Aircraft Recognition No. 5, Vol. III January 1945

Aircraft R e cog nit ion January ,1945 with opportunities to get on more intimate terms with many of the newer and lesser-known types of Japanese aircraft. In the Marianas, and in particular on Saipan, Tinian and Guam, where the Japanese were taken by surprise by the speed of the American landings, a valuable haul of aircraft material and information was collected. The J1N1 reconnaissance version of “Irving ”carries a crew of two—pilot and radio operator/photographer, both of whom also have the additional role of gun-firer. The armament consists of a fixed nose battery of one 20 mm. cannon and two 7.7 mm. machine-guns fired by the pilot, and two tandem dorsal turret mountings each with a pair of 7.7 mm. machine-guns having a rearward area of fire limited to 45 degrees horizontally on either side and 45 degrees upwards. These two mountings, which are remotely controlled by the radio-operator, are located one behind the other in the slightly stepped-down extension of the crew’s canopy aft of the trailing-edge of the wings. There is also provision for one 7.7 mm. machine-gun in a tunnel beneath the radio-operator’s compartment. Two vertical cameras are located amidships. The later and more important night fighter version (J1N1-S), which went into production in 1943, has a more powerful cannon armament. The standard arrangement appears to consist of four 20 mm. cannon mounted in pairs, one pair above and one below the fuselage amidships. The upper pair fires upward at an angle of 30 degrees and the lower pair at the same angle downward. The cannon and their mountings occupy the space taken by the tandem remotely-controlled mountings of the reconnaissance model, the gun muzzles poking out of the fuselage aft of the radio­ operator’s position. The cannon are of a Japanese-built EXPERIMENTAL work with the aeroplane which is known by the Allies as “Irving” originated in 1938 when the Nakajima Hikoki Fabushiki Kaisha (Nakajima Aircraft Co., Ltd.) was allotted the designation “No. 13 Experimental Land Fighter ”for a twin-engined project which it had submitted to the Japanese Admiralty. In the incubation stage No. 13 suffered from delays and in­decision, for it was not until 1942 that it went into production as Type 2 Land Reconnaissance monoplane, only to be further modified a year later into a night fighter. Under the Japanese Navy system of aircraft designation as outlined in the last issue of “Aircraft Recognition ”the two operational versions of “Irving ”are known as Type 2 Land Reconnaissance Model 11 (J1N 1) and “Gekko” (“Moonbeam”) Night Fighter, Model 1 1 (JIN1-S). The reason why “Irving ”has until recently remained rather modestly in the background is because its duties have not exposed it to much contact with the U.S. air forces at any overrate territory where, if shot down, its bones could be identified and examined. The recent American advance towards the inner ring of island defences of the Japanese mainland has, however, provided the Allies 102
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