Nakajima G8N Renzan 連山 (Mountain Range) — WW II Japan’s heavy bomber
Nakajima G8N Renzan (連山 Mountain Range / Allied reporting name “Rita”) — WW II Japan’s heavy bomber
When thinking of heavy bombers of World War II one naturally thinks of Allied aircraft powered with four engines — especially Great Britain and the United States. The Imperial Japanese Navy attempted to get into this class of weaponry with the Nakajima design G8N Renzan (連山 Mountain Range / Allied reporting name “Rita”). The Renzan was an impressive aircraft and entered service a short time after design-start. First flying in January 1945 it was too late in the war to provide a difference and produced in too few numbers with lass than a handful completed (four). Each of the four engines was a 1990 hp (1485kW) Nakajima NK9 Homare (誉, Honor) twin row 18-cylinder radial — which were unusually cooled by fans. The Renzan has tricycle landing gear and a high aspect ration mid-mounted wing. Defensive armament was impressive with powered turrets in the nose (2 x 13.2mm MG), tail (2 x 20mm), dorsal (2 x 20mm) and ventral (2 x 20mm) positions augmented by waist positions (2 x 13.2mm MG each). Maximum range was 4500 miles/7250km with a maximum speed of 358 mph/576km/h for the “Rita” which would carry a crew of ten with a maximum bomb load of 8818 pounds/4000kg. The additional reality was the engines would often produce much less power due to material shortages as well as field conditions and the aircraft used more strategic materials than Japan could afford in what would be the last desperate year for the Land of the Rising Sun. There is no mistaking, however, that the Renzan was an advanced heavy bomber by standards of the day and the cannon heavy defensive armament would give any intercepting fighter pause. One example was captured after the war, the others had been destroyed in bombing raids, but it was scrapped after testing, sadly.