Fighter: A6M Zero - Japan (Revised 2004)

Fighter: A6M Zero - Japan (Revised 2004)

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Part Number:REV04_JAFIG

Mitsubishi A6M “Zero”

Name

Length

Wingspan

Weight

Max Bomb-load

Armament

Speed

Ceiling

Range

Mitsubishi A6M Zero

29’ 11”

36’ 1”

3,704 lbs.

260 lbs.

2x7.7 mm mg’s; 2x 20mm

350 mph

33,500

1,200 mi.

 

Mitsubishi A6M “Zero” Fighter

 

ID: Plastic “fighter” gaming piece: Zero fighter from the game Axis & Allies Europe 40 & Pacific 40.

 

The Story of the “Zero” Fighter: The Mitsubishi A6M5 Reisen (Zero) fighter would become one of the most legendary fighters of the war.  As the Imperial Japanese Navy’s primary carrier-based fighter of the war, it proved slightly faster and significantly more maneuvarable than its US counterpart, the Grumman F4F Wildcat.  What is little appreciated is that the Japanese had managed to achieve this level of performance in spite of the fact that its engine was significantly under-powered by comparison, with under 1000 hp.  How did they do this?  Well, such designs are inevitably a matter of trade-offs, and in order to reach the performances that they did, the Japanese designers were forced to produce fighters significantly lighter in weight than their contemporaries.  This, in turn, inevitably led to planes that gave their pilots less protection and could take less damage than their opponents.  As the Americans improved the power of their engines with newer models of the Wildcat and, finally, with the substantially more powerful Hellcat, the Zero’s performance advantage disappeared.  By late in the war, it was significantly outclassed by the latest US generations of carrier fighters (to say nothing of the land-based US fighters, which, unencumbered by some of the features needed for carrier operation, were faster still!)  What is more, the Zero’s poor protection for its pilots combined with Japan’s inability to adequately keep up with pilot losses, so that late-war Japanese squadrons were increasingly manned by under-trained rookies, “easy meat” for the veteran US aircrews in engagements such as the Battle of the Philippine Sea.  By the end of the war, barely-trained zero pilots found themselves sacrificing themselves by the hundreds in kamikaze attacks in desperate efforts to turn back the tide of the war.  Their courage can not be argued, but in the end, the US approach of carefully husbanding their resources of trained pilots proved a better strategy than the Japanese ethic of stoic self-sacrifice!

 

Usage Notes: Use this piece for “Global 1939” and “Invasion of Italy” Variants as a fighter unit.  Other Japanese aircraft of interest may be: the Aichi D3A “Val” Tactical Bomber, & the Mitsubishi G4M “Betty” Strategic Bomber.

5 Stars
Mr
These pieces are great, work well with my other A & A sets.
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Reviewed by: (Verified Buyer)  from texas. on 9/25/2014
5/5

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