Tactical Bomber: D3A "Val" - Japan (Pacific 1940)

Tactical Bomber: D3A "Val" - Japan (Pacific 1940)

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Part Number:PA40_JATAC

Aichi D3A “Val” Dive Bomber

Name

Length

Wingspan

Weight

Max Bomb-load

Armament

Speed

Ceiling

Range

Empty

Max Take-Off

Aichi D3A “Val” Dive Bomber

33’ 6”

47’ 2”

5,309 lbs.

8,047 lbs.

551 lbs.

3x 7.7mm mg’s

267 mph

34,500’

840 mi.

 

Aichi D3A “Val” Tactical Bomber

 

ID: Plastic “tactical bomber” gaming piece: Aichi D3A “Val” dive bomber from the game Axis & Allies Pacific 40.

 

The Story of the “Val” Dive Bomber: The Aichi D3A2 “Val” dive bomber was the second leg in the Japanese carrier-based combat aircraft triad of “Zero” fighters, “Val” dive bombers and “Kate” torpedo-bombers.  Each makes an interesting head-to-head comparison with its American equivalent, which included the “Wildcat” fighter, “Dauntless” dive bomber, and “Devastator” torpedo-bomber.  Of the Japanese trio, the “Val” (known from its allied identification code, which used female names for attack planes and male names for fighters) was perhaps the most old-fashioned-looking, with its fixed, non-retractable landing gear.  Nevertheless, the Val compared favorably with the Dauntless, having just as good of a top speed in spite of this handicap and would go on to be one of Japan’s most famous weapons of the war, much like the very similar-in-concept German design (which also featured fixed landing gear), the Ju-87 “Stuka” dive bomber.  The Stuka had become the aerial arm of the German armor-based and mechanized-infantry-supported land blitzkrieg (“lighning war.”)  In much the same way, the Japanese “Val” would become the leading edge of a sort of Japanese “sea blitz” in which Japan’s unusually powerful cruisers and unusually fast battleships would provide the surface “armor” and fire-power and landing forces of the Imperial Japanese Army and Imperial Japanese Navy Special Naval Landing Forces would move in fast behind to take and hold land.  It wasn’t until the US Navy was able to destroy four of the Imperial Japanese Navy’s prized carriers at the Battle of Midway using its own Dauntless dive bombers, significantly diminishing the Japanese ability to project this sort of power far from home, that the US was able to bring Japan’s “naval blitz” to a halt.  Newer carrier-based Japanese dive bombers would later appear with more impressive stats, but Japan had, in the meantime, lost far too many of its elite and highly trained carrier aircrews, and so none of these newer models would even have quite the same impact on the war!

 

Usage Notes: Use this piece for “Global 1939” and “Invasion of Italy” Variants as a tactical bomber unit.  Other Japanese aircraft of interest may be: the Mitsubishi A6M “Zero” Fighter, and the Mitsubishi G4M “Betty” Strategic Bomber.

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