Kugisho P1Y1 Ginga (Milky Way) FRANCES

During World War II, all the major powers fielded fast, versatile, twin-engine medium bombers of varying quality. Yokusuka (pronounced 'yo-koos-ka') designed the P1Y Ginga for low-altitude torpedo and dive-bombing attacks. When the Japanese navy placed it in service, the aircraft proved mediocre compared to more successful designs, such as the De Havilland D. H. 98 Mosquito, Martin B-26 Marauder, North American B-25 Mitchell, and the Junkers Ju-88. Flight trials began during the summer of 1943 but the Homare engines fitted to the P1Y1 proved unreliable and difficult to maintain. The navy would not accept the aircraft for over a year. Yokusuka made numerous changes and the FRANCES finally went into combat in early spring 1945. The airplane flew with good speed, and several of them were used to carry out Kamikaze suicide attacks against American warships.

Transferred from the United States Air Force.

Physical Description:
Twin-engine, conventional layout with tailwheel landing gear.

Country of Origin
Japan

Date
1945

Type
CRAFT-Aircraft

Materials
All-metal monocoque construction
Dimensions
Overall: 430 x 1500cm, 7265kg, 2000cm (14ft 1 5/16in. x 49ft 2 9/16in., 16016.4lb., 65ft 7 3/8in.)

During World War II, all the major powers fielded fast, versatile, twin-engine medium bombers of varying quality. Yokusuka (pronounced 'yo-koos-ka') designed the P1Y Ginga for low-altitude torpedo and dive-bombing attacks. When the Japanese navy placed it in service, the aircraft proved mediocre compared to more successful designs, such as the De Havilland D. H. 98 Mosquito, Martin B-26 Marauder, North American B-25 Mitchell, and the Junkers Ju-88. Flight trials began during the summer of 1943, but the Homare engines fitted to the P1Y1 proved unreliable and difficult to maintain. The navy would not accept the aircraft for over a year. Yokusuka made numerous changes and the FRANCES finally went into combat in early spring 1945. The airplane flew with good speed and several of them were used to carry out Kamikaze suicide attacks against American warships.

The idea for this type of attack took shape late in 1944 as Allied air and sea power continued to systematically crush the Japanese war machine. On October 19, Vice-Admiral Onishi Takijino recommended that the Japanese Imperial Navy form special groups of men and aircraft and launch them against American warships gathering to conduct amphibious landings in the Philippines.

To the Allies, these units became known as Kamikaze, or suicide squads. The Japanese used the word Tokko, Special Attack. A number of philosophical concepts motivated the Tokko pilots. The ultimate sacrifice to save homeland, countrymen, and emperor; duty to "Bushido," the warrior code of honor and conduct; and the belief that Tokko missions could reprise the miracle of the original "divine wind," a typhoon that destroyed a Mongol invasion fleet in 1281. It is estimated that by the end of the war, 5,000 pilots had died making Tokko attacks and the damage they wrought was severe. During the invasion of Okinawa in April 1945, the U. S. Navy lost 21 vessels sunk and 217 damaged. Casualties were horrific. Navy crews suffered 4,300 fatalities and 5,400 wounded, or seven percent of all crew casualties incurred during the entire Pacific war.

No history of our specimen before its capture can be determined at this time. At the end of the war, American intelligence personnel captured three P1Y1s and sent them to the United States. They identified these as FE (Foreign Equipment number) 1700, FE 1701, and our specimen, FE 1702. From February to July 1946, the U. S. Army Air Forces based our specimen at Olmstead Field, a Military Air Transport Service Command depot in Middletown, Pennsylvania. At Olmstead, guest pilots flew and evaluated the aircraft.

The U. S. Air Force transferred the FRANCES to the Smithsonian Institution in September 1948. In January 1949, the air force shipped the aircraft to Chicago Orchard Airport, Park Ridge, Illinois, a temporary storage facility for aircraft and related artifacts. The National Air Museum (now NASM) transferred the airplane to the storage site at Suitland, Maryland, sometime during the 1950s.

During World War II, all the major powers fielded fast, versatile, twin-engine medium bombers of varying quality. Yokusuka (pronounced 'yo-koos-ka') designed the P1Y Ginga for low-altitude torpedo and dive-bombing attacks. When the Japanese navy placed it in service, the aircraft proved mediocre compared to more successful designs, such as the De Havilland D. H. 98 Mosquito, Martin B-26 Marauder, North American B-25 Mitchell, and the Junkers Ju-88. Flight trials began during the summer of 1943 but the Homare engines fitted to the P1Y1 proved unreliable and difficult to maintain. The navy would not accept the aircraft for over a year. Yokusuka made numerous changes and the FRANCES finally went into combat in early spring 1945. The airplane flew with good speed, and several of them were used to carry out Kamikaze suicide attacks against American warships.

Transferred from the United States Air Force.

Physical Description:
Twin-engine, conventional layout with tailwheel landing gear.

Country of Origin
Japan

Date
1945

Type
CRAFT-Aircraft

Materials
All-metal monocoque construction
Dimensions
Overall: 430 x 1500cm, 7265kg, 2000cm (14ft 1 5/16in. x 49ft 2 9/16in., 16016.4lb., 65ft 7 3/8in.)

During World War II, all the major powers fielded fast, versatile, twin-engine medium bombers of varying quality. Yokusuka (pronounced 'yo-koos-ka') designed the P1Y Ginga for low-altitude torpedo and dive-bombing attacks. When the Japanese navy placed it in service, the aircraft proved mediocre compared to more successful designs, such as the De Havilland D. H. 98 Mosquito, Martin B-26 Marauder, North American B-25 Mitchell, and the Junkers Ju-88. Flight trials began during the summer of 1943, but the Homare engines fitted to the P1Y1 proved unreliable and difficult to maintain. The navy would not accept the aircraft for over a year. Yokusuka made numerous changes and the FRANCES finally went into combat in early spring 1945. The airplane flew with good speed and several of them were used to carry out Kamikaze suicide attacks against American warships.

The idea for this type of attack took shape late in 1944 as Allied air and sea power continued to systematically crush the Japanese war machine. On October 19, Vice-Admiral Onishi Takijino recommended that the Japanese Imperial Navy form special groups of men and aircraft and launch them against American warships gathering to conduct amphibious landings in the Philippines.

To the Allies, these units became known as Kamikaze, or suicide squads. The Japanese used the word Tokko, Special Attack. A number of philosophical concepts motivated the Tokko pilots. The ultimate sacrifice to save homeland, countrymen, and emperor; duty to "Bushido," the warrior code of honor and conduct; and the belief that Tokko missions could reprise the miracle of the original "divine wind," a typhoon that destroyed a Mongol invasion fleet in 1281. It is estimated that by the end of the war, 5,000 pilots had died making Tokko attacks and the damage they wrought was severe. During the invasion of Okinawa in April 1945, the U. S. Navy lost 21 vessels sunk and 217 damaged. Casualties were horrific. Navy crews suffered 4,300 fatalities and 5,400 wounded, or seven percent of all crew casualties incurred during the entire Pacific war.

No history of our specimen before its capture can be determined at this time. At the end of the war, American intelligence personnel captured three P1Y1s and sent them to the United States. They identified these as FE (Foreign Equipment number) 1700, FE 1701, and our specimen, FE 1702. From February to July 1946, the U. S. Army Air Forces based our specimen at Olmstead Field, a Military Air Transport Service Command depot in Middletown, Pennsylvania. At Olmstead, guest pilots flew and evaluated the aircraft.

The U. S. Air Force transferred the FRANCES to the Smithsonian Institution in September 1948. In January 1949, the air force shipped the aircraft to Chicago Orchard Airport, Park Ridge, Illinois, a temporary storage facility for aircraft and related artifacts. The National Air Museum (now NASM) transferred the airplane to the storage site at Suitland, Maryland, sometime during the 1950s.

ID: A19600340000