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Imperial Japanese Navy Air Force

The Japanese military acquired their first aircraft in 1910 and followed the development of air combat during World War I with great interest. Imperial Japanese Army Air Service, or more traditionally called the Japanese Army Air Force (Rikugun Koku Hombu), was Imperial Japan's land-based aviation force. Imperial Japan did not maintain a separate and independent air force so both the Imperial Japanese Army and the Imperial Japanese Navy maintained their own air services. The Imperial Japanese Army Air Service was equal in function to the German Luftwaffe, the American USAAF, the British Royal Air Force (RAF) and the Italian Regia Aeronautica.

When the war started, Japan had two separate air forces, the Japanese Naval Air Force (JNAF) and the Japanese Army Air Force (JAAF). They were created and developed to meet the separate needs of the Army and the Navy. The JAAF was committed to support ground operations and the JNAF to provide surface fleet and convoy protection, coastal defense, and sea and anti-submarine patrols. France, in 1919, helped in the development of the JAAF, while JNAF was the recipient of expert training from Britain, France and US. The Japanese learned air fighting tactics and gunnery from RAF mission in 1930, which proved effective against Commonwealth forces over Malaya and Singapore 11 years later. The IJN and the Japanese Army were deadly rivals in the power struggles that characterised Japanese politcs of the 20's, 30's and 40's its unlikley they would ever co-operate on anything. the requirements of shipborne aircraft tend to vary from those of land based aircraft and the USN and USAAF used different aircraft too as did the RAF and FAA.

The Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service or Dai Nippon Teikoku Kaigun Koku Hombu was a major force in the Pacific War during World War II. The Japanese military acquired their first aircraft in 1910 and followed the development of air combat during World War I with great interest. The Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service was responsible for strategic bombing and national air defense. The Army Air Service also did not control the light aircraft deployed and operated by the IJA artillery as spotters or observers.The Army Air Service was managed by Army Aeronautical Department,such administrative unit was equal to Imperial Japanese Navy Aviation Bureau. The Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service or Dai Nippon Teikoku Kaigun Koku Hombu was a major force in the Pacific War during World War II.

The Imperial Japanese Navy Aviation Bureau of the Ministry of the Navy of Japan was responsible for the development and training of the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service.

The Japanese equivalent of the British Coastal Command came under the authority of the navy. Of flying boats there were four main types. The Kawanishi 90 (3 Rolls-Royce Buzzard engines), to all intents and purposes the Short Rangoon, built under licence from Short Bros. ; the Kawanishi 91, a twin-engined monoplane boat with a Short-type hull; a third model, also all-metal and of Short-type hull construction, is a monoplane powered by three 650 h.p. Hispano-Suiza engines built by the Mitsubishi Company. The fourth and latest flying boat type is a strut-braced four-engined monoplane.

The Japanese planes in operation in 1941 were built for maximum maneuverability. They had almost no armor protection and were structurally weak. As a result, they were very vulnerable to Allied fighters and antiaircraft. Their structures, in fact, were so weak that, if early Japanese fighters attempted to match the dive of their opponents, they would more often than not lose their wings or go out of control. As the war progressed, Japanese fighters improved, but production could not keep up with needs.

American fighters typically had heavy armor for crew, engine, and fuel system protection and four or six fast-firing long-range 12.7 mm (.50 caliber) heavy machine guns that could do serious damage to any opponent. In contrast, Japanese aircraft designers typically emphasized performance over armor protection for crews and fuel systems, so that if even they were damaged and survived the immediate encounter, they often crashed or ditched on their way home. Exacerbating this was the relatively light and short-range armament of Japanese Mitsubishi A6M "Zero" fighters -- two 20 mm cannon and two 7.7 mm machine guns -- that lacked the quick, devastating punch of the American 12.7 mm machine gun. While an American pilot could score quickly (and at great range) against a Japanese aircraft that passed even briefly through his bullet stream, the same was not true for a Japanese pilot given a more rugged American airplane in his gun sight.




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