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This aircraft page is in two sections:
World War II aircraft
Variant of B5N
Nickname Kate
Type Bomber
Country of origin Japan
Manufacturer Nakajima
Crew 3
Dimensions Wing span 15.52 m (50' 11")
Length 10.30 m (33' 10")
Height 3.70 m (12' 2")
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The B5N2 in World War II[edit]

The Nakajima B5N (Japanese: 中島 B5N, Allied reporting name: Kate) was the Imperial Japanese Navy's standard torpedo bomber for the first years of World War II. While the B5N was substantially faster and more capable than its Allied counterparts, the TBD Devastator and Fairey Swordfish, it was close to obsolescence by the time of the Pearl Harbor Attack. Nevertheless, the B5N operated throughout the whole war. Although primarily used as a carrier-based aircraft, it was also used as a land-based bomber on occasions. The B5N had a crew of 3: pilot, navigator/bombardier/observer, and radio operator/gunner.


The B5N was designed by a team led by Katsuji Nakamura in response to a 1935 specification by the Navy for a torpedo bomber to replace the Yokosuka B4Y. Internally designated Type K by Nakajima, it successfully competed with the Mitsubishi B5M for a production contract. The first prototype flew in January 1937 and was ordered into production soon afterwards with the full designation Type 97 Carrier Attack Bomber (九七式艦上攻撃機).

The B5N soon saw combat, first in the Sino-Japanese War, where combat experience revealed several weaknesses in the original B5N1 production model. These were mainly concerned with the lack of protection that the design offered its crew and fuel tanks. Keen to maintain the high performance of the type, the Navy was reluctant to add weight in the form of armour, and instead looked to obtaining a faster version of the aircraft in the hopes of out-running enemy fighters. The B5N2 was given a much more powerful engine, and various modifications were made to streamline it. Although its performance was only marginally better, and its weaknesses remained unremedied, this version replaced the B5N1 in production and service from 1939. It was this version that would be used by the Navy in the attack on Pearl Harbor. Apart from this raid, the greatest successes of the B5N2 were the key roles they played in sinking the US Navy aircraft carriers Yorktown, Lexington and Hornet.

The B5N served as the basis for a follow-on design, the Nakajima B6N, which eventually replaced it in front-line service. The B5N continued to fly in secondary roles, such as training, target towing, and anti-submarine warfare. Some of the aircraft used for this latter purpose were equipped with early radars and magnetic anomaly detectors. B5Ns were also used as bombers during the unsuccessful defence of the Philippines in October 1944.

Altogether, around 1,150 B5N aircraft were built, of which not a single complete example exists today.

Unit Deployment[edit]

External Links[edit]

Aces High II aircraft
Nickname Kate
Type Bomber
Crew 3
Aces High II loadout options
Package 1 1x 7.7mm MG, 791 rounds
(rear cockpit)
Options 1x 800kg torpedo
3x 250kg (550lb) bombs
Aces High II Main Arenas
Earliest MA Early War
Typical perk cost 0 (Late War)
ENY value 40 (Late War)
Available on carrier yes
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The B5N2 in Aces High II[edit]

A relatively new addition to the AH set, the B5N2 flushes out the set of Japanese carrier borne aircraft with a torpedo bomber. Typically torpedo bombers have not been entirely useful in AH as they are very vulnerable to attack, and the Kate is no different. If anything, the Kate is probably the most vulnerable aircraft in the game right now. The Kate is simply not quite up to the task or survival in the MA. There are a couple of other planes that offer more firepower offensively and/or defensively, and the whole concept of torpedo attacks is somewhat diminished in value because of the murderous 5inch ack. The Kate finds itself with a bit of a role problem and will most likely be used mainly in scenarios.

Engine Power[edit]

The Kate is slow, dreadfully so. Just when you may have thought there couldn't be anything slower that could fly, the Kate came along to prove that wrong. Sea-level speed is only 217 mph, while the top speed is around 236mph @ 12K. Climb rate is also rather pathetic, maintaining a little over 1,500ft/minute up to about the same level, 12K. Over 12K the performance decreases fairly rapidly both in top speed and climb. Strapping on external loads, which is the whole purpose of this aircraft, is going to punish you even more. The single torpedo option drops your sea-level speed to 211mph, while the three 250kg bomb option sets you back to 208mph. You are likely to bump into aircraft roughly twice as fast as you are, so be prepared. Range is excellent at 87 minutes on full internal fuel so it is unlikely you actually need to take more than 50% fuel. Still, with a top speed over only 236mph you aren't likely to get all that far in 87 minutes.

Aces High II Performance Charts[edit]

B5N2 speed chart B5N2 climb chart


Talking about the firepower of the Kate is pretty easy. There are no forward firing guns, a trait shared by maybe only 1 other unit, the Arado. It makes the whole idea of dogfighting rather pointless other than as some method to keep an enemy infront of you so he can't be behind you. To the rear the defensive situation is not really better, with a single 7.7mm protecting the rear. At least with some similarly vulnerable planes you have some forward firepower, but with the Kate you are really in the bag. A single 7.7mm mount is unlikely to even be considered a defense and anyone who jumps to the rear gun thinking they are putting up even a laughable defense is incorrect, nobody is going to take it seriously The external ordinance options are a little better, with either a centerline mounted torpedo (actually off center a bit) or up to 3 250kg bombs. That's pretty reasonable, but the drag and climb penalties for loading up the Kate make it a bit of a problem. It appears there is an actual torpedo sight on the plane too, though it takes a bit of work to get used to it. This is much better than for other similar torpedo planes, which do not have a sight and rely mostly on dead recogning.


The Kate seems pretty maneuverable, even with a bomb/torpedo load, though I don't know how much it is going to help you to maneuver. The controls are very responsive and the turning rate/radius quite small. The Kate has a huge wingspan though, close to 51ft, so it is a large target with good lift properties. The plane is also light, weighing in at a paltry 8,378lb's unloaded. Even with full external load it is still light, and thus the reason it turns so well. The turn rate is not a good offensive tool though, since unlike some other attack planes that have similar good turning (the Val comes to mind), you don't have any forward firing guns. Out-turning a fighter is not going to really scare him, likely he'll just extend with superior speed and come back since you can't pull out your service pistol and shoot at him. Dive performance is very good, far better than average for most IJN planes. Dives to over 550mph are possible with the plane holding together and almost full control possible with no compression.

Fighting in the B5N2[edit]

The Kate is really more of an era plane for use in scenarios and events, but could be used successfully in a low/no threat area of the main arena. It packs a decent load of bombs and the torpedo could be useful against ships. The plane has a torpedo sight, or something that resembles it, and there have already been some descriptions on how to use it to attack ships. This could be very useful, though I haven't yet given it a try and ships can still easily maneuver to avoid attack.

Typical flight profile seems to be, to climb to no more than about 10K before beginning your attack, In the case of a bombing attack, roll in as normal from above the target and drop. In the case of a torpedo attack, use a shallow dive to increase your speed to the target, planning to arrive at sea-level just before you are ready to drop. Remember to keep your speed and altitude within torpedo launch parameters, athough this should be easy since the B5N2 is unlikely to be flying too fast.

Defensively, you don't have many options. I wouldn't recommend sitting in the tail guns and thinking they are going to discourage anything. Likely you will have to call for help and try to simply survive as long as possible through maneuvering. Maybe, if you can elist a gunner, try and keep just out of the attackers gun lead and see if your gunner can eventually put enough hits into the enemy to make him break off.

Fighting against the B5N2[edit]

The B5N2 should be about the easiest kill you can possibly get in the game. Approach from any angle, although a lag style turn is going to keep you out of the possibility of a tail-gunner getting a lucky shot. From my experience the Kate doesn't seem very tough and breaks up quickly. If it begins a maneuver defense, see if you can keep with it, and if not, break off, reverse some distance away, and then come back. Don't worry about the Kate running away, it can't, even a C47 could catch up to a Kate. Also don't worry about the Kate taking pot shots at you while you extend, it can't, it doesn't have any forward firing guns. Also, for that reason, Head-Ons are totally safe, so if a big, slow, Kate is willing to give you a Head-On, take it without question, but watch out for the possibility of collision. There really are two things that are likely to cause you problems with the Kate. A collision because of the slow speed of the Kate, or friendly fire since everyone within icon range is likely to dive in for the easy kill.

Defensively, a Kate behind you even at close range is no danger. Chasing a Kate is actually more dangerous than being chased by one (how often can you actually say that in AH?). Ignore it, build up some seperation, and then come back to finish him off. Considering his low top speed, you can accelerate away from him like he's standing still.

External Links[edit]

Soda's Aircraft Evaluations