Mitsubishi A6M Zero


Gloster Aircraft since 1917.


Most of the aircraft was built of a new top-secret aluminium alloy developed by Sumitomo Metal Industries in 1936.


Japan produced more Zeros than any other model of combat aircraft during the war. ==Design and development== The Mitsubishi A5M fighter was just entering service in early 1937, when the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) started looking for its eventual replacement.

On 5 October 1937, it issued "Planning Requirements for the Prototype 12-shi Carrier-based Fighter", sending it to Nakajima and Mitsubishi.

Imperial Japanese Navy Aces, 1937–45.


The Zero had ruled the roost totally and was the finest fighter in the world until mid-1943." ==Variants== ===A6M1, Type 0 Prototypes=== The first two A6M1 prototypes were completed in March 1939, powered by the Mitsubishi Zuisei 13 engine with a two-blade propeller.


{| |} The Mitsubishi A6M "Zero" was a long-range carrier-based fighter aircraft formerly manufactured by Mitsubishi Aircraft Company, a part of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, and operated by the Imperial Japanese Navy from 1940 to 1945.

General "Hap" Arnold, commander of the USAAF, objected to that name, however, so it was changed to "Hamp". ==Operational history== The first Zeros (pre-series of 15 A6M2) went into operation with the 12th Rengo Kōkūtai in July 1940.

Nevertheless, when the first A6M2 was completed in January 1940, the Sakae's extra power pushed the performance of the Zero well past the original specifications. The new version was so promising that the Navy had 15 built and shipped to China before they had completed testing.

They arrived in Manchuria in July 1940, and first saw combat over Chungking in August.


Thanks to a combination of unsurpassed maneuverability – compared to contemporary Axis fighters – and excellent firepower, it easily disposed of Allied aircraft sent against it in the Pacific in 1941.

Two other versions of the Model 21 were built in small numbers, the Nakajima-built A6M2-N "Rufe" floatplane (based on the Model 11 with a slightly modified tail), and the A6M2-K two-seat trainer of which a total of 508 were built by Hitachi and the Sasebo Naval Air Arsenal. ===A6M3 Type 0 Model 32=== In 1941, Nakajima introduced the Sakae 21 engine, which used a two-speed supercharger for better altitude performance, and increased power to .

A prototype Zero with the new engine was first flown on 15 July 1941. The new Sakae was slightly heavier and somewhat longer due to the larger supercharger, which moved the center of gravity too far forward on the existing airframe.

Army Air Forces' Intelligence on Japanese Fighter Tactics in the Pacific Theatre, 1941–5," International History Review 34 (Dec.

Zero! The Story of Japan's Air War in the Pacific: 1941–45.


The Allied code for Japanese aircraft was introduced in 1942, and McCoy chose "Zeke" for the "Zero".

During an air raid over Dutch Harbor on 4 June 1942, one A6M fighter was hit by ground-based anti-aircraft fire.

Nevertheless, the navy accepted the type and it entered production in April 1942. The shorter wingspan led to better roll, and the reduced drag allowed the diving speed to be increased to .

More importantly, it regained its capabilities for long operating ranges, similar to the previous A6M2 Model 21, which was vastly shortened by the Model 32. However, before the new design type was accepted formally by the Navy, the A6M3 Model 22 already stood ready for service in December 1942.

However, "A6M4" does appear in a translation of a captured Japanese memo from a Naval Air Technical Arsenal, titled Quarterly Report on Research Experiments, dated 1 October 1942.

Guadalcanal 1942–43: Japan's bid to knock out Henderson Field and the Cactus Air Force (Air Campaign).

Life, 4 November 1942. Willmott, H.P.


By 1943, the Zero was less effective against newer Allied fighters due to design limitations.

One plane of such arrangement was photographed at Lakunai Airfield ("Rabaul East") in the second half of 1943, and has been published widely in a number of Japanese books.

The prototype was made in June 1943 by modifying an A6M3 and was first flown in August 1943.

The markings suggest that it was in service after June 1943 and further investigation suggests that it has cockpit features associated with the Nakajima-built Model 52b.


By 1944, with Allied fighters approaching the A6M levels of maneuverability and consistently exceeding its firepower, armor, and speed, the A6M had largely become outdated as a fighter aircraft.

The first of this variant was completed in April 1944 and it was produced until October 1944. A6M5c, Model (Hei, 52c) – Armament change: One 13.2 mm (.51 in) Type 3 machine gun was added in each wing outboard of the cannon, and the 7.7 mm gun on the left side of the cowl was deleted.

The first of this variant was completed in September 1944.


{| |} The Mitsubishi A6M "Zero" was a long-range carrier-based fighter aircraft formerly manufactured by Mitsubishi Aircraft Company, a part of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, and operated by the Imperial Japanese Navy from 1940 to 1945.

Nonetheless, in competent hands, the Zero could still be deadly. Due to shortages of high-powered aviation engines and problems with planned successor models, the Zero remained in production until 1945, with over 10,000 of all variants produced. ===Allied analysis=== ====American opinions==== The American military discovered many of the A6M's unique attributes when they recovered a largely intact specimen of an A6M2, the Akutan Zero, on Akutan Island in the Aleutians.

Entering production in May 1945, the A6M7 was also used in the special attack role. ===A6M8 Type 0 Model 64=== Similar to the A6M6 but with the Sakae (now out of production) replaced by the Mitsubishi Kinsei 62 engine with , 60% more powerful than the engine of the A6M2.


Dutton & Co., 1956. Nijboer, Donald.

New York: Ballantine Books, 1956.


Leatherhead, Surrey, UK: Profile Publications Ltd., 1966. Francillon, René J.


Leatherhead, Surrey, UK: Profile Publications Ltd., 1967. Jackson, Robert.


Along with several other Zeros, this aircraft was recovered by the Australian War Memorial Museum in the early 1970s from Rabaul in the South Pacific.

London: Putnam, 1970, . Glancey, Jonathan.

Canterbury, Kent, UK: Osprey Publications Ltd., 1970.


Windsor, Berkshire, UK: Profile Publications Ltd., 1972. Sakaida, Henry.


Air International, October 1973, Vol 3 No 4.

4, October 1973, pp. 199–200. Richards, M.C.


Praeger Press, 1976.


The museum previously had another Zero in its collection, msn 4323, but it was destroyed in a fire on 22 February 1978. 51553 – On display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton, Ohio.


New York: Doubleday & Co., 1979.

Naval Institute Press, 1979.


London: Octopus Books Limited, 1980.

London: Bison Books, 1980.


New York: Crown Publishers, Inc., 1981; copyright Zokeisha Publications, Tokyo.

London: Jane's Publishing Company Ltd., 1981.


Boston: Addison-Wesley, 1983.

Carrollton, Texas, USA: Squadron/Signal Publications, Inc., 1983.


Sparkford, UK: Haynes Publishing, 1987.

London: Putnam and Company Ltd., 1987.


This aircraft is an A6M3 that was recovered from Babo Airfield, Indonesia, in 1991.


Tokyo, Japan: Dai Nippon Kaiga Company Ltd., 1993.


Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1994.

Paul, Minnesota: Motorbooks International, 1994.


Westport, Connecticut: Praeger Publishers, 1996.

Paul, Minnesota: Phalanx Publishing, 1996.

Fyshwick, Australia: Aerospace Publications Pty Ltd., 1996.


London: Greenhill Books, 1997.


The aircraft was re-registered in 1998 and displayed at the Museum of Flying in Santa Monica, California.

Botley, Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing Ltd., 1998.


Le Muy, France: Editions d’Along, 2000.


Paul, Minnesota: MBI Publishing, 2001.

Tarnobrzeg, Poland/Redbourn, UK: Mushroom Model Publications, 2001.


Ramsbury, Marlborough, Wiltshire, UK: Airlife Publishing, 2003.


New York: NAL Caliber, 2005.


London: Atlantic Books, 2006.

Milan: Mondadori Electa, 2006. Mikesh, Robert C.


Washington, D.C.: Potomac Books Inc., 2007.


Hersham, Surrey, UK: Ian Allan Publishing, 2008.


Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing, 2009.


Blacksburg, Virginia, USA: Military Aviation Archives, 2010.


Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing, 2011.


Oxford, UK: Osprey, 2013.


Barnsley, South Yorkshire, UK: Pen & Sword Books, 2015.


This aircraft was damaged in a ground accident on 15 March 2016, when a Goodyear FG-1D Corsair taxiing behind it overran the tail of the Zero, with the Corsair's propeller shredding roughly the last third of the Zero's fuselage and its control surfaces. Replica – Owned by the Southern California Wing of the Commemorative Air Force in Camarillo, California.


Osprey Publishing, 2019.

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