Kagero's Nakajima B5N Kate


Dariusz Paduch




$33.95 from Casemate Publishing


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 3079. ISBN 978-83-66673-54-0, 96 pages

This latest volume in Kagero's Monograph series is on the Nakajima B5N Kate. The B5N was quite a change over the previous aircraft, which were fairly slow biplane aircraft. These planes would not have survived in a modern conflict so the Navy put forth a requirement for a new plane. Three companies submitted designs with the Mitsubishi B5M and Nakajima B5N being chosen for production. While it was a good plane, the B5M had fixed landing gear and was slower than the Nakajima entry. Therefore production was terminated after about 100 examples were built. Most were used in China from land bases and later used as trainers.

The B5N was built in two major variants. The first had a 9 cylinder radial and was built in fairly small numbers. The later variant had a twin row 14 cylinder engine that not only provided more power but also had a reduced diameter, providing even greater speed. Both were capable of carrying a bomb or a torpedo and their excellent range had them used in the scouting role as well.

A cutting edge design when it entered service, it was the Kate that probably did the most damage at Pearl Harbor and in the battles of the first year of the war. It was not fully replaced until 1944 and while the B6N was a superb aircraft, by then the IJN did not have the trained crews or the ships from which to fly it. In addition to ship board use, the B5N operated from land bases. None have survived.

The author has done a fine job researching this book. The development of the aircraft is particularly interesting and you are provided a history of its use in major battles.  Kagero books have always provided a nice selection of full color profiles and this one is no exception. In addition there are a ton of period photos as well as 14 pages of plans in both 1/72 and 1/48 within the book. A book that is well worth picking up. 

March 2022

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