Yokosuka P1Y

Yokosuka P1Y
P1Y Ginga
Role Bomber
National origin Japan
Manufacturer Yokosuka
First flight August 1943
Introduction October 1944[1]
Retired 1945
Primary user Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service
Number built 1,098

The Yokosuka P1Y Ginga (銀河, "Galaxy") was a twin-engine, land-based bomber developed for the Japanese Imperial Navy in World War II. It was the successor to the Mitsubishi G4M and given the Allied reporting name "Frances".


Design and development

The P1Y was designed by the Yokosuka Naval Air Technical Arsenal to Navy specification 15-Shi,[2] calling for a fast bomber with speed matching the Zero, range matching the G4M, a 907 kg (2,000 lb) bombload, and the ability to dive-bomb as well as carry torpedoes. As the result, the construction suffered from excess complexity, difficulty of manufacture, and poor serviceability. Problems with the availability of enough reliable Nakajima Homare engines led to their replacement by the Mitsubishi Kasei in the P1Y2-S night-fighter version.

The streamlined design of the Ginga is attributed to Miki Tadanao, an engineer who, after World War II, went on to create a similar aerodynamic design for Japan's earliest `bullet trains` (Shinkansen), while working with the Japan National Railways(JNR).[3]

Operational history

Yokosuka P1Y "Frances" shot down next to USS Ommaney Bay (CVE-79) by 0945 on December 15, 1944.[4]

The first flight was in August 1943. Nakajima manufactured 1,002 examples, which were operated by five Kokutais (Air Groups), and acted as land-based medium and torpedo bombers from airfields in China, Taiwan, Marianas, Philippines, Ryukyu, Shikoku, and Kyūshū. During the last stages of the war the P1Y was utilized as a kamikaze aircraft against the United States Navy during the Okinawa Campaign in Operation Tan No. 2.

A night fighter version, the P1Y2-S Kyokko (極光, "Aurora"), with Mitsubishi Kasei engines, was equipped with radar and Schräge Musik-style upward-firing -- as well as forward-firing -- 20 mm cannon. A total of 96 were produced by Kawanishi,[5] but due to inadequate high-altitude performance against B-29s, many were converted back to Ginga bombers.[6]


Radar equipped P1Y

;Prototypes: six examples with 1,357 kW (1,820 hp) NK9C Nakajima NK9B Homare 11 engines.

P1Y1 Ginga ("Milky Way") Japanese Navy bomber Model 11
first model of the series.
P1Y1 Ginga Kai Model 11 Special
modified version capable of transporting 1× Yokosuka MXY7 Ohka "Baka" (model 22).
P1Y1-S Byakko ("White Light"), Japanese Navy Night Fighter
night fighter version armed with 4 × 20 mm Type 99 cannons firing obliquely forward, and 1 × 13 mm (.51 in) Type 2 machine gun in the back defensive position.
Version P1Y1a/P1Y2a, since it has a single forward cannon, and no dorsal turret
P1Y2-S Kyokko ("Aurora") Japanese Navy Night Fighter
other night fighter version with new 1,380 kW (1,850 hp) Mitsubishi MK4T-A Kasei 25a engines. Armed with 2 × 20 mm Type 99s firing obliquely forward, and 1 × 13 mm (.51 in) Type 2 in the back defensive position.
P1Y2 Japanese Navy bomber Model 16
conversions of previous night fighter version.
similar to P1Y1/P1Y2 with 1 × 20 mm Type 99 in nose cabin and 1 × 13 mm (.51 in) Type 2 in back defensive position.
version armed with dorsal turret with 2 × 13 mm (.51 in) Type 2s and 1 × 20 mm Type 99 in nose cabin.
similar to P1Y1b/P1Y2b, but the front nose cabin cannon is replaced with 1 × 13 mm (.51 in) Type 2.
P1Y3 Model 33
specialised version to carry a rocket-powered Yokosuka MXY7 Ohka Model 21 or a jet-powered Yokosuka MXY7 Ohka Model 22 suicide aircraft. Project only.
P1Y4 Model 12
projected version with 2,000 hp Nakajima NK9H-S "Homare" 23 radial engines.
P1Y5 Model 14
projected version with 2,200 hp Mitsubishi Ha-43 (MK9A) radial engines.
P1Y6 Model 17
projected version with Mitsubishi MK4T-C Kasei 25c radial engines.
MXY10 Yokosuka Navy Bomber Ginga
Ground decoy non-flying replica of Yokosuka P1Y1



Specifications (P1Y1a)

Data from Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War[8]

General characteristics



See also

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era


  1. ^ Norman Polmar, Thomas B. Allen, World War II: America at war, 1941-1945, Random House, 1991, p. 310.
  2. ^ Francillon 1979, p. 462.
  3. ^ Hood, Christopher P. (2007). Shinkansen – From Bullet Train to Symbol of Modern Japan. Routledge, London. pp. 53. ISBN 9-78-0-415-32052-8. 
  4. ^ USS Natoma Bay (CVE-62) Logbook Project
  5. ^ Francillon 1979, p. 468.
  6. ^ Francillon 1979, p. 465.
  7. ^ Francillon 1979, p. 467.
  8. ^ Francillon 1979, pp. 467–468.

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