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Japanese Bombs of WWII 

by Bryan Wilburn


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The following are excerpts from formerly classified documents located in the National Archives. 

I hope this helps clear up some questions, even though I still have not located my main files on Japanese Bombs. Unfortunately the bomb marking table at the end of this article is a bit ambiguous. The final color might indicate the tail strapping color not the color of a fourth band on the nose.



Colors of Japanese Bombs



The following comments in quotation marks are direct quotes from a Secret Document: Declassification Info: E.O. 12358, Sec.3.3, 745019 By LJ MARS, Date 10/19/84

"Naval Bombs" "Naval bombs are usually coloured grey with tail fin supporting straps painted green."

"Army Bombs" "These are coloured black, with two light bands around the body and a red band about the nose."

"Anti-Personnel Bomb" ""(1) This bomb is shown in diagram (1) anti is generally described as "1 Kg. Anti-Personnel/Incendiary Bomb." In addition to its obvious use it has been attached to the wings of aircraft, presumably for destruction in the event of a forced landing in unfriendly country.""

"(2) The nose casting is painted black; the tail, with fins, is white. The rubber nose cap is white, and this causes the bomb to be mistaken for a ball under some circumstances; personnel should be warned against the natural impulse to kick at such objects"

"Small Anti-Aircraft Bomb" (6) .... "The bombs are dropped in clusters of 33, by means of a black-painted container so fused as to open a few seconds after release from the aircraft."

(7) The bomb has a black body with a yellow band, and a grey tail. The body itself is identical with that of the Japanese rifle grenade. The total weight is about 12 ounces, of which 4 ounces is the T.N.T. filling."

"Larger Anti-personnel Bombs" (10) In addition to a 15 Kg. anti-personnel Bomb (shown in section2, diagram (1), the Japanese Army frequently use their 50 Kg, G.P. Bomb as an anti-personnel weapon. The fusing is then instantaneous, resulting in a very shallow, dish-like crater, and a maximum fragmentation effect. Often nose extensions rods are fitted to enhance the effect."

Note: Photos in the Archives show the fuse extenders to be between 2 1/2 - 3 feet.

"Naval Bombs" (Aircraft Incendiary Bombs) "(1) These are coloured grey with tail fin supporting straps painted red, and generally resemble in appearance the General Purpose H.E. bombs of the same weight"



Bomb Nose Markings


The following is a summarised version of a table in the OSS Bomb book, formerly Confidential, published July 1944.

It refers to only Naval bombs.

  • Ordinary Bomb (Anti-ship) Green Brown Gray Gray 

  • Land Bombs Green Brown Gray Gray 

  • Practice Bombs Green Black White White 

  • Dummy Bombs Green Black White White 

  • Training Bombs Black 

  • Special Mk 1 (Chem.) Green Yellow Grey Yellow 

  • Special Mk 2 (Anti-Sub) Green Blue Gray Red 

  • Special Mk 3 (Anti - AC) Green Silver Gray Red 

  • Special Mk 4 (Rocket assist) Green White Grey Gray 

  • Special Mk 5 (Armor piercing) Green White Gray Gray 

  • Special Mk 6 (Incendiary) Green red Gray Red 

  • Special Mk 7 (Bacillus) Green Purple Gray Purple 

  • Smoke Bomb Green Black Grey Black



Japanese Practise Bombs & Torpedoes


Click the thumbnails to the right to read about Japanese Aircraft Torpedoes and Practise Bombs, and to view the detailed specifications of Japanese Torpedoes:





Observations from Photos


Observation of photos have suggested the following ordnance colors for the specified aircraft type:


Type 97 Army Heavy Bomber Ki-27 

100 Kg bombs, nose marking of approximately 2 inches, Red. Two 1" body bands forward of the suspension lug, light colored. Documentation indicates the colors were White aft and Yellow Forward. The body bands are 2" forward of the suspension lug, aproximately 8" apart. Brass fuse.


Type 4 Army Heavy Bomber Hiryu Ki-67. 

Torpedo load out, body is natural metal, warhead section is black.


Type 99 Army Ki-51 & Ki-48. 

50 Kg, two body bands same as 100 Kg markings. Brass fuse, two vanes for spinning fuse. 15 Kg, all black.


Type 97 Navy Seaplane E7K 

60 Kg color markings take up the first 1/2 of the nose section on the Bomb.


Type O Mk 11a Seaplanes, AKA Jake

500 Kg "special attack mission". First 1/2 of the nose is colored with banding. Bomb body gray.


Text Copyright 2001 by Bryan Wilburn
Scans Copyright 2001 by Brian Wilburn and Washington DC IPMS Chapter Magazine Rri-Fly 
Page Created 11 April, 2001
Last updated 18 May, 2001

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