Kusho L3Y 'Tina'

The Kusho L3Y was a transport version of the Mitsubishi G3M 'Nell' Navy Type 96 attack bomber. It was produced in two versions, both of which emerged before the Japanese entry into the Second World War.

The first version – the L3Y1 Type 96 land transport Model 11 was produced at the Dai-Ichi Kaigun Kokusho (First Naval Air Arsenal) at Kasumigaura, then known as Kusho. The narrow fuselage of the G3M1 was emptied of the equipment required for the retractable turrets, and five rows each of two seats were placed along the sides of the aircraft, giving it a transport capacity of only ten. The L3Y could be identified by the row of cabin windows and the door on the port side.

The L3Y2 followed in 1939. This was based on the G3M2, but was given more powerful Kinsei 45 engines. It was faster than the L3Y1, but otherwise similar.

The L3Y was used by the Fleet Detachment Air Squadron, the Yokosuka Naval Air Test Centre, Naval Air Headquarters in Tokyo, and from 1942 with the 11th Transport Fleet. This last unit was used to maintain communication with Japan’s widespread island conquests, and its L3Ys were sometimes sighted travelling to and from Rabaul. The end of this service in April 1944 marked the final isolation of that Japanese base. During this period the L3Y was given the Allied codename 'Tina', although it later became known as the 'Nell'

The L3Y was not the first transport version of the ‘Nell’. In the late 1930s a number of G3M1s had been converted into military transport aircraft as the G3M1-L and given more powerful 1,075hp Kinsei 45 engines. At the same time just over 20 G3M2s were turned into Mitsubishi Twin-Engined Transports, and were used by Nippon Air Lines (Nippon Koku K.K.) and its successor Greater Japan Air Lines (Dai Nippon Koku K.K.). In 1939 one of these civil airliners made a round the world trip, covering 32,850 miles in 194 flying hours.

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (4 December 2008), Kusho L3Y 'Tina', http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_kusho_L3Y.html

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