Built by Mitsubishi date of assembly March 31, 1942. Delivered to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) as A6M2 Model 21 Zero manufacture number 2666. Painted overall gray at the factory with a black cowling.
Assigned Houkoku Gou
515 (Patriotic presentation number 515) painted in black on both sides of the rear fuselage. "Patriotic Presentation Number 515 (Presented by Kure Chapter of the Hiroshima Commercial Trade Association Patriotic Society)".
This Zero was assigned to Shōkaku with tail code E1-108 painted in red. The main landing gear covers were painted with 8 (last digit of the tail code). This Zero operated in the South Pacific.
Sometime between August 24, 1942 to early September 1942 this Zero took off on a mission over Guadalcanal and was shot down or force landed in western Guadalcanal. At least six pilots from Shōkaku were lost over Guadalcanal and could be the pilot of this Zero:
A6M2 pilot Yoshio Iwaki lost August 24, 1942
A6M2 pilot Seiji Iishi lost August 29, 1942
A6M2 pilot Tsuguo Ogihara lost August 30, 1942.
4) A6M2 pilot
Ko Nakamoto lost August 30, 1942.
5) A6M2 pilot
Lt Ibusuki forced landed in late August to early September 1942 and returned to duty.
A6M2 pilot Lt Shingo forced landed in late August to early September 1942 and returned to duty.
During July 2008, this crash site was discovered by Cameron in the jungle on Guadalcanal. As of September 8, 2016 this Zero remained in situ. As of that date, the left wing 20mm cannon was removed and the tail hook was damaged or removed.
During 2017, salvaged from the crash site and transported to the Markwarth Collection where it was inside their yard as of the middle of July 2017 then placed into a container and exported to Australia then to Japan and sold via a middle man.
As of early December 2017, the rear fuselage owned by Taizou Nakamura and stored in his workshop where he has undertaken preservation and restoration on the rear fuselage.
Production figures of the Mitsubishi/Nakajima A6M Zero by Jim Long
Kodochosho, Shōkaku Kōkūtai, August 24, 1942–September 1942
Yokoi Houkoku List 1~999 reference to 515
Japanese Naval Aces and Fighter Units of WWII page 44 mentions Lt. Ibusuki and
J-Aircraft "Shokaku Ghost On Guadalcanal" by Jim Lansdale August 3, 2008 (photos from 2008 discovery)
Daily Mail "From rusting ships in lush green jungle to tanks in crystal clear ocean: Amazing aerial photos show WWII wrecks in watery graves off remote Pacific Ocean tropical islands" by Ashleigh Davis photos by Asahi Shimbun via Getty. December 5, 2016
Thanks to Cameron and Jim Lansdale for additional information
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December 2, 2018