The Nakajima B5N1 first flew in January 1937. It was quite unique for a carrier-aircraft
with its low mono wing that folded for storage and wide-track inward folding retractable
landing gear. The new Kates were far superior to its competition, the TBD Devastator
and the Fairey Swordfish however it did have its shortcomings. It was very poorly
armed for self defense and required A5M escort protection. Also the crew and fuel
tanks had no protection. The B5N1 was replaced by the improved B5N2.
Shigekazu Shimazaki was an officer in the Imperial Japanese Navy who led the second
wave of aircraft that attacked Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941. Shimazaki’s Nakajima
B5N2 Kate led fifty four bombers and seventy eight dive-bombers. Along with Mitsuo
Fuchida, leader of the first wave, Shimazaki were granted an audience with the
Emperor Hirohito. Shimazaki also took part in the Battle of the Coral Sea where they
sank USS Lexington. He was promoted to Commander in 1944 and when he died in
January 1945 was posthumously made a Rear Admiral.