Mitsubishi G3M Nell

The Mitsubishi G3M was a Japanese bomber used during World War II. In terms of the latter, the G3M was originally designed as a model without any form of defensive weaponry or machine guns, but purely as a bomber craft, with its high-altitude performance being regarded sufficient to evade enemy anti-aircraft guns and its high speed in combination with the planned high performance Mitsubishi A5M fighter envisaged as an armed escort being considered sufficient to counter any form of enemy fighters. Even in the low-speed, low-level role of torpedo bomber, the superior fighter escort - combined with the G3M's high speed - was considered sufficient against any form of ship-based AA guns or carrier-based fighters.

The G3M first saw combat in Japan's expansionist campaigns on the Chinese mainland in what became known as the Second Sino-Japanese War, where the G3M was able to exploit its long-range capability. When the Pacific War erupted in 1941, after the Bombing of Pearl Harbor, the G3M was by this time considered to be antiquated but still 3 front-line units (the 22nd to 24th Koku Sentai) were operating a total of 204 G3M2s in four Kokutai (Naval Air Corps) in the central Pacific and of these 54 aircraft from the Takao Kokutai were deployed from Formosa in the opening of the Battle of the Philippines.

The G3M was famous for taking part in the sinking of two British capital ships with the more advanced Mitsubishi G4M "Betty", on 10 December 1941. "Nells" from the Genzan Kokutai provided important support during the attack on the HMS Prince of Wales and Repulse (Force Z) near the Malayan coast. Prince of Wales and Repulse were the first two battleships ships ever sunk exclusively by air attack while at sea during war. A G3M of the Mihoro Air Group was involved in a dogfight with a Consolidated PBY Catalina flying boat of No. 205 Squadron RAF near the Anambas Islands on 25 December 1941, in which the Catalina was shot down.

From 1943, the majority of "Nells" served as glider tugs, aircrew and paratroop trainers and for transporting high-ranking officers and VIPs between metropolitan islands, occupied territories and combat fronts until the end of the war.

General characteristics
  • Crew: 7
  • Length: 16.45 m (53 ft 11½ in)
  • Wingspan: 25 m (82 ft 0 in)
  • Height: 3.68 m (12 ft ⅞in)
  • Wing area: 75 m² (807 ft²)
  • Empty weight: 4,965 kg (10,923 lb)
  • Loaded weight: 8,000 kg (17,600 lb)
  • Powerplant: 2× Mitsubishi Ha-45 Kinsei radial engine, 1,075 hp (791 kW) each

  • Maximum speed: 375 km/h (203 kn, 233 mph)
  • Cruise speed: 280 km/h (151 kn, 174 mph)
  • Range: 4,400 km (2,730 mi)
  • Service ceiling: 9,200 m (30,200 ft)
  • Rate of climb: 6 m/s (1180 ft/min)

  • 1× 20 mm Type 99 cannon in rear dorsal turret
  • 4× 7.7 (.303 in) Type 92 machine gun
  • 800 kg (1,764 lb) bombs or
  • 1× aerial torpedo

** Mitsubishi G3M Nell - Warbird Fare

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