Thursday 29 February 2024

Nakajima J1N "Gekko" & IJNAF weapons pt. 2

More eBay photos, this time, a most interesting set showcasing the 20mm oblique cannons of Nakajima J1N1-S "Gekko" night fighters and their installation configuration.

Among the destroyed "Gekko" fighters found by the US Marines, there was an extremely rare, unusual, and intriguing example. All Japanese sources mention that only one or maybe two Nakajima J1N1 Escort Fighter prototypes had an experimental system installed, consisting of TWO remote-controlled turrets with TWO 7.7mm machine guns EACH. 

The publication "Moonlight Interceptor" by Robert C. Mikesh and Osamu Tagaya, number #8 in the "Famous Aircraft of the National Air and Space Museum", has more.

The last photo in this eBay set features a badly damaged but fairly intact Nakajima J1N1-S "Gekko" Night Fighter. The tail marking "21-75" is visible and therefore we can conclude that the unit it belonged to was the 321 Kokutai.
More about the unit and the particular aircraft, HERE.


Dan G. said...

The first pic showing the 7.7mm, 2x2 turrets close-up, from the left side of the fuselage reveals an interesting detail to the deployment of the turrets.

The C-shaped slot in the rear-most conical fairing. (the C shape is partially obscured by the turret platform)

That slot is what the rear-most 7.7mm gun barrels nestle into while stowed/hidden and that fairing undoubtably rotates to a position where the back of the C slot is open, freeing the guns.

This is exactly similar to the deployment of the rear gun on aircraft like: the D4Y, Ki-46, Ki-102, M6A1 and others. -The rear canopy section simply rotates upside-down and bingo! Gun is ready for action!

In this case, I'd wager that the turret side (big end) of the fairing also tilts down after it has rotated the appropriate degrees, to fully clear the guns, then rotates further to close the gun barrel slot and "clean-up" the airflow. (less draughty and less gun gases getting into the fuselage as well).

Undoubtably the unnecessary complication (and weight/maintenance) of the hidden turrets doomed it to failure. Probably would've been decently effective had they just been mounted on top of the fuselage.

I still love 'em! My fav IJNAF gun turret system (though the retracting dorsal turret of the H8K's is also right up there too...)

-Fortunately, this exact aircraft is featured in the game War Thunder and I enjoy using it immensely! -It's best to have your gunners/crews at max stats for maximum effectiveness ;)

-Sadly, War Thunder doesn't have any animation for the guns being revealed, they're always "out"/ready.

Dan G. said...

One last thing: does anyone know if any gun camera footage exists from J1N1's?! The schematic clearly shows a gun camera for the nose guns...and that's the early type gun camera, later J1N1's had a smaller gun camera, the type that could fit in the right wing of the Ki-84 Hayate, the right wing of the A7M2 Reppu and nose of the Ki-83...