Thursday, 16 January 2014

Mitsubishi G3M (Nell) - Kanoya Kokutai

A photo of a Type 96 Attack Bomber or Mitsubishi G3M2 Model 22 "Nell" belonging to the Kanoya Kokutai. A larger version of the same photo is featured in Richard M. Bueschel's "96 Rikko - in Japanese Naval Air Service" published by Schiffer and according to the caption it was taken in the summer of 1941 during a raid against Chungking. Unfortunately the published photo is too dark and most of the details, particularly the two tone top camouflage (green and sandy brown), get lost.


Artist Nohara Shigeru includes artwork of a "Y-309" in the Model Art #406 "Camouflage & Markings of Imperial Japanese Navy Bombers in W.W.II". Unfortunately it is very inaccurate. First of all the artwork depicts a G3M2 Model 21 (with two retractable turrets) when the plane in the photo is clearly a 22 (with one retractable and one dome). The camouflage pattern is depicted in reverse and there is no white fuselage band. Other markings include a white band on the tail's edge and narrow red band over the tail marking. Nohara mentions that the tail marking is in yellow but to my eyes it looks probably white.
The artwork caption offers some very interesting and useful information though. Kanoya used the letter "Y" for the unit marking from the spring of 1938 to the summer of 1940. In the summer of 1940 the numbers 301~319 were reserved for the 1st chutai and the numbers 320~339 for the 2nd chutai. The letter "Y" changed to "K" from November 1940.    

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