Military Review

Combat aircraft. Child of seven stupid nannies

History the appearance of this plane is no longer a fairy tale, or an anecdote. From time to time, even in such a highly organized and hierarchical country like Japan, something started to go wrong in the minds and such projects appeared, after reading which you start to shrug your shoulders.

And the Japanese had many such projects. In general, their army and navy, in my opinion, were very strongly influenced by the ideas of universality. And here, on the one hand, there was just a huge field for work, on the other, apparently due to the peculiarities of psychology, such distortions began that ...

However - judge for yourself.

We have a proverb that if a Chinese pioneer has no problems in life, then he must create them for himself and overcome with honor.

Something like this was the case in the mid-30s of the last century in the Japanese MGSh (Marine General Staff) in terms of understanding the concept of using seaplanes.

The Japanese admirals were seriously trying to find those who would create a universal seaplane, an all-in-one aircraft. A catapult seaplane that will perform the functions of a reconnaissance aircraft, fighter, bomber (preferably a dive).

Rave? But no. The Japanese almost succeeded. All who understand will say that the devil is in the word "almost" and they will be right. But the crown of this venture, the Mitsubishi F1M floatplane (there will also be a debriefing about this unique one) has almost become such a versatile person.

Combat aircraft. Child of seven stupid nannies

Conceived as a spotter, it was used as a scout (only it did not fly as far as we would like), the Japanese tried to fight on it like a fighter, fortunately, maneuverability and speed were quite (and there was nothing to fight with, two 7,7-mm machine guns - this is ridiculous), a bomber that could dive is also possible (only two bombs of 60 kg each and a range is not serious).

In general, the station wagon turned out, but he was so ... Funny.

There was also Aichi E13A1, which, like a fellow from Mitsubishi, fought the entire war, starting from catapults of almost all ships equipped with such.

Monoplane E13A1 could lift two bombs weighing up to 250 kg, and "hang" in the air for up to 10 hours, but did not know how to dive and when any enemy fighters appeared, it became a very easy victim.

And, the funniest thing is that when the E13A1 had not yet gone into production, at the direction of the Japanese admirals, they already began to prepare a replacement for it. Well, I really wanted Japanese the fleet to have such a versatile plane. Therefore, the terms of reference for its development was given by merging the projects of the three-seat reconnaissance-spotter E13A1 and the two-seat bomber E12A, which did not go into the series.

What the admirals wanted was just lovely!

The plane was supposed to be a monoplane with folding wings, weighing no more than 4 tons (this is to take off from catapults), it should have a decent forward fighter armament, it could carry bombs weighing up to 250 kg, and have a range and autonomy for 10 hours of flight.

Thank God, the flight characteristics and the number of crew members were not strictly specified.

There was no competition usual for the Japanese navy. The Aichi firm was appointed as the winning volunteer, and two designers, Yoshishiro Matsuo and Yasushiro Ozawa, “guilty” in the development of the E12A and E13A in 1940, began to think about the third plane.

They did not succeed very quickly, but they did, and the Type 14 Experimental Double Reconnaissance Seaplane was ready in May 1942.

The aircraft had an all-metal construction. Mitsubishi MK8Е Kinsei 51 engine with 1300 hp. promised good flight characteristics, plus the plane was facilitated wherever possible, including by removing one crew member.

The crew consisted of a pilot and a navigator-observer-gunner. The navigator was at least relieved of his leadership duties, according to the tradition of the Japanese fleet, it was the navigator who was always the commander of the crew of the sea aviation.

Armament ... Standard two synchronous 7,7 mm machine guns and the same machine gun for the defense of the rear hemisphere. That is, for 1942 about nothing.

But the plane was taught to dive according to all the rules, equipped with air brakes. True, the brakes were not installed in the wing, as was customary in the world, but ... in floats! The designers decided not to weaken the wing by inserting and installing drives.

As a result, air brakes (2 each) were installed vertically on the front float struts and opened hydraulically.

The military, looking at all this, said "it will not be enough!"

And since the designers left the wings without unnecessary mechanization, they installed a 20-mm Type 99 cannon with an ammunition load of 100 rounds per barrel. And the rear 7,7 mm machine gun was demanded to be replaced with a 13,2 mm one.

The bomb load was not very rich: either one 250-kg bomb on the ventral suspension or four 60-kg bombs under the wings. Bombing from a dive at an angle of up to 60 degrees was supposed only from the underwing bomb racks in pairs, because the suspension under the fuselage did not have a mechanism for removing the bomb from the area swept away by the propeller. So the 250-kg bomb was supposed to be dropped either from horizontal flight, or from a very gentle dive up to 30 degrees.

When all the work on bringing the aircraft into proper condition was completed, it received the official name E16A1 and its own name "Zuiun", which meant "Auspicious cloud". With two cannons and a 250-kg bomb - a very favorable cloud is ...

In the meantime, the war was going on, and not in Japan's favor, because the release was complicated by many factors. In general, the Zuiyun series went into production only in 1944, albeit at the very beginning. A total of 1944 aircraft were manufactured from January 1945 to May 256, including pre-production prototypes.

Given the state of the Japanese fleet, the question arose of where to define the new aircraft. There were no longer enough ships. The launching production of aircraft carrier ships helped out, but not aircraft carriers, as, for example, the heavy cruiser "Mogami" converted into this hybrid, in which instead of two completely broken aft towers, a flight deck with catapults was equipped. A wing of 12 Zuiyuns was to be based on the Mogami.

True, the number of aircraft deployed turned out to be less, only four E13A1 and three F1M2.

Approximately the same was done with the battleships Ise and Hyuga, from which part of the artillery weapons was also removed in exchange for the deployment of aircraft. As a result, outright freaks appeared, not battleships and not aircraft carriers, but they are generally a separate conversation about them.

And by the time the Zuiyuns got into their kokutai and the pilots were trained, alas, the superiority of American aviation was undeniable. And the widespread use of "Zuiyuns" became simply impossible, since "Hellkets" and "corsairs" tore in the sky everything that did not flap their wings.

Therefore, they decided to make the new plane night. More chances to survive and cause at least some damage to the enemy.

Baptism of fire "Dzuyuny" received on the night of November 22-23, 1944, when a group of 17 aircraft attacked American troops in the Philippines, near the city of Tacloban. An unpleasant surprise for the Japanese was the radars, which were targeted by American night fighters, who, together with anti-aircraft guns, shot down three aircraft. What were the real results of the raid, history is silent.

The next night they decided to repeat it. Obvious stupidity, the Americans proved it by shooting down 7 out of 12 planes.

Then there were the same "successful" attacks by American troops on the islands in the Kanigao Strait, Leyte Island, Panay Island.

December 21, 11 "Zuiyunov" attacked enemy ships near the city of San Jose. Here the first success was achieved, when one of the damaged E16A crashed into the Juan de Fuca transport and seriously damaged it. And the losses amounted to 4 aircraft, including this kamikaze.

On the night of December 26, the first confirmed aerial victory took place. And not just an airplane, but a P-61 "Black Widow". The crew of the pilot Miyamoto Heijiro and the gunner of Nakajima Hiroshi reported that they had shot down the Black Widow, attacking from below and behind with the fire of wing cannons.

It is interesting here that the Americans confirm the victory of the Japanese crew; in this area, the P-61 of Lieutenant Eugene Keeley from the 418th squadron really disappeared.

The Zuiyuns were used at night along the entire line of contact with American forces. On January 30 (naturally, at night) a 250-kg bomb from the E16A was received by the Liberty-class Simeon G. Reed transport stationed off the coast near Ilin Island. The bomb caused serious damage, but the crew was able to throw the ship aground and thereby save it.

In March 1945, the Zuiyuns took an active part in the Battle of Okinawa. Basically, the targets were landing ships and boats, which were dangerous 60-kg bombs.

Here, the losses from night activities were less than that of other aircraft, but only because, having understood the essence of the E16A, the command did not throw them at well-protected targets.

Naturally, at the end of the war, the "Divine Wind" could not but touch these seaplanes. A strike force "Kaitai-1" of 18 E16A aircraft was formed. The detachment was supposed to be used near Okinawa, but the Zuiyunas were not able to take part in the attacks by the kamikaze for a number of reasons, the detachment was disbanded, and the planes were transferred as reinforcements to other units.

In general, for a year and a half of application, the aircraft did not have any special merits. This is understandable, since the versatility of "Zuiyun" was his weak point. Although, it is worth noting that this particular aircraft, like no other, corresponded to the role of a multipurpose universal seaplane. This is undeniable.

The plane really could drop bombs from a dive, could bomb from level flight, could, with a good coincidence, shoot down an enemy plane or stormed a boat or transport. He could conduct reconnaissance or work as a spotter.

The whole question was how well Zuiyun could do all this.

As it became clear, everything was very, very satisfactory. The bomb load in an amicable way was terrible for submarines and small landing craft, but the landing boat still needs to be hit. The speed is frankly low, but the flight range was impressive.

In general - really average.

But let's not forget that this is primarily a seaplane. Able to take off from a catapult, from the water, splash down and so on. But for this class the E16A was quite a decent aircraft. Still, the idea of ​​making it fit for everything is not the best.

Although the plane was not bad for a seaplane and turned out to be quite elegant in appearance.


Wingspan, m: 12,81
Length, m: 10,83
Height, m: 4,74
Wing area, м2: 28,00

Weight, kg
- empty aircraft: 2 713
- normal takeoff: 3 900
- maximum take-off: 4 553

Engine: 1 x Mitsubishi MK8N Kinsei 54 x 1300 HP
Maximum speed km / h: 448
Cruising speed, km / h: 352
Practical range, km: 2 420
Maximum rate of climb, m / min: 655
Practical ceiling, m: 10 280

Crew, prs: 2

- two 20 mm type 99 cannons;
- one 13,2 mm type 2 machine gun;
- one bomb of 250 kg or four bombs of 60 kg.
Articles from this series:
Combat aircraft. Terribly beautiful and vice versa
Combat aircraft. Tirpitz, we were just stronger!
Combat aircraft. Such an inconspicuous Anson veteran
Combat aircraft. Pain and sorrow like a king
Combat aircraft. Terribly beautiful and vice versa
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  1. Uncle lee
    Uncle lee 15 December 2020 05: 36
    Why are they so obsessed with seaplanes?
    1. Rurikovich
      Rurikovich 15 December 2020 06: 35
      Patamushta around Japan of the akiyana seas, the fleet at that time was decent, ambitions were off scale, but only aircraft carriers were not enough for everything because of the vast expanses of the Quiet Akiyana. So we found a way out in gidropdans. They could be used to equip any ship starting from a light cruiser. A kind of helicopter of the time smile
      1. Region-25.rus
        Region-25.rus 15 December 2020 11: 40
        in addition - plus, for seaplanes it was possible to quickly organize a base right at the edge of the water. Faster and cheaper than a full-fledged airfield soldier hi
    2. bandabas
      bandabas 15 December 2020 07: 10
      As in our tanks.
    3. Doublegreen
      Doublegreen 15 December 2020 09: 03
      In addition, seaplanes and flying boats could be based on small islands where there are no airfields.
    4. Alexey RA
      Alexey RA 15 December 2020 10: 52
      Quote: Uncle Lee
      Why are they so obsessed with seaplanes?

      Because they could not in the developed rear, capable of creating in a short time, for example, this:
      1. Kuroneko
        Kuroneko 15 December 2020 13: 34
        Quote: Alexey RA
        Because they could not in the developed rear, capable of creating in a short time, for example, this:

        And how could they, if the mahach started (thanks to America, she did everything possible for this) for access to strategic resources?
    5. The comment was deleted.
    6. Dmitry V.
      Dmitry V. 15 December 2020 15: 06
      Quote: Uncle Lee
      Why are they so obsessed with seaplanes?

      For an island country, this is an important direction in aviation.
      Even in terms of the operation to capture Fr. Midway, seaplanes were to be used:

      A group of seaplane transports of Counter-Admiral Fujita occupies a small island. Kure, located 60 miles northwest of about. Midway to use it as a seaplane base for direct support of the landing on the island. Midway.

      A little off-topic photo, but it is enough to have a small piece of land and seaplane transport in order to deploy strike operations in an area where it is impossible to create land air bases, for operational support of an assault force or raid operation where carrier aviation cannot be involved.

    7. Dmitry V.
      Dmitry V. 15 December 2020 15: 23
      Quote: Uncle Lee
      Why are they so obsessed with seaplanes?

      December 9, 1942. The Kimikawa Maru has arrived at the Yokosuka fleet base. She took on board 5 naval fighters and 8 reconnaissance aircraft, probably A6M2-N "Ruth" and E13A1 "Jake".

      December 16, 1942. The seaplane floating base Kimikawa Maru has left the Yokosuka fleet base (Hackett, RD, Kingsepp, S. Rev. 5. 2009).

      The crew of the floating base had to work out a new, accelerated delivery of shock and reconnaissance float aircraft to the Attu and Kyska islands, without entering the area of ​​operation of the American base naval and army aviation.

      December 18, 1942. In the open ocean, at the point with coordinates 52º50'N 166º00'E, the seaplane floating base launched 4 float reconnaissance aircraft for the island. Kiska. The planes flew off to their destination.
      Investigations of the wreckage of Type 0 Nakajima A6M2-N float fighters by representatives of the Allied military intelligence on the captured Aleutian Islands made it possible to establish the following: on December 25, 1942, fighters with the following serial numbers were delivered to the island of Kiska - No. 550, 552, 462, 467, 284, 287 and 198.
  2. Revolver
    Revolver 15 December 2020 09: 45
    As they say in America, "Jack of all trades, master of none."
  3. Alexey RA
    Alexey RA 15 December 2020 10: 45
    The navigator was at least relieved of his leadership duties, according to the tradition of the Japanese fleet, it was the navigator who was always the commander of the crew of the naval aviation aircraft.

    EMNIP, this is a tradition not of the Japanese, but of the British fleet: the pilot and the gunner are only servants who carry and protect their commander - the navigator-observer.
    1. kytx
      kytx 16 December 2020 08: 28
      did not know..
  4. Undecim
    Undecim 15 December 2020 10: 47
    Again the author is pushing ornithology over geography.
    From time to time, even in such a highly organized and hierarchical country like Japan, something started to go wrong in the minds and such projects appeared, after reading which you start to shrug your shoulders.
    Hands are not necessary to spread. It is better to read the literature and then you can find out that in those years, similar aircraft were built by everyone, from organized Germany to unorganized France and the distant United States.

    Dornier Do 22 - German float plane. Created as a scout, bomber and torpedo bomber.
    1. Undecim
      Undecim 15 December 2020 10: 52

      French Late-298. This scout and torpedo bomber even managed to be a ground attack aircraft.
      1. Undecim
        Undecim 15 December 2020 10: 59
        "Type 14 experimental seaplane two-seat reconnaissance aircraft" was ready in May 1942
        Such an aircraft did not exist in nature.
        The first aircraft built on the basis of the Aichi AM-22 project was officially designated as the 16-Shi (E16A1) naval experimental reconnaissance seaplane.
  5. Dmitry V.
    Dmitry V. 15 December 2020 14: 36
    the question was how well Zuiyun could do all this.

    Question: which of the Po-2 is a bomber with its speed and bomb load and canvas covering?
    You read the memoirs of the pilots who flew on the Po-2 and the survivors - you understand, such was the military situation, when there were more pilots than planes and before the saturation of the aircraft fleet, they flew on what they could quickly build in large numbers.
    Subsequently, the survivors were transplanted to IL-2, Pe-2, A-20.
    And how many of them burned down in the night sky ...
    After all, the only way to break out of the air defense searchlight beam was to dive almost to the ground, if you had time.

    This is the case when the military stop determines to fly on what is.

    And the Aichi E16A Zuiun was very good for a catapult seaplane.
    Better than the extremely unsuccessful first ones. Comparable in capabilities with the Be-4 (KOR-2)
    1. LastPS
      LastPS 19 December 2020 19: 20
      I think he was better in general than all commensurate machines, it's just that such seaplanes are extremely specific. It is fast (relative to seaplanes), with a huge combat radius and good weapons for this type, and it could also be used as a dive bomber - just fine for a catapult seaplane.
  6. wlkw
    wlkw 15 December 2020 19: 02
    It turned out to be a good plane, better than the Arado 196, and there was quite a laudatory article about it.
    1. LastPS
      LastPS 19 December 2020 19: 25
      I also think so, it was just that the 196th flew to himself for reconnaissance without much opposition from enemy aircraft, and the Aichi E16A Zuiun appeared at the end of the war, when wherever you spit enemy aircraft in the sky against which he could do little.
  7. kytx
    kytx 16 December 2020 01: 10
    carbon monoxide
    only that's how everything is universal, nothing