A6M2 Zero fighter aboard carrier Akagi prior or during the attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec 1941

Caption   A6M2 Zero fighter aboard carrier Akagi prior or during the attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec 1941 ww2dbase
Source    ww2dbaseUnited States Navy National Museum of Naval Aviation
Identification Code   1996.488.159.029
More on...   
A6M Zero   Main article  Photos  
Attack on Pearl Harbor   Main article  Photos  Maps  
Akagi   Main article  Photos  
Added By C. Peter Chen
Added Date 28 Jun 2011

This photograph has been scaled down; full resolution photograph is available here (1,887 by 1,478 pixels).

Licensing  Public Domain. According to the United States copyright law (United States Code, Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105), in part, "[c]opyright protection under this title is not available for any work of the United States Government".



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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
9 Jun 2011 07:21:04 AM

A6M2 Model 21 Zero fighter secured on the flight deck, aboard carrier Akagi. As the task force moves closer to Hawaii bridge is bagged for protected. Aircraft AI-101 in background is squadron leader. The belly tank was made from plywood and held about 150 US gallons. Radio mast was made from wood located behind pilot, also the fighter was equipped with a radio compass that was of loop style also located behind pilot. The Zero was finished in a gray overall color w/ its engine cowling a blue-black color all interior surfaces were painted a blue-green protective finish prop spinner was metal markings were located in six positions w/ aircraft number and carrier markings on tail and fuselage. The Akagi carried 66 aircraft made up of Zero fighters, Val dive bombers and kate torpedo bombers.
2. Brooks Rowlett says:
19 Aug 2011 06:29:29 AM

check j-aircraft.com - the gray color is no longer believed correct.
3. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
22 Oct 2011 11:32:21 AM

Say Brooks you could have given me more info than a one-liner, but here goes. You have effects of salt-spray, weathering, paint-dulling and tropical sunlight can turn any color dull. Some sources have described the color as a glossy light olive gray, glossy pale gray w/glossy blue-black engine cowling. As I've stated before, and will again I'm no expert. Before and early WWII until around 1942 most Japanese Navy aircraft were painted in a pale olive-green, in a black and white photograph the aircraft would look light gray, so you can pick your color scheme. I enjoy collecting and building plastic model airplanes in 1/72 scale. For the scale modeler who wants to be excat for model shows and awards its important, but for me I use a little lee-way and sometimes use a little imagination. Once built a Mitsubishi A5M Claude fighter painted it light blue with a blue-black engine cowling, red tail and horizontal stabilizers, hinomaru red sun disk in six positions. The Claude was built 38 years ago and has an honored place in my collection.
4. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
22 Oct 2011 02:05:55 PM

Here is another example of the Zeros markings and camouflage in question. In 1942 Petty Officer Tadayoshi Koga made an emergency landing, but died in the crash on Akutan Island, after raids on Dutch Harbor the Zero was later found by US Navy. Aircraft was described as pale-gray in color and from back of engine cowling along top of the fuselage to just behind canopy was painted light blue, tail number DI-108 in black. When the Zero was being rebuilt you can barely see the blue on the fuselage top
5. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
15 Dec 2011 08:43:24 PM

ABOUT THAT DROP TANK: The A6M Zero carried a drop tank as seen in above photo. The tanks were built by three companies: Nippon Kentetsu Kogyo Osaka Arminyumu and the Hiro Naval Arsenal, the tanks were painted the overall color as the airframe. Early drop tanks were aluminum and later production tanks were built from plywood the tanks were six feet long and held 40 gallons and divided into two compartments, with splash boards. Tanks were installed flush against the plane belly, between the landing gears.
6. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
18 Dec 2011 06:43:34 PM

In my comment dated 9 June 2011 that the zero drop tank held 150 gallons is not correct. In an effort for transparency, I like that word, I'll correct any and all mistakes the Mitsubishi A6M2 Model 21 drop tank held 160liters/42gallons of fuel. The Zero had a range of 1,162miles/1,870km on internal fuel,and 1,930miles/3,107km with its drop tank. Endurance 1.5hrs. at normal rated power and 6 to 8hrs. at economical speed w/drop tank. The Zero could also carry 2x60kg/132lb bombs FIELD MODIFICATION: A two-seat field modification version was built at the Japanese Naval Base at Rabaul for a pilot and radio operator, both sat in a fully enclosed cockpit canopy, two Zero fighters, were modified what happended to them is unknown most, but likely they were used for high speed reconnissance over Allied territory. Unlike the later A6M2-K two-seat zero trainer where the instructor had an enclosed cockpit canopy, and the student pilot sat in the front in an open cockpit. As I've said before, I'm no expert, but I'll share my knowledge with ww2db.
7. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
19 Dec 2011 08:13:36 AM

Another source lists the A6M Zero drop tank as holding 330liters/72.9Imp.gallons of fuel Drop tanks with varying capacities were also used such as the 84gal tank. Its possible that other manufactures,besides the three listed above in comment #5 could have also built the drop tanks. The total number of tanks built,along with the data could have been destroyed or lost at the end of the war, this could lead to the varying information. This is just my conclusion.
8. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
28 Dec 2011 06:21:17 PM

DROP TANKS ENOUGH TO GO AROUND: Early tanks were made from aluminum later they were built from wood. The standard drop tank was 5feet 2inches long, it was 15 1/4 inches in diameter with 2 plywood panals 7/64 inch thick holding 35gallons as listed above. These tanks were manufactured by many different companies and were different in fuel capacity and design. Later models of the Zero and other Japanese fighters carried 2 drop tanks under the wings of varying capacity.
9. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
3 Jun 2012 04:12:54 PM

Continued from Comment #6 Dated Dec. 2011 A flying example of a two-seat Mitsubishi A6M3 Model 22 Zero,(Zeke)is now at the Flying Heritage Collection, located at Pine Field Everett, Washington, USA. How many were built(field modifications)is unknown, the fighters were used for high speed reconnaissance, crew pilot and radio operator/observer. Later A6M2-K and A6M5-Ks were built as trainers by Naval Arsenal at Sasebo and Hitachi in Japan total of 515 were built before wars end.
10. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
11 Jun 2012 10:53:49 AM

THE PRODUCTION LINE: The A6M2 Model 12 Zero/Zeke were built by both Mitsubishi and Nakajima, However, it was Nakajima who produced the most Zero fighters during the war, with 6,500 built and Mitsubishi with 3,800 built. Nakajima also built a float-plane fighter variant A6M2-N. By September 1942 Nakajima had built over 300 A6M2s. Mitsubishi started production of the A6M3 Hamp in June 1942 and by October 250 were built, with an average production of 2-Zeros per-day or about 67 aircraft per-month. Between April 1942 to March 1943 about 1600 Zeros were built by Mitsubishi, of which Nakajima built 960 of them. NOT ENOUGH ZEROS: April 1944 to March 1945, 1145 were built by Mitsubish and 2342 by Nakajima. April 1945 to August 1945, 119 built by Mitsubushi, and 885 by Nakajima. Total a/c production reached 10,449. A6M2-N, A6M2-K & A6M5-K production is listed below. A6M2-N 327, A6M2-K & A6M5-K 515 aircraft As the war continued the Zero was upgraded with more powerful engines giving it higher speed and improved armament. The A6M5 Model 52 was the most produced version entering service in 1943, the last version of the Zero was the A6M7 Model 67 and A6M8, the war ended before it went into service.

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