Japanese Land-based Naval Air Groups

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The Imperial Navy’s land base air service, called Kokutai system, was established early in 1916.The air groups were organized in naval air bases and ports were assigned to the  units. The names of the units were often originated by the names of the places they were based. In general, air groups and air bases outside those ports were placed under the command of the nearest naval bases, called Chinjufu.

The term of kokutai was taken to mean both a naval air base and the flying unit stationed at that base. The flying unit (hikokitai or hikotai) operated the aircraft, and the rest of the pesonnel of any kokutai operated and mantained the ground facilities of the base at which the air unit was stationed.

Standing combined air groups (josetsu rengo kokutai), intended to be more permament, were established by navy regulations in december 1938. Two were established before the Pacific War: the Eleventh, organized in December 1938, and the Twelfth formed in 1939. By 1941, the Navy’s land based-air groups were almost always composed of one type of aircraft. On 1 November 1942, all land-based air groups identified with base names were given numerical designations.

In the following I summarize the air groups organized before 8 December 1941, and only those that were significantly engaged in combat in either the China War or the Pacific War are described in more detail.



▽ Imperial Japanese Navy – Nihon Kaigun


sphere Nihon Kaigun organization



sphere Aircraft Carriers of the Imperial Japanese Navy 



sphere Battleships of the Imperial Japanese Navy



sphere Heavy Cruisers of the Imperial Japanese Navy



sphere Light Cruisers of the Imperial Japanese Navy



sphere Destroyers of the Imperial Japanese Navy



sphere Submarines of the Imperial Japanese Navy



sphere Auxiliary Ships



sphere The Time Line of ships of the Imperial Japanese Navy



sphere Naval Air Groups



sphere Naval Landing Forces 1928-1945



sphere Secret Weapons of the IJN



sphere Strategic Plans of the IJN


▽ Simulations & Wargames

▽ World War II: Pacific Theater


sphere War in the Pacific: Admiral Edition



sphere The Empire of the Sun (2nd Ed.)



sphere Pacific War



sphere Pacific War (2nd Ed.)

▽Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF)


sphere The organization of the JMSDF



sphere The Regional District Forces



sphere Helicopter Destroyers DDH



sphere Guided Missile destroyers DDG



sphere Destroyers DD



sphere Tank Landing Ships LST



sphere Submarines SS



sphere Support and Auxiliary ships



sphere The aviation of the JMSDF



sphere Naval landing forces of the JMSDF



sphere Future projects of the JMSDF



sphere The strategy of the JMSDF



sphere News & manoeuvres


▽ Simulations & Wargames

▽ World War II: European Theater


sphere Unconditional Surrender



sphere The Supreme commander


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