Nakajima E8N

The Nakajima E8N was a Japanese ship-borne, catapult-launched, reconnaissance seaplane of the Second Sino-Japanese War. It was a single-engine, two-seat biplane with a central main-float and underwing outriggers. During the Pacific War, it was known to the Allies by the reporting name "Dave".

E8N "Dave"
Role Ship-borne reconnaissance seaplane
Manufacturer Nakajima Aircraft Company
First flight March 1934
Introduction 1935
Primary user IJN Air Service
Produced October 1935-1940
Number built 755

Design and development

The E8N was developed as a replacement for the same company's E4N and was essentially an evolutionary development of the earlier type, with revised wings of lesser area and taller tail surfaces. Seven prototypes were constructed, under the company designation MS, first flying in March 1934.[1] These were duly engaged in comparative trials against competitors from Aichi and Kawanishi.

Operational history

The MS was ordered into production, designated Navy Type 95 Reconnaissance Seaplane Model 1 in October 1935.[2] A total of 755 E8Ns were built by Nakajima and Kawanishi, production continuing until 1940.[3] It was subsequently shipped aboard all the capital ships then in service, 16 cruisers and five seaplane tenders.

It was used successfully in the Second Sino-Japanese War not only for reconnaissance, but also for dive-bombing and artillery spotting.[3]

One E8N was purchased in early 1941 by the German Naval Attache to Japan, Vice-Admiral Paul Wenneker, and dispatched on board the KM Münsterland to rendezvous with the German auxiliary cruiser Orion at Maug Island in the Marianas. The meeting occurred on the 1st of February, 1941, and Orion thus became the only German naval vessel of the Second World War to employ a Japanese float plane.

Some aircraft remained in service with the fleet at the outbreak of the Pacific War, and one flew reconnaissance from the battleship Haruna during the Battle of Midway, but they were soon replaced by more modern aircraft such as the Aichi E13A and the Mitsubishi F1M, being reassigned to second-line duties.[3]


Initial production type, powered by 433 kW (580 hp) Nakajima Kotobuki 2 Kai 1 radial engine.
Improved production type, with more powerful (470 kW/630 hp) Nakajima Kotobuki Kai 2 engine.


 Nazi Germany

Specifications (E8N2)

Data from Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War[5], [6]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2
  • Length: 8.81 m (28 ft 11 in)
  • Wingspan: 10.98 m (36 ft 0 in)
  • Height: 3.84 m (12 ft 7 in)
  • Wing area: 26.5 m2 (285 sq ft)
  • Empty weight: 1,320 kg (2,910 lb)
  • Gross weight: 1,900 kg (4,189 lb)
  • Powerplant: × Nakajima Kotobuki 2-KAI 2 9-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engine, 470 kW (630 hp) for take-off
343 kW (460 hp) at 3,000 m (9,843 ft)
  • Propellers: 2-bladed fixed-pitch propeller


  • Maximum speed: 300 km/h (190 mph, 160 kn) at 3,000 m (9,843 ft)
  • Cruise speed: 185 km/h (115 mph, 100 kn)
  • Range: 898 km (558 mi, 485 nmi)
  • Service ceiling: 7,270 m (23,850 ft)
  • Time to altitude: 3,000 m (9,843 ft) in 6 minutes 31 seconds
  • Wing loading: 71.7 kg/m2 (14.7 lb/sq ft)
  • Power/mass: 0.2491 kW/kg (0.1515 hp/lb)


  • Guns: 2 × 7.7 mm (0.303 in) machine guns
  • Bombs: 2 × 30 kg (66 lb) bombs

See also

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

Related lists


  1. Francillon 1970, p.408.
  2. Francillon 1970, p.409.
  3. Francillon 1970, p.410.
  4. World Air Forces – Historical Listings Thailand (THL), archived from the original on 25 January 2012, retrieved 30 August 2012
  5. Francillon, Rene (1979). Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War. London: Putnam & Company Limited. pp. 408–410. ISBN 0 370 30251 6.
  6. Joao, Matsuura. "WWII Imperial Japanese Naval Aviation Page".
  • Francillon, R.J. Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War. London:Putnam, 1970. ISBN 0-370-00033-1.
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