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Duel: Nakajima C6N vs. Martin Mariner

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#31 Rick65


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Posted 09 December 2017 - 04:18 AM

Going back to RT's original comparison Nakajima C6N vs. Martin Mariner


"Background for this comparison is that both planes, no matter how opposite they were in concept, had the main task: high-sea reconnoisater. And both fulfilled their task, both spotted the adversary fleet at the Marianas battle."


I don't believe that it is true that both these planes had the same main task.

The Mariner was a twin engined patrol bomber that could perform a wide range of tasks including patrol, offensive bombing/depth charging, search and rescue, transport, reconnaissance.

It was a big twin engined plane that could carry 4000lbs of offensive weapons and was fitted with up to 8 x 0.5 inch defensive weapons. It was slow , in WW2 a sea plane only with open sea capability. By comparison with the Catalina that it supplemented it was faster, had better open sea capability and was more expensive. In the Wiki section of the plane it lists six comparable sea plane types including the general purpose Kawanishi H6K and H8K.

The C6N by comparison was a dedicated single engined carrier/land based reconnaissance plane. It had a token rear gun but largely relied on it's speed and altitude performance for safety and had no capability for carrying offensive weapons. The Wiki reference to this plane only lists one comparable plane the Mitsubishi Ki-46 as only the Japanese gave priority to developing and operating specialist reconnaissance planes.


The two planes may have performed the same task in the Marianas but the difference was that for the Mariner it was performing only one of the many tasks of which it was capable whereas the C6N was doing exactly the single task that it was specifically designed for and for which it was incredibly suited.


In terms of the Dutch experience with the Mariner, it is a lot of plane to be lugged around by two R-2600 engines. The loaded weight is approximately 60% greater than  the NA B-25 fitted with similar engines. I can't see the Mariner having much surplus power with two operating engines and being very difficult in engine out situations.

#32 Romantic Technofreak

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Posted 11 December 2017 - 06:00 PM

Thank you for your analysis, Rick.


Supposed you were minister of war of a hypothetical Pacific-war-waging country (an abstraction of Japan and/or the United States), you have a "normal" budget an access to both types. How many of them would you have bought?


Regards, RT

#33 Rick65


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Posted Yesterday, 01:14 AM

With the benefit of hindsight, for Japan I would build zero of each.

The Mariner was not needed when you had in production the Kawanishi H6K and H8K performing similar roles.

The C6N was a dedicated reconnaissance plane designed for use from carriers and by the time it reached service in late 44 these were gone so it became land based. The Ki-46 was in service and was possibly the best reconnaissance plane of WW2 so the C6N is surplus to requirements if the Navy is willing and able to use the Army plane.


In terms of the USA, a couple of C6Ns or equivalent on each of the larger carriers would be useful for long range reconnaissance but these would come at the expense of planes that could perform more than one role. I would see this as a useful trade off as before long range radar knowing where the opposition was relied heavily on the reports of scout planes (and luck) and the C6N was optimised for the task.

The F-5 Lightning was available for land based reconnaissance but there was no US equivalent of the C6N with it's carrier capability, speed and altitude performance, three sets of eyes and long range.


However the US with the manufacturing capacity and design ability to create an equivalent of the C6N chose not do so, possibly because they wanted to avoid plane types that could only perform one role or because by late 1944 there was much reduced Japanese air opposition and the multi purpose types could adequately perform the reconnaissance task.

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