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Japanese–German pre-World War II industrial co-operation: Wikis


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In the years leading up to the outbreak of World War II in Europe in 1939, there was some significant collaborative development in heavy industry between German companies and their Japanese counterparts as part of the two nation's evolving relations. This was one major factor in Japan's ability quickly to exploit raw materials in the areas of the Empire of Japan that had recently come under their military control.


Lurgi group plants

Nippon Lurgi Goshi KK was a Japanese company of the period involved in Japanese-German cooperation. The Lurgi AG German industrial group was a partner, and it was the Lurgi office in Tokyo. The Combined Intelligence Objectives Sub-committee of the United States and United Kingdom later investigated it.

At the beginning of 1942 the Japanese acquired all the low temperature carbonization patents of Lurgi for Japan, Manchuria and of China. The agreement gave the Japanese the right to construct plants and an exclusive use of patents. A flat payment of approximately 800,000 Reichsmark, was received from the Japanese, this sum being cleared through the German government. One of the aims was synthetic oil. For example, the South Sakhalin Mining and Railway Company plant at Naihoro/Oichai in Karafuto perhaps motivated the licensing: the southern Karafuto brown coal with a content of paraffin tar (about 15%), and low water content, was suitable for hydrogenation.

Mitsui Kosan KK Miiki (Ohmura) operated from about 1939. Lurgi AG installed an activated carbon plant to operate with the Fischer-Tropsch plant. Coke and water gas were produced, the coke ovens being built by Koppers.

The shale plant at Fushun (or Japanese Bujum), Manchuria was perhaps capable of annual production of 200,000 tons of shale oil. The Imperial Japanese Navy also had an interest there in producing some diesel oil and gasoline, in low amounts.

The Manshu Gosei Nenryo plant of Chinchow (Kinshu), known also as Fushin( Fusin or Japanese Bujim) was a Fischer-Tropsch plant producing about 30,000 tons per year, online from about 1940.

Near Beijing, in Hopei, the Kalgari Factory was to develop the local bituminous coal available at Kalgari. It could be used also for the Mengchiang coal of the Chahar-Suiyuan mines.

A planned gasification plant at Rumoe in Hokkaidō was apparently not built.

Chosen Sekitan KK, at Eian was a small low temperature carbonization plant which was processed about 600 tons of coal per day. This plant yielded from 15,000 to 20,000 tons per annum of coal tar.

With Koppers

Ube Yuka Kogya KK (no.2), at Ube was a low temperature carbonization plant, with a synthetic ammonia plant. This lwas a collaboration with Heinrich Koppers AG of Essen.

Japanese-German military technology collaboration

It is known that Japan and Germany signed agreements on military technological collaboration, both before the 1939 outbreak of World War II, and during the conflict. The first air technology interchange occurred during World War I when Japan joined against Germany on the side of the Allies, and Germany lost a Rumpler Taube at Tsingtao, which the Japanese rebuilt as the Isobe Kaizo Rumpler Taube, and an L.V.G. known to the Japanese as the Seishiki-1, in 1916.

After the war had ended the Japanese purchased licences for the Hansa-Brandenburg W 33 which was built as the Yokosho Navy Type Hansa in 1922 and as the Aichi Type 15-ko "Mi-go" in 1925.

During World War II the Japanese Navy traded a reconnaissance seaplane Nakajima E8N "Dave" (Itself a multi-generational development of the (Vought O2U) to Germany which was later seen in British markings on the German raider Orion, and some sources mention the probable dispatch of a Mitsubishi Ki-46 "Dinah", among other weapons.

In the other direction:

-The German Focke Wulf company sent a Focke Wulf Fw-190 A-5, and was contracted to send a Focke Wulf Fw 200 V-10(S-1) or Focke-Wulf Ta 152.

-The Heinkel company sent examples of the Heinkel He 50 A (manufactured in Japan by Aichi as the D1A1, Allied codename "Susie"), Heinkel He 70 "Blitz", Heinkel He 112 (V12,12 B-0, Japanese designation A7He1), Heinkel He 100 D-1 (in Japan designated AXHe1), Heinkel He 116 (V5/6), and Heinkel He 118, Heinkel He 119 V7 and V8, Heinkel HD 25, Heinkel HD 62, Heinkel HD 28, Heinkel HD 23, Heinkel He 162 "Volksjager", Heinkel He 177 A-7 "Greif" designs.

-The Bucker company sent its Bucker Bu 131 "Jungmann" which in Japan was designated Kokusai Ki-86/Kyushu K9W1.

-The Dornier Company sent its Dornier Do 16 Wal (in Japan made by Kawasaki as the KDN-1), Dornier Do N built as the Kawasaki Army Type 87 Heavy Bomber, and the Dornier Do C.

-Fieseler sent the Fieseler Fi-103 (V-1) "Reichenberg" and Fieseler Fi 156 Storch (redesigned by the Japanese and produced as the Kobeseiko Te-Go).

-The Junkers company sent its Junkers K 37 (developed by the Japanese as the Mitsubishi Ki-1 and Ki-2), Junkers G-38b K51 (Japanese design Mitsubishi Ki-20), Junkers Ju 88 A-1, Junkers Ju 52, Junkers Ju 87 A, Junkers Ju 86 and made sales of its Junkers Ju 290, Junkers Ju 390 and Junkers Ju 488 designs.

-The Messerschmitt company sold Messerschmitt Me Bf 109 E-3/4, Messerschmitt Me 110, Messerschmitt Me 210 A-2, Messerschmitt Me 163 A/B "Komet" (a Japanese design was based only on partial drawings received was built as the Mitsubishi J8M/ Ki-200 "Shusui" Rocket Intercepter) and Messerschmitt Me 262 A-1a whose design influenced Nakajima Ki-201 "Karyu"; and studied the possibility of the use of the Messerschmitt Me 264 - also sent the design of the Messerschmitt Me 509, (which may have influenced the design of the Yokosuka R2Y1 Keiun reconnaissance plane).

-The Arado Company sent(?) an example of Arado Ar 196 A-4, which had been traded for the Nakajima E8N already mentioned;

-Focke-Achgelis sent its design Focke-Achgelis Fa 330 Bachstelze, an observation plane for submarines, and other aircraft examples.

When it comes to aircraft equipment, the Japanese Army Fighter Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien "Tony" used a licence built Daimler-Benz DB-601A engine which resulted in the Allies believing that it was either a Messerschmitt Me Bf 109 or an Italian Macchi C.202 Folgore until they examined captured examples. It was also fitted with Mauser MG 151/20 20mm Cannons also built under licence.

Japanese Ambassador General Hiroshi Oshima in the name of Japanese Army bought one example of the Panzerkampfwagen PzKpfw VI Ausf E Tiger I Tank with additional equipment, and the Navy received examples of the German Submarine Type IXD-2 Ausf "Monsun" and other submarines, such as the U-181 (Type IXD-2) (Japanese sub I- 501), the U-862 (Type IXD-2), (Japanese submarine I-502), Italian submarines "AQUILA III" (Japanese submarine I-503), and "AQUILA VI" (Japanese submarine I-504), U-219 (Type XB) (Japanese submarine I-505), the U-195 (Type IXD-1) (Japanese submarine I-506), two Type IXC submarines (Japanese submarines RO-500 & RO-501), and Flagvierling 20 mm anti-aircraft cannons, with a disarmed V-2, etc.

There are other cases of military technology interchange. The Ho-Ru Sp with 47mm AT Cannon resembled the German Hetzer SP vehicle combined with wheel guide pins like T-34 and Heavy Tank Destroyers Ho-Ri I and II, armed with 105 mm Cannon. They seem to have been influenced by German Jagd Heavy tanks Ferdinand, Elefant and Jagdtiger and Type 4 Medium Tank "Chi-To" armed with 75mm Cannon and Type 5 Medium Tank "Chi-Ri" armed with 75 or 88mm Cannon, influenced of Panther, Tiger I, and Tiger II German Tanks and Armored Carrier Type 1 Half-Track "Ho-Ha" are similar to the German Armored Carrier SdKFZ 251/1 "HANOMAG".

In 1935 a German technical mission arrived in Japan to sign some accords and licenses to use the technology in the "Akagi" Class Carrier for the Type "A" (Graf Zeppelin) and "B" (cencelled) aircraft carriers from Deutsche Werke Kiel A. G. They also acquired the technical data on the adaptations to the Messerschmitt Me 109T/E and Junkers Ju 87C/E, for use on such carriers. This technology was also applied in the following aircraft:

To put this in perspective, The Japanese also bought licences and acquired aircraft (sometimes singly and sometimes in large quantities) from most of the western countries. These included the United Kingdom (with which it had a close relationship up until shortly after the end of World War I) and whose De Havilland aircraft were extensively used, France, who supplied a huge variety of aircraft of all types from 1917 through to the 1930s, and whose Nieuport-Delage NiD.29 C.1 fighter provided the Japanese Army Air Force with its first modern fighter aircraft, as well as the bias toward extremely maneuverable aircraft. The United States of America supplied the Douglas DC-4E and Douglas DC-5, North American NA.16 (T-6/SNJ precursor) as well as too many others to list. This resulted in many Japanese aircraft being discounted as being copies of western designs - which from 1935 onwards was rarely the case except for trainers and light transports where development could be accelerated, the Nakajima Ki-201 and Mitsubishi J8M being rare exceptions.

the months of 1944, Japan was to rely heavily on the Nippon-German Technical Exchange Agreement, obtaining manufacturing rights, intelligence, blueprints, and in some cases, actual airframes for several of Germany's new air weapons. These included the Me 163 "Komet" ( developed as the Mitsubishi J8M Shusui ), the BMW 003 axial-flow jet engine (which was reworked to Japanese standards as the Ne-20 ), information on the Me262 (which resulted in the Nakajima Kikka),data on the Fiesler Fi103R series (which culminated in the development of the Kawanishi Baika ),and even data on the Bachem Ba349 "Natter" point-defense interceptor.

While the Nakajima Kikka bore some resemblance to the German Me262, it was only superficial, even though the Ne-20 engines which powered the Kikka were the Japanese equivalent of the German BMW 003 engine which initially powered the Me262 prototype. Also, the Kikka was envisioned from the outset not as a fighter, but as a special attack bomber and was only armed with a bomb payload.

Over Tachikawa Ki-162 The Japanese became involved in the He 162 when the final blow was coming to Germany in 1945.It seems, however, that the Japanese were sent data concerning the He 162 not by submarine or courier, but by wire transmission. This transfer occurred in April 1945. What was sent is not known but certainly could not have been useful in the absence of any form of blueprints, technical drawings, or other more solid data needed to produce such an aircraft as the He 162.

if considered the Japanese acquired illustrations or pictures of the He 162 from some source and perhaps from the data obtained from the transmissions, could have produced something from it, much as they did the Ne-20 from photographs of the BMW 003 turbojet. If dimensions of the He 162 were sent, it is probable Japanese engineers could have replicated the appearance of the He 162 and either equipped it with the later Ne-330 engine or the Maru pulsejets. Certainly the He 162 lent itself to the use of non-war critical materials in its construction and was relatively simple to assemble and build, all things the Japanese were capable of doing. As it was, with the situation the Japanese air industry found itself in by this time, the task of producing a new aircraft from such sketchy data would have taken more effort than could be spared.

See also

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