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  A6M2 Model 21  Zero Manufacture Number ?  
IJN
Junyō (Detachment)

Click For Enlargement
Justin Taylan 2003

Click For Enlargement
Click For Enlargement
Justin Taylan 2004

Aircraft History
This aircraft was likely part of a detachment of Zeros from either the Junyō or Zuihō, both briefly based at Wewak Airfield (Wirui Airfield) in January - February 1943. Or, a Zero ferried through the area at some point later in the war.

Wartime History
Ditched into Wewak Harbor, to the east of Wewak.

Possibly, A6M2 Zero ditched January 20, 1943.

While based at Wewak Airfield, two Junyō pilots were killed on January 23, 1943:
WO Saburo Kitahara during an interception of B-24s
CPO Taka-aki Sato, following a ramming.

Wreckage
This wreck is listed on a post war RAN hydrographic survey of the harbor, but seems to have been forgotten since then. The wreckage consists of the cockpit section, wings and engine. The tail is missing, broken off behind the cockpit.

Justin Taylan dove the wreck in 2003:
"I dove this wreck with John Douglas whose 'wreck tecs' located it . Initially, we believed it to be a Ki-43 Oscar. At least one other person must have been to the site, as the control stick was missing. Unfortunately, poor water visibility made photography difficult. The wreck was noted in only one source, a post war Australian harbor survey, but was unknown to the local dive community today."

Justin Taylan again dove the wreck in 2004:
"Diving this wreck a year later, in better visibility lead to a new discovery.  This aircraft is not an Oscar, but rather a A6M2 Zero, after careful study of the cockpit canopy, seat, engine cowl and other features, there is no doubt about this."

Luca Ruffato adds:
"The pilot for the tail-less reisen at Wewak could be Lt(jg) Watanabe Torio (67-ki) had a mishap during the very first morning routine CAP from Wewak; on landing he was seriously wounded (a/c written off?)."

References
Thanks to John Douglas and Luca Ruffato for additional information

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Last Updated
January 31, 2018

 

Tech Info
Zero

SCUBA
30'

Photos
Photo Archive

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