The A6M2-N (Allied codename Rufe) was a single-seat floatplane that was used by Japan during World War II. 

Description

The A6M2-N had a single Nakajima NK1C Sakae 12 engine that was capable of propelling it at speeds of up to 435 kilometers per hour. Furthermore, it had the same armament as its Mitsubishi A6M Rei-sen from which it was developed, consisting of two 20mm Type 99 Autocannons and two Type 89 Machine Guns.[1] An additional combat load of two 30 kilogram bombs could also be carried on the A6M2-N's wings. Its total weight was around 1,900 kilograms unloaded, with a total length of ten meters and a wingspan of twelve meters.[2]

The type's operational range was about 1,150 kilometres with a service ceiling of 10,000 metres. The main idea behind the design of the A6M2-N was to create an aircraft that could support amphibious landings by taking off from harbors and lagoons when air fields were not yet available for operational use.[3] The defect came with the fact that maneurvability was naturally lessened by the large floats and thus it did not retain the same combat effectiveness as its counterpart with traditional landing gear. A special cart was placed underneath the main float to move the aircraft around on land.

History

The A6M2-N was initially developed in 1941 by the Nakajima Aircraft Company for the IJNAF. It was delivered into frontline service the next year in 1942 and was immediately assigned to many naval garrisons. Typically, the aircraft were not necessairly used in their intended all out air attacks but instead, for defending isolated and frontline garrisons from air patrols and harassing American naval units such as PT boats.

However, the aircraft was quickly put into secondline service such as in reconnaissance roles after the next generation Allied aircraft had been introduced. Approximately 327 examples had been produced during the war. 

References


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