Mitsubishi A6M Zero:The Predator of the Skies

So we all have something were scared of right, its just human nature to have fear. Fear can be a good thing because it keeps us on the alert. Back in the early stages of WWII The Mitsubishi A6M “Zero” was what kept the allies on the alert. The Zero was a long-range fighter that was deployed by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service (IJNAS) from 1940-1945 in the Pacific Theater. It was designated as the Mitsubishi Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter (零式艦上戦闘機 rei-shiki-kanjō-sentōki) or the Mitsubishi A6M Rei-sen. The pilots of the A6M would commonly refer to it as the “Reisen” (Zero Fighter). 

When it was originally introduced early in the war, it was considered to be the most capable carrier-based fighter in the world. It combined excellent maneuverability and a very long range. Early in the war the Zero quickly built a legendary reputation, as a dogfighter. Its kill ratio was a jaw dropping 12:1. So for every 12 Allied planes the Zero pilots killed, one Zero was killed. The men who piloted the Zeros in the early part of the war in the Pacific were the best the IJNAS had to offer. They were the most lethal aces the IJNAS had.

The Japanese really pushed production on the Zero. They built a total of 10,939 aircraft. The Zero used a Nakajima Sakae Radial Engine. The Nakajima Sakae was a two-row, 14-cylinder, air-cooled  engine. This gave the Zero a top speed of 332 Mph. Its armament consisted of two 20 mm cannons, two 7.7 mm machine guns, and two 30 kg and 60 kg bombs.

Even though the Zero was such an incredible machine, it soon became outdated. The allies quickly pushed production on new aircraft capable of matching or even out doing the Zeros performance. The Grumman F6F Hellcat, became known as the “Zero Killer” when it was deployed. The Zeros major problem was that it lacked any sort of armor or protection. A Zero was easy prey for the Hellcat. Even though it had such a good start the Zero became outdated and the IJNAS stopped making newer aircraft to replace it. By the last year of the war the Zero had become so obsolete, that the IJNAS in its desperation began to use it in Kamikaze strikes (suicide strikes). But either way the Zero has left its mark on history and on the Pacific Theater.

 

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4 thoughts on “Mitsubishi A6M Zero:The Predator of the Skies

  1. I think that the zero is an awesome aircraft. The difference, I think was in the preference of tactics, and training. American pilots preferred zoom-and-boom style energy fighting while the Japanese pilots preferred turn fighting. These tactics both work, but after many of Japan’s best pilots had been killed, the US had better trained pilots, decreasing the kill ratio of the zero.
    You know what? You should play War Thunder. I bet you’d like it.

    Like

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