Imagine a novice Zero pilot forced to confront this Grumman brute. In January 1944, a single Marine F4U pilot, 1st Lt. Robert Hanson, shot down 20 Zeros in 17 days. Mitsubishi had the foresight to send Horikoshi to work and observe at aircraft factories in Europe and the U.S. in 1929, and he even spent several months at a Curtiss plant in New York, as an acceptance inspector for a batch of P-6 Hawk pursuit biplanes the Japanese had ordered. The Zero’s two cowl-mounted 7.7mm machine guns were not particularly effective, especially against the new generation of heavy, over built U.S. fighters. The Zero was produced in greater numbers than any other Japanese aircraft, and modified versions of the design continued to see service until 1945. No other aircraft surpasses the Mitsubishi A6M Reisen ("rye-sin," Japanese for Zero Fighter) as the symbol of Japanese air power during World War II. Barber explains, for example, that the Zero lacked the armor that other planes of the period possessed; all it had for protection was a single plate that lay behind the pilot. The Japanese had also bought a V-143 in 1937, and the Zero’s landing gear and retraction mechanism was almost certainly a copy of the Vought’s design; after all, the Zero was one of the first retractables the Japanese built. Yet the Zero’s specialized wing had to be built in one piece, meaning it could not be made in small workshops that were simple to protect. This iconic Japanese manufacturer built the legendary A6M Zeke “Zero” fighter during World War II. The Allies' main opponent in the Pacific air war, the Zero is the most famous symbol of Japanese air power during World War II. Barber explains another potential peril to AVWeb, remarking, “[American planes] had bulletproof glass [in the windshield], which would stop a .50 caliber bullet. Hiroyoshi Nishizawa, Japan's highest scoring Zero pilot, leads a flight of A6M3 Model 22s of the 251st "Kokutai" from Rabaul in 1943. Aug 1, 2018 - The Japanese A6M Zero was designed as a long range carrier-based fighter used to support torpedo bombers, strafe ground targets, and destroy enemy aircraft in the air. So, design boss Jiro Horikoshi went all out to cut the plane’s weight. To subscribe, click here. However, the Zero was not a match for second-generation Allied fighters, such as the Hellcat, in spite of various design refinements. Little did they know what the Navy and Marines had in store for them. American pilots soon learned to dive and turn sharply—especially to the right, which substantial prop-induced torque made particularly difficult for the Zero—when they had a Zero on their tail. Is there any truth to the myth/rumor that Howard Hughes designed the Japanese Zero. He intentionally ran his tanks bone-dry while circling above his Formosa air base after a mission and dead-sticked in from 8,000 feet. The Zero soldiered on until the end of the war, of course—many self-immolating as kamikazes—but only because the Japanese had nothing to replace it, and the Zero often was simply cannon fodder. Some say that because the Zero was the best dogfighter in the Pacific theater, perhaps the world, it was by definition the best fighter. As Barber tells AVWeb, the craft “weighs about what planes with half the horsepower do” – in this case, 4,300 pounds without pilot or fuel. Click here for audio of Episode 470. And included among this number is the Mitsubishi Zero A6M that was discovered in the Indonesian jungle. Shades of the Red Baron. The Japanese had counted on a short, brutal war—not to annex America as an enormous sushi-loving colony, but to force the U.S. to the negotiating table in order to establish an unfettered area of Japanese exploitation in Southeast Asia and the Pacific. But nobody believed that, at the time, inferior Asian monkey can't make a good aircraft (when that Japs were actually able to make aircraft carriers). The truth—and how many times have you heard this?—lies somewhere in the middle. In many recovered Zero hulks, the main spars have largely turned to powder. He finally flew on my wing and held the stick between his knees. (Though it’s often assumed the Japanese army air force also flew Zeros, it never did. The two companies built more than 10,000 Zeros between March 1939 and August 1945. The Zero-Sen possessed complete mastery in the air over the Pacific until the The fighter first flew in April 1939, and Mitsubishi, Nakajima, Hitachi and the Japanese navy produced 10,815 Zeros from 1940-1945. The U.S. carrier-borne fighter plane that succeeded the Grumman F4F Wildcat, the F6F, was tested in its first experimental mode as the XF6F-1 prototype with an under-powered Wright R-2600Twin Cyclone 14-cylinder, two-row radial engine on 26 June 1942. It was not completely prepared so I removed the original posting. It could be opened in flight but not jettisoned, making parachute egress difficult. Though it might seem that permanently affixed wings would make a Zero difficult to transport, Horikoshi had designed the entire tailcone and empennage to easily unbolt just aft of the cockpit. British test pilot Eric Brown, who flew a captured Zero immediately after the war, even today recalls the constant noise of the oil-canning fuselage skin—“like the sound produced when one pushes on the side of a large biscuit tin.” A typical Zero loaded with full fuel and ordnance weighed about 5,500 pounds—less than a midsize Cessna twin. Jiro Horikoshi was the engineer assigned to lead the design team. In another weight-saving measure, the Zero’s main spar was continuous, from wingtip to wingtip, and thus was an inseparable part of the fuselage center section rather than having a left and right wing, each bolted to the fuselage. Some people at the time of Pearl Harbor even believed that the pilots can't be Japanese for the same reason. A fully loaded Hellcat weighed well over twice that much, and definitely wasn’t full of holes. Mitsubishi alone produced 3,879 aircraft of this type, and Nakajima built 6,215. The new plane had to have a top speed in excess of 310mph (about 499kmph) and reach an altitude of 9840 feet (almost 3,000 meters) in three and a half minutes. The Zero’s flight controls mixed some ingenious engineering with at least one awkward feature: Its ailerons were large and powerful, which added greatly to the fighter’s low-speed maneuverability and spectacular roll rate, but they were very difficult to deflect at high speeds. For all its ability to turn like a top, the Zero was something of a deathtrap. With everything removed forward of the firewall as well, the wing and cockpit became a single long but light and narrow truckload. What’s more, in one video uploaded to YouTube in 2013, Barber shows off the extremely low speed that the Zero can reach without stalling. Just like a World War I Spad or Fokker, the Zero’s 7.7mm receivers were in the cockpit, above the instrument panel on either side, and the pilot pulled levers to charge them. It’s said, too, that Zero engineers had copied Pratt & Whitney’s parts so closely that they even included a Navy inspection stamp. Or perhaps they should have developed just one of them. The Mitsubishi A6M Reisen ("ree-sin," Japanese for Zero Fighter) was the symbol of Japanese air power during World War II. Indeed, when Vought’s president Eugene Wilson saw a Zero in 1943, he apparently said that it was “the spitting image” of the V-143. Barber explains that as well as the 20mm cannon on each wing, each single plane also boasted two .30 caliber guns mounted on its cockpit. HistoryNet.com contains daily features, photo galleries and over 5,000 articles originally published in our various magazines. In fact, Horikoshi could be called the Colin Chapman of aircraft designers; Chapman was the Lotus designer whose mantra was “simplicate and add lightness.”. And back then, the Zeros had been a deadly secret that it seemed the Americans had no good answer to. Zero was designed by Japanese engineer. The first two A6M1 prototypes were completed in March 1939, powered by the 580 kW (780 hp) Mitsubishi Zuisei 13 engine with a two-blade propeller. Treize was also able to equip the Epyon's cockpit with the Zero System. However, the Mitsubishi A6M Zero was a follow-up to the Mitsubishi A5M, and both were designed by the same man, Horikoshi Jirō. Its controls were poorly harmonized. After Pearl Harbor, it quickly came to be viewed as some kind of mystery ship, imbued with strange powers, able to do things no other airplane could. The new plane had to have a top speed in excess of 310mph (about 499kmph) and reach an altitude of 9840 feet (almost 3,000 meters) in three and a half minutes. At first, the aircraft designers had been presented with a problem: while the engines that they had to work with were not very powerful, they still needed to provide speed and range in any resulting prototype. Designed by Horikoshi Jiro, it was the first carrier-based fighter capable of besting its land-based opponents. The Imperial Japanese Army had commissioned Mitsubishi and Nakajima both to build the planes. Barber is no stranger to war, either, having served as a Marine in Vietnam for four years from 1966. You see, the Japanese had allegedly showed a willingness to rip off other American ideas. It has often been said that “the engine makes the airplane,” whether it’s the Spirit of St. Louis’ Wright Whirlwind, the P-51’s Merlin or the 747’s JT9D. So Horikoshi needed to make his new fighter super light, which he did in part by having lightening holes cut and drilled through every internal airframe part possible—a technique that racecar builders would recognize immediately. Ultimately, then, the plane stored 87 gallons in wing tanks to supplement its interior 150-gallon reservoir. Copyright © 2019 Pub Ocean – All Rights Reserved. Like the 109 ruled Europe, the Zero ruled Asia and the Pacific, finding no challenge except from some early American fighters such as the F4F, which it crushed easily. Having crashed into the Indonesian jungle, the plane was then pulled out of its resting place 50 years on. However, as Barber points out, this initially created a conundrum. They saw the craft as a weapon by which to attack rather than one that would need much defending. That need to spin then drove the requirement for light loads on the wing – which in turn required scanty, unarmored aircraft. [The Zero] has about 3/8-inch Plexiglas.” And the airman is skeptical, too, about the Zero windshield’s power, adding, “[The glass] wouldn’t stop a BB [gun pellet].”. For example, visitors to the air displays in which the ex-Marine participates can see him do battle with a Grumman F6F Hellcat. Mitsubishi was first established in 1870 and grew to be a major industrial giant in Japan, involved in shipping, heavy industry and aviation. Hopefully you will find it to be an easier read, since it … It's designed to launch tourists on day trips to space, where they will be able to see the building's huge roof -- as well as glimpse the curvature of the Earth and experience zero gravity. But that drive to cut the Zero’s weight down to the bare minimum had its drawbacks. And the American influence on the Zero may go even deeper. Okay, well, it did do that. DAYTON, Ohio -- Japanese researcher Dr. Keisuke Asai poses in front of the Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero aircraft on display at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. But like the 109 (but a more severe case), it fell out of the throne, and even could've been considered obsolete. Even though Claire Chennault of the Flying Tigers had sent back to the U.S. reports of the airplane’s capabilities over China, they were ignored, and American aircraft-recognition manuals didn’t even include a picture of a Zero. The Zero was a Japanese design and had significant merits, representing a clever compromise between capability and limited engine power. Based on the Japanese light novel series, Re:ZERO - Starting Life in Another World: The Prophecy of the Throne is a tactical adventure game. Whether the craft launched from a carrier or land, its exceptional range and top-level handling made it formidable. If you're like me, you're the type of anime fan that enjoys diving deep into even the littlest details of your favorite series, and since the current cour of Re:ZERO -Starti And while this material was subject to corrosion, the plane was ultimately treated to prevent this eventuality. The aircraft was original and unique in both its brilliant design and labor-intensive construction. Since 1940 was the Japanese year 2600, the new fighter was named as "Model 00" or "Zero" or A6M Zero, in Japan also known as the "Rei-sen" (literally meaning "zero fight", shortened for Model zero … However, there is no evidence for that claim whatsoever. The Japanese would never have attacked Pearl Harbor if they hadn’t had the Zero. The June 1944 Marianas Turkey Shoot is the most notorious example of such inequity. After flying a Zero, the highly respected Curtiss test pilot H. Lloyd Child even suggested that “a commercial version of it would appeal to a sportsman pilot after the war. But MilitaryFactory.com notes that the Hellcat’s first flight was on June 26, 1942 – three weeks after the raid on Dutch Harbor that lead to the fateful crash-landing of the Mitsubishi A6M flown by Tadayoshi Koga. It turns out that the first prototypes in the series had taken to the air in the spring of 1939, and these had been such a success that by the fall of that year, the Japanese Navy wanted to test them. The latter meant that the cannon was effective for close-in fighting, where a single round into a Wildcat’s wing root or cockpit could mean a kill, but as the distance to target increased, the cannon rounds would lose energy and drop away ineffectually, like a softball thrown underhand. Never substantially updated or replaced, the Zero remained the Imperial Japanese Navy's primary fighter throughout the war. After the the sinking of the four Japanese aircraft carriers in the Battle of Midway, most Zeros became land-based. However, the people in Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, and their surrounding districts daily speak “Kansai dialect”. This Mitsubishi A6M5, captured at Saipan in July 1944 and now maintained by Planes of Fame, is the only Zero still flying with its original Nakajima Sakae 31 engine. It had no useful communications equipment. Unfortunately for the Japanese, the Pacific War was one race that the Zero finished last. It first flew on 1 April, and passed testing within a remarkably short period. (How strange, since Japan quickly became the world’s microelectronics powerhouse two decades later.) Working for Supermarine, Mitchell had designed several of the seaplanes that had won the prestigious annual Schneider Trophy events. You see, the Zero was liable to be set on fire and explode when caught by bullets. But the lightweight construction of the Zero does pay off, with Barber explaining to AVWeb that the plane “goes well.” Having widely spaced landing gear, for instance, allows the craft to move in a straight line down the runway. It was assumed that a Zero samurai would continue fighting to the death rather than bail out. Nor was the production of a Zero successor given high priority. It remained for the Battle of Britain, in the summer of 1940, to demonstrate the need for armor and protected tanks. This measure stands in marked contrast to the ones taken with American fighters, which each carried about 160 pounds of armoring that shielded the pilot and any parts that could explode. Perhaps it was inevitable that the Zero would become a myth, a legend, a paragon among fighters when it was in fact a conventional airplane with several ahead-of-its-time characteristics. The Mitsubishi A6M Reisen ("ree-sin," Japanese for Zero Fighter) was the symbol of Japanese air power during World War II. And building the plane needed a lot of labor to boot, with the result being that only 10,000 Zero planes were constructed during the model’s seven-year production life. a top-200 site as rated by Alexa. They had a low rate of fire, limited capacity (initially only 60 rounds per gun, later increased to 100) and low muzzle velocity. Perhaps as a result of such similarities, Barber explains to AVWeb that the Zero did compare well to American planes of the time. * Although the Gloster F.5/34 flew well before the first flight of the Zero, that does not imply that the Zero was a derivative of a British design. The name “Zero,” meanwhile, is derived from the craft’s navy designation, as the Japanese called it the Type 0 carrier fighter. Horikoshi lightened the Zero’s by 30 percent by using a new zinc/aluminum alloy called Super Ultra Duralumin, which had recently been developed by Sumitomo Metals. 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