View Full Version : Japanese plane 'names'. Where did they originate?

04-17-2006, 06:04 PM
Oscar, Dinah etc.

Any particular reason for male/female designation?
(and what was the WORST name?)

And who chose 'em?

04-17-2006, 06:24 PM
from http://www.csd.uwo.ca/~pettypi/elevon/baugher_other/japcode.html (http://www.csd.uwo.ca/%7Epettypi/elevon/baugher_other/japcode.html)

The code name system for Japanese aircraft originated in the Southwest Pacific theatre in the second half of 1942. Before Pearl Harbor, very little was known about Japanese military aircraft of any type, and it was widely assumed that most Japanese military aircraft were second-rate copies of obsolescent Western designs. It goes without saying that the first six months of the Pacific War showed just how wrong that view was!

The Allies were thus faced with a desperate need for accurate, up-to-date intelligence on the Japanese aircraft which were at that time riding roughshod over the entire Pacific theatre of operations. In June, 1942 Captain Frank T. McCoy of Nashville, Tennessee became head of the Material Section of the Directorate of Intelligence of the allied air forces in the entire Southwest Pacific area. His team was assigned the task of identifying and classifying Japanese aircraft.

Since Captain McCoy was from Tennessee, he initially assigned hillbilly names such as ZEKE, RUFE, NATE, and JAKE to Japanese aircraft --- chosen so that they were short, simple, unusual, and easy to remember. 75 code names were assigned the first month. By September 1942, these names were in wide use throughout the entire Southwest Pacific. Shortly thereafter, they went into use throughout the entire Pacific.

These odd-sounding code names soon attracted attention from high-ranking military brass. Captain McCoy assigned to what later turned out to be a modified Zero the code name HAP, the nickname of General Henry H. ("Hap") Arnold, USAAF Chief of Staff. The General was not amused, and had Capt McCoy summoned before General MacArthur's chief of operations to explain what he was up to. Captain McCoy seems to have gotten himself out of this particular jam, but the name HAP was quietly changed to HAMP.

In the summer of 1944, a joint Army-Navy Air Technical Center in Washington took over responsibility for assigning the names.

The code names were alloted according to the following system:

Male first names:
Fighters and reconnaissance seaplanes
Female first names:
bombers, attack bombers, dive bombers, reconnaissance aircraft, flying boats, transports (names beginning with letter T).
Tree names:
Bird names:
However, there were some exceptions to the rule. The Ki-44 Shoki single-seat fighter was assigned the name TOJO

04-17-2006, 09:28 PM
Get yourself a copy of

"Japanese Aircraft Code Names & Designations"

by Robert C. Mikesh, published by Schiffer.


It tells the story of the TAIC units that did all the naming, and has photos and descriptions of all code named, and most non-named Japanese aircraft.

Mr. Mikesh is the former curator of the National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.

It's a must have book for anyone interested in the air war in the Pacific.


Check it out... (http://www.schifferbooks.com/newschiffer/book_template.php?isbn=0887404472)

04-18-2006, 01:09 AM
Thanks for the info! Cheers