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  A6M2 Model 21 Zero Manufacture Number ?  

Click For Enlargement
Click For Enlargement
via Bob Halstead 2007

Aircraft History
Built by Mitsubishi. Assigned to Junyō to the Junyō Hikōkitai.

Wartime History
On January 17, 1943 at 11:40am JST, this aircraft was one one of twenty-five A6M2 plus six B5N2 Kates took off from Junyō roughly 200 miles north of Wewak. All landed safely at Wewak Airfield (Wirui Airfield).

Between January 18 to February 28, these Zeros began flying combat air patrols over the and on several occasions intercepted B-24s over the Wewak area. Possibly, this Zero was lost on January 23, 1943 when Zeros took off to intercept 90th Bombardment Group B-24 Liberators on an armed reconnaissance mission over Wewak. Possibly, this Zero was damaged, shot down or even rammed an enemy bomber.

Wartime History
Ditched or made a controlled landing off Wei Island.

During 2007, this aircraft was discovered upside on a sandy bottom, covered in marine growth. Both landing gear legs are extended and the rubber tires remain. Both wing flaps are extended. The right side of the fuselage has a hole, possibly caused by combat damage.

Luca Ruffato adds:
"It is possible that the crashed reisen found off Wei Is. is that flown by CPO Satō Taka’aki. Another little clue about Satō suspicious loss is that kōdōchōsho lists him shot down on 23 January and scrambling at 0825JST the following day against a lone B-24 and landing at 0910JST"

Thanks to Bob Halstead and Luca Ruffato for additional information

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Last Updated
January 31, 2018


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