Mitsubishi B5M

The Mitsubishi B5M was an Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) land-based attack aircraft with an Allied reporting name of Mabel. The IJN designation was Type 97 Number 2 Carrier Attack Bomber. The number two was to distinguish it from the Nakajima B5N, which was called Type 97 Number 1. 

The B5M was designed in response to a 1935 specification for a new bomber for use on the IJN aircraft carriers. The machine was to have a crew of three, folding wings for flight deck storage, a speed of not less than 200 mph, a flight endurance of not less than 7 hours, and the ability to carry at least 1,760 pounds of bombs. A total of 270 aircraft were manufactured by Mitsubishi in two variants: 125 B5M and 145 B5M1. 

Although designed as a carrier based aircraft, it was relegated to land-based torpedo bomber duties in World War II. These machines ended their careers as trainers, target tugs, and kamikaze bombers.

Mitsubishi B5M
Class Aircraft
Type Attack
Manufacturer Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation
Origin Japan
Country Name Origin Year
Japan 1937
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Japan 1937 1945 View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation 270 View

The aircraft that Mitsubishi produced first flew in 1937 and was an all-metal, low-wing cantilever monoplane with fixed undercarriage with large wheel spats. The crew of three sat in a long canopy that had a smooth transition to the fuselage. The B5M1s began equipping Japanese Naval units in late 1937, but their performance was never as satisfactory as was that of other Japanese aircraft carrier-based bombers. The B5M1's performance was considered marginal and only 125 were manufactured. While they had originally been intended for aircraft carrier use, the majority were employed during the early months of World War II from land bases in Southeast Asia and in China, where they were confronted by weak or no enemy fighter opposition. These machines ended their careers as trainers, target tugs, and kamikazes.

Role Attack
Manufacturer Mitsubishi
First flight 1937
Introduction 1937
Primary user Imperial Japanese Navy
Number built 125

General characteristics

  • Crew: 3
  • Length: 10.23 m (33 feet 9 inches)
  • Wingspan: 15.3m (50 feet 2 inches)
  • Height: 4.32 m (14 feet 2 inches)
  • Wing area: 37.95 m ()
  • Max takeoff weight: 4000 kg (8,819 pounds)
  • Powerplant: 1 x Mitsubishi Kinsei 43, 746 kW (1,000 hp)


  • Maximum speed: 379km/h (203 mph)
  • Range: 2,350 km (1,460 miles)
  • Service ceiling 8,260 m (27,100 feet)


  • Guns: Two fixed forward-firing 7.7 mm Type 97 machine guns(0.303 inch) mounted in wings, one 7.7 mm (0.303 inch) Type 89 machine gun in flexible mount in rear cockpit
  • Bombs: up to 1,000kg (2,204lbs) of bombs carried externally

End notes