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Japan's Imperial Navy flag

Japan's Nakajima C6N Saiun (painted cloud) carrier reconnaissance
Allied code name: Myrt

Photos

  • Nakajima C6N1 Saiun reconnaissance

 

Design

The Nakajima C6N Saiun was specifically designed to be a carrier based reconnaissance aircraft.

Ensign Yasuo Fukuda and Yoshizo Yamamoto designed the C6N.

Specifications

In early 1942 the Imperial Japanese Naval Staff gave Nakajima the 17-Shi specification for a carrier based reconnaissance aircraft that had these requirements:

  • Speed: 403 mph / 350 knots at 19,685' / 6,000 m
  • Climb to 19,685' / 6,000 m in under 8 minutes
  • Range: 1,727 statute miles / 1,500 nautical miles at 242 mph / 210 knots
  • Range - Maximum: 3,078 statute miles / 2,500 nautical miles

Wing

The laminar flow wing had six fuel tanks. There were split and Fowler trailing edge flaps.

Fuselage

The fuselage had observation windows and camera portholes in the side.

The oil cooler was mounted on the port side.

Prototype

The C6N prototype first flew on May 15, 1943. It was powered by the Homare 11 engine (1,820 HP). The prototype used a four bladed propeller. It didn't meet some of the requirements and additional prototypes were constructed.

Production

  • Prototype and pre production: 19
    • Production: March 1943 - April 1944
  • Nakajima C6N1: 462
  • Nakajima C6N2: 1
  • Total: 463
    • Manufacturer: Nakajima Hikoki K.K. at Koizumi and Handa
    • Production: March 1943 - August 1945

Variants

  • Nakajima C6N1 Model 11, Navy Carrier Reconnaissance Plane Saiun: Production version.
  • Nakajima C6N1-S: Night fighter. Had two obliquely firing 20 mm cannons in fuselage. Used against B-29 Superfortresses in the home islands. The C6N1-S didn't have radar.
  • Nakajima C6N2: Prototype. Night fighter. Had Homare 24 turbo charged engine.
  • Nakajima C6N3 Saiun KAI 1: Night fighter with Homare 24 turbo charged engine. Never produced.
  • Nakajima C6N4 Saiun KAI 2: Only on design boards. Was to have Mitsubishi MK9A engine.
  • Nakajima C6N5 Saiun KAI 3: Only on design boards. Was to have Mitsubishi MK9A engine.
  • Nakajima C6N6 Saiun KAI 4: Only on design boards. Was to be all wood.

Usage

Made operational in the summer of 1944.

Units

  • Kokutais: 132nd, 343rd, 601st, 653rd, 762nd

Mariana Island Campaign

The C6N's first campaign was in the Mariana Islands. It was used to shadow the US Fleet and was nearly immune from interception because of its speed and altitude performance.

Last Kill of World War II

The last aerial kill of World War II was on August 15, 1945 at 5:40 AM when a US Navy pilot Commander Reidy shot down a C6N1. Hostilities officially ended at 5:45 AM.

Specifications

  C6N / 12-Shi Prototype
Type Carrier reconnaissance
Crew 3
Pilot, Navigator/Observer, Radio Operator/Gunner
Engine (Type) Nakajima NK9B Homare 11
Cylinders Radial 18
Cooling Air
Net HP 1,820
Propeller blades 4 constant speed
Fuel Capacity 299.2 gallons
1,360 liters
  C6N1
Type Reconnaissance
Crew 3
Pilot, Navigator/Observer, Radio Operator/Gunner
Engine (Type) Nakajima NK9B Homare 21
Nakajima NK9H Homare 21
Cylinders Radial 18
Cooling Air
Net HP 1,990
Propeller blades 3, 3 metal constant speed, 4 constant speed
Dimensions  
Span 41', 41' 1/8"
12.5 m
Length 36' 1", 36' 1 1/18"
11 m
Height 12' 11", 12' 11 29/32", 13'
3.96 m
Wing area 274.479 sq ft
25.5 sq m
Weight  
Empty 6,543 lb
2,968 kg
Loaded 9,921 lb
4,500 kg
Loaded - Maximum 11,596 lb
5,260 kg
Performance  
Speed at 20,015' / 6,100 m 379 mph
610 kph
329 knots
Cruising speed 242 mph
389 kph
210 knots
Climb to 19,685' / 6,000 m 8.2 minutes, 8 minutes 9 seconds
Service ceiling 35,236'
10,740 m
Range 1,914 statute miles
1,914 miles, 3,300 miles
3,080 km
1,663 nautical miles
Range with external fuel tanks 3,300 statue miles
3,300 miles
5,310 km
2,866 nautical miles
Armament 1: MG
Cockpit - Rear 1: 7.7 mm MG
1: 7.92 mm Type 2
  C6N1-S
Type Night fighter
Crew Pilot, Radio Operator
Engine (Type) Nakajima NK9H Homare 21
Cylinders Radial 18
Cooling Air
Net HP 1,990
Propeller blades 3 metal constant speed
Armament  
Fuselage - Oblique 2: 20 mm Type 99
  C6N2
Type Night fighter
Crew Pilot, Radio Operator
Engine (Type) Nakajima NK9K-L Homare 24
Cylinders Radial 18
Cooling Air
Net HP 1,980
Propeller blades 4 metal constant speed
Armament  
Cockpit - Rear 1: 7.92 mm Type 2
  C6N3
Type Night fighter
Crew Pilot, Radio Operator
Engine (Type) Nakajima NK9K-L Homare 24
Cylinders Radial 18
Cooling Air
Net HP 1,980
Propeller blades 4 metal constant speed
Armament  
Fuselage - Oblique 2: 20 mm Type 99

Sources:

  1. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  2. World War II Airplanes Volume 2, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
  3. Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War, René J Francillon, 1970
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site