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  A6M5 Model 52 Zero Manufacture Number 4379  
105th Naval Base Air Unit

Aircraft History
Built by Mitsubishi during December 1943.

Wartime History
This Zero operated from Rabaul, and was likely assigned to several Kōkūtai before assigned to the 105th Naval Base Air Unit. One of the only aircraft in flying condition to survive the war at Rabaul.

After Japan's surrender on August 15, 1945, this aircraft was painted in surrender markings: overall white with green crosses. When the Australian Army occupied Rabaul, the Japanese requested permission to surrender their remaining aircraft to the Air Force. Their request was granted and Japanese pilots were allowed to fly the aircraft to the nearest Allied airfield.

On September 18, 1945 one of three Zeros that took off from Vunakanau Airfield piloted by P.O. Gensaku Aoki, P. O. Yoshio Otsuki and P. O. Yasushi Shimbo flying this Zero plus A6M5 Zero 4043, A6M5 Zero 4444 along with Ki-46 Dinah 2783. The Japanese aircraft were escorted by RAAF fighters to Jacquinot Bay Airfield. After landing, the pilots saluted, made a report then were flown back to Rabaul aboard a RNZAF Catalina.

During a test flight by the RNZAF, this aircraft ditched or force landed.

The Siege of Rabaul page 87 - 89
Arawasi Issue 8, 1-3 2008 "Relic Rarities" by Shima Chiaki p44 - 45
J-Aircraft "The Dismembered Zero: A Mystery of Missing Body Parts From Reisen 4043" by Jim Lansdale
Ryan Toews adds:
"[Regarding the photo captions that cite this aircraft as 3479] Problem: 3479 is the manufacture number of A6M3 Model 22 Zero 3469. The photos of the three Zeros surrendered are all A6M5 Zeros. However, 4379 would be A6M5 Model 52 Zero manufactured during December 1943. Was the manufacture number transposed when the photo caption at AWM were recorded?"
Thanks to Jim Lansdale and Jim Long for additional information

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Last Updated
October 28, 2018


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