Seen above are some archival images of a Japanese Torpedo aircraft found on an island in Chuuk (Truk Lagoon). While not directly tied to the Hawaii Clipper research effort, it is a foot note in today’s history that still, to this day, interesting and historically valuable relics are still being discovered in this day in age. It is things like this Myrt that keep the fire burning to turn every stone until the Hawaii Clipper mystery is solved. In this particular discovery, I was able to inspect the aircraft and marvel at it’s relatively good condition considering over seventy years has passed and it’s exposure to the elements and looters. As agreed upon, I won’t be sharing the images I took at this present time.
Soon after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, Japanese naval leaders acknowledged that standard torpedo bombers made poor reconnaissance aircraft and embarked to build a faster airplane to conduct long endurance scouting missions. In the spring of 1942, Nakajima started work on a 3-seat aircraft with a maximum speed of 40o mph, a maximum range of 3,075 miles and be capable of multiple munitions. The prototype first flew in March 1943 however problems with the performance of the power plant at altitude delayed production until the spring of 1944. Variants of the design included the C6N1-S and C6N-3 were night fighters equipped with two oblique 20mm Type 99 cannon in place of the third crewman. The C6N-2 and -3 used a Homare 24 engine and had four bladed propellers. The “Painted Cloud” C6N was originally intended to be a carrier-based reconnaissance aircraft however due to the destruction of numerous carriers, the forward operating bases became its home during the latter years of World War II.