The Mitsubishi J2M was a single-engined land-based fighter aircraft used by the Imperial Japanese Navy in World War II.
- ▅ - Raiden (雷電, Lightning Bolt)
- ▃ - Jack
- J2M2 - Raiden Model 11
- J2M3 - Raiden Model 21
- J2M4 Kai* - Raiden Model 32
- J2M5 - Raiden Model 33
- J2M5 30mm - Raiden Model 33 (Type 5 30 mm)
During the China Incident (Sino-Japanese war) the Navy had sustained some damage from Chinese bomber groups as they didn't have any dedicated interceptors at the time, for this reason the Navy put out multiple specifications for planes to deal with threats which the Chinese made clear to the Navy. For bombers specifically they specified for a strictly local-defense interceptor known as the 14-Shi Interceptor; which stated the following:
Speed ≥ 340 kn (at 6,000 m) Climb rate ≥ 6,000 m within 5 minutes 30 seconds Ceiling ≥ 11,000 m Cuising range ≥ 0.7 hours at the highest speed (at 6,000 m). Armament = 2 x 20 mm and 2 x 7.7 mm Other = Bulletproof plate behind the pilotseat.
Mitsubishi was the only to respond to this specification and put Jiro Horikoshi and his team in charge just after they finished work on the 12-Shi Carrier Fighter (A6M).
But as far development went, arose teething development problems stemming from the Kasei 23 engine cooling system and the landing gear led to a slowdown in development and especially production. From excessive vibrations from the engine, poor landing gear design got Lt. Hoashi Takumi killed in a test flight.
Even with the many issues in development, Mitsubishi pushed the J2M into mass production without even having it formally adopted by the Navy in September of 1943, problems were still present, and its specifications weren't as projected in reality, output was lower than expected, and electrical faults still haunt the landing gear. These low output problems at high altitude were being resolved with a new specification dubbed under the 14-Shi Kai Interceptor* which resulted in the J2M4 with as engine the Kasei 23c having the requested performance and allowed for the J2M's further development. Its last variants within the J2M family were bolstering the Kasei 26a engine and resulted in the J2M5 and J2M7's (which were J2M3 fuselages with the new engine). All these new variants and new engines boosted its performance, but electrical malfunctions were never truly solved.
The Raiden was officially adopted by the Navy in October of 1944, 5 years after the issued request.
|The J2M4 in-game (J2M4 Kai) isn't a separate variant of the J2M4 as the Kai stems from 14-Shi Kai|
The first few produced J2M2s were delivered to the development units in December 1942, but the troublesome amount of engine problems still held it back from mass production. Troubleshooting almost took a year, and the first batch of the serial built J2M2 Model 11 could be delivered to 381st Kōkūtai in December of 1943. Parallel with the J2M2, production of the J2M3 Model 21 started, which would appear in October of 1943, but deliveries to combat units only started at the beginning of February of 1944.
The Raiden made its combat debut in June 1944 during the Battle of the Philippine Sea. Several J2Ms operated from Guam and Saipan, and a small number of aircraft were deployed to the Philippines. Later, some J2Ms were based in Chosen airfields, Yokosuka, Yatabe, Genzan, Tainan, Konoike and Chushi for defence and fighting against potential Soviet threats and units.
Primarily designed to intercept bombers like the Boeing B-29 Superfortress which became very common near the end of the war. The early J2Ms were handicapped at high altitude by the lack of a turbocharger, even though its four-cannon armament supplied effective firepower, and the use of dive and zoom tactics allowed it to score occasionally.
J2Ms took part in one of the final aerial combats of the Second World War when four Raidens, accompanied by eight Mitsubishi A6M Zero, all belonging to the 302nd Kokutai, intercepted a formation of USN F6F Hellcats from the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown (CV-10) during the morning of 15 August 1945 over the Kanto Plain. In the engagement that took place only two hours before Japan officially announced its surrender, four Hellcats were lost along with two Raidens and two Zeros.
|Mitsubishi Company (三菱商会)|
|Fighters||A5M4 · Hagiri's A5M4|
|A6M2 mod. 11 · A6M2 · A6M3 · A6M3 mod. 22 · A6M3 mod. 22Ko · A6M5 · A6M5 Ko · A6M5 otsu · A6M5 Hei · A6M6c|
|A7M1 (NK9H) · A7M2|
|J2M2 · J2M3 · J2M4 Kai · J2M5 · J2M5 (30 mm)|
|Interceptors||Ki-83 · Ki-109|
|Ki-21-Ia · Ki-21-I hei · Ki-67-I Ko · Ki-67-I otsu|
|Captured||▃A6M2 · ␗A6M2|
|See also||Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (Post-War)|
|A5M||A5M4 · Hagiri's A5M4|
|A6M||A6M2 mod. 11 · A6M2 · A6M3 · A6M3 mod. 22 · A6M3 mod. 22Ko · A6M5 · A6M5 Ko · A6M5 otsu · A6M5 Hei · A6M6c|
|A7M||A7M1 (NK9H) · A7M2|
|J2M||J2M2 · J2M3 · J2M4 Kai · J2M5 · J2M5 (30 mm)|
|N1K-J||N1K1-Ja · N1K2-J · N1K2-Ja|
|Ki-10||Ki-10-I · Ki-10-I C · Ki-10-II · Ki-10-II C|
|Ki-27||Ki-27 otsu · Ki-27 otsu Tachiarai|
|Ki-43||Ki-43-I · Ki-43-II · Ki-43-III otsu|
|Ki-44||Ki-44-I · Ki-44-I 34 · Ki-44-II otsu · Ki-44-II hei|
|Ki-61||Ki-61-I ko · Ki-61-I otsu · Ki-61-I hei · Ki-61-I hei Tada's · Ki-61-I tei · Ki-61-II Otsu Kai|
|Ki-84||Ki-84 ko · Ki-84 otsu · Ki-84 hei|
|Ki-100||Ki-100 · Ki-100-II|
|Other countries||▅F4U-1A · ▅P-51C-11-NT · ▅Bf 109 E-7 · ▅Fw 190 A-5|
|*Imported designation of the He 112 (A6M was in development - A7M would take A7 designation after the cancelation of the A7He)|