The Nakajima B5N was the standard torpedo bomber of
the Imperial Japanese Navy for much of World War II. The Allied code name for the plane was Kate. While the B5N1 was substantially faster and more capable than its Allied counterparts, the TBD Devastator and Fairey Swordfish, it was close to obsolescence by 1941. Nevertheless, the B5N operated throughout the whole war, due to the delayed development of its successor, the B6N.
Nakajima B5N in Days of Infamy[edit | edit source]
The Nakajima B5N1, which was a high-level bomber, and the B5N2, which was a torpedo plane, were used by the invading Japanese against the US forces at Hawaii, and later against the US fleet during their first attempt to retake Hawaii. Although obsolete, they performed admirably.
After the battle, the Navy abandoned the B5N1 for the B5N2 model, for fear that switching between the different armaments the B5N1 used could leave their carriers dangerously vulnerable during an attack. However, when the Americans returned in 1943, the torpedo planes were easy prey for the new American fighters, and all of them were destroyed as they attacked their targets or attempted to return to their carriers.