“Nippon” round-the-world flight, Aug.-Sept.,1939



1930sAviationPatriotism/Military
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"Nippon" around-the-world flight crew, 1939.

The flight crew of the modified Mitsubishi G3M2, “Nippon”, who completed the around-the-world flight in 1939. The postcard is captioned on top using the imperial year “2599” – one year before the 1940 anniversary celebrating the founding of Japan’s unbroken imperial lineage beginning with Emperor Jimmu in 660 BCE. Emperor Showa, who reigned from 1926 to 1989, was the 124th imperial monarch.
 

Only days into the journey, on Sept. 3, England and France declared war on Germany. The globe-circling flight was, then, almost canceled but by changing the route (to a more southerly passage to Argentina before crossing the Atlantic to Africa) the crew were able to circumnavigate back to Japan on October 20th

“By nightfall on Friday the 8th, the Japanese goodwill tour had reached Chicago but did not spend the weekend there as originally intended. Saturday morning they took to the air again, winging toward Newark, New Jersey.

“The Japanese world fliers left their airplane at Newark Municipal Hangar and checked into the Hotel Commodore for several days. Sightseeing throughout the region included trips across the Hudson to Rockefeller Center, the Empire State Building, the Bronx Zoo, the Aquarium at the Battery and of course New York’s World’s Fair of 1939, particularly the Aviation Pavilion.

“Scheduled departure on Tuesday the 12th was postponed for twenty-four hours. The reason for the delay was not rain or mechanical problems, but a baseball game. The Japanese wanted to see Joe DiMaggio in action at Yankee Stadium.”

Around-the-World Flights: A History, Patrick M. Stinson, 2011

Commemorative postcard packet cover, “Memorial postcards for the Great Round-the-World Flight”, 1939. Published by the Osaka Mainichi and Tokyo Nichi Nichi newspapers.

“A second major Japanese achievement was recorded in 1939 when, once again, the world appears to have been taken completely by surprise as the result of another record-breaking flight. This was a good-will circumnavigation of the globe undertaken by Nippon (J-BACI), a civil transport version of the twin-engined Mitsubishi G3M2 monoplane bomber that had already made its presence felt in China.

“Departing Tokyo on 26 August, the flight should have included a European leg, but this had to be abandoned due to the outbreak of war; instead Nippon flew across the USA and onto South America before a crossing of the Atlantic that saw it taking in Senegal and Morocco. In total, the flight was completed in fifty-five days, with Nippon arriving back in Tokyo on 20 October having flown 32,862 miles in 194 flying hours.”

Air Wars 1920-1939: The Development and Evolution of Fighter Tactics, by Philip MacDougall, 2017

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  1. Pingback: Mitsubishi G3M, “Nell”, 1935-1945. | Old Tokyo

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