Two A6M2 Type 0 Model 11 Zero fighters in flight from Yichang, Hubei Province to attack Nanzheng, Shaanxi Province in China, 26 May 1941

Caption   Two A6M2 Type 0 Model 11 Zero fighters in flight from Yichang, Hubei Province to attack Nanzheng, Shaanxi Province in China, 26 May 1941 ww2dbase
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A6M Zero   Main article  Photos  
Added By C. Peter Chen
Added Date 29 Jun 2011

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
10 Jun 2011 11:18:22 AM

A6M2 Model 21 Zero fighters of the 12th (AG)
Air Group flying over China. First Zero was flown by Lt. Minoru Suzuki, the second Zero flown by PO3/c Kunimori Nakakaiya, who was an ace with 16 kills.
2. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
10 Jun 2011 11:42:06 AM

Sorry made a mistake, the Zeros are Model 11
The first twelve A6M2s, were pre-production machines, that were sent to China.
The prototypes were hand made, pilots flying combat gained much experience, design changes were made to improve the Zero.


The first dogfightt against the Chinese on
Sept.13, 1940 cost the Chinese 27 fighters, without loss to the Japanese.
3. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
13 Jun 2011 08:07:55 PM

When the Zero entered squadron service with the Imperial Japanese Navy, it was the best
carrier-base fighter in the world.
By 1941 the Navy had over 400 in service it was an outstanding dogfighter with excellent maneuverability and range.


The Allies developed a code name system for Japanese aircraft. Fighters were given Boy names, Bombers given Girl names, Gliders Bird names and Trainers Tree names. The code name of Rufe was given to the float-plane fighter of the Zero.
4. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
15 Jun 2011 06:38:58 PM


US Intelligence had been receiving field reports about the new Zero, 18 months before Pearl Harbor.
These reports were ignored, dismissed, pigeon
holed, and just filed away as to incredible.
When war came on Dec. 7, 1941 many US pilots would pay the price in fighting against the Zero.
Lessons learned: Never, ever underestimate an enemy.
5. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
15 May 2013 09:40:19 PM


Did you know the first American to sit in the cockpit of a Mitsubishi A6M Zero, was the US Naval Air Attache Lieutenant(JG)Stephen Jurika, who was attending a Japanese Air Show. His report sent to Washington D.C. and was dismissed as fantastic!


When you get the chance to see the 1944 movie Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo again starring Spencer Tracy and Van Johnson.
Actor Leon Ames plays Lt.Jurika who gives a short briefing to the Doolittle Crews in the film.


Military officer assigned to a diplomatic post in a foreign country, and working in a technical capacity to gather information. Embassies have various military officers working as Air Attache, Naval Attache, and Army Attache.
6. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
16 Apr 2014 08:27:35 PM

The Mitsubishi A6M Zero was an advanced carrier based fighter in 1941 and flown by the best trained naval pilots at that time. Early models
lacked armor protection for the pilot and self sealing fuel tanks, the zero was built light as possible. Against .50 caliber rounds its light construction broke up and flamed when its fuel tanks were hit.
The Zero took a lot of time to produce parts were sub-contracted out. Zero production was turned over to the Nakajima Aircraft Company that also developed a float plane fighter version called the A6M2-N Rufe by Allied Intelligence, and was armed w/2 x 20mm cannons and 2 x 7.7mm machine guns, the land-based A6M Zero carried the same armament.
During the war advanced versions of the A6M Zero started to carry heaver armament with added 12.7mm machine guns. In the hands of a skilled pilot, the Zero was still a deadly combat aircraft


In three years 1939 to 1940 Mitsubishi produced
837 Zeros, in the next year 1,689 and from 1943 to 1944 3,500. As the Pacific War continued it was clear that the Japanese couldn't keep up with aircraft production. Nakajima produced the most number of Zero fighters.
The US was out producing them in both planes and pilots. Japan made the mistake of training only the very, very best pilots, and the very best and the best weren't there to make up the losses the replacement pilots trained after 1943 would never have been selected by the pre-war Japanese Navy for flight training. It wasn't academic skills the replacements lacked, they were rushed through training.
This was the same problem faced with aviation mechanics and ground crews, most young men in pre-war Japan didn't own or work on automobiles or machinery. At Midway June 1942 Japan lost four carriers and 300 pilots and aircrew, not counting the lost carrier crews and ground support crews
It would have taken the Japanese Navy training at pre-war levels about two or three years to make up the losses just in pilots and aircrew alone.

Japan didn't have the time and the replacement pilots paid the price in combat against the highly trained US pilots. There were still a few veteran pilots but they were few in number even instructor pilots were called up and assigned to operational units.
7. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
23 Nov 2015 06:43:16 PM


Mitsubishi A6M2, Model 21's first zero flown by
Lt. Minoru Suzuki. Second zero flown by P03/c
Kunimori Nakakita, an ace with 16 kills


Early A6M Zeros were reported to have a glossy
pale-olive gray finish, other reports claim the zero had a shinning ash-green finish However, over time, the paint would oxidize to a pale-gray


Flown by petty officer Koga s/n4593 was painted
in a glossy gray-green all exterior surfaces, except engine cowling painted a blue/black color
propeller and spinner silver, the zeros aft section behind the pilot was painted a glossy-gray/black color.
The canopy frame work and top of fuselage just behind the canopy was painted a light blue color
Hinomaru markings (red sun) in six positions w/ a yellow stripe on tail with number D1-108 in red and a yellow fuselage band.


Land-based zeros were now given a field applied camouflage of light or dark green on wings and fuselage with Hinomaru's left a red disk. In mid 1942 Nakajima started to apply a 75mm white border around the Hinomaru.
After July 1943 aircraft leaving the factory were painted in dark green camouflage on all upper surfaces with light gray undersurfaces. Engine cowling remained a blue/black color through out the war.
Did you know Mitsubishi separated the green and gray camouflage with a straight horizontal line going aft from the wing root under the horizontal stabilizers to tail cone.
Nakajima's paint scheme was a slightly curving line slanting upward from wing root to horizontal stabilizers and continued downward to tip of tail cone. To aid in camouflage, ground crews would paint out the white 75mm border around the Hinomaru with whatever paint was available black or dark green.

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