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The A6M2-7 "Zero" !

Discussion in 'Air Warfare' started by KBO, Feb 4, 2005.

  1. KBO

    KBO New Member

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    Since i dont know a very big deal about this Jap. aircraft other than it was very agile and excellent at low speeds, could someone fill me in on its history and prestations ?

    Best regards, KBO
     
  2. Skua

    Skua New Member

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    The Japanese called it the 'Rei-Sen', an abbreviation 'Rei shiki Kanjo sentoki' meaning 'Type 0 Carrier fighter'. Designed by a team led by Jiro Horikoshi from a specification made by the Imperial Navy Staff on May 19th, 1937. First prototype flew on April 1st, 1939. Accepted for service on September 14th, 1939. The two first prototypes were designated A6M1 and were powered by a Mitsubishi Zuisei 13 engine ( 875hp at 3600m ), the third prototype, which was selected for series production as the A6M2 was powered by a Nakajima Sakae 12 engine ( 950hp at 4200m ). Two models of the A6M2 were produced, the Type 11 and the Type 21 which were similar except for the latter having folding wingtips. They were armed with two 20mm and two 7.7mm guns. 65-70 Type 11s and 740 Type 21s were produced. The A6M3 first flew in June 1941 powered by the Nakajima Sakae 21 engine ( 1130hp for take-off ). 343 produced as the Type 32 without folding wings and winspan reduced by 1m. A further 560 produced between the Autumn of 1942 and the Summer of 1943 as the Type 22 and Type 22-ko, reinstating the folding wingtips. The Type 22-ko had different armament from the Type 22, but I don´t know what it was.
     
  3. Skua

    Skua New Member

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    The next model was the A6M5 ( don´t know what happened to the '4' ) or the Type 52. This was the most numerous variant, more than 6000 from a total of about 10500. The A6M5 was based on the A6M3 but had a revised wing with non-folding tips and thrust-augmentation exhaust stacks. The A6M5-ko had belt-fed cannons and heavier gauge wing skinning. The A6M5-otsu had armoured glass, automatic fire-exstinguishers and a 13.2mm gun replacing one of the 7.7mm guns. The A6M5-hei had three 13.2mm and two 20mm guns, omitting the 7.7mm guns. This introduced armour protection for the pilot and a self-sealing tank behind the pilot. It first flew in November 1944, but only 93 were produced. The A6M6-hei was a A6M5-hei powered by a Nakajima Sakae 32-ko with water-methanol injection and self-sealing wing tanks. The A6M7, or Type 64, was the final production model. This had the same armament as the A6M5-hei, the Sakae 32 engine and was strenghtened to carry a 250kg bomb. The A6M8 ( Type 64 ) had a revised forward fuselage and a new Kinsei engine ( 1560hp for take-off ) but discarded the fuselage-mounted gun. It only flew as a prototype.
     
  4. scaramouche

    scaramouche New Member

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    The Type 22-ko had different armament from the Type 22, but I don´t know what it was.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Could these have been the A6M3s that were tested operationally at Rabaul with experimental 30 mm mounted in the wings?
     
  5. Skua

    Skua New Member

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    My source only refers to it as "long-barreled cannon".
     
  6. scaramouche

    scaramouche New Member

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    Interesting! Tthe standard Japanese Navy 20 mm aircraft cannon was the 20 mm Type 99 which varied in length according to the version 52.1 inch in its Model 1, to 74.4 in the Model 2 Mk.4-however, here was an larger version of this weapon known as the 30 mm Ho.5 cannon which had an overall length of 82,5 inch. . My source Rrené J. Francillon "Japanese Aircraft of the Second World War (Naval Institute Press, 1990) pp. 368-69 notes that when the lack of airfields forced the A6M3s from airfields located 560 miles from Guadalcanal, many were lost because they simply had insufficient range and that a version know as the Navy Type O Carrier Fighter Model 22s or 22A (A6M3a) with greater reintroduced the folding wing tips. The model 22a featured a long barrelled 20 mm Type 99 Model 2 Mk.3 cannon"..

    What a mess! any ideas?
     
  7. Skua

    Skua New Member

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    I´m not sure, but I believe 'ko' means 'a' or '1'. So what you refer to as Model 22a is most likely what my source calls the Type 22-ko. Perhaps the aircraft equipped with 30mm guns weren´t standarized ?
     
  8. scaramouche

    scaramouche New Member

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    . Perhaps the aircraft equipped with 30mm guns weren´t standarized ?
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    You are right-not too many were mdae; but this source states that the 30 mm Type 5 cannon , as well as the weapon of the same caliber intended for army aircraft; the H-105 were intended for mass production had the war lasted longer... :-?
     
  9. KBO

    KBO New Member

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    Wow ! Thanks Skua !! Great info !

    Now does anyone have any prestation info about the "Zero" or "Rei-sen ;) ". ?

    And what is the performance rate of this aircraft ? Was there any other Fighter in WW2 wich was as effective a Dogfighter as the "Zero" ?? Could any WW2 Fighter outturn it ?

    Best regards, KBO.
     
  10. Skua

    Skua New Member

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    Not many, I guess. But I wouldn´t put too much weight on that. Remember, the radial-engined Fw 190 could be out-turned by almost any other WWII fighter, including the P-38.

    Just as its predecessor, the A5M, the A6M was built as a pure dog-fighter, sacrificing pilot protection, self-sealing tanks ( only the A6M6 had self-sealing wing tanks, and this version never entered production ) and even structural strenght to save weight. This concept, which certainly made the A5M a success, was, however, already outdatet when the Pacific War broke out. The Wildcat proved to be capable enough to handle the 'Zero'.

    Performance :

    A6M2 Type 21 : Max speed : 534km/h at 4550m, 454km/h at sea level, max cruising speed : 333km/h. Range : 1850km on internal fuel, 3100km with drop tanks. Initial climb : 17.75m/sec. Time to 6000m : 7min 45sec.

    A6M5-ko Type 52 : Max speed : 565km/h at 6000m. Range : 1920km. Time to 6000m : 7min 5sec.
     
  11. KBO

    KBO New Member

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    Yes the Fw 190 with the radial engine had less than stellar turning capability.

    .

    Well just for comparance sake, could the A6M2 outturn the Spitfire, wich i know could pull extreem turns ?



    Many thanks for the info Skua !! I really apriciate it ! :D

    Best regards, KBO.
     
  12. KBO

    KBO New Member

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    I have heard accounts of Seafire Spitfire's not being able to follow a "Zero" in tight turns. And that they prohibited the Spitfire of ever trying to outturn the "Zero" !. Even the Corsair was advised not to get into a close dogfight with the Zero, as then it wouldnt be able to pull away. luckely the Corsair was much faster ! and could thus run away, if it got to close.

    KBO
     
  13. corpcasselbury

    corpcasselbury New Member

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    AFAIK, no Allied fighter of WW2 ever managed to turn inside a properly handled Zero.
     
  14. KBO

    KBO New Member

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    I must admit that im beginning to get pretty fascinated by this agile fighter !

    I already ordered two books about the 'A6M Zero' from Amazon.com.

    "Zero/Combat & Development History of Japan's Legendary Mitsubishi A6m Zero Fighter (Motorbooks International Warbird History) by Robert C. Mikesh " and "Mitsubishi A6M Zero
    by Artur Juszczak"

    Also i read this account: In February 1945 the ace Kinsuke Muto, alone in his Zero, attacked 12 Corsair fighters. In the course of the wild dogfight that ensued, Muto shot down 4 Corsairs before running out of ammunition and escaping. Such battles, like the Zero fighter itself, are the stuff of legend.

    This was from Chuck Hawks website.

    KBO
     
  15. Tony Williams

    Tony Williams Member

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    There were two different 20mm Type 99 IJN cannon used in the Zero:

    The Type 99-1 (a copy of the Oerlikon FF, as was the German MG-FF) fired 20x72RB ammo with a muzzle velocity of 600 m/s.

    The Type 99-2 (a copy of the Oerlikon FFL) fired 20x101RB ammo which, with the aid of a longer barrel, pushed up the velocity to 750 m/s - far more useful. This was introduced in the A6M3 of 1942.

    The 30mm Type 2 was also an Oerlikon type, but it was only ever used experimentally in a few planes, and never officially adopted.

    The 30mm Type 5 was an entirely different design and was meant to become the IJN's premier aircraft gun, but it was too late and may have seen only one combat.

    The 30mm Ho-155 (NOT Ho-105) was an IJA gun, roughly equivalent to the navy's Type 5 although it was in fact a scaled-up Browning. It too only had time to see limited service.

    Don't believe everything you read in Francillon. His book was a superb achievement but it was written about 35 years ago and a lot of research has been done since - so we now know there are various errors in the book, at least as far as armament is concerned.

    If you look at my website you will find an article called 'WW2 Fighter Armament Effectiveness' which gives you the full technical gen on the service weapons and ammunition, plus a rating of their effectiveness. You'll also find an article 'Of Oerlikons and Other Things' which gives the history of this family.

    Finally, if you're REALLY interested in this topic, you'll also find on my website details of the book 'Flying Guns - World War 2: Development of Aircraft Guns, Ammunition and Installations 1933-45' which I wrote with Emmanuel Gustin ;)

    Tony Williams: Military gun and ammunition website and Discussion forum
     
  16. KBO

    KBO New Member

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    Great info Tony !! I am certainly interested in hearing more about the Zero's armament ! :smok:
     
  17. scaramouche

    scaramouche New Member

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    Don't believe everything you read in Francillon. His book was a superb achievement but it was written about 35 years ago and a lot of research has been done since - so we now know there are various errors in the book, at least as far as armament is concerned
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    That is always the case; although the jacket in Francillon's book states " this is a reprint of the revised and updated second edition" Unfortunately additional research and/or new documents always turn up after the fact.. that is so with practically every book one it hits the stands...including a procedural manual l wrote in my own specialty-Special Ed;
     
  18. corpcasselbury

    corpcasselbury New Member

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    An interesting story. Just goes to show you what can be done by an expert, under the right conditions.
     
  19. Ricky

    Ricky Well-Known Member

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    If I can just inject a little scepticism:
    How did he escape from 8 fighter aircraft that were faster than him, especially if he had no ammo left?
     
  20. Skua

    Skua New Member

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    I´m a bit sceptic about this story myself. I´ve heard several stories like this, Japanese aces downing numerous opponents despite being outnumbered and flying inferiour aircraft, but I have never seen any of them documented.
     

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