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  A6M2 Model 21 Zero Manufacture Number 5639 Tail V-1??
IJN
Tainan Kōkūtai

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38th BG Jan 5, 1943

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5th AF May 25, 1943

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5th AF May 31, 1943

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Australian Army
September 1943

Aircraft History
Built by Mitsubishi, estimated date of assembly March 1942. Delivered to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) as A6M2 Model 21 Zero manufacture number 5639. Painted overall gray with a black painted cowling and a red circular Hinomaru.

Wartime History
Assigned to Tainan Kōkūtai with tail code V-1?? (last two digits unknown). During early 1942, this Zero operated from Lae Airfield. At some point prior to June 26, 1942 this Zero was either force landed at the southeastern seaward edge of the runway at Lae Airfield or was damaged on the ground and pushed off the edge of the runway. Allied aerial photographs show this Zero at the edge of the runway from at least June 26, 1942 until captured by the Allies in the middle of September 16, 1943.

Wreckage
On September 16, 1943 this Zero was captured by the Australian Army. When photographed, the fabric surfaces were missing, pieces were removed from the aircraft including rectangular piece from the left side of the fuselage, access panels and the canopy glass. Ultimate fate unknown, likely more pieces were removed by Allied personnel due to the proximity to the beach or this Zero was scrapped or otherwise disappeared.

References
Production figures of the Mitsubishi/Nakajima A6M Zero by Jim Long
Crashed Enemy Aircraft Report #17, page 7 no date of assembly is reported
FAOW 55, page 49 caption reports that the manufacture number was Mitsubishi No. 5639
Target Map of Lae Airdrome (created from photos taken June 26, 1942) 30 Sept 42
Setting Suns page 81 Setting Suns II page 69
Thanks to Jim Long and Edward Rogers for additional information.

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Last Updated
October 14, 2018

 

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