Mitsubishi A6M Zero "Zeke" (1939)

Imperial Japanese Navy, 10,939 built

The legendary Japanese fighter

Just named colloquially "zero" and still popularly known as such today, the A6M, or "Mitsubishi Navy Type 0 carrier fighter" (零式艦上戦闘機) hence the number used as nickname, was the brainchild of superstar aviation designer Jiro Horikoshi. A superb dogfighter, combined with perhaps the best trained naval fighter pilots of the world's at the time, achieved total air dominance in the Pacific until 1943.

With 10,939 delivered by Mitsubishi, Nakajima and other plants, it was also the most ubiquitous of all WW2 Japanese models, soldiering over a very large area, between aircraft carriers and land bases, from Mandchuria to New Guinea, Malaysia to the Aleutians. The A6M gained an aura of invincibility in the first year of the war, brushing aside all opposition. This was the result of a number of factors, but its advantages became problems when the allies started to field better planes in 1944-45. It's designated successor, the A7M Reppū never had the time to replaced it, but the A6M went through several iterations and variants to correct its known issues.
⚠ Note: This post is in writing. Completion expected in August 2022.

Design development

A successor to the A5M "Claude"

A5M4 onboard IJN Soryu in 1941
A5M4 onboard IJN Soryu in 1941

The A5M "Claude" was the Imperial Japanese navy main monoplane fighter in 1939, a 1st generation model, also designed by Horikoshi with elliptic wings and modern features, all metal fuselage but still antiquated ones, like fixed undecarriage and open cockpit. It was already a superb dogfigher, putting agility over all else. But in 1939, with a more serious opposition over China, pilots started to recoignise its limitations.

This process started early on: The Mitsubishi A5M fighter was just entering service in early 1937, when its replacement was discussed. On 5 October 1937 was signed and published "Planning Requirements for the Prototype 12-shi Carrier-based Fighter" (or simply "12-shi spec"), sent to Nakajima and Mitsubishi to submit proposals. Both firms started preliminary design work, whereas requirements were still awaited. They were stn in the following months.

Specification 12-shi (October 1937)

The design staff started with early combat reports of the A5M in China. From there, the IJN specified updated requirements, in October 1937. These were calling for:

Nakajima's out, Mitsubishi takes up the gauntlet (April 1938)

Nakajima's team considered these new requirements impossible and pulled out outright in January 1938. At the time, the direction looked towards larger and more lucrative army contracts, and notably the awaited successor of the Ki-27 "Nate", which would evolved into, here again, a model relatively similar to the "Zero", the equally legendary Ki-43 Hayabusa ("Oscar");

Meanwhile, Mitsubishi's chief designer Jiro Horikoshi, believed the requirements could be met. His take on the matter as that weight saving was to be the ultimate objective of the design. His team basically sat day and night, trying to eliminate every possible elements, replacing it by a lighter solution. Every weight-saving measure was incorporated into the design, requiring also a lot of "out-of-the box" thinking, notably by simplifying parts. Therefore, it at first the team (before having the complete specs) worked on a retractable undercarriage, enclosed cockpit version of the A5M with the latest engine, it was soon clear that very little of the former model could be reused, if at all.

The pilot controversy (April-May 1938)

On April 10, 1938, a draft design of a new fighter sparked a lively discussion around technical decisions to made by designers, and terms of reference itself. Conservative pilots criticized the closed cockpit, arguing that it would severely restrict visibility while pilots managed to convince earlier Mitsubishi designers to also renounced it for the A5M2b modification, mostly to allow the pilots to look over the side of the cockpit forward, dto find the correct glide path.

Composition of the armament and priority of flight qualities, which were maneuverability OR speed also fuelled the debate. On that matter, Lieutenant Commander (and Ace) Minoru Genda believed for a carrier-based fighter agility was key, over speed. For him, this way the fighter would be able to impose a battle on the enemy, winning a "turning contest". He advocated achieving less power and if necessary, also heavy weaponry. Ace Lieutenant Commander Takeo Shibata led the opposing faction, stating that the A5M already demonstrated the Japanese already outperform other fighters.

Battles in China showed -and all pilots agreed on this- that the main problem, in order to engage opposition, was first to get there. Due to its short flight range, the A5M could just not escort bombers up to the objectives. So Shibata wanted both high straight speed and range to be paramount in the new design. Speed for hims was also a factor to impose its own battle tactics on slower opponents. Shibata also argued well-trained pilots with a faster aircraft would have a double edge in combat, even with marginally lower maneuverability.

This controversy between the two aces was not resolved at a meeting held on April 13, 1938. Circles close to the the Imperial Navy High Command started to voice their frustration over the pilot's internal war and many started to advocate for a freeze of the 12-Ci program, rewrited them as well.

Jiro Horikoshi however intervened, and promised to ease all oppositions with his design. Based on early calculations, he was able to convince the Navy and the pilots alike that his new high-performance would have at the same time, the desired speed, range and maneuverability to please all pilots. Kaigun Koku Hombu (IJN aviation procurement bureau) officially approved the basic layout of the new model. But even construction of prototypes was greenlighted, Mitsubishi's design team already had the design well refined in Oyomachi, Nagoya.

Impossible Challenges

Demands were so radical, though, it obliged to almost start from scratch. The company also took into consideration innovationd in several fields to achieve its goals, notably the use of a new top-secret aluminium alloy, developed by Sumitomo Metal Industries in 1936. This "extra super duralumin" (ESD) was indeed lighter, yet stronger, and more ductile than other alloys used at the time. The only problem -a serious one for using it at sea- was corrosive attack which made it brittle.

The problem was soon solved by consulting chemical companies and securing an equally innovative anti-corrosion coating, to be applied after fabrication. Among other measures, it was soon obvious that no armour protection was affordable given the limitations, for the pilot. Any special protection for critical points of the aircraft or the engine were ommitted as well as self-sealing fuel tanks. These measures, radical, helped reaching the specifications, but their cost was not apparent at first. It was paid dearly in 1943, five years later.

The Mitsubishi Type 0 given the year, was however lighter and more maneuverable than any fighter that came before, added to the longest range for any fighter plane (single-engine) at the time, in WW2. Tactically it was an enormous advantage for the Navy, that could escort their strike aircraft all the way to their objective, stay in defense, assist destroying opposition, and escort them back safely. No other country at the time has such fighter. The Zero was also capable of searching out possible targets hundreds of kilometres away, patrol much longer, etc. The tradeoff in weight and weak construction was known. It was discovered later it was quick to catch fire and exploding after a few rounds.

The reasoning was however, that speed and agility was the best defense. Given the cultivated aggressiveness of Japanese pilots, the new fighter was fitting them like a glove. The A6M in the end, secuced the navy as being the 2nd generation fighter it needed, by combining in addition of this agility, heavy armament and long range, a low-wing cantilever monoplane layout, a etractable, wide-set conventional landing gear, and an enclosed, well designed cockpit.

When the first drafts were presented in 1938 to secure an order for a prototype, it came quickly as the Navy was quite impressed, and Mitsubishi had no opposition.

Design Development

Final assessment

When it was introduced in early 1940, the "Zero" was one of the most modern carrier-based aircraft in the world. Its oppositon in the Royal Navy was the heavy Fairey Fulmar and in the US Navy the Brewster F2A Buffalo, to the point of being superseded by the Grumman F4F Wildcat. Until the introduction of the F6F Hellcat from mid-1943, the Zero was almost "untouchable".

Its main advantages as a dogfighter were a fairly high-lift, low-speed wing and very low wing loading. It also had a very low stalling speed (below 60 knots or 110 km/h, 69 mph). Its "phenomenal" maneuverability as recoigniese by its foes over China and Chennault's "Flying Tigers" already in 1940 (equipped with the Curtiss P40 Warhawk) allowed the A6M to out-turn any Allied fighter of the time. Eearly models were fitted with servo tabs on the ailerons, after pilots complained about too heavy commands at above 300 kp/190 mph. That was the price for lightness as, these features were planned bu not included. However, servo tabs were retired, as with this lightened control forces pilots had much confidence to overstress their airframe, making quite vigorous maneuvers while not always grasping how flimsy was their fighter to endure G-Forces.

Design Features

-The Zero also revolutionized the way naval fighter could operate, by bringing an amazing radius of action, twice the previous figures in the IJN: 1,180 miles. Ex. The FAA Sea Hurricane was limited for example to 600 miles, the sea spitfire just 550, and the F4F 845 miles.

-The zero blended the limit between carrier-borne fighters and land based equivalents. When the zero was in service, the F4F was 4 months late in its introduction. For the first time a naval fighter, usually inferior to its land counterparts, could dominate the skies and dogfight with any model in the air at that time. This gave the fighter a "long arm", ability to escort the attack planes to target, engaged the CAP in a long dogfight further straining gazoline, and came back escorting all the way. It could strile by keeping the carriers out of arm's way. This range completely deceived US commander in 1942. ONI figures were totally underestimated at around 800 miles and surprise total in operations. Having a 500 miles radius of action around a carrier was unheard of, and decisive. Their appearance seemibly in many places at once made the US think the Japanese had far more zeros than in reality.

-Thus, it was clear the US intel needed to have their hands on a zero at all costs. It became as much top priority as for the British cracking for example the Enigma code. However in almost all cases, down Zeros were so light they disintegrated, leaving practicall nothing to study but scattered small remains on miles on end. The first occasion it nearly happened was over Parl Harbor in Dec. 1941, as two of these were shot down, but the first landed on its belly, but slided and crashed into N.4 hangar at Kamehameha. At least the rear section survived well enough to be studied. Another crash-landed on its way back to the Kido Butai, also making a controlled belly-landing on Nihao Island. The pilot, Shigenori Nishikaichi was captured by local Hawaiians, but managed to escape, returned to his planes and burned it entirely, before being caught and killed. The first would be captured in Alaska. This was a crucial blow as the Japanese lost their secrecy and pilots were duly briefed on the strenghts and weaknesses of the nible champion.

-August 1940: Start of service. Sept. 13 first victory over China 30 Chinese fighters I-15/I-16. 30 min. dogfight over chongking. Saburo Sindu claimed 20+ Chinese down without any loss, but four zeros damaged.

-The "zero" had a indirect major shortcoming: Its production. Interservice rivalry first objected to adopt the A6M despite it's qualities, and even for the Navy itself, Japan lacked the engineers, the economic muscle, and the industrial culture needed to rapidlt ramp up to wartime production the way the US did. By late 1943 still, the Zero, was still hand made by skilled laborers. The models were only made in Nagoya and parts conveyed by mostly primitive means: Oxen were carrying these between facilities ! Due to the absence of airfield or railway nearby, not good roads and the fear to damage tghe delicate fighter on trucks, so they were carried the old way for 34 miles being final assembly.

General structure











The "zero floatplane": A6M2-N "Rufe"

The A6M2-N floatplane was developed as requested by the Navy to support amphibious operations (operated by one of the many IJN seaplane tenders), or defend remote bases. Based on the A6M-2 Model 11 technically, it had a modified tail to keep stability with a much higher drag, cauised by the added floats: One large under the fuselage to keep balace and two small underwing. 327 total were built, and it was deployed in 1942 as the "Suisen 2" ("Hydro fighter type 2"). Its first actions were mostly defensive, in the Aleutians and Solomon Islands. They were found surprisingly good at harassing PT boats at night, causing the latter to increase AA and adopt projectors. They were also found useful to drop flares on them, allowing destroyers to fire on them.

A6M2-N also were used to protect fueling depots in Balikpapan and Avon Bases in the Dutch East Indies, sparing land fighters or the Shumushu base in the North Kuriles, relatively "quiet" sectors. They were operated notably in several operations from IJN Kamikawa Maru in the Solomons and Kuriles and the Hokoku Maru and Aikoku Maru during the Indian Ocean raids. The Aeutians saw the first kills, RCAF Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, Lockheed P-38 Lightning and B-17 Flying Fortress. They were found versatile enough to be used for patrols, as fighter-bomber and short reconnaissance support during amphibious landings, spotting targets of opportunity for escorting vessel's artillery.

The "Otsu Air Group" used them alongside the Kawanishi N1K1 Kyofu ("Rex") from the Biwa lake, Honshū area. The French forces in Indochina managed to captured and test one of these, until crashed after being overhauled.

Detailed specs

Specs A6M5 (1943)

Crew: 1: Pilot
Fuselage Lenght7.565 m (24 ft 10 in)
Wingspan11 m (36 ft 1 in)
Wing area17.8 m2 (192 sq ft)
Height3.27 m (10 ft 9 in)
Airfoil typeB-9 mod. (16%); tip: B-9 mod. (9%)
Empty weight:1,216 kg (2,681 lb)
Max takeoff weight:1,671 kg (3,684 lb)
Propeller:3-bladed metal propeller
Engine:Nakajima Kotobuki 41 or 41 KAI 9-cylinder air-cooled radial 585 kW (785 hp) at 3,000 m (9,843 ft)
Top speed:435 km/h (270 mph, 235 kn) at 3,000 m (9,843 ft)
Climb rate:3,000 m (9,843 ft) in 3 minutes 35 seconds
Endurance:1,201 km (746 mi, 648 nmi)
Service ceiling:9,800 m (32,200 ft)
Wing Loading:93.8 kg/m2 (19.2 lb/sq ft)
Power/mass:0.3161 kW/kg (0.1923 hp/lb)
Armament2× 7.7 mm (0.303 in) Type 97 MGs, 2x30 kg (66 Ibs) bombs
Other payloads1x 160 l (42.27 US gal; 35.20 imp gal) drop-tank

The A6M in action

First engagements over China

The A6M3 and early pacific operations 1941-43

The A6M4 and late pacific operations 1943-45

The army rivals: "Oscar" and "Frank"

Unlike the Navy, and just as for the previous A5M/Ki-27 duel, the inter-service rivalry prevented the adoption of a Navy fighter. Both branches had similar specifications and Nakajima knew about Mitsubishi's prototype in development. They choose to adopt the same basic philosophy as the Army asked the company to develop the fighter quicker. Compared to the Zero there were two major differences: It was to be even less rugged (land based fighters were less "tough" than their carrier counterparts) and had less range. Perhaps it's why development ended sooner, and Nakajima's prototype flew a month earlier.

In early 1942, unlike the Navy which just upgraded the A6M while a successor was in the works, the Navy decided to create a brand new fighter, the Ki-84 Hayate ("Frank"), which in many was was superior to the A6M5. In fact it was perhaps the very best Japanese fighter of WW2, more powerful and beter protected the Zero could ever dream to be. Its equivalent, the A6M7 "Reppu", for several reasons, was never ready in time (see later).

Ki-43-IIb Hayabusa "Oscar" (1st Air Combat Regiment, 1st Company, 1st Squadron, Home Defence 1943)

Compared to the A6M3, it's contemporary, the Ki-43, which first flew in January 1939, earlier than the A6M, on April 1, 1939. Also it was also lighter, and in comparative tests, out-turned the A6M2/3/5 at low altitude, but was slower at 320 mph versus 330 mph (A6M3) or 351 mph (A6M5) with aslo a slower climb rate. Alsi it's armament was way too light, with just two 7.7 mm MGs versus the Zero's two 20 mm (0.787 in) wings cannons. It proved also difficult to uprade with armor and self-sealing tanks without degrading it's performances, unlike the A6M5.

On the long run, before replacement came with the Ki-84 in 1944, the Ki-84 was out-done by the A6M5 in any corner, even the late Ki-43-III "Ko" (Mark 3a) introduced in December 1944 with the JAAF. It had a slightly improved Sakae engine, individual exhaust stacks for 354 mph at med altitude but the same twin HMGs. The Ki-43 "Otsu" (Mark 3b) had the Mitsubishi Ha-112-II radial engine and two 20 mm (0.79 in) Ho-5 cannon, but the structure could not handle these and the Ki-84 in development looks more promising.

Ki-84 Hayate "Frank" (1943)

The Hayate was probably the best mass-produced fighter of the IJA (Imperial Japanese Army) in WW2. In performances it was superior to the liquid-cooled powered Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien "Tony" but inferior to the Ki-100, the same re-engineered with a radial, something a bit counterintuitive. The IJAAF Ki-100 by coupling a Mitsubishi Ha-112-II radial to a Ki-61 fuselage in 1945 was marginally better as an interecptor. It was too little, too late however.

The span of service of the Ki-84 and production, more than 3,514 so less than the A6M5 total production, which added to the "Oscar" (5,919) amounted to circa 9,500 so a bit less than the Zero, made it a good-all around package of performances, ruggedness and availability. Engineers had lightened the Ki-43 so much that it was obvious it was severely constrained all-around, to improve the engine, protection or armament. A brand new model was necessary, this time, much strongly built but with also a far more powerful radial engine in order to compensate.

It only flew in April 1943, so well after the A6M5, with a 1 800 ch Nakajima Ha-45-11 Homare (four variants, the last, 21, output's was 1990 hp) and top speed of about 580 to 630 kph, for a 10,500 m ceiling. Armament was way superior, with two wing 20 mm guns and two 12.7 mm heavy machine guns in the nose. The pilot was protected by an armor plate behind, and extra armor was added to sensitive parts, and there were self-sealing tanks. In short, resilience was much better, and compared favourably to the A6M5 whih still inherited from the A6M2 "flimsiness".

But since they were less common, allied encounters were rarer and pilot's impression dificult to assess. After the war, speed tests with captured Ki-84s showed it was comparable to or better than the P-51 Mustang and P-47N. It aldo kept the edge in maneuverability against the P-47, P-38 and Chance Vought F4U Corsair, and some pilots allegedly said given it's reputation “forget it, it's a Frank”. Only the lack of experienced pilots prevented its success, as the last produced were squandered with rookies in Kamikaze missions.

Zero Aces

Abe xxx, IJN Akagi, posing in front of his Zero.

The basic unit called "Kōkūtai" or "air group" (航空隊), specific to Navy air groups. A Kōkūtai could be based on land or aircraft carriers and its dotattion could vary considerably, upt to several hundreds aircraft, like the 343 Kokutai (see later). One famous carrier-based group was the 652nd Kōkūtai. Each of these was subdivided into Hikōtai ("squadron"), three per Kokutai. In the IJA the equivalent was a Sentai.

The Tainan Kōkūtai based in Formosa inb 1944-45 became the most famous group, a nest of aces. This group operated from Rabaul in New Britain and started its rampage in the Philippines by early 1942, the Dutch East Indies, New Guinea and and mainland Japan towards of the end of the war. Saburō Sakai was one of its leading aces. The IJN Air Service organized an "all aces" elite unit, the 343 Kōkūtai, equipped not with the A6M5 in late 1944, but with Kawanishi N1K2-J fighters under orders of the famous Minoru Genda. This one of the rare "veteran" true fighter units among many Kokutai which basically were spent in Kamikaze missions.

Other veteran pilots flew also with the 601st Naval Air Group (225 aircraft of all type, nominal strenght), which operated with the 3rd Fleet (15 February 1944–9 July 1944), the 1st Carrier Division or Kido Butai (10 July 1944–9 February 1945) and the 3rd Air Fleet (10 February 1945–postwar). In it were operating the 161st, 162nd, 308th, 310th, and 402nd Fighter Sentai. They notably operated from IJN Taihō, Zuikaku and Shōkaku (symbols 311/11, 312/12 and 313/13), taking part in the Battle of the Philippine Sea, the Battle of Iwo Jima, Battle of Okinawa and the defence of Japan, flying the A6M5 and N1K1 in 1945.

Zero Adversaries

The A6M2 clearly dominated the sky when pitted against Chinese Polikarpov 1-15 biplanes and 1-16 monoplanes, but from late 1941, the RAF Buffalos, USAAF P-36 Mohawks. Due to its low wing loading it could out-turn any of them in all dogfights and just dominated any encounter. Some equality was found when encountering the P40B Tomahawk and Hawker Hurricane, but only pilots made the difference, using their best assets and using hit and run tactics. Chennault used to dive into Japanese formations to take on a few aircraft before running out of range or in clouds.

The Zero started to find even better opponents in the P-38 Lightning and even the stubby F4F Wildcat. P-38 pilots selected their moment of fight, based on their superior speed, notably better altitude, ready to pounce for an eye blink killing blow thanks to their armament. The F4F was more agile, and could, if well used, even outperform the Zero in some corners, but mostly taking punishment and escape.

The third generation of American fighters mounted the F6F and F4U and they dominated dogfight by sheer power, speed and strength. Both F4U and F6F, even with relatively inexperienced pilots, could take on the Zero with confidence in any conditions, and this was coupled with overwhelming numerical superiority. The last Zeros fought off B29s escorted P51 Mustangs over the home islands, and between the fierce self-defence and high altitude, speed offered by the first and the intrinsict qualities of the second, equally at home at this altitude, A6M5 were no longer a match.

Chinese I-153 & I-16

I-16 Type 5 of a Chinese ace, 1940. Author's illustration

The bulk of the Nationalist Air Force in 1937-39 was equipped with the I-153 biplane and I-16 monoplane. The latter was still enountered well into 1943 and so reports of duels between these and the A6M2 are known. The small Polikarpov I-16 "Ishak" (Donkey) was the beloved, main first line fighter of the Soviet Union of 1941 despite its age.

At Nomonanh in 1939, the adversaries of the Soviet Air force were IJAAF models, so likely the Ki-27 "Nate" in majority as the Ki-43 was just getting started. The Navy could however had seen some combat in China over Mandchuria in 1945 during the Soviet invasion of August, as it had the responsability of coastal areas. But at the time, these units probably flew second-line, worn-out A6M2, and combat reports of combat are scarce. By that time, the Soviet AF flew the Mig-7 and Yak-9, which were infinitely superior, with veteran pilots.

US P40E Tomahawk

Famous P40E of Chennault's "flying tigers" in 1941. Author's illustration

The P40 was derived from the P36 Hawk, a 1935 (first flight) modern all-metal, enclosed cockpit, with rectracting undercarriage and stressed aliminium skin fuselage and wings model. It equipped USAAF units in 1939 and still largely in 1941 while being replaced by the P40. The Zero would deal with the P36 in China already. On 11 January 1939, five Hawk 75Ms of veteran CAF 25th Fighter Squadron Cdr. Liu Yijun defended Chongqing, proving superior to the I-15 and I-16 and eventually the 75A-5 was built under license in China until moved to India (RAF Mohawk IV). For top speed and agility it was easily dominated by the A6M2.

Curtiss improved massively over the design by just fitting on the prototype XP-37 an Allison V-1710 inline engine with cockpit moved further to the rear of the fuselage. The final product, called YP-37 (13 built) and then XP-40 with the Allison V-1710 became the prototype of the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk. The latter first flew on 14 October 1938 and started to replace the P36 in USAAF units in 1939 and until December 1941, became the main USAAF fighter. Its top speed of 538 km/h (334 mph/290 kn) at 15,000 ft (4,600 m) was on par to the A6M2's 533 km/h (331 mph, 288 kn) at 4,550 m (14,930 ft), but it never was as agile.

Still, the P40E Tomahawk flew by Claire Chennault's squadron for the Chinese Nationalist Air Force met the A5M and A6M and was among the first to clearly report and warn the USAAF about the performances and agility of the new fighter. He also learned how to best deal with it, avoiding dogfights and devising adapted tactics, a precious set of advice that was officialized after the capture of a Zero and extensive tests. A bit like the Wildcat, the P40 could still count in its superior construction to survive battle damage. The few that were still around in late 1942 when the A6M5 appeared were hopelessely outmatched.

P38 Lighting

P-38F of USAF top ace Richard Bong in 1944 - Author's illustration

The incontestable winning point of the P-38 design was its superchargers, worked on for years at NACA -predecessor of NASA- which enabled superior performances to anything else that flew at the time, thanks to the light fuselage and peculiar twin-boom design combined to two very powerful inline engines, a pair of Allison V-1710 V-12 liquid-cooled turbo-supercharged piston engine rated for 1,600 hp (1,200 kW) each, enough for 666 km/h (414 mph/360 kn) based on 1,425 hp.

At high altitude, reaching 44,000 ft (13,000 m) the superchargers gave it superior performances, well completed by a combat range of 2,100 km (1,300 mi, 1,100 nmi) versus 1,870 km (1,160 mi, 1,010 nmi) for the A6M2. It was still faster at all altitude ranges than the A6M5 and could escape easily in dives, reaching in rare cases 800+ kph but dealing with extreme air compressibility issues, notably strong vibrations.

For agility however, it was noted as inferior to the A6M5 and only the pilot's respective skills generated a more balanced result. A twin-boom plane generally had more drag than a monocoque, single fuselage model. However the model generated plenty of aces, like Richard Bong (40) or Thomas McGuire (38), top aces of the USAAF, which preferred it over the M51 Mustang. Like the Navy pilots they were perfectly briefed over the advantages and weaknesses of the A6M and they had in the nose the most powerful armament of any US "light" fighter in this war, one Hispano M2(C) 20 mm cannon and four M2 Browning machine guns in the nose. One or two 20 mm HE rounds could tear apart a zero while the P38 presented almost the same ruggedness as the Corsair and Hellcat.

Grumman F4F and F6F

F4F-3 of ace J.S. Thach

F4F-3 of ace J.S. Thach from VF3 "Felix" in 1942.

F6F-3 of ace Alex Vraciu from CV-16 USS Lexington summer 1944.

Chance-Vought F4U Corsair

XF4U-1. Amazingly the Corsair prototype flew at the time the A6M barely reached production. It would become from 1943 one of its fiercest adversary.

North American P51D Mustang

P51 taking off from Iwo Jima airbase, May 1945.

This fantastic fighter was designed in just 120 days as the prototype NA-73X flew on October 25, 1940. The initial goal was to create an assault plane powered by an Allison engine, not a fighter, and the early NA-73s and NA-83 were only ordered on paper by the British RAF. It took until 1943 before the idea emerged to escort bombers with long-range fighters, and the mediocre initial assault plane was remotorized by the Rolls-Royce Merlin (a match made in heaven), licence-produced by Packard. Some 15,000 airframes were created between Los Angeles and Dallas plants. With its pressurized cockpit and its trademark design innovations, like the “laminar flow”, bubble canopy, landing gear, mass production simplifications, conical lofting, and general good looks, courtesy of "Ed" Schmued, the "best USAAF ww2 fighter" also generated scores of aces.

Those were only encountered by rare A6M5 over the Home Island, after the capture of Iwo Jima and conversion into a massive air base. The latter operated scores of the massive B-29 superfortress, and for escort, their P-51 Mustangs. These highly dangerous missions lasted for seven hours, at the limit of range, with 3 hours flying over the open Pacific, one over their objective with fierce dogfights and 3h for the return to Iwo Jima. Losses over the open sea were frequent due to possible mechanical breakdowns or damaged planes over Japan due to AA, and pilots picked-up at sea always ended POWs with marginally greater chance of survival in 1945 compared to their earlier USN counterparts.

When air opposition dropped radically the USN started to used its F6F and F4U for ground attacks, and so was the P51. Starting in July 1945, 51 raids by the VII Fighter Command claimed to have destroyed or damaged 1,062 aircraft and 254 ships. Many A6M5 (produced until the last days of the war) were simply destroyed on the ground.

Never ready successor: A6M7 Reppu "Sam" (1944)

A6M7 Reppu Sam
Profile rendition of one of the prototypes

The A7M Reppu ("Strong Gale") was planned as the successor to the A6M, since the basic frame of the A6M5 could be furrther upgraded and updated without completely redesigning it. The Navy was influenced in large part by the development of the Army's Ki-84, and design work began in April 1942, at a time the Kido Butai was still intact (the battle of Coral Sea did not happened yet).

Mitsubishi's chief engineer, the very same Jiro Horikoshi and his team, worked aoround the clock to the new prototype, and by July 1942, the Japanese Navy at last backed this officialy up with specific requests, redesignated the "Navy Experimental 17-shi Ko Type Carrier Fighter". Top speed as requested was now to be 639 kph with a ceiling of 6,000 meters and a climb rate of that altitude in 6 minutes. For armament, it needed to have two 20-millimeter cannons plus two 13 mm HMGs while keeping the same maneuverability as the A6M3.

Horikoshi's team soon found the engine suitable for the right performances but at that time instead of concentrating on it, Mitsbushi was completely absorbed into the construction of the G4M bomber and A6M fighters already, so the prototype was delayed quite significantly. So much so that unlike the Ki-84, the first A6M7 prototype flew on 6 May 1944. Right away, the promising engine did not delivered as expected: It was found to be underpowered.


War emergency was such that the Navy ordered Mitsubishi to stop development of the A7M, with a permission to continue, while not using resources to develop new engines. A7M development went on using the existing Ha-43 engine and basically the engineers were back at work trying to lighten the structure enough to regain performances. The first prototype with the Ha-43 engine flew on 13 Oct 1944 and managed to reach 628 kph (below the requested speed, but accepted due to the new engine), however its handling was even better than the A6M5.

However fate intervened again: An earthquake in the Nagoya region, added to the scarcity of resources caused by the Allied naval blockade further delayed production of the preserie, of which only eight aircraft were ready by the next summer of 1945, meaning none was deployed in any active unit. The few flying ones made test flights when avgas was available, but the A7M fighters would never see action and the remainder in construction or completion at various stages were captured at Nagoya by the occupation troops.

Of note it should be said that Mitsubishi was not "stuck" with the A6M. In 20 March 1942 first flew the prototype, and from December was delivered to the Navy a new non-carrier based fighter: The J2M Raider "Jack". Thus rather disgracious and stubby fighter was entirely developed from precise specifications for a home defence fighter provided by a much more powerful engine, not compatible with the flimsier A6M5: The 1,044 kW (1,400 hp) Mitsubishi MK4C Kasei 13 14-cylinder air-cooled radial engine (prototypes) up to the Kasei 26a engine (3-speed supercharger for 1,820 horsepower (1,360 kW)) for high altitude. On the larger scope, these changed very little: Only 621 were produced, devoted to B-29 interception until the last day of the war. It was never intended as a carrier fighter, having no hook or reinforced undercarriage.

comparison A7M A6M
Comparison between the A6M and A7M

The navy also had another high performance fighter, from Kawanishi: Unique case in aviation history, it came from a floatplane interceptor, the excellent N1K Kyōfū "Rex" developed from May 1942 and introduced in late 1943 to replace the Nakajima A6M2-N "rufe". It was developed into a land-based interceptor, the N1K-J Shiden "George", the first J-1 flying in December 1942 and the first J-2 in December 1943. In all, 1,532 combined were delivered, a far cry to the 10,000+ of the A6M, but the very last N1K5-J Shiden KAI 5 powered by the HA-43 (MK9A) 2,200 takeoff hp (project only) was certainly very promising.



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On Peter Lewis' site 1985-1999


Author's Illustrations

Standard colours for JNAF combat aircraft varied over time. From 1940, it was light brownish grey (...).

From July 1943 dark green was applied to the upper surfaces with light grey or even natural metal lower surfaces. Engine cowlings were always black. The addition of lighter/darker green and grey spots here and there was done on the field and varied considerably from unit to unit. It was presumably an attempt at a blotch-type camouflage but paint was a rare commodity and there was little regulation on the matter, a bit like in army sentais. The red Hinomaru on both sides also differed. On the fuselage it was backed by a white circle for better identification from 1943 over dark green, and on upper wings, but on the lower wings they were generally were not outlined in white.

In 1944, this outline was often black. The factory-applied dark green paint was of degrading quality until the end of the war due to chemical shortages and wore out rapidly so that over time, it left the original light grey/factory finish appear behind, creating fatigue patterns acting as impromtu camouflages. Individual aircraft identification data on the port rear fuselage was in black with the unit/aircraft numbers painted across the fin and rudder in white or yellow, and sometimes red, although barely visible over dark green. In addition, Hikōtai leaders had extra identification bands as well as for flight leaders in sub-units. After the surrender as ordered by the allies, some wore surrender Markings with a dark green paintwork covered with washable white. The following profiles had been split for commodity between the three more common series, A6M2, 3 and 5, and a few prototypes plus oddball liveries.

A6M2 in 1940

A6M2b, Model 21, IJN Zuikaku, December 1941

A6M5, Model 55, IJN Taiho, October 1944

A6M5b, 652 Kokutai, IJN Jun'yo, June 1944


A6M Zero Chino California

Naval History

❢ Abbrev. & acronyms
AAW// warfare
AASAmphibious Assault Ship
AEWAirbone early warning
AGAir Group
AFVArmored Fighting Vehicle
AMGBarmoured motor gunboat
APArmor Piercing
APCArmored Personal Carrier
ASMAir-to-surface Missile
ASMDAnti Ship Missile Defence
ASW// Warfare
ASWRL/// rocket launcher
ATWahead thrown weapon
avgasAviation Gasoline
awAbove Waterline
AWACSAirborne warning & control system
bhpbrake horsepower
BLBreach-loader (gun)
BLRBreach-loading, Rifled (gun)
BUBroken Up
CAArmoured/Heavy cruiser
CalCaliber or ".php"
CGMissile Cruiser
CICCombat Information Center
C-in-CCommander in Chief
CIWSClose-in weapon system
CECompound Expansion (engine)
ChChantiers ("Yard", FR)
CLCruiser, Light
CMBCoastal Motor Boat
CMSCoastal Minesweeper
CNOChief of Naval Operations
CpCompound (armor)
COBCompound Overhad Beam
CODAGCombined Diesel & Gas
CODOGCombined Diesel/Gas
COGAGCombined Gas and Gas
COGOGCombined Gas/Gas
COSAGCombined Steam & Gas
CRCompound Reciprocating
CRCRSame, connecting rod
CruDivCruiser Division
CPControlled Pitch
CTConning Tower
CTLconstructive total loss
CTOLConv. Take off & landing
CTpCompound Trunk
CVAircraft Carrier
CVA// Attack
CVE// Escort
CVL// Light
CVS// ASW support
DADirect Action
DASHDrone ASW Helicopter
DCDepht Charge
DCT// Track
DCR// Rack
DCT// Thrower
DEDouble Expansion
DEDestroyer Escort
DDE// Converted
DesRonDestroyer Squadron
DFDouble Flux
DPDual Purpose
DUKWAmphibious truck
EOCElswick Ordnance Co.
ECMElectronic Warfare
ESMElectronic support measure
FCSFire Control System
fpsFeet Per Second
FYFiscal Year
GMMetacentric Height
GPMGGeneral Purpose Machine-gun
GRTGross Tonnage
GUPPYGreater Underwater Prop.Pow.
HAHigh Angle
HCHorizontal Compound
HCR// Reciprocating
HCDA// Direct Acting
HCDCR// connecting rod
HDA// direct acting
HDAC// acting compound
HDAG// acting geared
HDAR// acting reciprocating
HDMLHarbor def. Motor Launch
H/FHigh Frequency
HF/DF// Directional Finding
HMSHer Majesty Ship
HNHarvey Nickel
HNCHorizontal non-condensing hp
HPHigh Pressure
HRHorizontal reciprocating
HRCR// connecting rod
HSHarbor Service
HS(E)Horizontal single (expansion)
HSET// trunk
HTHorizontal trunk
HTE// expansion
ICInverted Compound
IDAInverted direct acting
IFFIdentification Friend or Foe
ihpindicated horsepower
IMFInshore Minesweeper
KCKrupp, cemented
KNC// non cemented
LALow Angle
LCLanding Craft
LCA// Assault
LCAC// Air Cushion
LFC// Flak (AA)
LCG// Gunboat
LCG(L)/// Large
LCG(M)/// Medium
LCG(S)/// Small
LCI// Infantry
LCM// Mechanized
LCP// Personel
LCP(R)/// Rocket
LCS// Support
LCT// Tanks
LCV// Vehicles
LCVP/// Personal
LCU// Utility
locolocomotive (boiler)
LSCLanding ship, support
LSD// Dock
LSF// Fighter (direction)
LSM// Medium
LSS// Stern chute
LST// Tank
LSV// Vehicle
LPlow pressure
lwllenght waterline
MA/SBmotor AS boat
MGMachine Gun
MGBMotor Gunboat
MLMotor Launch
MMSMotor Minesweper
MTMilitary Transport
MTBMotor Torpedo Boat
HMGHeavy Machine Gun
MCM(V)Mine countermeasure Vessel
MLMuzzle loading
MLR// rifled
MSOOcean Minesweeper
NCnon condensing
nhpnominal horsepower
nmNautical miles
NBC/ABCNuc. Bact. Nuclear
NSNickel steel
NTDSNav.Tactical Def.System
NyDNaval Yard
OPVOffshore Patrol Vessel
PCPatrol Craft
PDMSPoint Defence Missile System
psipounds per square inch
PVDSPropelled variable-depth sonar
QFQuick Fire
QFC// converted
RAdmRear Admiral
RCRreturn connecting rod
RFRapid Fire
RPCRemote Control
rpgRound per gun
SAMSurface to air Missile
SARSearch Air Rescue
SBShip Builder
SCSub-chaser (hunter)
SSBNBallistic Missile sub.Nuclear
SESimple Expansion
SET// trunk
shpShaft horsepower
SHsimple horizontal
SOSUSSound Surv. System
SPRsimple pressure horiz.
SSSubmarine (Conv.)
SSMSurface-surface Missile
sfsteam frigate
SLBMSub.Launched Ballistic Missile
spfsteam paddle frigate
STOVLShort Take off/landing
SUBROCSub.Fired ASW Rocket
tton, long (short in bracket)
TACANTactical Air Nav.
TBTorpedo Boat
TBD// destroyer
TCTorpedo carriage
TETriple expansion
TER// reciprocating
TFTask Force
TGBTorpedo gunboat
TGTask Group
TLTorpedo launcher
TLC// carriage
TSTraining Ship
TTTorpedo Tube
UDTUnderwater Demolition Team
UHFUltra High Frequency
VadmVice Admiral
VCVertical compound
VCE// expansion
VDE/ double expansion
VDSVariable Depth Sonar
VIC/ inverted compound
VLFVery Low Frequency
VQL/ quadruple expansion
VSTOLVertical/short take off/landing
VTE/ triple expansion
VTOLVertical take off/landing
VSE/ Simple Expansion
WTWireless Telegraphy
xnumber of
BuShipsBureau of Ships
DBMGerman Navy League
GBGreat Britain
DNCDirectorate of Naval Construction
EEZExclusive Economic Zone
FAAFleet Air Arm
FNFLFree French Navy
MDAPMutual Def.Assistance Prog.
MSAMaritime Safety Agency
RAFRoyal Air Force
RANRoyal Australian Navy
RCNRoyal Canadian Navy
R&DResearch & Development
RNRoyal Navy
RNZNRoyal New Zealand Navy
USSRUnion of Socialist Republics
UE/EECEuropean Union/Comunity
UNUnited Nations Org.
USNUnited States Navy
WaPacWarsaw Pact

⚑ 1870 Fleets
Spanish Navy 1870 Armada Espanola
Numancia (1863)
Tetuan (1863)
Vitoria (1865)
Arapiles (1864)
Zaragosa (1867)
Sagunto (1869)
Mendez Nunez (1869)

Spanish wooden s. frigates (1861-65)
Frigate Tornado (1865)
Frigate Maria de Molina (1868)
Spanish sail gunboats (1861-65)

Austro-Hungarian Navy 1870 K.u.K. Kriegsmarine
Ironclad Kaiser (1850-70)
Drache class BD. Ironclads (1861)
Kaiser Max class BD. Ironclads (1862)
Erzherzog F. Max class BD. Ironclads (1865)
SMS Lissa Ct. Bat. Ships (1869)

SMS Novara Frigate (1850)
SMS Schwarzenberg Frigate (1853)
Radetzky class frigates (1854)
SMS Helgoland Sloop (1867)

Danish Navy 1870 Dansk Marine
Lindormen (1868)

Hellenic Navy 1870 Nautiko Hellenon
Basileos Giorgios (1867)
Basilisa Olga (1869)
Sloop Hellas (1861)

Koninklije Marine 1870 Koninklije Marine
Dutch Screw Frigates & corvettes
De Ruyter Bd Ironclad (1863)
Prins H. der Neth. Turret ship (1866)
Buffel class turret rams (1868)
Skorpioen class turret rams (1868)
Heiligerlee class Monitors (1868)
Bloedhond class Monitors (1869)
Adder class Monitors (1870)
A.H.Van Nassau Frigate (1861)
A.Paulowna Frigate (1867)
Djambi class corvettes (1860)
Amstel class Gunboats (1860)

Marine Française 1870 Marine Nationale
Screw 3-deckers (1850-58)
Screw 2-deckers (1852-59)
Screw Frigates (1849-59)
Screw Corvettes (1846-59)
Screw Fl. Batteries (1855)
Paddle Frigates
Paddle Corvettes
screw sloops
screw gunboats
Sailing ships of the line
Sailing frigates
Sailing corvettes
Sailing bricks

Gloire class Bd. Ironclads (1859)
Couronne Bd. Ironclad (1861)
Magenta class Bd. Ironclads (1861)
Palestro class Flt. Batteries (1862)
Arrogante class Flt. Batteries (1864)
Provence class Bd. Ironclads (1864) Embuscade class Flt. Batteries (1865)
Taureau arm. ram (1865)
Belliqueuse Bd. Ironclad (1865)
Alma Cent. Bat. Ironclads (1867)
Ocean class CT Battery ship (1868)

French converted sailing frigates (1860)
Cosmao class cruisers (1861)
Talisman cruisers (1862)
Resolue cruisers (1863)
Venus class cruisers (1864)
Decres cruiser (1866)
Desaix cruiser (1866)
Limier class cruisers (1867)
Linois cruiser (1867)
Chateaurenault cruiser (1868)
Infernet class Cruisers (1869)
Bourayne class Cruisers (1869)
Cruiser Hirondelle (1869)

Curieux class sloops (1860)
Adonis class sloops (1863)
Guichen class sloops (1865)
Sloop Renard (1866)
Bruix class sloops (1867)
Pique class gunboats (1862)
Hache class gunboats (1862)
Arbalete class gunboats (1866)
Etendard class gunboats (1868)
Revolver class gunboats (1869)

Marinha do Brasil 1870 Marinha do Brasil
Barrozo class (1864)
Brasil (1864)
Tamandare (1865)
Lima Barros (1865)
Rio de Janeiro (1865)
Silvado (1866)
Mariz E Barros class (1866)
Carbal class (1866)

Turkish Ottoman navy 1870 Osmanlı Donanması
Osmanieh class Bd.Ironclads (1864) Assari Tewfik (1868) Assari Shevket class Ct. Ironclads (1868)
Lufti Djelil class CDS (1868)
Avni Illah class cas.ironclads (1869)
Fethi Bulend class cas.ironclads (1870)
Barbette ironclad Idjalleh (1870)
Messudieh class Ct.Bat.ships (1874)
Hamidieh Ct.Bat.Ironclads (1885)
Abdul Kadir Batleships (project)

Ertrogul Frigate (1863)
Selimieh (1865)
Rehberi Tewkik (1875)
Mehmet Selim (1876)
Sloops & despatch vessels

Marina do Peru Marina Do Peru
Monitor Atahualpa (1865)
CT. Bat Independencia (1865)
Turret ship Huascar (1865)
Frigate Apurimac (1855)
Corvette America (1865)
Corvette Union (1865)

Regia Marina 1870 Regia Marina 1870
Formidabile class (1861)
Pr. de Carignano class (1863)
Re d'Italia class (1864)
Regina maria Pia class (1863)
Roma class (1865)
Affondatore turret ram (1865)
Palestro class (1865)
Guerriera class (1866)
Cappelini class (1868)
Sesia DV (1862)
Esploratore class DV (1863)
Vedetta DV (1866)
Imperial Japanese navy 1870 Nihhon Kaigun
Ironclad Ruyjo (1864)
Ironclad Kotetsu (1868)
Frigate Fujiyama (1864)
Frigate Kasuga (1863)
Corvette Asama (1869)
Gunboat Raiden (1856)
Gunboat Chiyodogata (1863)
Teibo class GB (1866)
Gunboat Mushun (1865)
Gunboat Hosho (1868)
Prussian Navy 1870 Preußische Marine
Prinz Adalbert (1864)
Arminius (1864)
Friedrich Carl (1867)
Kronprinz (1867)
K.Whilhelm (1868)
Arcona class Frigates (1858)
Nymphe class Frigates (1863)
Augusta class Frigates (1864)
Jäger class gunboats (1860)
Chamaleon class gunboats (1860)
Russian mperial Navy 1870 Russkiy Flot
Ironclad Sevastopol (1864)
Ironclad Petropavlovsk (1864)
Ironclad Smerch (1864)
Pervenetz class (1863)
Charodeika class (1867)
Admiral Lazarev class (1867)
Ironclad Kniaz Pojarski (1867)
Bronenosetz class monitors (1867)
Admiral Chichagov class (1868)
S3D Imperator Nicolai I (1860)
S3D Sinop (1860)
S3D Tsessarevich (1860)
Russian screw two-deckers (1856-59)
Russian screw frigates (1854-61)
Russian screw corvettes (1856-60)
Russian screw sloops (1856-60)
Varyag class Corvettes (1862)
Almaz class Sloops (1861)
Opyt TGBT (1861)
Sobol class TGBT (1863)
Pishtchal class TGBT (1866)
Swedish Navy 1870 Svenska marinen
Ericsson class monitors (1865)
Frigate Karl XIV (1854)
Frigate Stockholm (1856)
Corvette Gefle (1848)
Corvette Orädd (1853)
Norwegian Navy 1870 Søværnet
Skorpionen class (1866)
Frigate Stolaf (1856)
Frigate Kong Sverre (1860)
Frigate Nordstjerna (1862)
Frigate Vanadis (1862)
Glommen class gunboats (1863)
⚑ 1890 Fleets
Argentinian Navy 1898 Armada de Argentina
Parana class (1873)
La Plata class (1875)
Pilcomayo class (1875)
Ferre class (1880)

Austro-Hungarian Navy 1898 K.u.K. Kriegsmarine

Custoza (1872)
Erzherzog Albrecht (1872)
Kaiser (1871)
Kaiser Max class (1875)
Tegetthoff (1878)

Radetzky(ii) class (1872)
SMS Donau(ii) (1874)
SMS Donau(iii) (1893)

Erzherzog Friedrich class (1878)
Saida (1878)
Fasana (1870)
Aurora class (1873)

Chinese Imperial Navy 1898 Imperial Chinese Navy

Hai An class frigates (1872)
Danish Navy 1898 Dansk Marine

Tordenskjold (1880)
Iver Hvitfeldt (1886)
Skjold (1896)
Cruiser Fyen (1882)
Cruiser Valkyrien (1888)

Hellenic Navy 1898 Nautiko Hellenon
Haitian Navy 1914Marine Haitienne

Gunboat St Michael (1970)
Gunboat "1804" (1875)
Gunboat Dessalines (1883)
Gunboat Toussaint Louverture (1886)
Koninklije Marine 1898 Koninklije Marine
Konigin der Netherland (1874)
Draak, monitor (1877)
Matador, monitor (1878)
R. Claeszen, monitor (1891)
Evertsen class CDS (1894)
Atjeh class cruisers (1876)
Cruiser Sumatra (1890)
Cruiser K.W. Der. Neth (1892)
Banda class Gunboats (1872)
Pontania class Gunboats (1873)
Gunboat Aruba (1873)
Hydra Gunboat class (1873)
Batavia class Gunboats (1877)
Wodan Gunboat class (1877)
Ceram class Gunboats (1887)
Combok class Gunboats (1891)
Borneo Gunboat (1892)
Nias class Gunboats (1895)
Koetei class Gunboats (1898)
Dutch sloops (1864-85)

Marine Française 1898 Marine Nationale
Friedland CT Battery ship (1873)
Richelieu CT Battery ship (1873)
Colbert class CT Battery ships (1875)
Redoutable CT Battery ship (1876)
Courbet class CT Battery ships (1879)
Amiral Duperre barbette ship (1879)
Terrible class barbette ships (1883)
Amiral Baudin class barbette ships (1883)
Barbette ship Hoche (1886)
Marceau class barbette ships (1888)
Cerbere class Arm.Ram (1870)
Tonnerre class Br.Monitors (1875)
Tempete class Br.Monitors (1876)
Tonnant ironclad (1880)
Furieux ironclad (1883)
Fusee class Arm.Gunboats (1885)
Acheron class Arm.Gunboats (1885)
Jemmapes class (1892)
Bouvines class (1892)

La Galissonière Cent. Bat. Ironclads (1872)
Bayard class barbette ships (1879)
Vauban class barbette ships (1882)
Prot. Cruiser Sfax (1884)
Prot. Cruiser Tage (1886)
Prot. Cruiser Amiral Cécille (1888)
Prot. Cruiser Davout (1889)
Forbin class Cruisers (1888)
Troude class Cruisers (1888)
Alger class Cruisers (1891)
Friant class Cruisers (1893)
Prot. Cruiser Suchet (1893)
Descartes class Cruisers (1893)
Linois class Cruisers (1896)
D'Assas class Cruisers (1896)
Catinat class Cruisers (1896)

R. de Genouilly class Cruisers (1876)
Cruiser Duquesne (1876)
Cruiser Tourville (1876)
Cruiser Duguay-Trouin (1877)
Laperouse class Cruisers (1877)
Villars class Cruisers (1879)
Cruiser Iphigenie (1881)
Cruiser Naiade (1881)
Cruiser Arethuse (1882)
Cruiser Dubourdieu (1884)
Cruiser Milan (1884)

Parseval class sloops (1876)
Bisson class sloops (1874)
Epee class gunboats (1873)
Crocodile class gunboats (1874)
Tromblon class gunboats (1875)
Condor class Torpedo Cruisers (1885)
G. Charmes class gunboats (1886)
Inconstant class sloops (1887)
Bombe class Torpedo Cruisers (1887)
Wattignies class Torpedo Cruisers (1891)
Levrier class Torpedo Cruisers (1891)

Marinha do Brasil 1898 Marinha do Brasil
Siete de Setembro class (1874)
Riachuleo class (1883)
Aquidaban class (1885)

Marina de Mexico 1898 Mexico
GB Indipendencia (1874)
GB Democrata (1875)

Turkish Ottoman navy 1898 Osmanlı Donanması
Cruiser Heibtnuma (1890)
Cruiser Lufti Humayun (1892)
Cruiser Hadevendighar (1892)
Shadieh class cruisers (1893)
Turkish TBs (1885-94)

Regia Marina 1898 Regia Marina Pr. Amadeo class (1871)
Caio Duilio class (1879)
Italia class (1885)
Ruggero di Lauria class (1884)
Carracciolo (1869)
Vettor Pisani (1869)
Cristoforo Colombo (1875)
Flavio Goia (1881)
Amerigo Vespucci (1882)
C. Colombo (ii) (1892)
Pietro Micca (1876)
Tripoli (1886)
Goito class (1887)
Folgore class (1887)
Partenope class (1889)
Giovanni Bausan (1883)
Etna class (1885)
Dogali (1885)
Piemonte (1888)
Staffeta (1876)
Rapido (1876)
Barbarigo class (1879)
Messagero (1885)
Archimede class (1887)
Guardiano class GB (1874)
Scilla class GB (1874)
Provana class GB (1884)
Curtatone class GB (1887)
Castore class GB (1888)

Imperial Japanese navy 1898 Nihhon Kaigun
Ironclad Fuso (1877)
Kongo class Ironclads (1877)

Cruiser Tsukushi (1880)
Cruiser Takao (1888)
Cruiser Yaeyama (1889)
Cruiser Chishima (1890)
Cruiser Tatsuta (1894)
Cruiser Miyako (1898)

Frigate Nisshin (1869)
Frigate Tsukuba (acq.1870)
Kaimon class CVT (1882)
Katsuragi class SCVT (1885)
Sloop Seiki (1875)
Sloop Amagi (1877)
Corvette Jingei (1876)
Gunboat Banjo (1878)
Maya class GB (1886)
Gunboat Oshima (1891)
German Navy 1898 Kaiserliche Marine

Ironclad Hansa (1872)
G.Kurfürst class (1873)
Kaiser class (1874)
Sachsen class (1877)
Ironclad Oldenburg (1884)

Ariadne class CVT (1871)
Leipzig class CVT (1875)
Bismarck class CVT (1877)
Carola class CVT (1880)
Corvette Nixe (1885)
Corvette Charlotte (1885)
Schwalbe class Cruisers (1887)
Bussard class (1890)

Aviso Zieten (1876)
Blitz class Avisos (1882)
Aviso Greif (1886)
Wacht class Avisos (1887)
Meteor class Avisos (1890)
Albatross class GBT (1871)
Cyclop GBT (1874)
Otter GBT (1877)
Wolf class GBT (1878)
Habitch class GBT (1879)
Hay GBT (1881)
Eber GBT (1881)
Rhein class Monitors (1872)
Wespe class Monitors (1876)
Brummer class Arm.Steamers (1884)
Russian Imperial Navy 1898 Russkiy Flot

Petr Velikiy (1872)
Ekaterina class ICL (1886)
Imperator Alexander class ICL (1887)
Ironclad Gangut (1890)
Admiral Ushakov class (1893)
Navarin (1893)
Petropavlovsk class (1894)
Sissoi Veliky (1896)

Minin (1866)
G.Admiral class (1875)
Pamiat Merkuria (1879)
V.Monomakh (1882)
D.Donskoi (1883)
Adm.Nakhimov (1883)
Vitiaz class (1884)
Pamiat Azova (1886)
Adm.Kornilov (1887)
Rurik (1895)
Svetlana (1896)

Gunboat Ersh (1874)
Kreiser class sloops (1875)
Gunboat Nerpa (1877)
Burun class Gunboats (1879)
Sivuch class Gunboats (1884)
Korietz class Gunboats (1886)
Kubanetz class Gunboats (1887)
TGBT Lt.Ilin (1886)
TGBT Kp.Saken (1889)
Kazarski class TGBT (1889)
Grozyaschi class AGBT (1890)
Gunboat Khrabri (1895)
T.Gunboat Abrek (1896)
Amur class minelayers (1898)
Marina do Peru Marina Do Peru

Lima class Cruisers (1880)
Chilean TBs (1879)

Swedish Navy 1898 Svenska Marinen
Monitor Loke (1871)
Svea class CDS (1886)
Berserk class (1873)
Sloop Balder (1870)
Blenda class GB (1874)
Urd class GB (1877)
Gunboat Edda (1885)
Norwegian Navy 1898 Søværnet
Lindormen (1868)
Gorm (1870)
Odin (1872)
Helgoland (1878)
Tordenskjold (1880)
Iver Hvitfeldt (1886)

Royal Navy 1898 Royal Navy
HMS Hotspur (1870)
HMS Glatton (1871)
Devastation classs (1871)
Cyclops class (1871)
HMS Rupert (1874)
Neptune class (1874)
HMS Dreadnought (1875)
HMS Inflexible (1876)
Agamemnon class (1879)
Conqueror class (1881)
Colossus class (1882)
Admiral class (1882)
Trafalgar class (1887)
Victoria class (1890)
Royal Sovereign class (1891)
Centurion class (1892)
HMS Renown (1895)

HMS Shannon (1875)
Nelson class (1876)
Iris class (1877)
Leander class (1882)
Imperieuse class (1883)
Mersey class (1885)
Surprise class (1885)
Scout class (1885)
Archer class (1885)
Orlando class (1886)
Medea class (1888)
Barracouta class (1889)
Barham class (1889)
Pearl class (1889)

Spanish Navy 1898 Armada 1898
Ironclad Pelayo (1887)

Infanta Maria Teresa class (1890)
Emperador Carlos V (1895)
Cristobal Colon (1897)
Princesa de Asturias (1896)
Aragon class (1879)
Velasco class (1881)
Isla de Luzon (1886)
Alfonso XII class (1887)
Reina Regentes class (1887)

Destructor class (1886)
Temerario class (1891)
TGunboat Filipinas (1892)
De Molina class (1896)
Furor class (1896)
Audaz class (1897)
Spanish TBs (1878-87)
Fernando class gunboats (1875)
Concha class gunboats (1883)

US Navy 1898 1898 US Navy
USS Maine (1889)
USS Texas (1892)
Indiana class (1893)
USS Iowa (1896)

Amphitrite class (1876)
USS Puritan (1882)
USS Monterey (1891)

Atlanta class (1884)
USS Chicago (1885)
USS Charleston (1888)
USS Baltimore (1888)
USS Philadelphia (1889)
USS San Francisco (1889)
USS Newark (1890)
USS New York (1891)
USS Olympia (1892)
Cincinatti class (1892)
Montgomery class (1893)
Columbia class (1893)
USS Brooklyn (1895)

USS Vesuvius (1888)
USS Katahdin (1893)
USN Torpedo Boats (1886-1901)
GB USS Dolphin (1884)
Yorktown class GB (1888)
GB USS Petrel (1888)
GB USS Bancroft (1892)
Machias class GB (1891)
GB USS Nashville (1895)
Wilmington class GB (1895)
Annapolis class GB (1896)
Wheeling class GB (1897)
Small gunboats (1886-95)
St Louis class AMC (1894)
Harvard class AMC (1888)
USN Armoured Merchant Cruisers
USN Armed Yachts


☉ Entente Fleets

British ww1 Royal Navy
WW1 British Battleships
Centurion class (1892)
Majestic class (1894)
Canopus class (1897)
Formidable class (1898)
London class (1899)
Duncan class (1901)
King Edward VII class (1903)
Swiftsure class (1903)
Lord Nelson class (1906)
HMS Dreadnought (1906)
Bellorophon class (1907)
St Vincent class (1908)
HMS Neptune (1909)
Colossus class (1910)
Orion class (1911)
King George V class (1911)
Iron Duke class (1912)
Queen Elizabeth class (1913)
HMS Canada (1913)
HMS Agincourt (1913)
HMS Erin (1915)
Revenge class (1915)
N3 class (1920)

WW1 British Battlecruisers
Invincible class (1907)
Indefatigable class (1909)
Lion class (1910)
HMS Tiger (1913)
Renown class (1916)
Courageous class (1916)
G3 class (1918)

ww1 British cruisers
Blake class (1889)
Edgar class (1890)
Powerful class (1895)
Diadem class (1896)
Cressy class (1900)
Drake class (1901)
Monmouth class (1901)
Devonshire class (1903)
Duke of Edinburgh class (1904)
Warrior class (1905)
Minotaur class (1906)
Hawkins class (1917)

Apollo class (1890)
Astraea class (1893)
Eclipse class (1894)
Arrogant class (1896)
Pelorus class (1896)
Highflyer class (1898)
Gem class (1903)
Adventure class (1904)
Forward class (1904)
Pathfinder class (1904)
Sentinel class (1904)
Boadicea class (1908)
Blonde class (1910)
Active class (1911)
'Town' class (1909-1913)
Arethusa class (1913)
'C' class series (1914-1922)
'D' class (1918)
'E' class (1918)

WW1 British Seaplane Carriers
HMS Ark Royal (1914)
HMS Campania (1893)
HMS Argus (1917)
HMS Furious (1917)
HMS Vindictive (1918)
HMS Hermes (1919)

WW1 British Destroyers
River class (1903)
Cricket class (1906)
Tribal class (1907)
HMS Swift (1907)
Beagle class (1909)
Acorn class (1910)
Acheron class (1911)
Acasta class (1912)
Laforey class (1913)
M/repeat M class (1914)
Faulknor class FL (1914)
T class (1915)
Parker class FL (1916)
R/mod R class (1916)
V class (1917)
V class FL (1917)
Shakespeare class FL (1917)
Scott class FL (1917)
W/mod W class (1917)
S class (1918)

WW1 British Torpedo Boats
125ft series (1885)
140ft series (1892)
160ft series (1901)
27-knotters (1894)
30-knotters (1896)
33-knotters (1896)

WW1 British Submarines
Nordenfelt Submarines (1885)
WW1 British Monitors
Flower class sloops
British Gunboats of WWI
British P-Boats (1915)
Kil class (1917)
British ww1 Minesweepers
Z-Whaler class patrol crafts
British ww1 CMB
British ww1 Auxiliaries

✠ Central Empires

⚑ Neutral Countries

Bulgarian Navy Bulgaria
Cruiser Nadezhda (1898)
Drski class TBs (1906)

Danish Navy 1914 Denmark
Skjold class (1896)
Herluf Trolle class (1899)
Herluf Trolle (1908)
Niels Iuel (1918)
Hekla class cruisers (1890)
Valkyrien class cruisers (1888)
Fyen class crusiers (1882)
Danish TBs (1879-1918)
Danish Submarines (1909-1920)
Danish Minelayer/sweepers

Greek Royal Navy Greece
Kilkis class
Giorgios Averof class

Dutch Empire Navy 1914 Netherlands
Eversten class (1894)
Konigin Regentes class (1900)
De Zeven Provincien (1909)
Dutch dreadnought (project)
Holland class cruisers (1896)
Fret class destroyers
Dutch Torpedo boats
Dutch gunboats
Dutch submarines
Dutch minelayers

Norwegian Navy 1914 Norway
Norge class (1900)
Haarfarge class (1897)
Norwegian Monitors
Cr. Frithjof (1895)
Cr. Viking (1891)
DD Draug (1908)
Norwegian ww1 TBs
Norwegian ww1 Gunboats
Sub. Kobben (1909)
Ml. Fröya (1916)
Ml. Glommen (1917)

Portuguese navy 1914 Portugal
Coastal Battleship Vasco da Gama (1875)
Cruiser Adamastor (1896)
Sao Gabriel class (1898)
Cruiser Dom Carlos I (1898)
Cruiser Rainha Dona Amelia (1899)
Portuguese ww1 Destroyers
Portuguese ww1 Submersibles
Portuguese ww1 Gunboats

Romanian Navy 1914 Romania
Elisabeta (1885)
Spanish Armada Spain
España class Battleships (1912)
Velasco class (1885)
Ironclad Pelayo (1887)
Alfonso XII class (1887)
Cataluna class (1896)
Plata class (1898)
Estramadura class (1900)
Reina Regentes class (1906)
Spanish Destroyers
Spanish Torpedo Boats
Spanish Sloops/Gunboats
Spanish Submarines
Spanish Armada 1898
Swedish Navy 1914 Sweden
Svea classs (1886)
Oden class (1896)
Dristigheten (1900)
Äran class (1901)
Oscar II (1905)
Sverige class (1915)
J. Ericsson class (1865)
Gerda class (1871)
Berserk (1873)
HMS Fylgia (1905)
Clas Fleming class (1912)
Swedish Torpedo cruisers
Swedish destroyers
Swedish Torpedo Boats
Swedish gunboats
Swedish submarines


✪ Allied ww2 Fleets

US ww2 US Navy
WW2 US Battleships
Wyoming class (1911)
New York class (1912)
Nevada class (1914)
Pennsylvania class (1915)
New Mexico class (1917)
Tennessee Class (1919)
Colorado class (1921)
North Carolina class (1940)
South Dakota class (1941)
Iowa class (1942)
Montana class (cancelled)

WW2 American Cruisers
Omaha class cruisers (1920)
Pensacola class heavy Cruisers (1928)
Northampton class heavy cruisers (1929)
Portland class heavy cruisers (1931)
New Orleans class cruisers (1933)
Brooklyn class cruisers (1936)
USS Wichita (1937)
Atlanta class light cruisers (1941)
Cleveland class light Cruisers (1942)
Baltimore class heavy cruisers (1942)
Alaska class heavy cruisers (1944)

WW2 USN Aircraft Carriers
USS Langley (1920)
Lexington class CVs (1927)
USS Ranger (CV-4)
USS Wasp (CV-7)
Yorktown class aircraft carriers (1936)
Long Island class (1940)
Independence class CVs (1942)
Essex class CVs (1942)
Bogue class CVEs (1942)
Sangamon class CVEs (1942)
Casablanca class CVEs (1942)
Commencement Bay class CVEs (1944)
Midway class CVs (1945)
Saipan class CVs (1945)

WW2 USN destroyers
Wickes class (1918)
Clemson class (1920)
Farragut class (1934)
Porter class (1935)
Mahan class (1935)
Gridley class (1936)
Bagley class (1936)
Somers class (1937)
Benham class (1938)
Sims class (1938)
Benson class (1939)
Fletcher class (1942)
Sumner class (1943)
Gearing class (1945)

GMT Evarts class (1942)
TE Buckley class (1943)
TEV/WGT Rudderow classs (1943)
DET/FMR Cannon class
Asheville/Tacoma class

WW2 US Submarines
Barracuda class
USS Argonaut
Narwhal class
USS Dolphin
Cachalot class
Porpoise class
Shark class
Perch class
Salmon class
Sargo class
Tambor class
Mackerel class
Gato Class

USS Terror (1941)
Raven class Mnsp (1940)
Admirable class Mnsp (1942)
Eagle class sub chasers (1918)
PC class sub chasers
SC class sub chasers
PCS class sub chasers
YMS class Mot. Mnsp
ww2 US gunboats
ww2 US seaplane tenders
USS Curtiss ST (1940)
Currituck class ST
Tangier class ST
Barnegat class ST

US Coat Guardships
Lake class
Northland class
Treasury class
Owasco class
Wind class
Algonquin class
Thetis class
Active class

US Amphibious ships & crafts
US Amphibious Operations
Doyen class AT
Harris class AT
Dickman class AT
Bayfield class AT
Windsor class AT
Ormsby class AT
Funston class AT
Sumter class AT
Haskell class AT
Andromeda class AT
Gilliam class AT
APD-1 class LT
APD-37 class LT
LSV class LS
LSD class LS
Landing Ship Tank
LSM class LS
LSM(R) class SS
LCV class LC
LCVP class LC
LCM(3) class LC
LCP(L) class LC
LCP(R) class SC
LCL(L)(3) class FSC
LCS(S) class FSC
British ww2 Royal Navy

WW2 British Battleships
Queen Elisabeth class (1913)
Revenge class (1915)
Nelson class (1925)
King Georges V class (1939)
Lion class (Started)
HMS Vanguard (1944)
Renown class (1916)
HMS Hood (1920)

WW2 British Cruisers
British C class cruisers (1914-1922)
Hawkins class cruisers (1917)
British D class cruisers (1918)
Enterprise class cruisers (1919)
HMS Adventure (1924)
County class cruisers (1926)
York class cruisers (1929)
Surrey class cruisers (project)
Leander class cruisers (1931)
Arethusa class cruisers (1934)
Perth class cruisers (1934)
Town class cruisers (1936)
Dido class cruisers (1939)
Abdiel class cruisers (1939)
Fiji class cruisers (1941)
Bellona class cruisers (1942)
Swiftsure class cruisers (1943)
Tiger class cruisers (1944)

WW2 British Aircraft Carriers
HMS Argus (1917)
HMS Furious (1917)
HMS Eagle (1918)
HMS Hermes (1919)
Courageous class aircraft carriers (1928)
HMS Ark Royal (1937)
Illustrious class (1939)
HMS Indomitable (1940)
Implacable class (1942)
Malta class (project)
HMS Unicorn (1941)
Colossus class (1944)
Majestic class (1945)
Centaur class (started 1945)

HMS Archer (1939)
HMS Argus (1917)
Avenger class (1940)
Attacker class (1941)
HMS Audacity (1941)
HMS Activity (1941)
HMS Pretoria Castle (1941)
Ameer class (1942)
Merchant Aircraft Carriers (1942)
Vindex class (1943)
WW2 British Destroyers
Shakespeare class (1917)
Scott class (1818)
V class (1917)
S class (1918)
W class (1918)
A/B class (1926)
C/D class (1931)
G/H/I class (1935)
Tribal class (1937)
J/K/N class (1938)
Hunt class DE (1939)
L/M class (1940)
O/P class (1942)
Q/R class (1942)
S/T/U//V/W class (1942)
Z/ca class (1943)
Ch/Co/Cr class (1944)
Battle class (1945)
Weapon class (1945)
WW2 British submarines
L9 class (1918)
HMS X1 (1923)
Oberon class (1926)
Parthian class (1929)
Rainbow class (1930)
Thames class (1932)
Swordfish class (1932)
HMS Porpoise (1932)
Grampus class (1935)
Shark class (1934)
Triton class (1937)
Undine class (1937)
U class (1940)
S class (1941)
T class (1941)
X-Craft midget (1942)
A class (1944)
WW2 British Amphibious Ships and Landing Crafts
LSI(L) class
LSI(M/S) class
LSI(H) class
LSS class
LSG class
LSC class
Boxer class LST
LST(2) class
LST(3) class
LSH(L) class
LSF classes (all)
LCI(S) class
LCS(L2) class
LCT(I) class
LCT(2) class
LCT(R) class
LCT(3) class
LCT(4) class
LCT(8) class
LCT(4) class
LCG(L)(4) class
LCG(M)(1) class
British ww2 Landing Crafts
WW2 British MTB/gunboats.
WW2 British MTBs
MTB-1 class (1936)
MTB-24 class (1939)
MTB-41 class (1940)
MTB-424 class (1944)
MTB-601 class (1942)
MA/SB class (1938)
MTB-412 class (1942)
MGB 6 class (1939)
MGB-47 class (1940)
MGB 321 (1941)
MGB 501 class (1942)
MGB 511 class (1944)
MGB 601 class (1942)
MGB 2001 class (1943)
WW2 British Gunboats

Denny class (1941)
Fairmile A (1940)
Fairmile B (1940)
HDML class (1940)
WW2 British Sloops
Bridgewater class (2090)
Hastings class (1930)
Shoreham class (1930)
Grimsby class (1934)
Bittern class (1937)
Egret class (1938)
Black Swan class (1939)
WW2 British Frigates
River class (1943)
Loch class (1944)
Bay class (1944)
WW2 British Corvettes
Kingfisher class (1935)
Shearwater class (1939)
Flower class (1940)
Mod. Flower class (1942)
Castle class (1943)
WW2 British Misc.
Roberts class monitors (1941)
Halcyon class minesweepers (1933)
Bangor class minesweepers (1940)
Bathurst class minesweepers (1940)
Algerine class minesweepers (1941)
Motor Minesweepers (1937)
ww2 British ASW trawlers
Basset class trawlers (1935)
Tree class trawlers (1939)
HMS Albatross seaplane carrier
WW2 British river gunboats

HMS Guardian netlayer
HMS Protector netlayer
HMS Plover coastal mines.
Medway class sub depot ships
HMS Resource fleet repair
HMS Woolwhich DD depot ship
HMS Tyne DD depot ship
Maidstone class sub depot ships
HmS Adamant sub depot ship

Athene class aircraft transport
British ww2 AMCs
British ww2 OBVs
British ww2 ABVs
British ww2 Convoy Escorts
British ww2 APVs
British ww2 SSVs
British ww2 SGAVs
British ww2 Auxiliary Mines.
British ww2 CAAAVs
British ww2 Paddle Mines.
British ww2 MDVs
British ww2 Auxiliary Minelayers
British ww2 armed yachts

✙ Axis ww2 Fleets

Japan ww2 Imperial Japanese Navy
WW2 Japanese Battleships
Kongō class Fast Battleships (1912)
Fuso class battleships (1915)
Ise class battleships (1917)
Nagato class Battleships (1919)
Yamato class Battleships (1941)
B41 class Battleships (project)

WW2 Japanese cruisers
Tenryū class cruisers (1918)
Kuma class cruisers (1919)
Nagara class (1921)
Sendai class Cruisers (1923)
IJN Yūbari (1923)
Furutaka class Cruisers (1925)
Aoba class heavy cruisers (1926)
Nachi class Cruisers (1927)
Takao class cruisers (1930)
Mogami class cruisers (1934)
Tone class cruisers (1937)
Katori class cruisers (1939)
Agano class cruisers (1941)
Oyodo (1943)

Seaplane & Aircraft Carriers
IJN Hōshō (1921)
IJN Akagi (1925)
IJN Kaga (1927)
IJN Ryujo (1931)
IJN Soryu (1935)
IJN Hiryu (1937)
Shokaku class (1940)
Zuiho class (1937)
Ruyho (1933)
Hiyo class (1941)
Chitose class (1943)
IJN Taiho (1944)
IJN Shinano (1944)
Unryu class (1944)
IJN Ibuki (1942)

Taiyo class (1940)
IJN Kaiyo (1938)
IJN Shinyo (1934)

Notoro (1920)
Kamoi (1922)
Chitose class (1936)
Mizuho (1938)
Nisshin (1939)

IJN Aux. Seaplane tenders
Akistushima (1941)
Shimane Maru class (1944)
Yamashiro Maru class (1944)

Imperial Japanese Navy Aviation

WW2 Japanese Destroyers
Mutsuki class (1925)
Fubuki class (1927)
Akatsuki class (1932)
Hatsuharu class (1932)
Shiratsuyu class (1935)
Asashio class (1936)
Kagero class (1938)
Yugumo class (1941)
Akitsuki class (1941)
IJN Shimakaze (1942)

WW2 Japanese Submarines
KD1 class (1921)
Koryu class
Kaiten class
Kairyu class
IJN Midget subs

WW2 Japanese Amphibious ships/Crafts
Shinshu Maru class (1935)
Akistu Maru class (1941)
Kumano Maru class (1944)
SS class LS (1942)
T1 class LS (1944)
T101 class LS (1944)
T103 class LS (1944)
Shohatsu class LC (1941)
Chuhatsu class LC (1942)
Moku Daihatsu class (1942)
Toku Daihatsu class (1944)

WW2 Japanese minelayers
IJN Armed Merchant Cruisers
WW2 Japanese Escorts
Tomozuru class (1933)
Otori class (1935)
Matsu class (1944)
Tachibana class (1944)
Ioshima class (1944)
WW2 Japanese Sub-chasers
WW2 Japanese MLs
Shinyo class SB

⚑ Neutral Navies

✈ Naval Aviation

Latest entries WW1 CW
naval aviation USN aviation
Aeromarine 40 (1919)
Douglas DT (1921)
Naval Aircraft Factory PT (1922)
Loening OL (1923)
Huff-Daland TW-5 (1923)
Martin MO (1924)
Consolidated NY (1926)
Vought FU (1927)
Vought O2U/O3U Corsair (1928)
Berliner-Joyce OJ (1931)
Curtiss SOC seagull (1934)
Grumman FF (1931)
Grumman F2F (1933)
Grumman F3F (1935)
Northrop BT-1 (1935)
Vultee V-11 (1935)
Grumman J2F Duck (1936)
Curtiss SBC Helldiver (1936)
Vought SB2U Vindicator (1936)
Brewster F2A Buffalo (1937)
Douglas TBD Devastator (1937)
Vought Kingfisher (1938)
Curtiss SO3C Seamew (1939)
Cessna AT-17 Bobcat (1939)
Douglas SBD Dauntless (1939)
Grumman F4F Wildcat (1940)
Northrop N-3PB Nomad (1941)
Brewster SB2A Buccaneer (1941)
Grumman TBF/TBM Avenger (1941)
Consolidated TBY Sea Wolf (1941)
Grumman F6F Hellcat (1942)
Vought F4U Corsair (1942)
Curtiss SB2C Helldiver (1942)
Curtiss SC Seahawk (1944)
Douglas BTD Destroyer (1944)
Grumman F7F Tigercat (1943)
Grumman F8F Bearcat (1944)
Ryan FR-1 Fireball (1944)
Douglas XTB2D-1 Skypirate (1945)
Douglas AD-1 Skyraider (1945)

Naval Aircraft Factory PN (1925)
Douglas T2D (1927)
Consolidated P2Y (1929)
Hall PH (1929)
Douglas PD (1929)
Douglas Dolphin (1931)
General Aviation PJ (1933)
Consolidated PBY Catalina (1935)
Fleetwings Sea Bird (1936)
Sikorsky VS-44 (1937)
Grumman G-21 Goose (1937)
Consolidated PB2Y Coronado (1937)
Beechcraft M18 (1937)
Sikorsky JRS (1938)
Boeing 314 Clipper (1938)
Martin PBM Mariner (1939)
Grumman G-44 Wigeon (1940)
Martin Mars (1943)
Goodyear GA-2 Duck (1944)
Edo Ose (1945)
Hugues Hercules (1947)

⚔ WW2 Naval Battles

The Cold War

Royal Navy Royal Navy
Cold War Aircraft Carriers
Centaur class (1947)
HMS Victorious (1950)
HMS Eagle (1946)
HMS Ark Royal (1950)
HMS Hermes (1953)
CVA-01 class (1966 project)
Invincible class (1977)

Cold War Cruisers
Tiger class (1945)

Daring class (1949)
1953 design (project)
Cavendish class (1944)
Weapon class (1945)
Battle class (1945)
FADEP program (1946)
County class GMD (1959)
Bristol class GMD (1969)
Sheffield class GMD (1971)
Manchester class GMD (1980)
Type 43 GMD (1974)

British cold-war Frigates
Rapid class (1942)
Tenacious class (1941)
Whitby class (1954)
Blackwood class (1953)
Leopard class (1954)
Salisbury class (1953)
Tribal class (1959)
Rothesay class (1957)
Leander class (1961)
BB Leander class (1967)
HMS Mermaid (1966)
Amazon class (1971)
Broadsword class (1976)
Boxer class (1981)
Cornwall class (1985)
Duke class (1987)

British cold war Submarines
T (conv.) class (1944)
T (Stream) class (1945)
A (Mod.) class (1944)
Explorer class (1954)
Strickleback class (1954)
Porpoise class (1956)
Oberon class (1959)
HMS Dreanought SSN (1960)
Valiant class SSN (1963)
Resolution class SSBN (1966)
Swiftsure class SSN (1971)
Trafalgar class SSN (1981)
Upholder class (1986)
Vanguard class SSBN (started)

Assault ships
Fearless class (1963)
HMS Ocean (started)
Sir Lancelot LLS (1963)
Sir Galahad (1986)
Ardennes/Avon class (1976)
Brit. LCVPs (1963)
Brit. LCM(9) (1980)

Ton class (1952)
Ham class (1947)
Ley class (1952)
HMS Abdiel (1967)
HMS Wilton (1972)
Hunt class (1978)
Venturer class (1979)
River class (1983)
Sandown class (1988)

Misc. ships
HMS Argus ATS (1988)
Ford class SDF (1951)
Cormorant class (1985)
Kingfisger class (1974)
HMS Jura OPV (1975)
Island class OPVs (1976)
HMS Speedy PHDF (1979)
Castle class OPVs (1980)
Peacock class OPVs (1982)
MBT 538 class (1948)
Gay class FACs (1952)
Dark class FACs (1954)
Bold class FACs (1955)
Brave class FACs (1957)
Tenacity class PCs (1967)
Brave class FPCs (1969)
Sovietskaya Flota Sovietskiy flot
Cold War Soviet Cruisers (1947-90)
Chapayev class (1945)
Kynda class (1961)
Kresta I class (1964)
Kresta II class (1968)
Kara class (1969)
Kirov class (1977)
Slava class (1979)

Moksva class (1965)
Kiev class (1975)
Kusnetsov class aircraft carriers (1988)

Cold War Soviet Destroyers
Skoryi class destroyers (1948)
Neustrashimyy (1951)
Kotlin class (1953)
Krupny class (1959)
Kashin class (1963)
Sovremenny class (1978)
Udaloy class (1980)
Project Anchar DDN (1988)

Soviet Frigates
Kola class (1951)
Riga class (1954)
Petya class (1960)
Mirka class (1964)
Grisha class (1968)
Krivak class (1970)
Koni class (1976)
Neustrashimyy class (1988)

Soviet Missile Corvettes
Poti class (1962)
Nanuchka class (1968)
Pauk class (1978)
Tarantul class (1981)
Dergach class (1987)
Svetlyak class (1989)

Cold War Soviet Submarines
Whiskey SSK (1948)
Zulu SSK (1950)
Quebec SSK (1950)
Romeo SSK (1957)
Foxtrot SSK (1963)
Tango class (1972)
November SSN (1957)
Golf SSB (1958)
Hotel SSBN (1959)
Echo I SSGN (1959)
Echo II SSGN (1961)
Juliett SSG (1962)
Yankee SSBN (1966)
Victor SSN I (1965)
Alfa SSN (1967)
Charlie SSGN (1968)
Papa SSGN (1968)
Delta I SSBN (1972)
Delta II SSBN (1975)
Delta III SSBN (1976)
Delta IV SSBN (1980)
Typhoon SSBN (1980)
Victor II SSN (1971)
Victor III SSN (1977)
Oscar SSGN (1980)
Sierra SSN (1982)
Mike SSN (1983)
Akula SSN (1984)
Kilo SSK (1986)

Soviet Naval Air Force
Kamov Ka-10 Hat
Kamov Ka-15 Hen
Kamov Ka-18 Hog
Kamov Ka-25 Hormone
Kamov Ka-27 Helix
Mil Mi-8 Hip
Mil Mi-14 H?
Mil Mi-4 Hound

Yakovlev Yak-38
Sukhoi Su-17
Sukhoi Su-24

Ilyushin Il-28 Beagle
Myasishchev M-4 Bison
Tupolev Tu-14 Bosun
Tupolev Tu-142
Ilyushin Il-38
Tupolev Tu-16
Antonov An-12
Tupolev Tu-22
Tupolev Tu-95
Tupolev Tu-22M
Tupolev Tu-16
Tupolev Tu-22

Beriev Be-6 Madge
Beriev Be-10 Mallow
Beriev Be-12
Lun class Ekranoplanes
A90 Orlan Ekranoplanes

Soviet MTBs/PBs/FACs
P2 class FACs
P4 class FACs
P6 class FACs
P8 class FACs
P10 class FACs
Komar class FACs (1960)
Project 184 FACs
OSA class FACs
Shershen class FACs
Mol class FACs
Turya class HFL
Matka class HFL
Pchela class FACs
Sarancha class HFL
Babochka class HFL
Mukha class HFL
Muravey class HFL

MO-V sub-chasers
MO-VI sub-chasers
Stenka class sub-chasers
kronstadt class PBs
SO-I class PBs
Poluchat class PBs
Zhuk clas PBs
MO-105 sub-chasers

Project 191 River Gunboats
Shmel class river GB
Yaz class river GB
Piyavka class river GB
Vosh class river GB
Saygak class river GB

Soviet Minesweepers
T43 class
T58 class
Yurka class
Gorya class
T301 class
Project 255 class
Sasha class
Vanya class
Zhenya class
Almaz class
Sonya class
TR40 class
K8 class
Yevgenya class
Olya class
Lida class
Andryusha class
Ilyusha class
Alesha class
Rybak class
Baltika class
SChS-150 class
Project 696 class

Soviet Amphibious ships
MP 2 class
MP 4 class
MP 6 class
MP 8 class
MP 10 class
Polocny class
Ropucha class
Alligator class
Ivan Rogov class
Aist class HVC
Pomornik class HVC
Gus class HVC
T-4 class LC
Ondatra class LC
Lebed class HVC
Tsaplya class HVC
Utenov class
US Navy USN (1990)
Aircraft carriers
United States class (1950)
Essex SBC-27 (1950s)
Midway class (mod)
Forrestal class (1954)
Kitty Hawk class (1960)
USS Enterprise (1960)
Nimitz Class (1972)

Salem Class (1947)
Worcester Class (1948)
USS Norfolk (1953)
Boston Class (1955)
Galveston Class (1958)
Albany Class (1962)
USS Long Beach (1960)
Leahy Class (1961)
USS Bainbridge (1961)
Belknap Class (1963)
USS Truxtun (1964)
California Class (1971)
Virginia Class (1974)
CSGN Class (1976)
Ticonderoga Class (1981)

Mitscher class (1952)
Fletcher DDE class (1950s)
Gearing DDE class (1950s)
F. Sherman class (1956)
Farragut class (1958)
Charles s. Adams class (1958)
Gearing FRAM I class (1960s)
Sumner FRAM II class (1970s)
Spruance class (1975)

Dealey class (1953)
Claud Jones class (1958)
Bronstein class (1962)
Garcia class (1963)
Brooke class (1963)
Knox class (1966)
OH Perry class (1976)

Guppy class Submarines (1946-59)
Barracuda class SSK (1951)
Tang class SSK (1951)
USS Darter SSK (1956)
Mackerel class SSK (1953)
USS Albacore SSK (1953)
USS X1 Midget subs (1955)
Barbel class SSK (1958)

USS Nautilus SSN (1954)
USS Seawolf SSN (1955)
Skate class SSN (1957)
Skipjack class SSN (1958)
USS Tullibee SSN (1960)
Tresher/Permit class SSN (1960)
Sturgeon class SSN (1963)
Los Angeles class SSN (1974)
Seawolf class SSN (1989)

USS Grayback SSBN (1954)
USS Growler SSBN (1957)
USS Halibut SSBN (1959)
Gato SSG (1960s)
E. Allen class SSBN (1960)
G. Washington class SSBN (1969)
Lafayette class SSBN (1962)
Ohio class SSBN (1979)

Migraine class RP (1950s)
Sailfish class RP (1955)
USS Triton class RP (1958)

Amphibious/assault ships
Iwo Jima class HC (1960)
Tarawa class LHD (1973)
Wasp class LHD (1987)
Thomaston class LSD (1954)
Raleigh class LSD (1962)
Austin class LSD (1964)
Anchorage class LSD (1968)
Whibdey Island class LSD (1983)
Parish class LST (1952)
County class LST (1957)
Newport class LST (1968)
Tulare class APA (1953)
Charleston class APA (1967)
USS Carronade support ship (1953)

Mine warfare ships
Agile class (1952)
Ability (1956)
Avenger (1987)
USS Cardinal (1983)
Adjutant class (1953)
USS Cove (1958)
USS Bittern (1957)
Minesweeping boats/launches

Misc. ships
USS Northampton CS (1951)
Blue Ridge class CS (1969)
Wright class CS (1969)
PT812 class (1950)
Nasty class FAC (1962)
Osprey class FAC (1967)
Asheville class FACs (1966)
USN Hydrofoils (1962-81)
Vietnam Patrol Boats (1965-73)

Hamilton class (1965)
Reliance class (1963)
Bear class (1979)
cold war CG PBs
Cold War Naval Aviation
Carrier planes
(to come)
  • Grumman Mallard 1946
  • Edo OSE-1 1946
  • Short Solent 1946
  • Chetverikov TA-1 1947
  • de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver 1947
  • Grumman Albatross 1947
  • Hughes H-4 Hercules (completed & first flight, prototype)
  • Saunders-Roe SR.A/1 1947 (jet fighter seaplane prototype)
  • Short Sealand 1947
  • Beriev Be-8 1947
  • Martin P5M Marlin 1948
  • Supermarine Seagull ASR-1 1948 (prototype successor to the Walrus)
  • Nord 1400 Noroit 1949
  • Norsk Flyindustri Finnmark 5A (interesting Norwegian prototype)
  • SNCASE SE-1210 French prototype flying boat 1949
  • Beriev Be-6 1949
  • Convair R3Y Tradewind USN patrol flying boat 1950
  • Goodyear Drake (proto seaboat) 1950
  • de Havilland Canada DHC-3 Otter 1951 (RCAN)
  • Saunders-Roe Princess 1952 (RN requisition possible)
  • Beriev R-1 turbojet prototype seaplane 1952
  • Convair F2Y Sea Dart Prototype delta jet fighter seaplane 1953
  • Martin P6M SeaMaster strategic bomber flying boat 1955
  • Beriev Be-10 1956
  • Ikarus Kurir H 1957
  • Beriev Be-12 Chaika 1960
  • Shin Meiwa UF-XS prototype 1962
  • Shin Meiwa PS-1 patrol flying boat 1967
  • Canadair CL-215 1967 water bomber, some operated by the RCAN
  • GAF Nomad patrol australian land/floatplane 1971
  • Harbin SH-5 Main PLAN patrol flying boat 1976
  • Cessna 208 Caravan transport flotplane (some navies) 1982
  • Dornier Seastar prototype 1984
  • Beriev Be-40/A-40 Albatross prototypes 1986

Patrol Planes
(to come)
Navy Helicopters
    Chinese PLAN:
  • Harbin Z-5 (1958)
  • Harbin Z-9 Haitun (1981)
  • Changhe Z-8 (1985)
  • Harbin Z-20 (in development)
  • Italy:
  • Agusta Bell AB-205 (1961)
  • Agusta Bell AB-212 (1971)
  • Agusta AS-61 (1968)
  • India:
  • Hal Dhruv (Indian Navy)
  • France:
  • Alouette II (1955)
  • Alouette III (1959)
  • Super Frelon (1965)

  • Cougar ()
  • Panther ()
  • Super Cougar H225M ()
  • Fennec ()
  • MH-65 Dolphin ()
  • UH-72 Lakota ()
  • Germany:
  • MBB Bo 105 (1967)
  • NHIndustries NH90
  • Japan:
  • Mitsubishi H-60 (1987)
  • Poland:
  • PZL W-3 Sokół (1979)
  • Romania:
  • IAR 330M (1975)
  • United Kingdom:
  • Westland Lynx (1971)
  • Westland Scout (1960) RAN
  • Westland Sea King (1969)
  • Westland Wasp (1962)
  • Westland Wessex (1958)
  • Westland Whirlwind (1953)
  • Westland WS-51 Dragonfly (1948)
  • USA:
  • Gyrodyne QH-50 DASH
  • Hiller ROE Rotorcycle (1956)
  • Piasecki HRP Rescuer (1945)
  • Bell UH-1N Twin Huey (1969)
  • SH-2 Seasprite (1959)
  • SH-2G Super Seasprite (1982)
  • CH-53 Sea Stallion (1966)
  • SH-60 Seahawk (1979)
  • Sikorsky S-61R (1959)
  • MH-53E Sea Dragon (1974)
  • USSR:
  • Kamov Ka 20 (1958)
  • Ka-25 "Hormone" (1960)
  • Ka-27 "Helix" (1973)
  • Ka-31 (1987)
  • Ka-35 (2015)
  • Ka-40 (1990)
  • Mil-Mi 2 (1949)
  • Mil Mi-4 (1952)

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