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  A6M3 Model 32 Zero Manufacture Number 3028 Tail V-187
IJN
Tainan Kōkūtai

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U. S. Army Dec 1942
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U. S. Army January 1943

Aircraft History
Built by Mitsubishi on June 28, 1942. At the factory, painted overall gray with a black cowling. Delivered to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) as Navy Type 0 / A6M3 Model 32 Zero manufacture number 3028.

This aircraft was assigned a Houkoku Gou (Navy Patriotic Presentation Number). Donated by by a civilian volunteer group in Japan. Assigned Houkoku Gou 870 (Patriotic Presentation Number 870) in black on both sides of the rear fuselage.

Wartime History
Assigned to the the Tainan Kōkūtai (Tainan Air Group). Tail code V-187 painted in black on the both sides of the tail. The rear fuselage had a yellow diagonal stripe behind the Hinomaru and around the Houkoku Gou 870 markings.

During August 1942 this Zero operated from Buna Airfield. At some point between the middle of August 1942 to early September 1943 this Zero sustained damage and was abandoned at the side of the runway. Afterwards, it likely sustained more damage from the concision of nearby bomb blasts that caused ripples in the aluminum skin and strafing and bombing that added more bullet or shrapnel holes.

Wreckage
This Zero was abandoned largely intact at Buna Airfield (Old Strip). To the right was the wreckage of another Zero destroyed on the ground.

On December 27, 1942 captured by the U. S. Army in the airfield area. This largely intact aircraft had some shrapnel holes or bullet holes in the fuselage from damage sustained in the air or while parked on the ground. Also, the left wingtip was damage.

This engine from this Zero was selected by Allied intelligence for further evaluation for a rebuild. By January 1943, the engine and cowling were moved to the beach and loaded onto a barge then transported to Brisbane arriving on February 19, 1943 then trucked to Eagle Farm Field.

The rest of this Zero with the engine removed was abandoned at Buna Airfield (Old Strip). Afterwards, the aircraft was heavily picked over by Allied soldiers who cut out pieces of aluminum skin from the fuselage and tail as souvenirs. The ultimate fate of the rest of the wreckage is unknown, likely scrapped or otherwise disappeared.

Restoration
Between February 1943 until July 1943 Allied personnel at Eagle Farm Field built a flyable A6M3 Zero (Hybrid) using from components of three Zeros salvaged from Buna Airfield, including this aircraft. For the rebuild, the engine from this Zero was used plus other components.

References
Production figures of the Mitsubishi/Nakajima A6M Zero by Jim Long
Kodochosho, Tainan Kōkūtai, August 14, 1942–September 1942
Famous Aircraft of the World (FAOW) No. 56 page 25
J-Aircraft: The Saga of Hamp [V-187] January 9, 2009
J-Aircraft Buna Hamp [V-187 Update: Yet Another Relic Has Been Found! by Jim Lansdale February 7, 2010
Thanks to Jim Lansdale and Edward Rogers for additional information

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Last Updated
August 8, 2019

 

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