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The Nakajima B5N nicknamed Kate was a Japanese dive bomber used in the World War II by the Imperial Japanese Navy, considered most capable than his allied counterparts, the B5N was a carrier based aircraft and had high success in battles like the Atack on Pearl Harbor and the Battle of Midway, sinking aircraft carriers USS Hornet, the USS Yorktown and the USS Lexington.


A B5N1 Kate parked in front of a hangar

Designed after an application for 1935, and already in service for four years when Japan entered the war, the Nakajima B5N was undoubtedly the best torpedo bomber in the world. Equipped with a radial engine Hikan Nakajima, the low-wing monoplane and three crew flew for the first time in January 1937. Went into production next year, now occupying space on aircraft carriers and Japanese plants located in China. In 1939, the improved B5N2 appeared with a Sakae 11 engine, although the total load of weapons and bombs remained. The B5N2 was kept in production until 1943.

When Japan attacked the United States, it had replaced the all B5N1 to B5N2. 144 B5N2 participated in the attack on Pearl Harbor. Within twelve months, this model of aircraft sank the USS Hornet, Lexington and Yorktown. Known among the Allies as "Kate," the B5N participated in every major battle involving aircraft carriers, and received special attention from Allied fighter responsible for the defense. With its defensive armament of just one machine gun, the B5N began to suffer heavy casualties. Although most have been destroyed in the Solomon Islands, the survivors were withdrawn from combat and used in missions against submarines and maritime reconnaissance missions because of its excellent range. About 1,149 were produced.


General Characteristics

  • Crew: 3 (1 pilot, 1 commander and 1 backgunner/radio operator)
  • Length: 10.30 m (33 ft 9½ in)
  • Wingspan: 15.52 m (50 ft 11 in)

    Replicas of the B5N Kate

  • Height: 3.70 m (12 ft 1⅝ in)
  • Wing area: 37.7 m² (406 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 2,279 kg (5,024 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 3,800 kg (8,380 lb)
  • Max takeoff weight: 4,100 kg (9,040 lb)
  • Powerplant: 1× Nakajima Sakae 11 radial engine, 750 kW (1,000 hp)


  • Maximum speed: 378 km/h (204 kn, 235 mph)
  • Range: 1,992 km (1,075 NM, 1,237 mi)
  • Service ceiling: 8,260 m (27,100 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 6.5 m/s (1,283 ft/min)
  • Wing loading: 101 kg/m² (21 lb/ft²)
  • Power/mass: 0.20 kW/kg (0.12 hp/lb)


  • Guns: 1 × 7.7 mm Type 92 Machine Gun 'Ru' (Lewis) in rear dorsal position, fed by hand loaded drum magazines of 97 rounds. A number of B5N1s were equipped with 2 × 7.7 Type 97 Machine Guns in the wings.
  • Bombs: 1 × 800 kg (1,760 lb) Type 91 Torpedo or 1x 800 kg (1,760 lb) bomb or 3 × 250 kg (550 lb) bombs or 6 × 132 kg (293 lb) bombs

See also

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