Japan was a pioneer in the development of the seaplane, being the first nation to utilise a seaplane carrier in combat during the early stages of the Great War.
Throughout the interwar period and the Second World War the Imperial Japanese Navy placed greater emphasis upon seaplane operations than any of the other combatants, Allied and Axis, while likewise developing a formidable capability in large, long-range flying boats.
Australia played a large part in operations by these aircraft from December 1941 onwards, including the flyovers of Melbourne and Sydney prior to the attacks by midget submarines against the latter on 31 May 1942, and a series of nuisance attacks targeting facilities across northern Australia.
During this Zoom presentation, attention will focus upon the development of three generations of seaplanes, their specialised seaplane carriers, and the giant ‘Mavis’ and ‘Emily’ flying boats. This includes not only reconnaissance-centric aircraft, but also fighter and attack types, including the advanced strike bombers carried by Japan’s huge I-400 submarine aircraft-carriers which were at one point planned to conduct attacks against urban targets on the east coast of the United States
Angus Britts is a historian and a member of the Naval Historical Society of Australia.
He has published three books, one of which, Ikara: Australia’s Cold War Wonder Weapon, has been published by the Society. He has given two prior Zoom presentations for the Society; one addressing the Ikara missile, and the second dealing with America’s testing of naval-use nuclear weapons during the Cold War, as well as several papers on various naval historical subjects published in Call the Hands.