Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Mitsubishi Zero

As part of the land battle, they had a mock dogfight between the Corsair and the Zero. Unfortunately, I could not capture a picture of that to do it justice. However, I was able to get some pictures of the Zero.The Zero was our main adversary in the Pacific throughout World War II. In the early part of the war, it was more agile than our Wildcats and Warhawks. The Japanese pilots were more experienced than our pilots, so they had an overwhelming advantage.
The advantage of the Zero was soon lost as the Americans introduced the better Corsairs and Hellcats to the services. The Japanese weren't able to match either of these aircraft.
One of the reasons the Zero was so agile was because the designer set to make it as light as possible. It was constructed out of thin sheets of aluminum. Also it had no armor or self sealing tanks. It was also underarmed compared to its American adversaries.
As the war progressed, these disadvantages of the Zero were exploited but it was still a dangerous opponent in the hands of a capable pilot.

The Zero was used throughout the war but by the end it was mostly used as a kamikaze. As a result, there are few surviving examples. Fortunately, these two were at Willow Run, so I could see them in action.

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