Built by Mitsubishi, estimated date of assembly March 1942. Assigned to Tainan Kōkūtai with tail code V-1?? (last two digits unknown). Painted overall gray with a black painted cowling and a red circular Hinomaru.
This Zero operated from Lae Airfield during early 1942. This Zero was either damaged, written off or force landed at the seaward edge of Lae Airfield. Allied aerial photographs clearly show this Zero at the edge of the runway as of June 26, 1942, indicating it was damaged, written off or force landed sometime prior to that date.
This Zero either crashed or was pushed over the edge of the airfield by the Japanese. On September 16, 1943 this Zero was captured by the Australian Army. When photographed, the fabric surfaces were missing and a rectangular piece taken from the left side of the fuselage, access panels removed and canopy glass missing. It is possible this Zero was pushed off the edge of the runway during the repair of the airfield.
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 69w
Thanks to Edward Rogers and Jim Long for additional information
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January 9, 2018