The 1937 12-Shi requirements for new naval aircraft included a request for a new reconnaissance seaplane to be carried by cruisers and battleships of the Combined Fleet. This aircraft would replace the E7K and E8N seaplanes which were then the frontline models fulfilling this role. The Aichi company came up with two different designs, designated the E12A and E13A respectively. The Aichi E13A was considered the better design and entered production.
Unlike the older seaplanes it was replacing, the E13A was a monoplane. It featured a much more powerful engine, the 1,080hp Mitsubishi Kinsei 43, and carried a crew of 3 compared to the two aboard the E8N. Range was significantly improved, as was the ability to carry more bombs. The aircraft featured a wing-folding mechanism to save space aboard ship.
The E13A began to enter service in 1940, initially serving aboard ships supporting the blockade of China. It rapidly became the standard reconnaissance seaplane aboard front line warships. Two of the type carried out pre-attack reconnaissance of Pearl Harbor in December 1941, and E13As were used extensively during the battles of 1942, most notably at Midway where one belated discovered the American carrier fleet.
E13As also served from land bases, especially during the Solomons campaign where they carried out night harassment attacks on Allied-held islands – the aircraft carrying out these attacks being dubbed ‘Washing Machine Charlie’ by the Marines. Later in the war, as opportunities for fleet work diminished as the Japanese Navy was ground down, E13As joined the long list of aircraft that were pressed into the kamikaze role.
In 1942 the E13A was initially assigned the Allied Reporting Name “June”, as it was thought to be a seaplane version of the Aichi D3A “Val”. When it was discovered to be a reconnaissance seaplane it was assigned the masculine codename “Jake” instead.
Aichi E13A Type 0 Specifications
|1x Mitsubishi Kinsei 43 (1,080hp)
|1,300 miles (internal)
|1x Type 97 7.7mm Machine Gun
|37ft 1in (length)
47ft 7in (wingspan)
15ft 5in (height)