Torpedo Dive Bomber
P1Y1 Ginga (Milky Way). Medium dive bomber and torpedo bomber, twin-engined all-metal monoplane with retractable landing gear. The first flight of the prototype took place in August 1943, entered service in October 1944, the codename of the Allies - Frances. Developed under the leadership of Mitsuzi (Mika) Tadanao * and Masao Yamana, the aircraft had an aerodynamically clean design with a small fuselage midsection, technological innovation, riveting in a blind and high power plant - all this allowed to achieve high flight speeds.
Despite the small size of the aircraft in the wing and fuselage, it was possible to accommodate 8 protected and six unprotected tanks with a total capacity of 5535 liters, which could be supplemented by two 220 liter outboard tanks. The armor protection of the three crew members consisted of armored headrests and armored backs with a thickness of 20 mm.
The defensive armament was very weak, especially when compared with American aircraft of this class.
Armament. One 20 mm Type 99 cannon or one 13 mm Type 2 machine gun in the bow and upper defensive mountings; up to 1000 kg of bombs (up to 1500 kg in overload). The armament of the various models was somewhat different. When the aircraft was used as a torpedo bomber, the bomb bay doors were dismantled, while the torpedo was partially recessed into the fuselage.
Many Gings were equipped with Type 3 Ku Mark.6 (H6) marine search radar. The radar antennas were located under the nose of the fuselage and along the sides in the tail. The bombers equipped with radar did not carry a special designation.
The unreliable Nakajima NK9C Homare 12 engine caused a lot of criticism, which led to its abandonment in favor of a more reliable one in the next modification.
P1Y2S. The high speed achieved during the tests of the P1Y1 attracted the attention of night fighter designers. Kawanishi was tasked with developing the P1Y fighter variant at its Konan plant. Aware of the unreliability of the Homare 12 engines, Kawanishi installed the MK4T 14-cylinder air-cooled Mitsubishi Kasei-25 engines on it. The aircraft developed by Kawanishi received the designation P1Y2-S. At the same time, the night fighter retained the bomb bay, as it was planned to use it as a night bomber.
The armament consisted of one movable 20 mm cannon at the rear of the cockpit and two fixed ones mounted at an angle.
P1Y2. Since the characteristics of the fighters at high altitudes turned out to be unsatisfactory, they were again converted into conventional bombers, while the guns installed in the fuselage were not removed.
P1Y3. Designed at the end of the war, the carrier of the kamikaze aircraft with an enlarged fuselage and a wingspan of up to 22 m and engines with increased power. The project was not implemented.
Since February 1944, they have been serially produced at the Nakajima factories in Koizumi and Kawanishi in Konan. Including the P1Y1-S and P1Y2-S fighters, a total of 1,098 aircraft were built.
Combat use. The P1Y1 performed well in the air, but very difficult to maintain. The hydraulics were constantly malfunctioning, debugging the engines took most of the time.
During the bloody battles for the Philippines and Formosa, more and more P1Y1 bombers used the tactics of "toccotai" - "special attacks" of kamikaze. However, classical attacks in conditions of the numerical and qualitative superiority of the allied aviation were no longer different from the actions of kamikaze. "Gingi" - kamikaze were reduced to small groups with their own names and quickly perished. The results of their actions were insignificant.
The last battle where the "Gingas" were actively used was the Okinawa battle. Then, in March - May 1945, the Gings were used as conventional bombers, and they were supposed to be used for the new version of the MXY7 model 22 projectile, however two prototype bomber were destroyed during the Allied bombing. Due to the lack of calculation of losses in Japanese aviation, it is difficult to assess the effectiveness of a particular type of aircraft.
In August 1945, the career of the Ginga P1Y bomber ended.
* - It is curious that after the war, Miki Tadanao created the famous Japanese "bullet trains" that run in Japan at speeds over 400 km / h.