Built by Mitsubishi. This aircraft was either A6M3 Zero 3415 (built in early January 1943) or A6M3 Zero 3499 (built in late February 1943). Assigned to the 204th Kōkūtai, with tail number T2-175. The upper surfaces were painted dark green in the field. The hinomaru on the fuselage and wings were outlined with a white border.
This Zero likely force landed or was disabled at Munda Airfield on New Georgia. During early August 1943 captured by the U. S. Army at Munda Airfield. The propeller was bent, possibly indicating a force landing, but was otherwise complete.
The exact identity of this aircraft is unknown but was one of two A6M3 Model 22 Zeros were captured at Munda Airfield including A6M3 Zero 3415 and A6M3 Zero 3499.
Afterwards, it was moved into a pile with other Japanese wreckage and photographed in this pile sometime between August 8-11, 1943. A gash broke the fuselage through the hinomaru, separating the tail, also some shrapnel damaged was present on the fuselage and cowling and canopy glass was missing.
Loaded onto a landing barge at Munda, it was transported by ship to Lunga Point on Guadalcanal. Guarded by Private Clarence Robertson of Tulsa, OK.
The forward section of this Zero was photographed in conversation with guard Private Clarence Robertson. when First Lady Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt visited Guadalcanal on September 17, 1943. Also, YANK camera man Sgt John A. Bushemi recorded the scene on color film, used the newsreel "Eleanor Roosevelt Visits Guadalcanal".
It is unclear what happened to this Zero next.
AAF Informational Intelligence Summary No. 43-51 confirms tail code as T2-175
Model Art 510, page 181 T2-17? has been illustrated as T-173 (source of 3 unknown)
Japanese Naval Air Force Camouflage and Markings, World War II, p116
Yank "Eleanor Roosevelt Visits Guadalcanal" cine footage by Sgt John A. Bushemi
Thanks to Ryan Toews and Jim Long for additional information
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January 31, 2018