Military Review

Deck Aviation in World War II: New Airplanes. Part VIII (a)

Japanese Deck Dive Bombers

7 December 1941 of the year, striking a surprise attack on the American base at Pearl Harbor, where the main forces of the US Navy in the Pacific theater were concentrated, Japan entered World War II. The main striking force of the Japanese aircraft carrier connection was the AXI D3A1 deck dive bomber (according to the Allies classification, “Val”) and the Nakijima B5N2 deck bomber torpedo bombers (the Americans called it “Kate”).

Aichi dive bombers D3A1 “Val” attack Pearl Harbor, December 7 1941 (Fig. From the site

The double Aichi D1936А3 “Val”, which made its first flight back in the distant 1 year, was considered obsolete by the beginning of hostilities both in speed characteristics (maximum - 386 km per hour and firepower (1 x X250-kg and 2 x X60-kg aerial bombs).

Requirements for a new aircraft designed to replace the Aichi D3A dive bomber (which was still undergoing tests and preparing for serial production), the command of the Japanese imperial fleet developed in 1938. At the initial stage of development, they planned to create a new dive based on the Heinkel German aircraft - the prototype of the He 118 dive bomber, which in turn participated in the Luftwaffe competition and lost to Junkers Ju.87. To do this, Japan bought a license from Germany for the production of He 118 and the prototype He 118 V4. In the spring of 1938, after extensive testing of the imported vehicle, it became clear that this dive was not suitable for the fleet. With excellent speed characteristics (515 km per hour), He 118 turned out to be heavy for use on aircraft carriers and structurally weak.

Experienced German diving bomber "Heinkel" He 118 (Photo site

The development of a new deck diving bomber based on technical background and practical experiments on the Heinkel He 118 was entrusted to the 1-th aviation arsenal of the Japanese Navy in Yokosuka (chief engineer Masao Yamano).

The new aircraft received the designation "Yokosuka" D4Y and the name "Susi" (translated from the Japanese "Comet"), later from the Americans it will receive the code name "Judy".

The prototype of the dive bomber D4Y1 "Susi" made its first flight in December 1940 year. It was a double-metal all-metal mid-plane with developed wing mechanization; on each console there were three aerodynamic brake covers with electric drive. Susi received a compact fuselage (comparable in length to the AXI D3A1 "Val") with a spacious bomb bay for one 500-kg or two 250-kg bombs. Equal with D3А1 aviation fuel stock was located in five unprotected tanks. Two additional 330-L outboard tanks could be hung under the wing consoles. Instead of a PTB, two 30-kg (or 60-kg) bombs were suspended for reinforcement of bomb weapons. A much smaller wingspan (11.50 m versus 14.37 m for D3А1) allowed to abandon the folding mechanism of the consoles.

D4Y1 “Susi” dive bomber in the aviation arsenal, Yokosuka, 1942 (Photo by site)

The rifle armament was presented (as in the case of Aichi D3А1) by three machine guns: two 7.7-mm synchronous and one 7.92-mm on the turret of the gunner-radio operator at the rear of the cab.

The power plant of the prototype D4Y1 was a liquid-cooled Atsuta engine originally with horsepower 950 (11-I model) - an imported version of the German DB 600G. The 1200-powered Atsuta engine of the 12 model (the licensed version of the German DB 601), which is planned to be installed on production models of the XNUMX, has not yet been mastered in production.

D4Y1 “Yokosuka” dive bomber “Susi” in the air museum, Tokyo, February 2008 (Photo of

The Suseya prototype, with its elegant aerodynamic forms, showed on tests high flight characteristics and good controllability in horizontal flight. The maximum speed of D4Y1 in 546 km per hour exceeded that of the main carrier-based fighter of the Japanese fleet A6М3 Zero.

D4Y1 “Yokosuka” dive bomber “Susi” in the air museum, Tokyo, 2006 (Photo by

However, during the tests revealed the impossibility of applying a new aircraft in its main quality - a diving bomber. The reason lay in the weak design of the wing. During the dive, the wing began to vibrate strongly, which at any time could lead to the destruction of the aircraft.

The Yokosuka high-speed carrier reconnaissance D4Y1-С "Susi" is preparing for a reconnaissance flight, 1943. (Photo site

While the designers were solving the problem of eliminating this serious problem, it was decided that a second pair of pre-production vehicles equipped with regular 1200-strong engines should be completed as a deck high-speed reconnaissance aircraft and tested in a combat situation. Bombers as superfluous were removed, and an additional fuel tank was installed in the bomb bay. A pair of 330-l PTBs were hung on reinforced underwing locks. Small arms left unchanged.

Deck scout "Yokosuka" D4Y1-С "Susi", 523 kokutai, the Caroline Islands, 1944, (Fig. From the site

The baptism of Susei was held on 4 on June 1942, at Midway Atoll. One of the two reconnaissance aircraft deployed on the Soryu aircraft carrier (no. BI-201) was the first to find the American aircraft carrier connection 120 miles from Midway on that day and made his command happy (for some unknown reason, the radio message was never accepted). The second Susyi did not take part in the hostilities (it was probably damaged or destroyed during the first strike on the Soryu aircraft carrier).

Despite the tragic outcome of the battle at Midway, the Japanese command found the results of the combat use of the new aircraft quite successful. Susi was far superior to the main deck reconnaissance aircraft of the Japanese fleet of the time, the Nakajima torpedo-carrier B5N2 Kate in terms of both speed and range.

6 June 1942, the new carrier-based reconnaissance aircraft "Yokosuka" "Susi" under the designation D4Y1-С was adopted. Its small-scale production unfolded very slowly - the release of new aircraft began only in October 1942 of the year.

Deck Aviation in World War II: New Airplanes. Part VIII (a)

The deck reconnaissance aircraft D4Y1-С "Susi" prepares for departure from the coastal airfield on the Mariana Islands, 1944, the city (Photo site

Serial D4Y1-С differed from the prototypes by the presence of reconnaissance photographic equipment (K-8 cameras with an 250-mm or 500-mm lens). Deck reconnaissance D4Y1-С, as they were released, entered service mainly onshore intelligence units that operated from airfields in Rabaul, the Caroline and Mariana Islands, New Guinea and the Philippines.

Combat operation of the D4Y1-С determined a positive assessment from the side of the flight personnel, which was caused by high flight performance and ease of operation of the aircraft. A significant drawback of this and subsequent modifications of the “Sussey” was its weak security due to the lack of reservation of the cockpit and the protected fuel tanks.

Under the conditions of a long-drawn-out process of finishing and launching a full-fledged D4Y1 “Susi” full-time dive bomber at Aiichi in August 1942, a new modification of “Val” - D3A2 (Model 22) went into the series in August. In the hope of increasing the range of the dive bomber's flight, they increased the power of the power plant by installing a Kinsey-1300 54-strong engine from Mitsubishi. The maximum speed of D3A2 increased to 433 km per hour. On the plane, the cockpit lantern was extended and the volume of fuel tanks increased (by 79 l), however, the flight range of the heavier vehicle did not increase, but decreased by 150 km. The armament of the “two” did not differ from the previous modification.

Aichi diving bomber D3A2 "Val" (Fig. From

Production of the dive bomber "Aychi" D3A2 "Val" lasted until August 1945 year. It was the most massive modification of "Val" (released 1017 aircraft - two times more than D3A1).

The Vels served on the decks of Japanese aircraft carriers until the end of 1944. The last major operation with their participation was the battle for the Mariana Islands in June 1944 of the year - on five aircraft carriers (including Hiyo and Dzunyo) of Admiral Ozawa's compound 38 based dive bombers D3A2. The effectiveness of their actions due to the inexperience of the crews (the attack of targets was made only from a gentle slip) was low. The surviving "Vels" continued to serve on the beach as training machines and kamikaze planes.

In flight, the replica "Aychi" D3A "Val" at the air show in the United States, 1986 g. (Photo site

By the spring of 1943, the designers of the 1 aircraft arsenal in Yokosuka were able to strengthen the design of the main spar of the D4Y1 wing, at the same time improving the aerodynamic brakes.

In March 1943, the deck-mounted d4Y1 “Susi” dive bomber was put into service, and its mass production was launched in June.

Yokosuka dive bomber reconnaissance D4Y1 Susi, 503 Kokutai (Fig. From

The first major battle, where the Susei took part (D4Y1 and D4Y1-C) was the battle for the Mariana Islands in June 1944. The dive bombers and scouts of the Susy were based both on aircraft carriers (three kokuta squadrons) and on islands (two kokuta). As a result of the battle, the Japanese fleet lost two aircraft carriers (“Shokaku” and “Taiho”) while causing minor damage to American ships (battleship “Iowa”, aircraft carriers “Enterprise” and “Uosp”). Japanese losses aviation were huge - only "Suseyev" was destroyed more than 70 cars (in the air and on the dead aircraft carriers). On the Zuikaku returning to Japan, only three D4Y1 remained. These events were later called by historians the Great Marianas Turkey Hunt.

D4Y1 “Susi” (503 Kokutai) dive bombers preparing for combat sortie, Mariana Islands, 1944 (Photo by website

In the course of this battle, 18 June 1944, one of the "Suseev" was used for jamming the American radars. D4Y1 threw off strips of aluminum foil, which created a false target mark on the radar and disoriented American fighters sent to intercept Japanese bombers for a short time. However, this ultimately did not affect the pitiable outcome of the battle for the Japanese side. For the first time (and quite successfully) similar passive interference to the illumination of German radars was used by the British during a raid on Hamburg in July 1943.

The October 4 of the year was a striking page from the military biography of D1Y1944. During the battle in the Philippines and the Formosa Island, one 250-kg bomb dropped from a single D4Y1 dive-bomber on the American aircraft carrier Princeton 26 of October was sufficient for the ship to receive the heaviest damage. After the removal of the crew, he was torpedoed by the American cruiser "Renault" and went to the bottom. By tragic coincidence, this single bomb was able to break through the three decks of an aircraft carrier and exploded in the galley, subsequently causing a fire on the hangar deck, where the Avengers were equipped for a sortie. The ensuing explosions were so powerful that they damaged the nearby cruiser Birmingham. Moreover, this "Susi" turned out to be the only Japanese strike aircraft that could break through to the aircraft carrier, skilfully hiding in the clouds from American fighters.

The light cruiser Renault (CL-96) and the burning aircraft carrier Princeton (CVL-23), 26 in October 1944 (Photo by

To be continued ...

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  1. Black Colonel
    Black Colonel 14 July 2017 17: 59
    It was hard for Amer and Yap to fight in the open sea. If you do not die on a ship (in a downed plane), then you’ll drown yourself or the sharks will eat.
    1. WapentakeLokki
      WapentakeLokki 14 July 2017 19: 43
      Well, of course, it’s hard, well, is it the case on the eastern front where only 1500 tanks converged near Prokhorovka (which is some 5000 people that make up the crew of 3 LCs or 2 Aviks and when Midway the Yankees had 3 Avika and doKhr-Kr + EM and not the island itself, an integral battalion of Morpekhs, where the relics are some water, where the Epic battle) In general, Glory to the Great Fleet of Pind-i who managed to crush Giant Japan (this is clearly visible on the map). Three times URA.hao
  2. DimerVladimer
    DimerVladimer 17 July 2017 15: 03
    A bright page from the military biography of D4Y1 was October 1944. During a battle near the Philippines and Formosa Island, a single 250 kg bomb dropped from a single D4Y1 dive into an American aircraft carrier Princeton on October 26 was sufficient to cause severe damage to the ship. After removing the crew, he was torpedoed by the American cruiser Renault and sank.

    This is indeed one of the most revealing episodes, as an excellent aircraft and a skilled pilot pilot can do such damage alone - leading to the sinking of the light aircraft carrier USS Princeton (CVL-23).
  3. Serzh_R
    Serzh_R 15 December 2017 11: 21
    On December 7 of 1941 of the year, striking a US base at Pearl Harbor, where the main forces of the US Navy were concentrated in the Pacific theater of war, Japan entered World War II.

    Thus began a long history of friendship and cooperation between the United States and Japan.