Nieuport IV at Tokorozawa Airfield, c. 1913.

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Nieuport IV at Tokorozawa airfield, c. 1912.

Nieuport IV NG at Tokorozawa airfield, c. 1913. Tokorozawa became the site of Japan’s first air base and air service academy in 1911.

See also:
First Airplane Flight in Japan, 1910

“Among many types of aircrafts imported [by Japan] were two Nieuport monoplanes in 1913. They were to be used for training, but also became the first airplanes, together with Japan’s Farman aircraft, to fly into battle for the Japanese.

“The two Nieuport monoplanes were imported from France by the Japanese Army in 1913. They were of different types, one being a Nieuport NG two-seater and the other a Nieuport NM three-seater. Both were built in 1910 and were very similar in appearance.

“The aircraft was considered pleasant to fly even though it had it’s unique characteristics. The Monoplane was not controlled in the ‘normal’ way. The feet pedals were used to work the ailerons instead of the rudder. This was because the whole wing acted as the aileron, and the strength in a person’s legs and feet were needed to work it. Both the vertical and horizontal rudders were then controlled by the joystick. Many pilots therefore learned to fly the airplane using only the tail surfaces for steering like a simple radio controlled airplane model.

“In 1914, Britain and France went to war against Germany and Austria. Japan, which was in alliance with Britain and France, attacked German-Austrian forces in China. In a campaign that lasted from September 4 to November 6 that year would mark the first use of aircraft in battle for the Japanese. The Japanese Army had the two Nieuport monoplanes, four Henry Faraman biplanes and eight pilots available to fly reconnaissance sorties over the enemies territory. Soon were also small bombs carried and dropped over the German Austrian positions.

“The most well known attack during the campaign was the joint Army and Navy attack on the German Austrian fleet at Tsingtao. The main target, a German cruiser, was missed but a small torpedo boat was sunk.”

‘Nieuport Monoplane’, Japan Aircraft, Ships & Historical Research, 1998

A Nieuport IV winging over Tokyo, c. 1914, with the dome and tower of the Nikolai Cathedral at Ochanomizu in the distance.

A Nieuport IV NG winging over Tokyo, c. 1914, with the dome and tower of the Nikolai Cathedral at Ochanomizu visible on the horizon right-of-center.

From the wiki: “The Nieuport IV was a French-built sporting, training and reconnaissance monoplane of the early 1910s. The first Nieuport IVs were built in 1911 and production continued well into World War I in Russia. The design was adopted in small numbers by most air arms of the period, although the Imperial Russian Air Service was the largest user.

“The Japanese Army operated one IV.G and one IV.M, which were designated as Army Nieuport NG2 aeroplane and Army Nieuport NM aeroplane respectively, with the NG being flown in the Tsingtao campaign in September and October 1914 alongside four Maurice Farman MF.11s.

“Tokorozawa, located ~20 miles west of Tokyo, was established in 1911 as Japan’s first air base, where, in the beginning, foreign staff (mostly French but also American) trained Japanese pilots and taught aircraft construction. Tokorozawa served as a military airfield and an air service academy for the Imperial Japanese Army through 1945, after which the air field was expropriated by US occupation forces. The property has since been returned to Japan, and the grounds now have been turned into an aviation museum.”

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