Japanese A6M Zeke/Zero
WORLD WAR II
One of the WWII airplanes that is
still flying 70+ years the wars end.
AIR&SPACE Smithsonian, May 2015I'd Rather Be Flying From Hangar 18
Japanese A6M Zeke/Zero
(Featuring some of the Ol'Kunnel's favorite airplanes!)
The A6M came as a shock to the allied in 1941 -- this despite earlier reports of its appearance in China. For the first time, a carrier fighter had been built that outperformed landplanes. The A6M was fast, extremely maneuvrable, and had an impressive endurance. But this performance had been achieved by the light construction of the aircraft, and this was the undoing of the type when more powerful allied fighters appeared. Development was unable to keep up with the exigencies of the time, and most of the 10964 built had to fight an increasingly superior opposition.
Type: A6M2 model 21
Year: 1940 Crew: 1 Engines: 1 925hp Nakajima Sakae 12
Wing Span: 12.00m Length: 9.06m Height: 3.05m Wing Area: 22.44m2
Empty Weight: 1680kg Max.Weight: ?
Speed: 533km/h Ceiling: 10300m Range: 3110km
Armament: 2g 20mm 2mg 7.7mm
Type: A6M3 model 32
Year: 1940 Crew: 1 Engines: 1 820kW Nakajima NK1F Sakae 12
Wing Span: 11.00m Length: 9.06m Height: 3.51m Wing Area:
Empty Weight: 1810kg Max.Weight: 2544kg
Speed: 545km/h Ceiling: 11000m Range: 2380km
Armament: 2g 20mm 2mg 7.7mm 2b 60kg
Year: 1945 Crew: 1 Engines: 1 1560hp Mitsubishi Kinsei 62
Speed: 580km/h Ceiling: 12000m Range:
Armament: 2g 20mm 2-3mg 13.2mm 2b 60kg
This specimen is on exhibit at the Smithsonian National Aerospace Museum.
You will notice that this specimen is painted in Imperial Army colors.
On December 7, 1941 a powerful force of Japanese carrier aircraft struck at Pearl Harbor, the American naval base in the Hawaiian Islands, and in a devastating surprise attack destroyed or damaged a large part of the U.S. fleet. On the other side of the International Date Line, on December 8, but in fact at the same time, the Japanese army invaded Malaya, while land-based naval aircraft raided American airfields in the Philippines. Japan had entered the second World War with a bang!
The western Allies were made painfully aware that the previously derided Japanese technology had turned out war planes which were in many ways superior to anything they possessed. Japan had also produced a powerful fleet, built around the fast aircraft carrier, and Japanese personnel were both highly trained and experienced with fours years of warfare in China. The Americans were unprepared, the British Empire forces were already fully committed against the Germans and Italians in Europe and the Middle East. Such forces that were available were poorly-equipped and had little proper training for the immediate battles to come.
The brightest star in the Japanese arsenal was the Navy's Mitsubishi Zero fighter, and this aircraft along with the Army's Nakajima fighters, quickly cut a swath through the Brewster Buffalos, Seversky P-35s, Curtiss Hawks and P-40s of the defending British, Australian, New Zealand, Dutch and American air forces. Reinforcements of British Hurricanes and later-model American P-40s were rushed out, but could do little, and in rapid succession Malaya, Singapore, Borneo, the Dutch East Indies and the Philippines fell to the Japanese invaders.
--Excerpts from History of Aviation by John W.R. Taylor and Kenneth Munson, 1972
04/03/2017 1333Check for any REUNION notices here!
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