The Nakajima E8N 'Dave' Navy Type 95 Reconnaissance Seaplane was a biplane that replaced the earlier Nakajima E4N Navy Type 90-2-2 Reconnaissance Seaplane and was a very similar design.
The main difference between the E8N and the older E4N were in the wings and the tail. The E8N had slightly longer wings but with a reduced chord and thus a smaller area. The upper wing was more swept back than on the E4N. On the tail the small dorsal fin of the E4N was removed and the vertical tail surfaces were made taller.
The E8N was otherwise very similar to the E4N. It was a twin-float single engined biplane, with an all-metal framework and fabric covering. It used the same 580hp Nakajima Kotobuki 2 KAI 1 nine-cylinder radial engine as the E4N.
The first prototype was completed in March 1934 and was followed by six more development machines. The E8N had to compete with the Kawanishi E8K1 and Aichi E8A1, both more modern monoplane designs. The Japanese Navy decided that it preferred the superior manoeuvrability and handling of the Nakajima biplane to the speed of the two monoplanes, and in October 1935 the E8N1 was accepted for production as the Navy Type 95 Reconnaissance Seaplane Model 1.
Nakajima produced 707 aircraft and Kawanishi produced 48, for a total of 755. Some of these aircraft were E8N2s, with the Kotobuki 2 KAI 2 engine and some equipment changes.
The E8N served on the aircraft tenders Chiyoda, Kamoi, Kiyokawa Maru, Sagara Maru and Sanuki Maru, the cruisers Aoba, Ashigara, Atago, Chokai, Haguro, Kako, Kashima, Katori, Kumano, Maya, Mikuma, Mogami, Myoko, Nachi, Suzuya, Takao and Tone and the battleships Fuso, Haruna, Hyuga, Ise, Kirishima, Kongo, Mutsu, Nagato and Yamashiro.
The E8N saw most service during the second Sino-Japanese War, when it performed well against Chinese fighters. It was normally used as a reconnaissance aircraft or to spot the fall of shells, but it also saw some use as a dive bomber.
The E8N was still in service on some ships during 1942 and was given the Allied codename 'Dave', but by then it was being replaced by the Aichi E13A1 Navy Type 0 Reconnaissance Seaplane and the Mitsubishi F1M2 Navy Type 0 Observation Seaplane. The remaining E8Ns were later used for second line liaison duties, communications and on training duties.
Engine: Nakajima Kotobuki 2 KAI 2 radial pistol engine
Span: 36ft 0.25in
Length: 28ft 10.75in
Height: 12ft 7.25in
Empty weight: 2,910lb
Maximum take-off weight: 4,189lb
Max speed: 186mph at 9,485ft
Service ceiling: 23,860ft
Range: 559 miles
Armament: One forward firing and one rear firing 7.7mm machine guns
Bomb load: Two 66lb/ 30kg bombs