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Japan's Mitsubishi C5M, Ki-15 reconnaissance; Navy Type 98, Army Type 97
Allied code name: Babs

Photos

  • Mitsubishi T-98 Karigane (wild goose), Army KB-98 bomber
  • Mitsubishi T-98 Karigane (wild goose), Army KB-98 bomber
  • Mitsubishi T-98 Karigane (wild goose) II, Army TS-98-2 econnaissance
  • Mitsubishi T-98 Karigane (wild goose) II, Army TS-98-2 econnaissance
  • Mitsubishi Ki-15-2 reconnaissance

Design

In July of 1935 a specification was put out for an aircraft that could go 280 mph at 8,750', operate between 6,500' and 13,000', and weigh less than 5,000 lbs. It was designed by Captain Yuzo Fujita and Engineer Masao Ando.

In May 1936 a prototype was ready.

The Ki-15 was an all metal low winged plane with fixed landing gear. There was poor visibility on the ground due to the large engine cowling.

After the Ki-15s excellent performance in the 2nd Sino-Japanese War the Navy ordered 20 of the Ki-15-IIs that were modified for Naval use.

Prototype

The Ki-15-II prototype first flew in June 1938.

Production

  • Mitsubishi C5M: ~50
    • Mitsubishi C5M1, Navy Type 98 Reconnaissance Plane Model I: 20
    • Mitsubishi C5M2: 30
  • Mitsubishi Ki-15-I, Army Type 97 Command Reconnaissance Plane Model I:
  • Mitsubishi Ki-15-II, Army Type 97 Command Reconnaissance Plane Model II:
  • Mitsubishi Ki-15-III prototype: 2
    • Production: September 1939 - ?
  • Total: 489, ~500
    • Manufacturer: Mitsubishi Jukogyo K.K.
    • Production: 1937 - ?

Variants

  • Mitsubishi T-98: Mitsubishi designation.
  • Mitsubishi C5M: Navy version.
  • Mitsubishi C5M1, Navy Type 98 Reconnaissance Plane Model I: Had Mitsubishi Zuisei 12 engine (875 HP).
  • Mitsubishi C5M2: Appeared in 1940. Had Nakajima Sakae 12 engine (950 HP).
  • Mitsubishi KB-98: Army version.
  • Mitsubishi Ki-15-I, Army Type 97 Command Reconnaissance Plane Model I: Army version.
  • Mitsubishi Ki-15-II, Army Type 97 Command Reconnaissance Plane Model II: More powerful engine, Mitsubishi Ha-26-I (900 HP).
  • Mitsubishi Ki-15-III: Prototype. Had Mitsubishi Ha-102 (1,050 HP) engine.

Usage

Units

  • Ki-15
    • Sentai: 8, 10, 15, 28, 29, 81, 82
    • Dokuritsu: 16, 18, 50, 51, 74, 76, 81
    • Chutai: Dai Shijugo
    • Hikodans: 17, 18
  • C5M2
    • Sentai: 22, 23

Record Flight

The second prototype of the Ki-15 was purchased by Asahi Shimbu, a Japanese newspaper. It was flown by Masaaki Iinuma, pilot, and Kenji Tsukagoshi, navigator almost 10,000 at an average speed of 100 mph between April 6 and April 9, 1937. This was to celebrate to Coronation of King George VI. This was a record at the time for the 9,542 mile trip. The plane was named Kamikaze.

First Deliveries

The first deliveries were made to the Army in May 1937.

The 1930s

Before World War II the Army's Ki-15 and the Navy's C5M were the most popular reconnaissance planes in the military.

2nd Sino-Japanese War

The Ki-15 was first used operationally in the 2nd Sino-Japanese War. In the early years the Ki-15s could outdistance any fighter the Chinese sent up to intercept it.

World War II

The Ki-15s and C5Ms were used operationally through 1942. They were eventually relegated to training and liaison tasks.

Finds Prince of Wales and Repulse

On December 10, 1941, a C5M2 was the first to spot the Prince of Wales and Repulse.

Specifications

  Mitsubishi Ki-15-I
Type Reconnaissance
Crew 2
Engine (Type) 1: Nakajima Ha-8, Army Type 94
Cylinders Radial 8, Radial 9
Cooling Air
Net HP 640
Propeller blades Metal 2 blade
Dimensions  
Span 39' 4.4", 39' 4.375"
12 m
Length 27' 10.25", 28' 6.5"
8.49 m, 8.7 m
Height 10' 11.5", 11'
3.34 m, 3.35 m
Wing area 219.152 sq ft, 219.16 sq ft
20.36 sq m
Weight  
Empty 3,084 lb, 3,086 lb
1,399 kg, 1,400 kg
Loaded 5,071 lb
2,300 kg
Performance  
Speed at 13,125' / 4,000 m 298 mph
480 kph
Speed - Cruising 199 mph
320 kph
Speed - Cruising at 16,405' / 5,000 m 199 mph
320 kph
Climb to 16,405' / 5,000 m 8 minutes 27 seconds
Service ceiling 37,400'
11,400 m
Range 1,491 miles
2,400 km
Armament  
Cockpit - Rear 1: 0.303" / 7.7 mm Type 89
  Mitsubishi Ki-15-II
Type Reconnaissance
Crew 2
Engine (Type) 1: Mitsubishi Ha-26-I, Army Type 99 Model I
Cylinders Radial 14
Cooling Air
Net HP 850
Propeller blades Metal 2 blade
Dimensions  
Span 39' 4.375"
12 m
Length 28' 6.53125"
8.7 m
Height 10' 11.5"
3.34 m
Wing area 219.152 sq ft
20.36 sq m
Weight  
Empty 3,510 lb
1,592 kg
Loaded 5,470 lb
2,481 kg
Performance  
Speed at 14,205' / 4,330 m 317 mph
510 kph
Climb to 16,405' / 5,000 m 6 minutes 49 seconds
Armament  
Cockpit - Rear 1: 0.303" / 7.7 mm Type 89
  Mitsubishi Ki-15-III
Type Reconnaissance
Crew 2
Engine (Type) 1: Mitsubishi Ha-102
Cylinders Radial 14
Cooling Air
Net HP 1,080
Propeller blades Metal 3 blade
  Mitsubishi C5M1
Type Reconnaissance
Crew 2
Engine (Type) 1: Mitsubishi Zuisei 12
Cylinders Radial 14
Cooling Air
Net HP 780
Propeller blades Metal 2 blade
Dimensions  
Span 39' 4.375"
12 m
Length 28' 6.53125"
8.7 m
Height 11' 4.40625"
3.465 m
Wing area 219.152 sq ft
20.36 sq m
Weight  
Empty 3,538 lb
1,605 kg
Loaded 4,844 lb
2,197 kg
Performance  
Speed at 14,040' / 4,280 m 291 mph
Climb to 9,845' / 3,000 m 4 minutes 51 seconds
Service ceiling 27,000'
8,230 m
Range 725 miles
Armament  
Cockpit - Rear 1: 0.303" / 7.7 mm Type 92
  Mitsubishi C5M2
Type Reconnaissance
Crew 2
Engine (Type) 1: Nakajima Sakae 12
Cylinders Radial 14
Cooling Air
Net HP 940, 950
Propeller blades Metal 3 blade
Dimensions  
Span 39' 4", 39' 4.375"
12 m
Length 28' 6", 28' 6.53125"
8.7 m
Height 11' 4", 11' 4.40625"
3.465 m
Wing area 219.152 sq ft
20.36 sq m
Weight  
Empty 3,781 lb
1,715 kg
Loaded 5,170 lb
2,345 kg
Performance  
Speed at 14,930' 303 mph
Climb to 9,845' / 3,000 m 3 minutes 58 seconds
Service ceiling 31,430'
9,580 m
Range 691 miles
Armament 1: MG
Cockpit - Rear 1: 0.303" / 7.7 mm Type 92
  Mitsubishi T-98
Type Light bomber
Engine (Type) Mitsubishi Kinsei A-14
Cylinders Radial
Net HP 800
Dimensions  
Span 39' 4"
Length 27'
Height 9' 2"
Weight  
Loaded 8,000 lb
Performance  
Speed 300 mph
Range 1,500 miles
Armament 1: MG
  Mitsubishi T-98, TS-98-2
Type Reconnaissance
Crew 2
Engine (Type) 1: Mitsubishi A-14
Cylinders Radial
Cooling Air
Net HP 800
Propeller blades 2
Dimensions  
Span 39' 4"
Length 27' 11"
Height 11' 6"
Weight  
Loaded 5,060 lb
Performance  
Speed 310 mph
Range 1,500 miles
Armament  

Sources:

  1. World War II Airplanes Volume 2, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
  2. Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook, Ensign L. C. Guthman, 1943
  3. The Encyclopedia of Weapons of World War II, Chris Bishop, 1998
  4. Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War, René J Francillon, 1970
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