The Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) developed and operated a healthy stable of floatplanes and flying boats for its part in World War 2 (1939-1945). This was, of course, mostly out of necessity for the nation was made up of a series of islands with no direct land access to the target regions outside of Japan. Of particular note in their approach was the use of submarine-borne floatplanes which could be launched and recovered by specially-modified IJN attack submarines. One of this type of aircraft was the Yokosuka E14Y, known to the Allies as "Glen". It was produced in just 126 examples but its specialized mission role dictated that a small fleet of these aircraft was all that was necessary for their part in the war.
The Yokosuka Naval Air Technical Arsenal was responsible for the development and production of these relatively compact seaplanes. The design utilized a basic arrangement as floatplanes went: a monoplane wing was fitted low and forward and a traditional single-finned tail unit was installed aft. The crew of two sat in tandem under a heavily framed canopy over midships - the pilot in front and the navigator / rear gunner at the rear. The gunner has access to a single 7.7mm Type 92 machine gun which was mounted to a flexible arm, able to be stowed away when not in use. Beyond this, a modest bombload of 2 x 168lb bombs could be carried by the aircraft. The engine was installed at the nose in the usual way. For waterborne landings and take-offs, the aircraft was fitted with a pair of floats.
Power was from a single Hitachi "Tempu 12" 9-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engine delivering 340 horsepower and driving a three-bladed propeller in puller fashion. Maximum achievable speed could reach 153 miles per hour while cruising was normally done near 105 miles per hour. Range was out to 550 miles and the aircraft's service ceiling reached 17,780 feet.
E14Y aircraft were designed to be enclosed in hangars added to attack submarines that included such types as the I-21 and I-25. The hangar facility was typically added to the front of the conning tower (sail) and allowed the submarine to retain its submersible capability and overall function. In this fashion, the boat could travel on the surface (or under it) in the usual way and, when required, completely surface to expose the hangar. The aircraft within was assembled and could be flown as normal, expanding the range of the submarine and providing important information from a bird's eye perspective. As the aircraft used floats for water-running, it could then be recovered and reused at a later time.
The E14Y has the distinction of several notable encounters over Allied terrain during World War 2. It is the only aircraft to have flown over the country of New Zealand when, in March of 1942, an E14Y photographed Allied forces at Wellington. This aircraft was launched from submarine I-25. Another, launched from I-21, flew over Auckland in late-May.
Perhaps the most notable of all the E14Y's actions was its flyover (and subsequent bombing) of the United States in what became known as "The Lookout Raid". This took place on September 9th, 1942 when an E14Y took off from I-25 near Brookings, Oregon. The two-crew and their aircraft flew over forested areas and dropped their incendiary bombs causing little damage but striking confusion and fear into the locals. This marked the only incident of enemy bombs being dropped on U.S. soil. No injuries were had but it was a bold initiative on the part of the Japanese - similar to America's "Doolittle Raid" on Tokyo itself in April of 1942 though on a much smaller scale.
E14Y aircraft operated until their value dwindled due to the changing fortunes of war (or their "host boats" were lost). Submarine I-21 was sunk in September of 1943 and I-21 followed in November. Three of the Type A1 submarines were completed from the five initially planned - these designed to carry the aircraft as well. All three were lost in the fighting of World War 2.
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
✓Ground Attack (Bombing, Strafing)
Ability to conduct aerial bombing of ground targets by way of (but not limited to) guns, bombs, missiles, rockets, and the like.
✓Special-Mission: Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW)
Equipped to search, track, and engage enemy underwater elements by way of specialized onboard equipment and weapons.
✓Special-Mission: Search & Rescue (SAR)
Ability to locate and extract personnel from areas of potential harm or peril (i.e. downed airmen in the sea).
✓Maritime / Navy
Land-based or shipborne capability for operating over-water in various maritime-related roles while supported by allied naval surface elements.
✓Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR), Scout
Surveil ground targets / target areas to assess environmental threat levels, enemy strength, or enemy movement.
28.1 ft (8.55 m)
36.1 ft (11.00 m)
12.5 ft (3.82 m)
2,469 lb (1,120 kg)
3,538 lb (1,605 kg)
+1,069 lb (+485 kg)
(Showcased structural values pertain to the Yokosuka E14Y production variant)
1 x Hitachi Tempu 12 series 9-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engine developing 340 horsepower and driving a three-bladed propeller at the nose.
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