IJN Code Names for USN combat aircraft

Discussion in 'Aircraft Markings and Camouflage' started by shiro_amada_jp, May 11, 2009.

  1. shiro_amada_jp

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    During WWII, the US had code names for Japanese warplanes (e.g. Zeke for the A6M Zero, Oscar for the Ki-43 Hayabusa, etc.). I'm just wondering...Did the IJN have a similar naming convention for identifying USN combat aircraft?
     
  2. Marshall_Stack

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    Any time I read Japanese accounts of action, they usually refer to the manufacturer, like Grumman, Consolidated, Boeing etc. I don't know if that is the norm but that is how I usually have seen it....
     
  3. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    As Marshall_Stack says, I don't know any code names for the allied forces aircrafts generally, either.
    Grumman was often called Kansai-ki, meaning Carrier-based Fighter, though.

    In the postwar, my grandmother called American soldiers 'America-san' with her familiar feeling.
     
  4. Micdrow

    Micdrow “Archive”
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    Interesting question though Ive got say Ive never heard of any Japanese code names for allied aircraft either.
     
  5. JoeB

    JoeB Member

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    #5 JoeB, May 16, 2009
    Last edited: May 16, 2009
    Allied code names were created because the Japanese designations and names were not fully known, confusing, or cumbersome to write correctly in English. The latter two are true to this day. For example lots of English speakers refer to Japanese Army a/c by their 'kitai' designations, for example Ki-43' but the Japanese operating units hardly ever did, nor did the Allies call it that, so it's kind of a strange way to refer to the plane, actually. The Japanese Army operating units called it Type 1 Fighter. The Allies didn't have a clear idea of that plane as different from the Navy's Zero until around 1943, eventually of course they called it 'Oscar'. And JNAF operating units didn't call the Zero A6M but Type Zero Carrier Fighter or Zero Fighter for short. But those year/type designation are cumbersome in English and don't have standard abbreviations as they do in Japanese. Using transliterations of the Japanese abbreivations (eg. Reisen for 'Zero Fighter') can sound funny. Anyway there was such a good reason for the codenames that we still haven't weaned ourselves off them in English, though at this point we probably should.

    The Japanese OTOH had much less reason to invent a new system to designate Allied a/c. It's easy enough to simply write 'B-26' and Japanese airmen of WWII would be able to read that. In spoken language 'Martin' might be more natural. Japanese Navy action reports of early-mid war, of which I've studied a fair number, write the Allied a/c names as either just the alphanumeric in latin letters and arabic numerals (P-39, F4F), the manufacturer name in katakana syllabary (as close as they can get to it in that writing system, it will sound different or a little funny to an English speaker usually) plus the alphanumeric (Boeing B-17), just the manufacturer in katakana ('Lockheed' for RAAF Hudsons, sometimes just 'Grumman' for the F4F), or the name, for Brit a/c particularly (Spitfire), again in katakana. It wasn't standard at least in '42-43, but there wasn't the same serious confusion which plane they were referred to, which caused the codename system to be introduced on the Allied side.

    Joe
     
  6. shiro_amada_jp

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    Good point. Haven't really thought of that.
     
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