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Japanese Aircraft Code Name System

Each type of aircraft entering production for the JNAF after 1920 was given a type number combined with a brief description of its primary function. Initially related to Showa dates, in 1929 the type number became the last two digits of the year in the Japanese calendar year. The reputed date of the foundation of the Empire of Japan is 660 BC. Japanese historians ascribe to that date an Imperial Rescript said to have been issued by the first Emperor, Jimmu Tenno. Thus the Aichi dive-bomber which entered production in 1939 (2599 in the Japanese system) was the Type 99 Carrier Bomber. Only a single digit was used when the year ended in 00, as with the Type 0 Carrier Fighter (thus the name "Zero") which entered production in 1940 or the Japanese year 2600.

From 1927, new Army aircraft were given a type number based on the last digits of the Japanese year that the type was accepted into service. Up to the year 2599 (1939 in the West) the last two digits formed the type number. In 2600 (1940) the number 100 was used, and from 2601 (1941) only the last digit of the year was used. Thus, the Army Type 97 Heavy Bomber and Army Type 97 Fighter were both accepted in 2597 (1937) and can be differentiated by the functional description attached to each.

In July 1942 Frank T. McCoy, head of the Technical AirIntelligence Unit-Southwest Pacific Area, was responsible for creating the Allied Japanese Aircraft Code Name System, e.g., Zeke, Betty, Rufe. McCoy attended Ground and Flight School at Curtiss-Wright Aeronautical Corporation, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and Roy Hunt Flying School, Norman, Oklahoma, in 1931; joined HQ Squadron of 38th Bomb Group at AAB, Jackson, Mississippi (6/26/1942).

In the Pacific theater of war, General Douglas MacArthur authorized intelligence personnel to "take complete charge of all enemy crashed or captured aircraft or personnel." Captain Frank T. McCoy and Technical Sergeant Francis Williams helped organize a Materiel Section for technical intelligence operations in Melbourne, Australia, in 1942. In addition to providing information on aircraft and weapons performance, Captain McCoy and Sergeant Williams assigned code names to Japanese aircraft--feminine names for bombers and masculine names for fighters. It may not be surprising that "Frank" and "Frances" became the names of two Japanese aircraft.

Code Name TypeAircraft Type
Male names
  • Fighters (Army and Navy, single or multi-engined)
  • float planes
  • Female names
  • Bombers (including attack and dive-bombers)
  • Reconnaissance planes (land or carrier-based)
  • Flying boats
  • Transports (names began with "T")
  • Trees
  • Training aircraft
  • Birds
  • Gliders
  • In October 1944, Lieutenant Colonel Frank Mccoy became officer-in-charge of the newly formed Technical Air Intelligence Unit attached to the Far East Air Forces. McCoy served as Chief of the Technical Air Intelligence Unit in the Office of the Directorate of Intelligence, Asst A-2, at HQ Allied Air Forces, USAAFISWPA (9/3/1942); served in a variety of capacities in analysis of tactical and technical intelligence in the Air Force; served as Instructor Pilot of C-119; was the first General Officer to log 1000 hours in C-130; held Command Pilot's rating in Air Force; held a Law Degree (LLB) from Cumberland University; served in a number of other command and advisory roles, including Assistant Deputy for Operations of the Tactical Air Command (TAC). Frank Thomas McCoy, Jr. retired as a Major General in 1968.

    Alf Kawanishi E7K
    Ann Mitsubishi Ki-30
    Babs Mitsubishi Ki-15
    Baka Yokosuka MXY Ohka
    Belle Kawanishi H3K
    Ben Mitsubishi A6M Reisen
    Bess Heinkel He 111
    Betty Mitsubishi G4M, G6M
    Buzzard Kokusai Ku-7 Manazuru
    Cedar Tachikawa Ki-17
    Cherry Yokosuka H5Y
    Clara Tachikawa Ki-70
    Claude Mitsubishi A5M
    Clint Nakajima Ki-27
    Cypress Kokusai Ki-86
    Dave Nakajima E8N
    Dinah Mitsubishi Ki-46
    Doc Messerschmitt Bf 110
    Edna Mitsubishi Ki-71
    Emily Kawanishi H8K
    Frances Yokosuka P1Y Ginga
    Frank Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate
    Fred Focke-Wulf Fw 190
    Gander Kokusai Ku-8
    George Kawanishi N1K1-J, N1K2-J Shiden
    Goose Kokusai Ku-8
    Grace Aichi B7A Ryusei
    Gwen Mitsubishi Ki-21
    Hamp Mitsubishi A6M Reisen
    Hap Mitsubishi A6M Reisen
    Helen Nakajima Ki-49 Donryu
    Hickory Tachikawa Ki-54
    Ida Tachikawa Ki-36, Ki-55
    Irene Junkers Ju 87A
    Irving Nakajima J1N Gekko
    Jack Mitsubishi J2M Raiden
    Jake Aichi E13A
    Jane Mitsubishi Ki-21
    Janice Junkers Ju 88A-4
    Jean Yokosuka B4Y
    Jerry Heinkel He 112
    Jill Nakajima B6N Tenzan
    Jim Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa
    John Nakajima Ki-44 Shoki
    Judy Yokosuka D4Y Suisei
    Kate Nakajima B5N
    Laura Aichi E11A
    Liz Nakajima G5N Shinzan
    Lorna Kyushu Q1W Tokai
    Louise Mitsubishi Ki-2
    Mabel Mitsubishi B5M
    Mary Kawasaki Ki-32
    Mavis Kawanishi H6K
    Mike Messerschmitt Bf 109E-3
    Millie Vultee V-11
    Myrt Nakajima C6N Saiun
    Nate Nakajima Ki-27
    Nell Mitsubishi G3M
    Nick Kawasaki Ki-45 Toryu
    Norm Kawanishi E15K Shiun
    Oak Kyushu K10W1
    Oscar Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa
    Patsy Tachikawa Ki-74
    Paul Aichi E16A Zuiun
    Peggy Mitsubishi Ki-67 Hiryu
    Perry Kawasaki Ki-10
    Pete Mitsubishi F1M
    Pine Mitsubishi K3M
    Randy Kawasaki Ki-102
    Ray Mitsubishi A6M Reisen
    Rex Kawanishi N1K Kyofu
    Rita Nakajima G8N Renzan
    Rob Kawasaki Ki-64
    Rufe Nakajima A6M2
    Ruth Fiat BR.20 Cicogna
    Sally Mitsubishi Ki-21
    Sam Mitsubishi A7M Reppu
    Sandy Mitsubishi A5M
    Slim Watanabe E9W
    Sonia Mitsubishi Ki-51
    Spruce Tachikawa Ki-9
    Stella Kokusai Ki-76
    Susie Aichi D1A
    Tabby Showa L2D
    Tess Douglas DC-2
    Thalia Kawasaki Ki-56
    Thelma Lockheed Model 14 Super Electra
    Theresa Kokusai Ki-59
    Thora Nakajima Ki-34
    Toby Lockheed Model 14 Super Electra
    Tojo Nakajima Ki-44 Shoki
    Tony Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien
    Topsy Mitsubishi Ki-57
    Trixie Junkers Ju 52/3M
    Zeke Mitsubishi A6M Reisen

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