Kawanishi N1K2-J "George" - left side (scan - 1989)

Over 1000 N1K2s were produced. Nevertheless, had numerous difficulties stemming from very complicated landing gear mechanism and poor visibility for landing and takeoff. Modified version, N1K2-J, first flew 31 Dec 43. Only wing, engine, and armament of its predecessor remained. Most noteworthy mod was lowering of wing to lower fuselage level to shorten and simplify landing gear and improve forward visibility. Much simpler airframe could be built in half the man hours of its predecessor. Was immediately accepted and ordered into production, but only about 415 produced. Potentially one of the best Japanese fighters, able to hold its own against F6F and F4U. Maneuverability, boosted by automatic combat flaps activated by mercury manometer that measured angle of attack, almost unbelievable. Unreliable engine remained a problem. "George" encountered by Allies on all fronts from May 44. At Okinawa, was also used as a Kamikaze.


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