Most of the Japanese air raids in the Pacific theater of World War II was conducted by carrier-based aircraft, such as the A6M Zero and the Nakajima B5N. This was due to the fact that most of the targets to be hit were located on the Pacific islands, whose invasion was assigned to the Imperial Japanese Navy. The land-based, long-range bombers were used to carry out bombing missions in China, Malay peninsula, and Burma, instead. Therefore, the Japanese government concentrated in the development and production of carrier-borne dive bombers and fighter aircraft, which were fast and very maneuverable. When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, their fighter and attack planes were superior to the American naval aircraft, which included the slow F4F Wildcat, that was no match for the Zero. However, when the United States recovered from the surprise blow to Pearl Harbor and began producing faster fighters and long range bombers to destroy the Japanese factories and infrastructure, the tide of the war could be turned. Not only the F6F Hellcat and F4U Corsair were faster than the A6M Zero, but sturdier and better armed as the Japanese naval fighters became fragile to the heavy machine gun fire spewed from the American aircraft.

List of WWII Japanese Aircraft

Fighters

See Japanese fighters in World War II

Dive / Torpedo Bombers

Mitsubishi B5M

Aichi D3A

Nakajima B5N

Nakajima B6N

Yokosuka D4Y

Mitsubishi Ki-51

– Aichi D1A

Yokosuka B4Y. A crrier-based biplane torpedo-bomber

Medium and Heavy Bombers

Kawasaki Ki-48

Mitsubishi G3M

Mitsubishi G4M 

Mitsubishi Ki-21

Nakajima Ki-49

Mitsubishi Ki-67

Yokosuka P1Y

Below Mitsubishi A6M Zero, an iconic aircraft of the war in the Pacific

ww2_japanese_aircraft-zero

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