Kawanishi H6K Type 97 “Mavis”

Kawanishi H6 K- Mavis Flying Boat 03
Kawanishi H6 K- Mavis Flying Boat 03

The Japanese Navy’s requirements for new aircraft in 1934 included a request for a new long-range, multi-engined reconnaissance flying boat capable of patrolling the huge distances of the Pacific Ocean. Kawanishi, building on their experience of building the H3K flying boat and working with the British Short Brothers, produced a design for a four-engine patrol bomber that was designated the Kawanishi H6K.

The H6K featured a huge parasol wing, similar in configuration to the PBY Catalina. Unlike the Catalina however the H6K had four motors and twin tails. Later versions carried almost 3,000 gallons of fuel and could stay out on patrol for up to 24 hours, highly advantageous when undertaking dangerous long-range reconnaissance missions. Up to 1,000kg of bombs could be carried, giving the H6K the ability to attack lightly defended targets. A pair of torpedoes could also be carried, although this a rarely used capability.

Gallery

Type 97s first appeared in 1938 during the China Incident, as the flying boats helped to maintain the blockade of the Chinese coast. By the time the Pacific War began H6Ks equipped four flying boat kokutai which supported the rapid advance of Japanese forces, including reconnoitring far flung Allied bases like Rabaul, Wake Island and Darwin.

H6Ks played a key role in locating American carrier task forces during 1942, particularly during the battles off Guadalcanal. Here the problems with the H6K’s design became clear, as American fighters found the big bombers particularly enticing targets which were prone to catching fire when attacked. The successor H8K took over front-line duties from the H6K during 1943, but the older aircraft nevertheless continued in service right up to the end of the war.

In 1942 the H6K was amongst the first Japanese aircraft to be assigned a codename by the Technical Air Intelligence team, receiving the reporting name “Mavis”.

Specifications:

Kawanishi H6K2 Type 97 Flying Boat
RoleFlying Boat
Crew9
Powerplant4x Mitsubishi Kinsei 43, 1,000hp
Speed206mph (max)
Ceiling24,395ft
Range2,567 miles
Armament3x 7.7mm machine guns
Ordnance1000kg bombs or 2 torpedos
Dimensions84ft 0in (length)
131ft 2in (wingspan)
20ft 6in (height)
Wing Area1830 sq.ft.
Weight22,796lb (empty)
35,274lb (gross)
Number produced10
In service withIJN
Kawanishi H6K2-L Type 97 Transport
RoleTransport
Crew8
Powerplant4x Mitsubishi Kinsei 43, 1,000hp
Speed150mph (cruise)
207mph (max)
Ceiling24,395ft
Range2,690 miles
ArmamentNone
OrdnanceNone
Dimensions81ft 8in (length)
131ft 2in (wingspan)
20ft 6in (height)
Wing Area1830 sq.ft.
Weight26,511lb (empty)
37,699lb (gross)
50,706lb (max)
In service withIJN
Kawanishi H6K4 Type 97 Flying Boat
RoleFlying Boat
Crew9
Powerplant4x Mitsubishi Kinsei 46, 930hp
Speed138mph (cruise)
211mph (max)
Ceiling31,520ft
Range4,112 miles
Armament4x 7.7mm machine guns, 1x 20mm cannon
Ordnance1000kg bombs or 2 torpedos
Dimensions84ft 3in (length)
131ft 2in (wingspan)
20ft 6in (height)
Wing Area1830 sq.ft.
Weight25,755lb (empty)
37,400lb (gross)
47,300lb (max)
Number produced127
In service withIJN
Kawanishi H6K5 Type 97 Flying Boat
RoleFlying Boat
Crew9
Powerplant4x Mitsubishi Kinsei 53, 1,300hp
Speed161mph (cruise)
239mph (max)
Ceiling31,365ft
Range4,208 miles
Armament4x 7.7mm machine guns, 1x 20mm cannon
Ordnance1000kg bombs or 2 torpedos
Dimensions84ft 1in (length)
131ft 2in (wingspan)
20ft 6in (height)
Wing Area1830 sq.ft.
Weight27,117lb (empty)
38,581lb (gross)
50,076lb (max)
Number produced36
In service withIJN

1 Comment

  1. this is my go to site. Pacific eagles clear explanations, esp of the FUNCTIONS of various models of aircraft. This resource goes some way towards addressing my profound ignorance of the technical dimension of
    modern era military history. Thanks, Ann ☑

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*