Friday, June 19, 2009
The Akutan Zero
I'm a sap for a good airplane story, this is a good one and true........ Jack
The Akutan Zero, also known as Koga's Zero and the Aleutian Zero, was a type 0 model 21 Mitsubishi A6M Zero Japanese fighter plane which crash-landed on Akutan Island during World War II. It was captured intact by the Americans in July 1942 and became the first flyable Zero acquired by the United States during the war. Following its capture, it was repaired and flown by American test pilots. As a result of information gained during these tests, American tacticians were able to devise tactics to defeat the Zero, which was the Imperial Japanese Navy's primary fighter plane throughout the war.
The Akutan Zero was "a prize almost beyond value to the United States", and "probably one of the greatest prizes of the Pacific war". Japanese historian Masatake Okumiya stated that the acquisition of the Akutan Zero "was no less serious" than the Japanese defeat at the Battle of Midway, and that it "did much to hasten Japan's final defeat".
The Akutan Zero was destroyed in a training accident in 1945. Pieces of it are preserved in several museums in the United States.
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