It is not surprising, then, that Japanese aviators scored victory after stunning victory during the first six months of the war, from the attack on Pearl Harbor, through the sinking of the British men of war Prince of Wales and Repulse, to the fearsome raids on Northern Australia and IJN's* rampage throughout the Indian Ocean in April 1942.
|Source: combined fleet.com|
However, at the end of World War I, as other countries scaled back their military spending, the Japanese increased production of their planes in the 1920s. Around this time the Navy constructed its first aircraft carriers; the United States had their own as well. Japanese Naval leader Isoroku Yamamoto felt the need to have "long range bombers that could strike Yankee warships."
The following are featured Mitsubishi World War II era Aircraft:
- Nell (1936)- Struck Chinese targets 1,250 miles away in the Second Sino-Japanese War
- Betty (1939)- Could fly over 2,00 miles without refueling;
- Zero (1939)- Extremely lightweight and nimble. Over 10,000 were built.
Here are the specifications on the Mitsubishi Zero:
- 332 MPH
- range of 1,930 miles
- 29 feet and nine inches long
- wingspan of 39 feet
According to howstuffworks.com, the delicate manners of Japanese diplomats dispatched to Washington during the period before the Pearl Harbor attack were indeed very deceptive. There was also a perception that the Mitsubishi aircraft were a poor imitation of Western aviation. The Japanese military prior to Pearl Harbor was not considered a formidable opponent. Yet all those assumptions quickly changed the morning of December 7, 1941. The Allies had no aircraft match until 1943.
And when I asked my Dad about enemy planes in the Pacific, some seventy years later, he just didn't say planes, but automatically included the name "Mitsubishi."
*IJN: Imperial Japanese Navy