Aichi D3A

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The Aichi was designed in 1936 for the Imperial Japanese Navy, the D3A, nicknamed Val by the Allies, became a dive bombers of the Second World War the best known. It was a crucial element of Japanese strategy during the battles of the Coral Sea and Midway.

First such device - monoplane low-wing and all-metal construction - produced in Japan, he was inspired by German aircraft such as the Heinkel He 66, He 70 and He 74. The first prototype flew in January D3A 1938, with a radial engine Nakajima Hikari 1 710 hp. But it was not until the end of 1940 for service between the D3Al, produced at a rate of 477 copies, with slightly smaller wings and an engine Misubishi Kinsei 43 1,000 hp.

After performing a limited number of operations in China and Indochina from land bases, D3A sink more ships allies in the first ten months of the Pacific War than any other enemy aircraft. With a percentage of 80% of shots on goal, the D3A has done much damage to Pearl Harbor; 129 aircraft of this type were part of the raid. The D3A also sank the aircraft carrier Hermes English and cruisers Dorsetshire and Cornwall in 1942.

Despite its obsolete fixed train, like its German equivalent Ju 87 Stuka, Val was stable and easy to handle in steep dives, leaving the driver to concentrate on the target. The adoption of a dorsal considerably improved handling of this machine, the armament consists of two machine guns of 7.7 mm pulling forward and a weapon of the same caliber mounted in the rear cabin, was clearly insufficient .

Despite its slowness but with high maneuverability, he was able to engage enemy fighters. Val became vulnerable after 1943, because the quality of the crews radically declined, the 1941 veterans killed in action being replaced by young untrained drivers.

The D3A2 was a more aerodynamic version more powerful thanks to its star Kinsei 54 1 300 hp. The production will run from 1942 to 1944, with 815 built D3A2. It will be the first line in particular during the fighting in the Solomons. With the arrival of Judy, Val leave the aircraft carrier heavy bridges to reach land bases or bridge of light carriers.

Some planes were built after it is removed from the front for training. Most of those still existing in 1945 were overloaded with bombs and used for Kamikazes operations.

Specifications : 

Crew a pilot and a navigator / skipper
Length 10.25 m
Wingspan 14.37 m
Height 3.80 m
Wing area 34,90 m²
Climbing power 8,30 m / s
Max. Starting weight 4.122 kg
Max speed 426 km / h in 5.650 m height
Service Ceilling 10,900 m
Range 1.550 km
A 14-cylinder twin-engined Mitsubishi Kinsei 54 engine with 1300 hp (970 kW)
Arming two 7.7-mm MGs type 97 rigid forward
A movable 7.7 mm MG type 99 in the observer position

A 250 kg bomb under the hull and two 60 kg bombs under the wings

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