Built by Mitsubishi. Likely completed during early January 1942. Manufacture number 36_2 (possibly 3642 or 3612) found on a dataplate inside
the tail wheel. A second landing gear dataplate on the main gear strut reads manufacture number 1052 and date of manufacture December
Assigned to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) to the Tainan Kokutai. Painted overall gray with a black cowling. Tail number V-??? (last three digits unknown) painted in black.
This Zero was shot down and crashed sometime during the middle of 1942. There are at least three strong possibilieis for the identity of this aircraft: (1) A6M2 Zero piloted by Kawanishi crashed May 2, 1942 (2) A6M2 Zero piloted by Honda crashed May 13, 1942 (3) A6M2 Zero piloted by Miyazaki crashed June 1, 1942.
This Zero crashed sometime before September 13, 1942 into the hills behind Porebada (Borebada) along the road to Lea Lae, near Kauderika to the west of Port
Afterwards, Allied forces located the crash site.
Sometime before September 13, 1942 two war corresponds visited the crash site including International News Service war correspondent Pat Robinson who described the site in The Fight For New Guinea. At least two photograph of the wreckage were taken by Associated Press (AP) photographer Edward C. Widdis. Some of the remains of the pilot were recovered and buried with military honors in Port Moresby. A wartime photo caption states: "The pilot was buried with full military honors and a note dropped over a Jap base giving the details."
During the late 1990s, John Douglas recovered most of the wreckage including the tail section and wing and transported the wreckage to Port
Moresby and placed them into a storage container. During 2004, the container's contents were removed by the storage facility. Whereabouts today are unknown, likely scrapped.
The Fight For New Guinea by Patrick J. Robinson
“...word was brought into Seven Mile that a Zero had been found on a mountaintop forty miles on the other side of Port Moresby. Captain Bob Edwards, Lieutenant Charlie Cathey, Sergeant Bill Spiker, a native boy and I set off in a jeep to find the wreck. We went over such rough roads that we were almost bounced out of the jeep. Often we had to dismount
while Edwards bronchoed the jeep up and down deep gulleys. Finally the road ended altogether, and we rode for an hour through Kunai grass six feet high. At last we could go no further, and we had to make the rest of the journey afoot. We came to a mountain where the native said we would find the Jap. Then we started to climb. Brambles, thorns and jagged rocks tore our clothing and scratched our faces, arms and legs. Mosquitoes, spiders and leeches stung us. Brilliant six-inch butterflies fluttered around us. We would climb six feet and slip back three. Near the summit we found the wreckage of the Zero. It lay among burnt trees. One wing, with the Rising Sun of Japan still visible, was twisted off to one side. The fuselage and engine were only tangled, molten masses of metal. I sank down at the foot of a tree to rest and my hand touched something soft. It was the Jap pilot’s hand and forearm. A moment later Edwards found the Jap’s burned head near the engine, and Cathey spied one leg near the torn-off wing. We picked up as much of his body as we could find and buried it the next day with full military honors."
Winged Samurai "Tainan Kōkūtai Pilot Casualties" page 88
J-Aircraft "Crash Site of Tainan Zero near Port Moresby" by Edward Rogers
March 3, 2011
Eagles of the Southern Sky page 56-57
Thanks to John Douglas and Edward Rogers for additional information
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January 9, 2018