Advanced search  
Pages: [1] 2   Go Down

Author Topic: Japanese Aircraft (and 2-2-V-1)  (Read 22229 times)

John Ousterhout

  • T4
  • ****
  • Posts: 487
Japanese Aircraft (and 2-2-V-1)
« on: March 01, 2014, 01:10:45 PM »

I've wanted to know more about any Japanese aircraft that could have been potential sources of parts found on Niku, but records of Japanese aircraft lost during the war are very poor.  There were lots of Japanese aircraft lost in the Pacific theatre during the war but there are very few details of locations, types or numbers.  Further complicating the effort is an almost complete lack of remaining examples to look at – most were scrapped after the war and few records even of those were kept.  Yet further complicating the effort is an almost total lack of design details. To look into that further I obtained a copy of “Japanese Aircraft 1910-1941” (R. Mikesh, S. Abe, 1990), which has been interesting to look through.  The 1930’s were a time when Japan was working with lots of other country’s aircraft manufacturers, buying examples of aircraft, building licensed copies of aircraft and engines, and working with foreign companies to design their own aircraft.  All major aircraft companies are mentioned in the book – Douglas, Lockheed, Boeing, Northrop, Vought, Beechcraft, Piper, Bristol, Glouster, Avro, Dewoitine, Messerschmitt, Junkers, Fokker, Wright, Hamilton-Standard, Rolls-Royce, Mercedes, BMW, etc, just to name those mentioned on a dozen pages.  Most seemed to have found use in the Sino-Japanese war, and most weren’t suitable for long over-water flights.  The few that could have been used over the Pacific are intriguing to think about.
Ric mentioned the Export Control Act, July 2, 1940, as likely to have been the last date any Alclad might have been imported into Japan.  Aircraft made immediately prior to that date could obviously have used Alclad, but the 2-2-V-1 artifact appears to be hand-stamped, indicating that it was from an early run, prior to the major buildup to WWII.
The book does not specifically mention “ALCLAD”, but I found one mention that the 1936 Nakajima Experimental LB-2 Long-range Attack Aircraft used “ALC17ST aluminium with a B-2209/2218 aerofoil employed the structural design of the Douglas wing…” (pg 235).  There was only one example built, inspired by the licence-built DC-2’s that Nakajima was building, and it was scrapped in 1941. 
Nakajima built 5 DC-2’s between 1936-37.  The Allied designation was “Tess”, and they were known to have seen service in China.
Of special interest to me was the photo of some Kawanishi H6K “Mavis” wreckage in New Guinea that clearly showed the “ALCLAD” production stamp. (update  - the photographer has confirmed that the photo is of a B-24 and needs to be corrected)

Ric posted “…Although I haven't found aluminum specifically mentioned, the Export Control Act of July 2, 1940 almost certainly shut down all export of aircraft aluminum to Japan, even from 2nd party distributors.  The AN-A-13 labeling on the Mavis (Kawanishi HK6) appears to be "rolled on" (aligned with the edges of the sheet) whereas the labeling on 2-2-V-1 was (in the opinion of Alcoa engineers) was hand-stamped and probably from an early and/of small production run. 
So it looks like the AN-A-13 designation predates December 7, 1941 and probably predates July 2, 1940, and the artifact was probably hand-stamped earlier than that.  I think our hypothesis is okay. (whew!)”

So, this long story seems to indicate that the Japanese were using ALC17ST as early as 1936, and likely stopped getting any new stocks of Alclad after July 1940.  They also built flying boats using production Alclad that saw service during the war. (update - this statement is no longer supported - see the update comment above)

What are the chances of an early (hand-stamped) piece of Alclad being found on a Japanese aircraft wreck?
What Japanese aircraft could possibly have been in the Gardner area?
Are there any examples or detailed information that would help identify or rule-out 2-2-V-1 as being Japanese built?
What other questions need asked?
Cheers,
JohnO
 
« Last Edit: March 21, 2014, 05:56:06 PM by John Ousterhout »
Logged

John Ousterhout

  • T4
  • ****
  • Posts: 487
Re: Japanese Aircraft
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2014, 08:10:48 AM »

Another question Ric brought up - did Japan use US-made rivets?  If they made their own, would they have duplicated the dimensions and markings?
For that matter, what sort of aluminum industry did Japan have?  I haven't been able to find anything about it on-line.

Here's a fantasy (not a theory): a Japanese aircraft gets damaged in battle and can't find its carrier.  The pilot looks at his map and sees a group of islands outside the battle area (the Phoenix group) and heads there.  He spots a lovely island with a bare reef large enough to land on and does so.   The islanders and Coast Guard personnel don't notice a Japanese aircraft land on the reef.
I think it is safe to rule out the possibility of any aircraft making an emergency landing on Gardner Island during the war.  Too many witnesses not to notice such an occurrence. Therefore 2-2-V-1 arrived by other means or some other time.
Cheers,
JohnO
 
Logged

John Ousterhout

  • T4
  • ****
  • Posts: 487
Re: Japanese Aircraft
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2014, 11:47:37 AM »

Some interesting information from the book, not necessarily related to Amelia:

“In 1928 the Army required Mitsubishi to build a bomber version of the Junkers G38 which brought an influx of German technology into the Mitsubishi company.  This Junkers technology in particular formed an entirely new design/manufacturing concept for the company, making Mitsubishi the leading aircraft manufacturer in Japan.
  Early in 1938 Mitsubishi, with considerable secrecy at the insistence of the Japanese Government, began to expand its activities.  The company was still directly dependent upon United States steel companies for steel billets and forgings for engines such as the fourteen-cylinder air-cooled Kinsei, but the Government directed that all deliveries of these special steels were to be made directly to its air arsenals, where the military allotted supplies to manufacturers.
…in July 1938, new and improved facilities had been built at Daiko-cho, Higashi-ku, Nagoya, for the manufacture of radial engines, with much of its modern machinery having been purchased from the United States.
…In an endeavour to be free of foreign sources for special machinery during this expansion period, Mitsubishi opened a special aircraft machine tools plant in Hiroshima in January 1939.”
(From Japanese Aircraft 1910-1941, pg 160)

This helps explain why it's so hard to find any details from the period - the Government was keeping very tight control.
I have found no mention of aluminum manufacturing capability in Japan, either during the war or even in modern times.  That surprises me.  There are a few Japanese aluminum companies that have plants overseas (Indonesia, Asia, South America), but I haven't found any listed in Japan.  Is it possible that Japan didn't make any of their own aluminum during the war, but only had stockpiles purchased before the war?  That is hard for me to believe.
Cheers,
JohnO
 
Logged

John Ousterhout

  • T4
  • ****
  • Posts: 487
Re: Japanese Aircraft
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2014, 11:58:45 AM »

TIGHAR has already compiled some information on some Japanese aircraft wrecks at To Save A Devastator.  This picture of the upside-down remants of a float shocked me with it's resemblance to the Bevington object.  I assume it's attached to a substantial structure buried in the sand, which rules out any chance of an identical artifact on the Niku reef flat.
Cheers,
JohnO
 
Logged

Tim Gard

  • T3
  • ***
  • Posts: 161
Re: Japanese Aircraft
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2014, 02:31:01 PM »

I assume it's attached to a substantial structure buried in the sand, which rules out any chance of an identical artifact on the Niku reef flat.

I used to think that Nessie (The Bevington Object) had still to be attached to a wing to appear as it did, but the image on page 43 TIGHAR Tracks 28 #1 shows that the landing gear after the Luke Field accident can present in a manner similar to the The Bevington Object, totally unsupported by its wing.

Ric mentioned that he had been watching the Finding Amelia video and recognised the similarity.

/ Member #4122 /
/Hold the Heading/
 
Logged

John Ousterhout

  • T4
  • ****
  • Posts: 487
Re: Japanese Aircraft
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2014, 08:12:18 AM »

Thanks Tim, it's good to know that I'm not the only one who made that mistake.  After seeing how exposed the reef is at low tide, a part of a wing would have been exposed and obvious at low tide.  It also wouldn't have remained stationary against storms and tides unless somehow anchored in place.  The exposed reef is like a paved parking lot, without sand pits to bury and ballast a wing in place.   The grooves along the edge of the reef are the only obvious means to trap or anchor the object in place.  How the object came to be trapped there is a mystery, but waves and tidal are infinitely patient and will keep trying...
Cheers,
JohnO
 
Logged

John Ousterhout

  • T4
  • ****
  • Posts: 487
Re: Japanese Aircraft
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2014, 08:27:21 AM »

re: the question of Japanese Aluminum industry.
I found a reference to the government asking a Copper company to make some aluminum aircraft parts about 1922, although it mentioned that most of their aluminum came from France.  Japan still has their own copper mines and smelters, but no mention of aluminum production. Most, if not all, of Japan's current aluminum industry appears to be overseas.  Whether that was the case in the 1930's I haven't discovered.
Cheers,
JohnO
 
Logged

Walter Runck

  • TIGHAR member
  • *
  • Posts: 119
Re: Japanese Aircraft
« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2014, 09:47:09 AM »

I have found no mention of aluminum manufacturing capability in Japan, either during the war or even in modern times.  That surprises me.  There are a few Japanese aluminum companies that have plants overseas (Indonesia, Asia, South America), but I haven't found any listed in Japan.  Is it possible that Japan didn't make any of their own aluminum during the war, but only had stockpiles purchased before the war?  That is hard for me to believe.

It takes a lot of electricity to refine bauxite into alumina and then smelt it into aluminum and they didn't have the generating capacity in the early 30's.  I don't have the reference handy, but they produced a couple dozen tons in 1933 and were only up to 70,000 tons by 1937.  We were running an order of magnitude greater, mostly thanks to WPA era electrification in the Pacific Northwest and Tennessee Valley.

I'm sure they were buying it anyway, anyhow or anywhere they could find it.
Logged

Tim Gard

  • T3
  • ***
  • Posts: 161
Re: Japanese Aircraft
« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2014, 10:13:50 AM »

How the object came to be trapped there is a mystery, but waves and tidal are infinitely patient and will keep trying...

Hi John,

In the Finding Amelia video, it's suggested that as the airframe was dragged around by surf action,  the tyre and wheel became jammed in a rut and that subsequent twisting of the airframe sheared the strut from the top of the fork in precisely the same manner as the Luke Field failure. The twisting action helped to work the assembly deep into the rut.

I can't locate images or video to demonstrate, but it's covered in that copy of TIGHAR Tracks I mentioned. The article adds immense credibility to Nessie by showing how the bull gear and fork have become located on opposite sides of the wheel.

/ Member #4122 /
/Hold the Heading/
 
« Last Edit: March 03, 2014, 10:22:45 AM by Tim Gard »
Logged

John Ousterhout

  • T4
  • ****
  • Posts: 487
Re: Japanese Aircraft
« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2014, 10:48:06 AM »

Thanks Walter, that's what I've been thinking.
 I found the reference I was looking for in the 'Japanese Aircraft' book mentioned above, in reference to the Koshiki A-3 Experimental Long-range Reconnaissance Aircraft (pg 58): "...The design was by six French engineers who arrived in Japan in early 1922.  The team was led by Captain Antoine de Boysson, Army Artillery, who had designed a reconnaissance-aircraft for Farman...The aeroplane was of all-metal construction with fabric covering. Most of the aluminium used was imported from France but some was made by Sumitomo Copper Co Ltd."

1922 was a long time before the period we're interested in.  Perhaps Japan started their aluminum industry as a result, but I haven't found supporting evidence.  Sumitomo changed its name to Fuso Metal Industries after the war, but is now back to its original name.  They do not list aluminum as one of their products - they're mostly a major iron and steel company, plus finance, banking and some other things that got them into trouble recently, but that's beside the point.
Cheers,
JohnO
 
Logged

John Balderston

  • TIGHAR member
  • *
  • Posts: 135
Re: Japanese Aircraft
« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2014, 12:29:02 PM »

Hi fellows, there are some very good references that will answer your questions.  Bottom line: In the 1930's Japanese government was intent upon establishing domestic aluminum production including aircraft duralumin.  I'm citing sources and providing some quick excerpts, but need to roll up sleeves and research to get answers.  I'm been consumed with work and community projects lately or I'd jump in with both feet and get you the answers rather than just pointing you to the resources.  Check the footnotes and bibliographies to get primary sources: 

1.  Miller, Edward S., "Bankrupting the Enemy: The U.S. Financial Siege of Japan Before Pearl Harbor", Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD,  2007.  This book should be scanned in detail.  A quick skim found indication Japan produced their own aircraft aluminum from the mid-1930's and on (Chapter 6 "Birth of an Embargo Strategy", pgs. 80-81) "...Before 1934 Japan had imported five thousand to 10 thousand tons annually.  Thereafter Tokyo launched a plan to refine aluminum at home from foreign raw materials.  Imported materials, primarily bauxite ore, comprised only 12 percent of the cost of aluminum sheet.  Electricity was by far the largest input, but Japan was self-sufficient, 55 percent from hydroelectric dams and the rest from domestic coal...As early as 1933 U.S. Army G-2 Intelligence had recommended dropping aluminum metal from lists of materials Japan would lack in war.  By 1936. . .Japan was 40 percent self-sufficient in aluminum.  In 1938 subsidized new plants raised output to twenty-one thousand tons. . .For its pre-Pacific War program of five thousand planes per year before Pearl Harbor, Japan needed about 20,000 to 30,000 tons . . .The U.S. had been a negligible supplier of aluminum to Japan until it provided about 20 percent of the 1939 buying surge. . .Japan had unlimited sources of magnesium oxide. . .at the time of the embargo [1939] it was thought to have sufficient magnesium [for duralumin].

2.  Peattie, Mark R. "Sunburst: The Rise of Japanese Naval Air Power, 1909 - 1941", U.S. Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD, 2001.  On the flip side, Japan did continue to import U.S. aircraft technology.  Again, a detailed review of this book is merited, but one quote (Japanese Naval Air Technology - Aircraft Design and Manufacture, pgs. 28-29) ". . .Like most other air power nations, Japan did not, of course, achieve complete independence from foreign aircraft technology.  During the rest of the 1930's [after 1935-36] the Japanese aircraft industry imported various equipment, engines, and even aircraft, largely from the United States, and during the Pacific War it received at least a trickle of such materiel from the Axis allies."

3.  D'Olier, Franklin, et al.  U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey, Pacific War, Vol. 15 "The Japanese Aircraft Industry", USSBS Aircraft Division, Washington D.C., May 1947.  This is a key primary source document (one of the few in English) and should be reviewed in detail, particularly Part IV "Materials for Aircraft Construction".  The document is available from several on-line sources - "The Internet Archive" is one - here is the link: https://archive.org/details/japaneseaircraft00unit

Good luck - hope this helps.  I'll check in when able to see how you're doing.

Best regards, John
John Balderston TIGHAR #3451R
 
Logged

Ric Gillespie

  • Executive Director
  • Administrator
  • *
  • Posts: 5568
  • "Do not try. Do or do not. There is no try" Yoda
Re: Japanese Aircraft
« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2014, 03:00:28 PM »

The pilot looks at his map and sees a group of islands outside the battle area (the Phoenix group) and heads there.
I think you'll find that no Japanese carrier was ever close enough to the Phoenix Group for an errant plane to be able to get there.  The Pacific is an awfully big place.
Logged

John Ousterhout

  • T4
  • ****
  • Posts: 487
Re: Japanese Aircraft
« Reply #12 on: March 03, 2014, 04:58:06 PM »

A Japanese wartime pilot landing on Gardner also doesn't fit Emily Sikuli's story.  The artifact is from an aircraft that arrived at Gardner before the war, and before there was anyone else on the island, or it was imported onto the island, or it arrived after the island was abandoned for good.

John Balderston's references will be very helpful. Thanks a bunch.

Cheers,
JohnO
 
Logged

Jeff Victor Hayden

  • T5
  • *****
  • Posts: 1387
Re: Japanese Aircraft
« Reply #13 on: March 03, 2014, 10:47:43 PM »

The 333rd was dumped on Canton in September, 1942. Things hadn't improved much. If the US sent prisoners to such a place today, they would sue the government. The 333rd  settled in. The first thing you did there was trade your  helmet for one that was painted white to match the coral background. There were 4 P-39s: the other 15 came in big crates. Each had to be wrestled ashore and assembled. Planes were refueled by hand and facilities were very primitive. There were still millions of rats. There was a rat killing contest, no firearms allowed, with a bottle of scotch as a prize and a Sergeant named Warburton killed over 500 in a week on his spare time. There was dysentery and the bad diet did nothing to help it.  For fun, one could periodically forage on the wreck of the transport SS President Taylor, which had grounded months earlier, losing 80% of it's needed supplies in the process. (On the other hand, working in the flooded holds under equatorial sun attempting supply salvage was no fun at all.)  A 10 foot high seawall had been bulldozed around much of the island so enemy submarines couldn't see anything to shoot at. Drums of water and gasoline were stored in it. Until some industrious 333rd soul borrowed a bulldozer and successfully dug a well, everyone was bathing in sea water. The well was a big improvement. It wasn't drinkable, but at least it wasn't salty. Porcelain fixtures and mirrors from the President Taylor went into the first permanent shower and latrine. The planes went on alert or on patrol around the clock.
Pacific airfields were mostly named for the first man killed on them. When the night patrol returned at dawn, they were under orders to buzz the field at 3 feet off the deck. 2nd Lt. John H. Topham died buzzing it in a spectacular two plane crash: it became Topham Field.  The enemy had a uncanny knack for approaching Canton and turning away at just the point where a P-39 couldn't intercept them. It was wonderful training and over water flying practice, but the 333rd got no kills.  In mid deployment, they moved from 18th Group to the 318th Group, and the original "Coral Cobra" patch was created by pilot Bob Rieser during that time. One highlight (low light?) came when Canton got in on the search for Eddie Rickenbacker. Somebody sent America's  leading World War 1 ace around the atoll circuit for either a morale boosting tour or fact finding tour depending on your source. His  B-17 went missing. Many years afterwards, MSGT. Harry  Double recalled . . .

“... so they sent Eddie Rickenbacker out to help boost our morale. Hell, our morale was fine; there was nothing wrong with our morale on Canton. But then his plane went missing, and as if we didn't have enough on our plate already with what little we had to work with, we had to screw around searching for Eddie Rickenbaker”.

By now, the main focus of the fighting was in the Guadalcanal area; about 2,000 miles away from Canton. Still, Canton knew they were in a war. Canton was a key link in the supply line. The enemy kept Canton under surveillance with long range flying boats out of the Gilbert Islands to the west. Around January 1943, enemy submarines put a blockade on, and food and supplies got scarce. Everyone's shoes wore out. Coral is a living thing, so you couldn't just walk about with holed shoes as coral would grow in any cut on your foot. Or anywhere else with moisture including the ear canal. Chunks of old inner tubes were used as shoe liners. The food situation went from bad to worse; the once discarded bread with grubs became part of the diet. Everyone's clothing was falling apart and there was barely gas for the planes to fly patrols. The Navy finally broke the blockade, but things got tight before they did.
On January 30, 1943, a Japanese sub surfaced before dawn and shelled the island for 30 minutes. It did no damage, but 333rd  planes that scrambled with depth charges didn't sink it either. There were night raids by Japanese patrol bombers on March 19th, 22nd, and 26th, 1943. The 333rd scrambled planes, but the enemy came in at high altitude  in ones or twos and, without radar, interception was a long shot. Only the last raid caused any real damage including 3 destroyed barracks, a Navy PBY Catalina, and holes in the water tank the 333rd had built. (Contrary to one published account, the mess hall was not hit.)  But everyone got a good laugh as Tokyo Rose claimed great damage, including 2 hits that "sunk" the rusting derelict  SS President Taylor.

http://home.earthlink.net/~atdouble/~318thFighterGroup.Canton.html
This must be the place
 
Logged

Kevin Weeks

  • T3
  • ***
  • Posts: 236
Re: Japanese Aircraft
« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2014, 01:36:15 PM »

to answer some of the questions about Japan's technical abilities with aluminum I found this little snippet VERY interesting. looks like We stole some ideas from them to advance our aluminum alloys during the war!

 In Japan, an alloy k
nown as ESD (Extra Super Duralumin) was
developed that was successfully in
troduced to lower the weight
of the Zero fighter aircraft
in 1938 [40]. When this innovation was revealed
to the Allies through chemical analysis of
a crashed aircraft during World War 2, similar
alloys were quickly used
for the manufacture
of military aircraft in the USA and England.
The best known was 75S (later 7075: Al-
5.6Zn-2.5Mg-1.6Cu-0.23Cr), whic
h was used for the skin and
stringers of the American B-
29 “Super Fortress” bomber aircraft, and provi
ded an immediate weig
ht saving of 180kg
[41]. The SCC resistance was improved due primar
ily to the inclusion of Cu as an alloying
element [41] and the producti
on of extrusions, forgings
and plate soon followed.
Logged
Pages: [1] 2   Go Up
 

Copyright 2019 by TIGHAR, a non-profit foundation. No portion of the TIGHAR Website may be reproduced by xerographic, photographic, digital or any other means for any purpose. No portion of the TIGHAR Website may be stored in a retrieval system, copied, transmitted or transferred in any form or by any means, whether electronic, mechanical, digital, photographic, magnetic or otherwise, for any purpose without the express, written permission of TIGHAR. All rights reserved.

Contact us at: info@tighar.org • Phone: 610-467-1937 • Membership formwebmaster@tighar.org

Powered by MySQL SMF 2.0.15 | SMF © 2017, Simple Machines Powered by PHP