cross on a red circle.

     An enclosure is included with this summary which shows silhouettes of the following medium bombers:

(1)  Type (New) M/B, HELEN
(2)  Type 97 M/B, SALLY, Mark 2
(3)  Type 99 L/B, LILY
(4)  Type 1 M/B, BETTY










SOURCE:Commandant's Office, Central Subject Files, 1942-43
National Archives & Records Administration, Seattle Branch

Transcribed by RESEARCHER @ LARGE. Formatting & Comments Copyright R@L.

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