Mitsubishi A6M "Zero" Page 4
 
Topics:
Zeke Radio
Zero belly tank
Zero Model 12 (no, I don't mean 21)
A6M3 type 32 Zero - - - HELP  
A6M5 primer - fabric
A6M5 spinner  
China Zeros  
Purple rufe question  
"Rufe" Rage!  
Zero Interior Paint : How Far Foreward?  
The ongoing quest for Zero markings  
Zero Intel pre-Dec 7th  
Zero War Prize: The "Guadalcanal-SAKAI Zero"  
Zero Wheel Well Color  
Mitsubishi Zero Cockpit Deck Color  
Guadalcanal Zero Colours and Markings (New)
Natural metal finish on Zero's...... (New)
rufe in french service (New)
Type 21 Zero of Pearl Harbor (New)
Zero color question (not another one!) (New)
 
Zeke Radio
 
Posted By: Tiornu
Date: Thursday, 2 August 2001, at 9:31 a.m.
 
How prevalent were radios in Zekes. Did only the squadron leaders have them?
 
Re: Zeke Radio
 
Posted By: Geoff Arnold <mailto:arnold-geoff@hotmail.com?subject=Re: Zeke Radio>
Date: Thursday, 2 August 2001, at 6:58 p.m.
 
In Response To: Zeke Radio (Tiornu)
 
Dear Tiornu,
One of the requirements that was expected of the replacement fighter for the A5m Claude (the A6m.) was that it carried a type 96-ku-1 airborne radio with a homer. Therefore, I believe that all A6M's had radios in them wether they built by Mitsubishi or Nakajima.
P.S. the radios in the zero were supposedly unreliable,allied pilots sometimes saw Zeros doing strange maneuvers for no particular reason. Japanese pilots later said that they were communicating through these maneuvers since their radios were not working.
 
Re: Zeke Radio
 
Posted By: Martin <mailto:mgrant@hei.com?subject=Re: Zeke Radio>
Date: Friday, 3 August 2001, at 7:37 a.m.
 
In Response To: Re: Zeke Radio (Geoff Arnold)
 
Speaking of Zero Radios...In his memoirs, Sakai said that he and many Tainan (so therefore other wings too?) Pilots took the things out of the a/c as they worked so poorly, they were basically useless. They even cut off the radio masts as well, all to save weight. I imagine the Carrier Zeros left them in though, as they had no choice. A some timey radio in thier situation was better than a no timey radio!
 
Cheers!
=Martin
 
Re: Zeke Radio
 
Posted By: Greg Springer
Date: Friday, 3 August 2001, at 9:39 a.m.
 
In Response To: Re: Zeke Radio (Martin)
 
Hi Martin,
You are correct about land-based groups removing the radio systems. The radios were well-made but interference from unshielded ignition wiring and static discharges from unbonded airframe components caused them to perform poorly. Also maintenance at unit level was poor, especially in remote areas. This lack of radios resulted in poor tactical control of fighters in the battles over Guadacanal where clouds frequently obscured the sky at multiple altitudes. Ship-based units had to retain their radios for control and homing purposes.
 
Cheers!
Greg
 
Re: Zeke Radio
 
Posted By: Martin
Date: Friday, 3 August 2001, at 9:46 a.m.
 
In Response To: Re: Zeke Radio (Greg Springer)
 
Makes sense to me! :O) I wonder how much better group/team tactics may have developed with the Japanese squadrons over Guadalcanal, such as the Tainan group, if they had good radio communications... Was it Foss or Carl (Both flew Wildcats there) who said that the Zeros they encountered were invariably superb combat pilots, but tended to scatter in all directions in a uncoordinated free for all seeking individual dogfights, much like pilots did in the first world war. That lack of coordination, if you will, is no doubt why the Wildcat Pilots were able to control the air over guadalcanal, that and the team effort - thatch weave- etc on the part of the Wildcat Pilots. All this in spite of the fantastic skills on the part of the Zero Pilots... Mercy, the whole Tainan wing was there..Sakai, Nishizawa, Sasai, Ota, Takatsuka, Ichirobei and a whole host of other Aces... I suppose the US had numbers on thier side too.
"...There were just too many Wildcats Saburo, too many..." - Nishizawa
But I'm rambling off subject...
 
Cheers!
=Martin
 
Re: Zeke Radio
 
Posted By: Hiroyuki Takeuchi
Date: Friday, 3 August 2001, at 8:59 p.m.
 
In Response To:  (Martin)
 
Apparently it wasn't until late in the war when the Japanese found out what was interfering with the proper function of their radio by inspecting captured US planes. So late war units like 343-ku had better radio communication, but throughout most of the war, voice radio communication was very poor.
So instead of calling "Tally-ho! Wildcats at 10 o'clock high", whomever that found the enemy had to throttle up, pull up over to the flight leader and point to the enemy he found, or if the leader still can't see the target, one had to pull up to the front of the entire formation and had to lead the way (happened all the time to pilots like Sakai or Nishizawa who had extraordinary eyesights).
 
The Army had similar problems, and in the autobio of Yohei Hinoki, he had ordered his next to useless radio removed. However, Hinoki was promptly ordered to have the radio re-installed by 64th Sentai unit commander Tateo Kato because Kato believed in the importance of radio co-ordinated combat.
It seems that by '44, radio performance was better, because many accounts of B-29 accounts refer to voice radio.
Zero belly tank
 
Posted By: Andrew Johnson <mailto:ajo@ceh.ac.uk?subject=Zero belly tank>
Date: Thursday, 28 June 2001, at 9:00 a.m.
 
The Zero could range far and wide, but did they really drop their belly tanks when entering combat? I have not seen a reference to this.
Thanks if you can help
 
Andrew
 
Re: Zero belly tank dropped, not
 
Posted By: David_Aiken <mailto:David_Aiken@hotmail.com?subject=Re: Zero belly tank dropped, not>
Date: Thursday, 28 June 2001, at 5:10 p.m.
 
In Response To: Zero belly tank (Andrew Johnson)
 
Aloha All,
In the initial combat of the A6M2 model 11, the drop tanks were dropped with a mixed bag of planes that could not drop their tanks. At Pearl Harbor, the carrier fighters did not drop their tanks.
As some of our buddies in Japan say they DID, I wonder WHEN the tank release problem was fixed.
Cheers,
David Aiken
 
Re: Zero belly tank dropped, not
 
Posted By: UCHIDA, Katsuhiro <mailto:2000GT-B@mui.biglobe.ne.jp?subject=Re: Zero belly tank dropped, not>
Date: Thursday, 28 June 2001, at 6:04 p.m.
 
In Response To: Re: Zero belly tank dropped, not (David_Aiken)
 
Mr. Aiken,
Thank you very much for the precious information.
The reason why I said "Yes" was that I find the sentences like "I forgot to drop the tank when I got into the combat. When I landed on the base, I found the tank was still attached to my plane." or "The flight commander dropped the tank and shook the wings. This meant that he found the enemy planes."
But your comments are very new to me. Thank you very much for sharing the example. And I would also like more examples.
 
Regards,
Katsuhiro
 
Re: Release of Zero Belly Tanks
 
Posted By: James F. Lansdale <mailto:LRAJIM@aol.com?subject=Re:Release of Zero Belly Tanks>
Date: Friday, 29 June 2001, at 4:43 a.m.
 
In Response To: Re: Zero belly tank dropped, not (UCHIDA, Katsuhiro)
 
UCHIDA-san
I have examined around fifty photographs taken at the crash sites or of the crash remains from two Zeros which were shot down at Pearl Harbor.
The NISHIKAICHI Zero, which went down on the island of Niihau, had a belly tank present at crash. The HIRANO Zero crash site shows no evidence of the belly tank (at least in the photos I have examined).
 
Another set of photos from the IIDA crash site has been promised for examination. These may or may not show evidence a belly tank. Lt. FUJITA stated that he saw "a white spray of gasoline shooting out from Lieutenant Iida's (Zero)." When asked to elaborate on this comment, FUJITA-san could not recall a belly tank on the IIDA Zero.
Perhaps David AIKEN has evidence of a belly tank being carried by the HIRANO Zero at Pearl Harbor at the time of crash. However, you are correct that there are many references in the writings of these veterans, other statements, and physical evidence in reports that indicate that Zero belly tanks were frequently dropped.
Intelligence reports from the early war indicate the finding of many dropped tanks from Zeros following certain attacks early in the war (e.g. attacks on Port Moresby and Darwin being cases in point).
 
I also seem to recall references to belly tanks being retained for economy reasons later in the war. Replacement belly tanks being short in quantity, the pilots would retain their empty tanks, not because they could not release them, but rather to use again for other long-range missions, in spite of the inherent danger of flying with such an explosive device in combat!!!
 
FWIW
Jim Lansdale
 
Re: Release of Zero Belly Tanks
 
Posted By: richard dunn <mailto:rdunn@rhsmith.umd.edu?subject=Re:Release of Zero Belly Tanks>
Date: Friday, 29 June 2001, at 7:09 a.m.
 
In Response To: Re:Release of Zero Belly Tanks (James F. Lansdale)
 
Jim
Captured documents and intercepted messages clearly show the Japanese planned to expend belly tanks in operation. They show up as an individual item in many messages while other types of spares and cargo are typically just mentioned in aggregate bulk size or weight. Enji Kakimoto was specifically questioned about belly tanks and replied that he always jettisoned his before entering combat and had no orders to the contrary. However, there is significant evidence that Zeros in the early Rabaul to Guadalcanal missions did not jettison tanks. This must certainly have aided the Wildcats in those early days. Whether this was due to a supply shortage or dictated by the range or conditions involved I have never discovered. Also note that at Pearl Harbor one Zero in the first wave returned to the carriers with the second wave having been aloft some seven hours(Masaharu Suganami). This no doubt required retaining the tank. Perhaps operating over the open ocean cautioned pilots to retain their tanks to have an added bank of fuel.
 
It is clear that many Zero went into combat over Hawaii with tanks on. Many Allied reports talk about strafing attacks by a VSB with retractable landing gear. These were not Vals(fixed gear), not Kates (no forward guns) but Zeros with belly tanks and whose long canopies made them appear to be two seat aircraft.
My view for what its worth.
 
Rick
 
Re: Release of Zero Belly Tanks
 
Posted By: Bill Leyh <mailto:hawk81@pacbell.net?subject=Re:Release of Zero Belly Tanks>
Date: Friday, 29 June 2001, at 7:43 a.m.
 
In Response To: Re:Release of Zero Belly Tanks (richard dunn)
 
Hello All,
I've read (somewhere) that the Zero had difficulty dropping tanks above a certain airspeed. As Martin said, Saburo Sakai makes frequent mention of dropping tanks at the initiation of combat in his book, "Samurai". Drop tanks reluctant to separate was a common problem to all planes, American and Japanese, and has been mentioned often in pilot accounts - not only in WWII either. If memory serves, the first US jet ace of the Korean War - James Jabara - made his 5th kill with one drop tank stuck to his F-86.
 
Regards,
Bill
 
Re: Zero belly tank
 
Posted By: Martin
Date: Thursday, 28 June 2001, at 9:57 a.m.
 
In Response To: Zero belly tank (Andrew Johnson)
 
Good question. In "Samurai" Sakai claims they did. At Lae, Rabual and Iwo Jima and anywhere else he flew combat. Of course, other than a handful of harrowing missions as part of the Iwo wing, Sakai did not see lots of combat after August of '42. Hellcat gun cameras from later in the war, shows many a Zero in a hail of bullets with drop tank intact. In fact, I saw some recently that showed tracers clobbering a Zero with drop tank, and mid stream another Zero files right in between the Hellcat and the Zero and get's clobbered too! I don't know if someone was trying to save a buddy or what. Spooky. I've noticed that many Kamikaze Zero's and otherwise, tended to not have bombs, at least in the few photos I've seen where one can discern weather or not it has one. I figured they had to drop them to get through the Hellcats. As for the Zeros not dropping drop tanks, were they just green horns who forgot to do so in what was likely thier first combat? Anyone have any insight?
 
Cheers!
=Martin
Zero Model 12 (no, I don't mean 21)
 
Posted By: Tennessee Katsuta <mailto:Tennkats@hotmail.com?subject=Zero Model 12 (no, I don't mean 21)>
Date: Wednesday, 16 May 2001, at 10:13 p.m.
 
Hi, gentlemen.
I was reading Scale Aviation No.19, and came across an interesting article written by Mr. Masuo Kimura. He states that He's found documents indicating that a Zero Model 12 existed. It is essentially an A6M3 Model 22 without the wing folding mechanism. He believes a handful of this model was manufactured just before Mitsubishi switched their production model from 22 to 52. He states that since wing folding mechanism was deleted on the model 52, this may have been introduced prematurely on the late model 22. Hence, this model without the wing folding mechanism was designated model 12. Externally, models 22 and 12 were identical, but Mr. Kimura hypothesizes that because the introduction of the short antenna pole corresponds towards the tail end of the production of model 22, there is a good chance that what appears to be model 22 with short antenna pole may actually be the model 12.
I just read through this article quickly and he goes into this much more in detail than what I wrote here, but I thought I'd write a brief translation/summary so that I can share this interesting new theory with you guys.
I hope you found this interesting.
 
Tennessee
 
Posted By: Bill Leyh <mailto:hawk81@pacbell.net?subject=Re: Zero Model 12 (no, I don't mean 21)>
Date: Thursday, 17 May 2001, at 12:26 p.m.
 
In Response To: Zero Model 12 (no, I don't mean 21) (Tennessee Katsuta)
 
Tennessee,
In addition to Jim's comments, such a variant would not be carrier-compatible (would no longer fit the carrier's elevators). Wouldn't that make it an "A6M2-J Model 12" or something to that effect?
The major engineering impact would be reverting to the original model 11 one-piece spar, which does seem a little illogical for such a short production run - especially when the upcoming model 52 would revert to a shorter spar again.
An interesting concept!
 
Regards,
Bill
 
Posted By: Tennessee Katsuta <mailto:Tennkats@hotmail.com?subject=Re: Zero Model 12 (no, I don't mean 21)>
Date: Thursday, 17 May 2001, at 7:37 p.m.
In Response To: Re: Zero Model 12 (no, I don't mean 21) (Bill Leyh)
 
Hi, guys.
Mr. Kimura's hypothesis is that when it was decided that the wing folding mechanism was to be deleted from the new Zero subtype (A6M5), they started deleting the mechanism from the last few A6M3 model 22's. Introducing new features to an older model is not all that unusual. Apparently on June 28, 1943, there was a conference held between Navy officials, Nakajima, and Mitsubishi personnel on how to reduce unnecessary parts and increase production of the Zeros. One of the suggestions was deleting unnecessary equipment from the wings. So, there is a good chance that wing folding mechanism was deleted from the wings to speed up the production.
 
Of course, such aircraft cannot be utilized aboard carriers for obvious reason, so Mr. Kimura hypothesizes that a new designation model 12 was made to distinguish this model from the model 22 to avoid sending model 12's to the carriers. The records Mr. Kimura has shows that these model 12's were assigned to training squadrons in main land Japan, and to land based units at the front.
 
Such unusual "hybrid" is not all that unusual, when you consider that a "hybrid" Zero with A6M5 wings and A6M3 engine and exhausts existed.
I just posted a brief summary/translation of Mr.Kimura's article because of time constraints on my part. Judging from Mr. Kimura's articles in "Scale Aviation", he is a serious, dedicated researcher and this is not something he pulled out of thin air. Unfortunately, he only has circumstantial evidence and there is no hard evidence to back up his theory (but then, where can you find an intact Zero without the wing folding mechanism?)
Perhaps in the future when I have more time, I can translate the whole article. A brief summary I did does not do justice to Mr. Kimura's article.
 
Cheers.
Tennessee
 
Posted By: Bill Leyh <mailto:hawk81@pacbell.net?subject=Re: Zero Model 12 (no, I don't mean 21)>
Date: Friday, 18 May 2001, at 1:10 p.m.
In Response To: Re: Zero Model 12 (no, I don't mean 21) (Tennessee Katsuta)
 
Tennessee,
If they only planned on deleting the folding mechanism for the last few planes, and earmarked them for shore-based operations, then sure - I can see that. Just bolt them together and send them off.
 
Thanks!
Bill
 
Re: Zero Model 12 (no, I don't mean 21)
 
Posted By: James F. Lansdale <mailto:LRAJIM@aol.com?subject=Re: Zero Model 12 (no, I don't mean 21)>
Date: Thursday, 17 May 2001, at 4:51 a.m.
 
In Response To: Zero Model 12 (no, I don't mean 21) (Tennessee Katsuta)
 
Hi Tennessee
The only problem I have with the KIMURA san hypothesis is that it would have been a major re-engineering feat to re-introduce a fixed wing tip like on the A6M1 (long span). To simply leave the wing-tip in the fixed down position would have been far more expedient at that time in the war.
Or, are you suggesting it was a short-span version. If so, the designation would have been the fourth airframe varient and better designated with the illusive A6M4 or A6M3 model 42 designation.
 
FWIW
Jim Lansdale
A6M3 type 32 Zero - - - HELP
 
Posted By: Rodrigo Santos <mailto:ferrari.rodrigo@uol.com.br?subject=A6M3 type 32 Zero - - - HELP>
Date: Wednesday, 14 November 2001, at 6:50 a.m.
 
Guys, I´m building the Hasegawa A6M3 type 32 Zero and intend to do the "Q-122" gray Zero, of the 2nd Flying Group. The thing is, I had no luck
finding pics of this plane. I need some info: Did it had the IFF aerials and mast? What about the wheel well color? The instructions call for Aotake, but that seems odd to me.
 
What about the "gray" tone? Tom Cleaver said it was something like the RLM 02. But I think that´s not very clear. Maybe RLM 02 with some white on it. Anyone with info on that?
 
Re: A6M3 type 32 Zero s/n 3035 Color *PIC*
 
Posted By: James F. Lansdale <mailto:LRAJIM@aol.com?subject=Re: A6M3 type 32 Zero s/n 3035 Color *PIC*>
Date: Thursday, 15 November 2001, at 4:57 a.m.
 
In Response To: A6M3 type 32 Zero - - - HELP (Rodrigo Santos)
 
Rodrigo
Mitsubishi A6M3 model 32, Hamp, s/n 3030, [Q-102/Ho Koku-872], was attached to the No. 2 Kokutai. Below appears a section of port fuselage skin on a relic recovered from a sister Hamp, (s/n 3035), from the same unit. The gray-green, hairyokushoku (FS-16350/24201) color appears around the red fuselage stripe and black [Ho Koku-877]. The slightly "khaki" color tone is due to the variations in color quality inherent in the scanner and monitor rendition and in reality appears more like "RLM Grau 02.".
Incidentely, the tail numerals on this unit were red outlined in white, as shown by color photography taken at the time.
 
HTH
Jim Lansdale
Credit: Larry Hickey/IRPC, Boulder, CO.
 
Re: A6M3 Model 32 Hamps & s/n 3028 Colors *PIC*
 
Posted By: James F. Lansdale <mailto:LRAJIM@aol.com?subject=Re: A6M3 Model 32 Hamps & s/n 3028 Colors *PIC*>
Date: Friday, 16 November 2001, at 5:40 a.m.
 
In Response To: Re: A6M3 type 32 Zero s/n 3035 Color (Ed DeKiep)
 
A6M5 primer - fabric
 
Posted By: Michael Swinburne <mailto:a4_kahu@hotmail.com?subject=A6M5 primer - fabric>
Date: Sunday, 23 September 2001, at 5:38 p.m.
 
Can anyone tell me definitely what color was used as a primer on the fabric of A6M5's?
thanks a lot guys.
Mike Swinburne
 
Re: A6M5 primer - fabric
 
Posted By: Ryah Toews <mailto:ritoews@mb.sympatico.ca?subject=Re: A6M5 primer - fabric>
Date: Monday, 24 September 2001, at 1:56 p.m.
 
In Response To: A6M5 primer - fabric (Michael Swinburne)
 
Hello Micheal,
The only observation I can add to Francois' comments is to quote from the engineering report by Douglas Aircraft on one of the Nakajima A6M5s captured at Saipan.
"It is belived that the application procedure [of dope] was as follows:
(a) Two brushed coats of clear dope, cover tapes being applied with the second coat.
(b) One sprayed coat of medium wet red oxide dope.
(c) One sprayed very heavy coat of light gray dope.
(d) One sprayed very thin coat of aluminized dope.
(e) One sprayed coat of medium wet dark green dope."
Underneath the fabric the metal stucture of the component in question had "a light gray [or white] synthetic type primer ... brush coated on the areas of the control surface frames in contact with the fabric."
 
Ryan
 
Re: A6M5 primer - fabric
 
Posted By: Michael Swinburne <mailto:a4_kahu@hotmail.com?subject=Re: A6M5 primer - fabric>
Date: Monday, 24 September 2001, at 4:25 p.m.
 
In Response To: Re: A6M5 primer - fabric (Ryah Toews)
 
I take it the dark green was left as the camo then with the grey or aluminum being underside or camo over those?
 
Re: A6M5 primer - fabric
 
Posted By: François P. WEILL <mailto:frpawe@wanadoo.fr?subject=Re: A6M5 primer - fabric>
Date: Monday, 24 September 2001, at 2:25 a.m.
 
In Response To: A6M5 primer - fabric (Michael Swinburne)
 
Hi Mike,
"Definitely" would be an inadequate word in the present example and there are two main reasons for that. May be Jim Lansdale or Ryan Toews have the correct answer, at least for samples they examined. But I would not say all A6M5's were similarly finished on that point unless I have a definite evidence.
The first reason why is that at least two manufacturers produced them and I see no reason the primer color used by both would have been absolutely the same in color when the camouflage green and the undersurface color used was on the contrary different according to each manufacturer. The difference might have been small but unless the same sub-contractor was used as a source it is highly unlikely the color used was exactly the same. But anyway, the primer used under fabric seem to have been the classical red to red brown one.
 
The second reason concerns the fact external primer was discarded on the metal parts sometimes during the production of this variant. It is likely the very early and early Model 52's (all Mitsubishi built) were treated the same way older variants were (until the end of 1943 or the beginning of 1944). For those aircraft the red to red brown primer was most probably used as what I saw on a Betty 11 fabric sample Jim was kind enough to send to me. After that period, as primer application was deleted from the production sequence on metallic parts, unless we have some sample of fabric at hand, it is difficult to tell if the classical and mandatory application of many coats of tension varnish before the final coating in camouflage colors was done was still completed by a coat of red to red brown primer.
Now if your question is related to modeling and the effect of weathering on a Model 52, let me emphasize the fact it is highly improbale (at least on a plane still in service and not a hulk remaining outside for years if not decades) any part of an eventual priming on fabric surface should be visible. First because even the tension varnish (generally many clear coats) acted as a primer in helping the camouflage paint to adhere firmly (on the contrary to metal parts when unprimed), then because changing the fabric on control surfaces was part of regular maintainance... Don't let the weathered aspect of many fabric covered control surfaces as the ones of US B17 in OD 41 color fools you ! Pigment deterioration might have been faster on those planes painted with a highly instable color than on the metallic surfaces because the formula of the base was different, it didn't affect the protective qualities of it. It is absolutely mandatory a fabric finish protects the fabric from becoming loose and stays waterproof to avoid the fabric sagging badly. Any "mechanical" deterioration of the finish will forbid the control surface to act properly and definitely affects the flying qualities. So to say it will be promptly removed and replaced. Both dark greens in common use on Zero Model 52's (Mitsubishi and Nakajima variants) seem to have been made with very stable pigments and considering the fact they were properly primed (even without the use of red primer) by the many coats of tension varnish they probably kept ther original aspect longer than any metallic part on unprimed aircraft, beside the fact the fabric was periodically renewed. So your question relates more to historical and technical curiosity than modeling proper...
 
Hope it helps
François
 
Re: A6M5 primer - fabric
 
Posted By: jackson <mailto:fincherI@aol.com?subject=Re: A6M5 primer - fabric>
Date: Monday, 24 September 2001, at 7:22 a.m.
 
In Response To: Re: A6M5 primer - fabric (François P. WEILL)
 
From a modeling standpoint would it be appropriate to paint fabric surfaces a different shade then the rest of the airframe? I've alway painted them a slightly lighter shade on aircraft, reading your excellent post I now wonder if I might have this ass backwards and a darker shade may be the way to go.
 
cheers
Jackson
 
Re: A6M5 primer - fabric
 
Posted By: François P. WEILL <mailto:frpawe@wanadoo.fr?subject=Re: A6M5 primer - fabric>
Date: Tuesday, 25 September 2001, at 4:38 a.m.
 
In Response To: Re: A6M5 primer - fabric (jackson)
 
Hi Jackson,
First and foremost, I totally agree with Jim about Nakajima built Model 21's fabric (FS 26314 instead of being FS 16160 as the rest of the airframe excepts the cowling in gray-black). So it means the fabric was lighter and somewhat different in color too.
As far as post June 1943 standard is concerned, I have no information about the continuous use of a subcontractor by Nakajima using such a different lighter shade which anyway would have been confined to the undersurface of the ailerons as far as something visible on an operational plane is concerned (the uppersurfaces and the rudder being overpainted in solid green anyway.
 
I suppose (but there is no evidence I know for sure about that) for a while the undersurface color used on production aircraft was still the original Hairyokushoku color from each manufacturer and the primer application was still part of the standard painting process, on metallic parts at least.
On Mitsubishi made planes when sometimes late in 1943 and surely from Jan. 1944 (samples available) the primer application was deleted, this translated by a somewhat more matte aspect of the undersurface paint the color switching from 14201 range to 24201 when new. But on Nakajima planes, the change was more drastic (and the date of the deletion of primer is even less known) from 16160 glossy paint to matte gray 36309. From this time on, I doubt the color of the aileron undersurfaces was different from the rest of the undersurface color. May be Jim knows more than me about this point...
Now you must understand the paint alterations could be broadly divided in two kinds:
The first one being mechanical: friction and abrasion. You have a good example of this process when you consider the effects of the pilot and mechanics feet on paint and another one is given by the effect of unprimed surface inducing extensive peeling.
The second one is more insiduous and of chemical nature.
 
When exposed to sun rays chemical reaction is induced in the paint pigments by the energy received. On relatively stable pigments it translates in time by a "desaturation" of the color which becomes somewhat lighter. But on relatively instable colors the different pigments used do not react to the action of sun at the same rate and this bleaching is completed by the appearance of a color unbalance (some pigments are destroyed faster than others). Exactly what happens so frequently with Olive Drab 41. So the color lightens but also changes in hue!! ... Another kind of chemical alteration could be induced by the use of incompatible substances in the paint... Sometimes a formula is more prone to fading than another (exactly what happens with the specially formulated base for fabric surfaces used on OD 41 painted USAAF planes) and the bleaching and change of color is faster and more complete. With the IJN green paints it doesn't seem the paint pigments were particularly instable. So the hue was preserved even if becoming somewhat lighter than when first applied and the same formula seems to have been used for metallic surfaces and fabric covered ones. So it is doubtful the color of fabric covered surfaces became different at least during the span of time the aircraft were used in actual service. As a modeler, I won't use a different shade of green whether lighter (as you did) or darker (unless I have a photographic evidence of a new fabric covered replacement part used on a specific aircraft). The real interesting point has been emphasized by Jim and it concerns the eventual use of 26314 coated fabric on Nakajima built planes after the switch to 36309 color on Nakajima built Zero metallic undersurfaces.
 
Friendly.
François
 
Re: A6M5 primer - fabric
 
Posted By: James F. Lansdale <mailto:LRAJIM@aol.com?subject=Re: A6M5 primer - fabric>
Date: Monday, 24 September 2001, at 10:07 a.m.
 
In Response To: Re: A6M5 primer - fabric (jackson)
 
Jackson
It has been frequently noted during the color analysis of existing relics that the fabric surfaces of the A6M Zeros in the overall gray-green (hairyokushoku/ameiro) finish did not alway have a final coat of paint applied to the gray layer on units supplied by the sub-contractor. A lighter gray finish would be appropriate to such fabric control surfaces for many Zeros (N.B. This was more frequently found on the Nakajima constructed A6M2s). This effect may be noted in many monochrome photos.
 
IHTH
Jim Lansdale
 
A6M5 spinner
 
Posted By: Frank Kreuk <mailto:p.kreuk@chello.nl?subject=A6M5 spinner>
Date: Monday, 15 October 2001, at 8:14 a.m.
 
I'm biulding a Revell 1/32 A6M5 zero-sen and the instruction calls for a aluminium colored spinner but I have looked on the web and here and I found: red/brownish,white,black,aluminium spinners so I don't know wich color to take.
Any help would be appreciated!
It's a:
A6M5 type 52 Zero-sen
Serial: 653-117 1 (serial of the plane)
653th Navy flyers group based on the carrier Zuikaku
Okt 1944 operation Sho
 
Re: A6M5 spinner
 
Posted By: christian <mailto:lemoissc@aol.com?subject=Re: A6M5 spinner>
Date: Tuesday, 16 October 2001, at 1:09 a.m.
 
In Response To: A6M5 spinner (Frank Kreuk)
 
red/brownish spinners are for mitsubishi factory aluminium spinners are for nakajima factory
 
China Zeros
 
Posted By: richard dunn <mailto:rdunn@rhsmith.umd.edu?subject=China Zeros>
Date: Sunday, 4 November 2001, at 6:39 a.m.
 
Nick
The earliest I can place Zeros in Hong Kong is 14 January 1944. This per Japanese Monograph No. 116. These were a detachment of 254 Air about ten strong. These were probably in combat on Feb 10th near Kiukang on the Yangtze River (probably operating from a forward base). Two of eight P-51As were shot down that day. This was probably first Zero versus Mustang combat. On the 11th I can pretty well confirm they were in action over Hong Kong against 12 B-25s and 20 P-40s both US and Chinese. Four P-40s were shot down (two each US and Chinese). A message from the Hong Kong detachment of 254 says two of its eight Zeros were lost.
 
Doubtful that any Zeros were at Hong Kong in late 43. Many US raids on Hong Kong were not intercepted. The JAAF was generally in force at Canton not too far away.
 
There were Zeros on Hainan prior to the oficial activation of 254 on 1October 43. On May 4, 1943 the first B-24 raid on Samah in southern Hainan encountered no interception. On July 3d two P-40s on reconnaissance over Hainan were chased off by six "Zeros" that probably really were Zeros. On July 27th a B-24 raid over Hainan was intercepted: "Our crews who were in combat at Ichang report that the Jap pilots at Samah Bay were better flyers and better gunners than those at Ichang."
 
There is no evidence JAAF was active over Hainan at this time. Mono. No. 76 mentions that the Navy had a small air force of fighters and training aircraft at Hainan and Hong Kong.
 
What does all this mean? Sometime after May 1943 a small Zero detachment was formed on Hainan (possibly reporting directly to the Hainan Guard District or its small attached air group). By July 43 this unit was engaged in operations. If this is so, then it is possible this unit or part of it deployed to Hong Hong on ocassion to provide convoy cover or escort a VIP (things which 254 later did).
Some facts and a bit of speculation. Perhaps someone can help fill in some details.
 
Rick
 
Re: China Zeros
 
Posted By: Larry <mailto:Hldeziv@aol.com?subject=Re: China Zeros>
Date: Sunday, 4 November 2001, at 8:57 a.m.
 
In Response To:  (richard dunn)
 
Rick and Nick -
(Sounds like a 1930's vaudeville team).....
The Hong Kong Zeros might have come from:
Sanya Kôkűtai
(FPO Designation: I-88)
also as: Sama Kôkűtai
Samah Kôkűtai
 
Formed (activated) 1 Oct 1943 at Sanya NAS (today Yaxian) at the southern tip of Hainan Island in the South China Sea as a training air group to provide elementary flight training for fighter pilots. Equipped with Mitsubishi A6M Type 0 carrier fighters (ZEKE). Initial setting up procedures commenced on 20 Apr 43. Assigned to 14th Combined Air Group (14 Rengô Kôkűtai) and administratively under Hainan Naval Guard District and Sasebo Naval District.
I know this Ku was active along the South China coast until it was disbanded on 1 June 1944 and its assets incorporated into 254 Ku.
If this doesn't work for you, then elements of 901 Ku may. It became operational in Dec 43 as a convoy escort and anti-submarine patrol Ku for the Singapore-Kyushu route and had a few Zeros and well as many other types. By summer 1944 it had quite a few Zeros.
 
HTH
(Larry)
 
Re: China Zeros
 
Posted By: richard dunn <mailto:rdunn@rhsmith.umd.edu?subject=Re: China Zeros>
Date: Sunday, 4 November 2001, at 9:51 a.m.
 
In Response To: Re: China Zeros (Larry)
 
Larry
I have my doubts.
There were training air groups set up at both Sanya and Hoihow, the Sanya and Haikow Air Groups respectively. Each had an in intial strength of thirty Zeros but I don't think they were actually up and running on 1 October 43 much less earlier. They engaged in operations over south China in the Spring of 44 but there is no indication that they did so earlier. Some US combat reports from Hainan indicate sightings of Japanese aircraft that make no attempt to intercept. Most likely they were from these training formations. In my opinion these units are unlikely candidates to be flying combat missions over Hainan (much less Hong Kong) in the Summer and Fall of 1943.
 
I thought 901 Air was the unit created as a specialist anti-submarine group in 1943. It did not expand its role (and incidentally absorb the remnants of 254 Air) until late in 44. Do you have info that it was operational in south China at this time? Was it equipped with other than ASW aircraft (or training aircraft) during 1943?
I tend to believe an as yet unidentified unit was operating Zeros from Hainan in the Summer of 1943 prior to the activation of 254 Air. I certainly cannot prove it at this point.
Rick
 
Re: China Zeros
 
Posted By: Larry <mailto:Hldeziv@aol.com?subject=Re: China Zeros>
Date: Sunday, 4 November 2001, at 11:10 a.m.
 
In Response To: (richard dunn)
 
Rick -
Here's the blurb on Haikow (Hoihow) Ku which slipped my mind a couple of hours ago:
Haikow Kôkűtai
(FPO Designation: I-87)
also as: Kaikô Kôkűtai
Haihow Kôkűtai
Haikou Kôkűtai
Hoihow Kôkűtai
Formed (activated) 1 October 1943 as a training air group based at Haikou at the north end of Hainan Island in the South China Sea off the coast of southern China. Initial setting up procedures commenced on 20 April 1943. The type of aircraft allocated to the Kôkűtai is unknown, but it was intended to equip the group with a mixed complement of both land attack bombers and fighters. Assigned to Hainan Naval Guard District. On 5 April 1944 the group’s instructors together with those from the Sanya Kôkűtai, which was also based on Hainan Is., flew a fighter-bomber strike on the U.S. 14th AAF airfield at Nanning in South China. During the raid, defending U.S. fighters claimed 9 JAAF Ki-44 TOJOs, but perhaps this was a misidentification for JNAF A6M ZEKEs. The Kôkűtai was disbanded on 1 
 
May 1944.
Now to your first comment. There's one variable that you left out of your analysis. Both groups began "setting up" in spring 1943 and I believe we would find that the first cadre and instructor personnel began trickling in shortly thereafter, as well as a few of the initial aircraft assigned under the prescribed allowance. The first students probably didn't follow until around the 1 October date. I believe it is entirely possible that the 3 and 27 July 1943 Zero activity that you referred to could well have been instructor personnel from Sanya or Haikow.
 
As to 901 Kokutai:
10-15 Dec 43: on formation at Tateyama the group was organized in two components - one with G3M NELL bombers and the other with 32 H6K MAVIS and H8K EMILY flying boats . Formation was in response to rapidly increasing shipping losses to Allied submarines, and its primary mission was to safeguard the vital shipping route between Singapore and Japan along which flowed the raw materials and commodities upon which the Japanese war machine and people were dependent. Initial allowance was specified as 48 NELLs and 32 MAVIS and EMILYs.
Dec 43 – 15 Jun 44: Kôkűtai HQ at Tateyama NAS with detachments at:
Ômura/SW Kyűshű (12 Jan 44 – 15 Jun 44)
Koroku/W Formosa (13 Jan 44 – 15 Jun 44)
Tôkô/SW Formosa (14 Jan 44 – 15 Jun 44)
Manila/Philippines (Mar 44 – Apr 44)
Iwo Jima/Volcano Islands (Mar 44 – 13 Apr 44 and Jun 44)
Saipan/Marianas (Mar 44 – Apr 44)
Saigon/French Indochina (13 Apr 44 – 1 Jun 44)
 
The above has elements in southwestern Formosa as early as mid-January 1944, but as you stated, there's no mention of A6Ms. However, I do recall seeing something on this in some of the scattered ATIS documents that were cranked out in that 1945-49 period in Tokyo. It seems there was some discussion of 901's Heinz 57 collection of aircraft right from the start (Dec 43) that did include some Zeros. Unfortunately, I did not make note of it. You know how that goes when you are trawling your way through primary documentation - you can't write down everything. But to answer your question, no, I can't prove it. But I think 901 should have its door left open as a "possibility."
(Larry)
 
Re: China Zeros
 
Posted By: richard dunn <mailto:rdunn@rhsmith.umd.edu?subject=Re: China Zeros>
Date: Sunday, 4 November 2001, at 12:54 p.m.
 
In Response To: Re: China Zeros (Larry)
 
Larry
Absent some real evidence, I'm not sure this discussion is going to get us very far.
There is an intercept that indicates (in August) that only slow progress was being made in organizing these air groups. On the other hand, on 31st August photo recon did show 3 large aircraft at each base and 6 and 8 small aircraft at Hoihow and Samah, respectively. Chinese intelligence identified Navy bombers as arriving on Hainan.
 
On April 6th, 1944, crash evidence revealed that the aircraft attacking Nanning had been Zero 21s and "Mark 2" Zeros. Further, captured documents revealed the bases of origin well as the fact that Navy aircraft were involved.
Your theory about instructors arriving early doesn't ring true to me. In mid-1943 experienced instructors were in very short supply and could hardly be spared to wait for new air groups to be formed and students to arrive.
Here are a few additional facts though I'm not sure they shed much light. These units' T/Os were in a bit of turmoil.As of their activation date (1 Oct) Samah had a T/O of three squadrons of land attack a/c. Haikou had 1 squadron bombers and 2 squadrons fighters. A T/O change on 1nov 43 deleted 30 land attack and added 30 fighters to Samah. On 1 Dec Haikou's bomber T/O was increased to 60 a/c. These numbers include both first line and reserve. They also changed a number of times in succeeding months.
 
When Samah closed down it transferred its 37th Flight Training Class personnel to Air Groups 12 and 13. None were fighter pilots. They included 40 bomber pilots, 26 carrier attack pilots, and 21 land attack pilots. These units were in turmoil almost from the start and were also subject to having their bases bombed and straffed. Not sure this adds much to identifying the Hainan fighter unit but kind of interesting.
 
Rick
 
Re: China Zeros
 
Posted By: Nick Millman
Date: Sunday, 4 November 2001, at 1:18 p.m.
 
In Response To: Re: China Zeros (richard dunn)
 
A good discussion.
Also Air Group 256. Established at Lung Hwa airfield, Shanghai, on 1 February 1944, as part of the China Area Fleet. (This was the airfield featured in the movie "Empire of the Sun"). It's main duties were air defence of Shanghai region and advanced training. Apparently contributed aircraft to the Phillipines campaign?
 
Equipped with both Model 52 and 21 Zero fighters with tail designation 256 (one Model 21 example: 256-125). In October 1944 three Model 21 Zeros were detached to Hong Kong.
 
By April 2 1945 one Raiden (Jack) was also on strength at Lung Hwa. Piloted by Lt Masatake Hayasaki, it was shot down over the airfield on that day by Lt E J Bollen of 75 FS, 23 FG in a Mustang. Hayasaki bailed out but was KIA.
 
Purple rufe question
 
Posted By: Mike Connelley <mailto:msc@ifa.hawaii.edu?subject=Purple rufe question>
Date: Saturday, 13 October 2001, at 12:37 a.m.
 
Howdy:
I know this has ben asked before since it's in pt.3 of the FAQ, but I cannot access it for some reason so I'll just have to ask it again.
So, what's the deal with this purple Rufe thingie I hear about? Did it exist or not? If so, what color was it and are there any pics? If not, how did this idea come about? I have a 1/32 A6M2 and the idea of a conversion has crossed my mind.
 
Cheers
Mike Connelley
 
Re: Purple rufe question *PIC*
 
Posted By: James F. Lansdale <mailto:LRAJIM@aol.com?subject=Re: Purple rufe question *PIC*>
Date: Saturday, 13 October 2001, at 8:09 a.m.
 
In Response To: Purple rufe question (Mike Connelley)
 
Mike
The "Purple Rufe" myth started, I think, with a 1945 color illustration in John STROUD's "Japanese Aircraft." It was kept alive by such a reference in the IPMS Color Guide to Japanese aircraft camouflage in the early 60's.
 
In 1966, Rene FRANCILLON made the myth a "fact," which still haunts modellers today, by publishing the color view (see below) rendered by P. Endsleigh CASTLE in Profile Publications No.129.
 
Perhaps weathering of the original finish down to the red primer coat of the Rufe gave this illusion of "purple" paint on old relics or wreckage?
 
HTH
Jim Lansdale
 
Re: Purple rufe question
 
Posted By: Deniz Karacay <mailto:denizkaracay@yahoo.com?subject=Re: Purple rufe question>
Date: Monday, 15 October 2001, at 3:00 p.m.
 
In Response To: Re: Purple rufe question *PIC* (James F. Lansdale)
 
This would be a camouflage as effective as a black cat on snow.
Could too much sun and salt do this to a regular paint?
 
Re: Purple rufe question
 
Posted By: Mark L. Shannon <mailto:Shingend@ix.netcom.com?subject=Re: Purple rufe question>
Date: Tuesday, 16 October 2001, at 6:40 a.m.
 
In Response To:  (Deniz Karacay)
 
There is some use for a mauve/purple camouflage. First, as the song says, "Purple Mountains' Majesty" comes from the view of distant mountains, as things tend to seem grey-violet in view. The Germans used a lot of violet tones, using a rather bright purple in WWI as part of the camouflage for a while.
Second, purple-reddish tones are a very effective camouflage under conditions of fog and twilight. As these are common conditions in the Aleutians, it was probably viewed as a 'not illogical' camouflage conclusion when the sunken Rufes were recovered and studied.
I still think the only reason that the purple Rufe reports occurred was that it was described on airframes that had been pulled out of several months' soaking in Attu harbor (or which ever island). The surface greyish layers were worn down to translucent, and the primer underneath showed through to give a purple/pink cast. This same effect has been visible on the Nimitz Museum's Val wreckage, where the airframe looks pinkish-mauve, but there are remnant rings of grey at points like rivet heads.
 
.Mark.
 
Mountbatten Pink
 
Posted By: Graham Boak >
Date: Wednesday, 17 October 2001, at 10:44 a.m.
 
In Response To: Re: Purple rufe question (Mark L. Shannon)
 
Experts in optics will tell you that red objects are the last to remain visible as twilight falls - the Purkinje effect (spelling?).
However, when commanding a convoy escort Lord Louis Mountbatten was so impressed by the way one particular liner was difficult to see in such conditions that the insisted on the adoption of a similar shade for units under his command - it was known as Mountbatten Pink, but tended to the lavender in shade. Once he moved on to higher things it disappeared from RN use PDQ.
 
So the value of Purple for the Rufes in Aleutian conditions should best be described as "debatable". I agree that your other suggestion is much more likely.
 
Re: Purple rufe question
 
Posted By: Brooks A Rowlett <mailto:brooksindy@yahoo.com?subject=Re: Purple rufe question>
Date: Sunday, 14 October 2001, at 4:02 p.m.
 
In Response To: Re: Purple rufe question *PIC* (James F. Lansdale)
 
I believe you will find that it was a submerged wreck pulled from Attu that led to the mistake.
 
Re: IPMS "Purple Rufe" Question *PIC*
 
Posted By: James F. Lansdale <mailto:LRAJIM@aol.com?subject=Re: IPMS 'Purple Rufe' Question *PIC*>
Date: Sunday, 14 October 2001, at 6:51 p.m.
 
In Response To: Re: Purple rufe question (Brooks A Rowlett)
 
Brooks
In 1964, Charles ("Chuck") J. GRAHAM, with the help of his old college roommate, George VROOMAN, produced the IPMS "Color Guide For Japanese Aircraft: 1941-45." Chuck used paints mixed at his home to make color chips of colors thought to be applied on Japanese aircraft. Few were based on relic analysis or actual samples. Orders for the Color Guide were taken by Jay MILLER and the monies were collected for the Dallas Chapter, IPMS under president 
 
Jim SAGE.
Below is the first published drawing of the "Purple Rufe" and a scan of an actual chip (N 9) from the Color Guide. This Color Guide was utilized by Rene FRANCILLON in his missive on Japanese aircraft with no verification as to authenticity from, or credit to, Chuck.
Chuck wrote Jim LONG the following:
"I personally mixed all the colors. I used a Higgin's ink product that was really more of a tempera paint than an ink, but it worked well with an airbrush....
(The purple) 'N 9,' (was) not from a color sample. This is one of the most intriguing colors and it is based only on written descriptions in Koku-Fan and a couple of other sources refer to it as 'wisteria.' As nearly as I could ever determine, it was used only in the Aleutians, if at all." *(Letter: GRAHAM/LONG, 11 December 1995)
 
FWIW
Jim Lansdale
Credit: "IPMS Color Guide For Japanese Aircraft: 1941-45," Charles J. Graham, 1964, p.4
 
Re: IPMS "Purple Rufe" Question
 
Posted By: Grant Goodale <mailto:grant.goodale@sympatico.ca?subject=Re: IPMS 'Purple Rufe' Question>
Date: Sunday, 14 October 2001, at 8:20 p.m.
 
In Response To: Re: IPMS "Purple Rufe" Question *PIC* (James F. Lansdale)
 
Jim -
Having had a wysteria vine in my back yard, its colour is very pale. I really think that this legend of the undead comes from a red brown primed Rufe that has been overcoated with the standard (?) grey. The extreme weathering conditions in the Aleutians may have caused this effect. I vow that I am going to spray some paint chips to see what the effect is. I will then send these chips to my future son-in-law in Anchorage to see if the Alaskan light has any effect.
 
"Rufe" Rage!
 
Posted By: George of the Jungle <mailto:bishopspg@hotmail.com?subject='Rufe' Rage!>
Date: Sunday, 28 October 2001, at 7:59 a.m.
 
The floatplane version of the A6M2 "Reisen" (aka "zero") was certainly a curiousity. Did their floats alter the combat perfomance of these planes? Still, what I need to know was whether this plane could have held their own in aerial combat against the ff. planes:
1.) Wildcats
2.) P-38s
3.) Brewster Buffalos (with the Dutch East Indies Colonial AF)
4.) Hellcats
5.) RAAF Boomerangs
6.)Kingfishers
A6M2 designer Horikoshi must have been chagrined to see his prized aiframe design added with those ridiculous floats! Could the pilots jettison those floats! He he he! Still, I'd rather been in a "Rufe" than a "Jake".
George, George of the Jungle!
 
Re: "Rufe" Rage!
 
Posted By: Micah Bly <mailto:yak@targetrabaul.com?subject=Re: 'Rufe' Rage!>
Date: Sunday, 28 October 2001, at 11:30 p.m.
 
In Response To: "Rufe" Rage! (George of the Jungle)
 
Just to add to what Allan and Nick said below, I can tell you then when we took our A6M2 Flight Model, and added the drag and extra weight associated with the floats (there are some other changes too, of course), it definitely lost some of it's 'oomph'. How's that for a technical description? :)
top speed, climb rate, energy retention all suffer because of the floats. OTOH, it still flies pretty balanced, although I admit I haven't spent that much time flying and fighting with the Rufe yet. But yes, the floats affect the flight characteristics in a big way. You really have to respect the pilots who were having success in these planes. When Target Rabaul comes out next year, download it and check it out for yourself. Then go and try and shoot down an F4U or B17 with it. yikes!
 
Micah Bly
Target Rabaul: Pacific Air War 1941-1945
 
Re: "Rufe" Rage! And others too!
 
Posted By: Allan Alsleben <mailto:Wildcat42@AOL.com?subject=Re: 'Rufe' Rage! And others too!>
Date: Sunday, 28 October 2001, at 9:03 a.m.
 
In Response To: "Rufe" Rage! (George of the Jungle)
 
Hello George,
The answer to your question is as follows, they were very active over Taberfane (Aru Island) in the Banda Sea, credited with 6 Beaufighters and a Dutch Mitchell. Over Kiska, they notched up a couple of B.17's, and B.25, couple of P.38's, and a couple of P.40's. Airacobra's were encountered, but no recorded losses. In the Solomons, they were very active during September 1942, but after that, it diminished somewhat. Over Faisi (1943), they were very active, claiming a couple of B.17's, P.40's, P.39's and an F4U. In 1944, they helped defend Truk, bringing down a F6F from VF 10 during the raid there on February 17, 1944. The also defended the Empire in 1945 from Lake Biwa and Sasebo, but no recorded victories. They were also active from Sabang (Sumatra) during the British Carrier raids in April 1944 with no recorded victories or losses.
 
This type of aircraft was used mainly for defense purposes, not offensively. They were very successful, and successfully used where ever they were deployed. Convoy escort and Anti-Submarine warfare was also included with results.
 
Yokohama Kokutai is said to have brought down 2 B.17's over or around Tulagi in July 1942. These claims, however, are not verified. One B.17 was rammed in August of 1942.
 
The pilots that flew the "Rufe" and the "Pete" were considered very brave, probably more so than those that flew the vaulted Zero. Ramming aircraft in 1942 took a lot of nerve and it took an experienced fighter pilot to bring any of these float types down. The records and exploits of the airmen are fast becoming well known for their deeds.
 
The record of those that flew the "Pete's" were very active, bringing down the Dutch Martin's and Dornier's, a P.35, a P.40, and a couple of PBY's, not to mention 2 CW 22's over the north coast of Java on March 1st 1942.
 
Japanese Float type aircraft were never passive, and extremely aggressive wherever found, whether they were tender based or shore based. I trust this answers your question.
 
FWIW - Allan
 
Re: "Rufe" Rage! And others too!
 
Posted By: Nick Millman
Date: Sunday, 28 October 2001, at 1:53 p.m.
 
In Response To: Re: "Rufe" Rage! And others too! (Allan Alsleben)
 
Rufe and Rex fans look for Yasuho Izawa's excellent and balanced English language summary of Japanese fighter floatplane operations, "The Fighting Floatplanes of the Japanese Imperial Navy", in Air Enthusiast 31 (ISSN 0143-5450) 1986.
This essential 12-page piece includes the identification and confirmation of numerous floatplane "kills".
Rufe aces CPO Eitoku Matsunaga and PO1/c Kiyomi Katsuki are also included in Henry Sakaida's "Imperial Japanese Navy Aces 1937-45" (ISBN 1 855327279), Osprey 1998.
 
Zero Interior Paint : How Far Foreward?
 
Posted By: Derek Brown <mailto:dbrown303@aol.com?subject=Zero Interior Paint : How Far Foreward?>
Date: Sunday, 4 November 2001, at 10:51 p.m.
 
Hello All (New subscriber, first time posting)
I am trying to help some people with an A6M3 Zero project and would like to get your opinions on how far forward the interior paint was applied in the Zero cockpit. It appears from other restoration projects that the interior color carries to either the rear side of the firewall or to the fuel tank.
Any thoughts? In reviewing the ATAIU A6M2 that looks to be the most un-restored example around - it appears the interior paint carries at least to the fuel tank. It also appears consistent that the interior paint carries aft to the roll-over bulkhead just behind the pilot's seat.
 
It appears the owners will utilize Mr. Lansdale's effort with regards to painting the aircraft the Hai-ryokushoku color.
 
In reviewing Zero restoration examples around the world - it appears the wheel well / gear cover / flap colors vary considerably. San Diego's A6M7 has interior green, a restored A6M3 with Aotake, Chino's A6M5 has flaps interior green, wheel wells and gear covers in underside color, Australian War Memorial Zero has flaps interior green, wheel wells and gear covers in underside color, etc.
 
Your insights most appreciated. My apologies if this has been covered before on this newsgroup. If so, please contact me off-line at dbrown303@aol.com.
Also, if there are any Japanese Zero instruments for sale, I'd appreciate hearing from you as well.
 
Regards,
Derek
 
Re: Zero Interior Paint : How Far Foreward?
 
Posted By: Ryan Toews <mailto:ritoews@mb.sympatico.ca?subject=Re: Zero Interior Paint : How Far Foreward?>
Date: Monday, 5 November 2001, at 9:21 a.m.
 
In Response To: Zero Interior Paint : How Far Foreward? (Derek Brown)
 
Hello Derek,
From what I can tell from the Blayd remains,including A6M3 #@ s/n 3285, the cockpit was painted in several stages.
Under everything was a undercoat of aotake which was initially applied to most of the parts before assembly. Additional coats were then applied as the pieces were fitted togther on the assempbly line.
 
A coat of the interior paint, in the case of Mitsubishi this would be in the vicinity of FS24098, was then applied to the upper fuselage before it was attached to the wings. This application seems to have also been applied to the area forward of the instrument panel but I cannot say how thorough the application of the paint was. Likewise the cockpit floor was painted before the fuselage was fastened down. Behind the seat the interior paint seems only to have been applied to the forward side of station 5. The cockpit deck was black both in fron and behind the cockpit as was the interior of the canopy framing.
 
The interior of the flaps were left in aotake. The same is true for the wheel wells. All the wheel well covers were painted overall in the plane's exterior color. This exterior color also extended, in the case of Mitsubshi, to the folding linkage of the small inner cresent shaped covers. Oddly enough, although all covers for both manufactureres were built by the sub-contractor "Kayaba", Nakajima Zeros had the small inner cresent door and folding linkage painted in aotake. However, bear in mind in both cases all steel parts were painted black.
 
Re: Zero Interior Paint : How Far Foreward?
 
Posted By: Derek Brown <mailto:dbrown303@aol.com?subject=Re: Zero Interior Paint : How Far Foreward?>
Date: Monday, 5 November 2001, at 3:02 p.m.
 
In Response To: Re: Zero Interior Paint : How Far Foreward? (Ryan Toews)
 
Thanks Ryan!
A bit of interior color info - upon examination of the interior panels that had been untouched (not restored or repainted), it appears that instead of an undercoat of Aotake underneath the interior green paint, the interior of the this Zero had a black paint applied as an undercoat prior to the interior green being applied. As the painted areas were slightly scraped (using a piece of interior paneling that was relatively protected and located just above the floor on the starboard side wall), pea size areas of interior green would flake away leaving the black undercoat. It appears to be a gloss black . This was also observed on a portion of the aft end (facing the pilot) of the fuel cell, although I cannot tell from the cell whether the entire unit was painted or only the back side.
Anyone hear of the practice of painting a black undercoat prior to the interior green color being applied?
 
Thanks again,
Derek
 
Re: Zero Interior Paint : How Far Foreward?
 
Posted By: Ryan Toews <mailto:ritoews@mb.sympatico.ca?subject=Re: Zero Interior Paint : How Far Foreward?>
Date: Thursday, 8 November 2001, at 8:00 a.m.
 
In Response To: Re: Zero Interior Paint : How Far Foreward? (Derek Brown)
 
Hello Derek,
The use of black paint as an undercoat is very interesting indeed. When I had the opportunity this summer of of showing Jim Lansdale what I was doing with the Blayd collection he spotted patches of sprayed black paint used in conjunction with the aotake in the wheel well of A6M3 32 s/n 3285. Your finding of similar paint indicates that this may not have been an uncommon practice.
One possibility that comes to mind is that this may be overspray from a steel part that was nearby (all steel parts were primed in red and then painted black) but this does not seem to fit with the locations of the black paint you described.
I have a pile of aluminum borrowed from Blayd that I have to return next week and I'll take a closer look at the black paint I found then.
 
Ryan
 
Re: Zero Interior Paint : How Far Foreward?
 
Posted By: joe taylor <mailto:jtaylor@bhfs.bellhowell.com?subject=Re: Zero Interior Paint : How Far Foreward?>
Date: Monday, 5 November 2001, at 9:39 a.m.
 
In Response To: Re: Zero Interior Paint : How Far Foreward? (Ryan Toews)
 
Ryan, were the interior of the gear covers the exterior color also??
 
thanks,
joe.
 
Re: Zero Interior Paint : How Far Foreward?
 
Posted By: Ryan Toews <mailto:ritoews@mb.sympatico.ca?subject=Re: Zero Interior Paint : How Far Foreward?>
Date: Monday, 5 November 2001, at 10:09 a.m.
 
In Response To: Re: Zero Interior Paint : How Far Foreward? (joe taylor)
 
Hello Joe,
Yes, on Mitsubishi built A6M2s and A6M3s both the interior and exterior of all the gear doors were painted in the exterior color of the plane. Nakajima built A6M2s, and at least early A6M5s, had the three outer gear covers painted in the planes exterior color on both the exterior and interior sides. Nakajima A6M2s (I'm not sure about A6M5s), however, had the interior side of the small crescent shaped covers finished in aotake.
FWIW, the small rectangular wooden bumper on the inner side of these crescent shaped doors was made of plywood in the case of the Mitsubushi door and of solid wood on the Nakajima doors I examined. It may be important to know this now with the new big Tamiya Zero on the market :)
 
Ryan
 
The ongoing quest for Zero markings
 
Posted By: Michael Swinburne <mailto:a4_kahu@hotmail.com?subject=The ongoing quest for Zero markings>
Date: Saturday, 29 September 2001, at 10:17 p.m.
 
Are there any pictures of British-captured A6M5 Zero (tail number BI-05) other than it in flight with a captured model 22 or 32? I am also trying to find out if the ATAIU SEA and roundels were hand painted or sprayed, and if these ATAIU SEA marking would have been on the lower or upper wings too. PLease email any info or pics (if youre nice enough :-P ) to me at a4_kahu@hotmail.com
 
Thanks a lot guys.
Mike Swinburne
 
Re: The ongoing quest for Zero markings
 
Posted By: Ryan Toews <mailto:ritoews@mb.sympatico.ca?subject=Re: The ongoing quest for Zero markings>
Date: Monday, 1 October 2001, at 8:56 p.m.
 
In Response To: The ongoing quest for Zero markings (Michael Swinburne)
 
Hello Mike,
Aero Detail 7 has several pictures of this plane,(s/n 196) which is now in the Imperial War Museum. Photo #66 on page 19 shows the white edge of the roundel and it would appear that it was applied with a brush. The same seems to hold true for the white lettered ATAIU SEA.
Other color details can be found in a report by Guiseppe Picarella which states that the under surface was close to FS 4201 and the cockpit was near to FS 4255. The RAF Dark Earth paint now present on much of the outer surface was added when the plane arrived in Britain.
Incidently, the Zero photographed flying next to the Type 52 is a Type 21 retrofitted with the long barrelled 20mm cannon .
Ryan
 
Re: The ongoing quest for Zero markings
 
Posted By: Michael Swinburne <mailto:a4_kahu@hotmail.com?subject=Re: The ongoing quest for Zero markings>
Date: Monday, 1 October 2001, at 9:42 p.m.
 
In Response To: Re: The ongoing quest for Zero markings (Ryan Toews)
 
But the aircraft was still green over grey when flown at the time of those pics, tho right? Are there any pis or info relating to markings on the upper or lower wings? I have a feeling that ATAIU SEA would have been on the bottom or something. Do you think you could scan me some of these pics please?
Thanks a lot!
Mike
 
Re: The ongoing quest for Zero markings
 
Posted By: Ryan Toews <mailto:ritoews@mb.sympatico.ca?subject=Re: The ongoing quest for Zero markings>
Date: Tuesday, 2 October 2001, at 8:13 a.m.
 
In Response To: Re: The ongoing quest for Zero markings (Michael Swinburne)
 
Hello Micheal,
Picarella definitely states that the Dark Earth was applied in Britain, so I wold go with dark green upper surfaces and hairyokushoku on the underside. If Nakajima did switch to a gray underside paint it was sometime after this particular A6M5 was manufactured.
Ryan
 
Re: The ongoing quest for Zero markings
 
Posted By: Mike Yeo <mailto:mikeyeo@bigpond.com?subject=Re: The ongoing quest for Zero markings>
Date: Tuesday, 2 October 2001, at 7:21 a.m.
 
In Response To: Re: The ongoing quest for Zero markings (Michael Swinburne)
 
Mike,
The Australian War Memorial has a couple of photos of this aircraft. It clearly shows no letters on the upper wings, just roundels. I'm not too sure about the lower wings, but I'm pretty sure there aren't any too.
 
Smoking Gun: Zero Performance/Specs Known 12/7/41 *PIC*
 
Posted By: James F. Lansdale <mailto:LRAJIM@aol.com?subject=Smoking Gun: Zero Performance/Specs Known 12/7/41 *PIC*>
Date: Wednesday, 21 November 2001, at 2:39 p.m.
 
Historians have long suspected that the performance and specifications for the vaunted Mitsubishi A6M2 Type Zero carrier fighter were known by U.S. Military Intelligence Service prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941. One theory proposed is that Claire Lee CHENNAULT had forwarded such information to military intelligence authorities long before the Pearl Harbor attack. To date, no documentation has been found connecting CHENNAULT to such a report, although this may have happened.
 
Major General Robert L. PETIT (USAF Ret.), provided this writer many documents related to his service career and copies of DOD declassified material related to the Pearl Harbor attack located in the Hickam Air Force Base archives. Some of this material was accessed during General PETIT's tenure as Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Headquarters Pacific Air Forces, Hickam AFB, Hawaii in 1971. Among these documents was one entitled:
"Japanese Army and Naval Air Forces," Prepared by the Intelligence Division, Office of the Chief of the Air Corps, War Department.
Within the above stated document was a section, entitled, "Performance Characteristics of Japanese Aircraft." The document relating to the Mitsubishi A6M2 Type Zero performance and characteristics follows, in its entirety, below. Please read carefully.
 
Two items I found of particular interest are that in the section entitled, "No. on Hand; 200" and that the date this information had been obtained from the "Birtish (sic) Air Ministry" was on "5-20-41." By May 1941 Mitsubish had actually produced approximately 220 Zeros!
Also note, ironically, that this material was only compiled for use on "12/7/41" and that, even on that date, the Zero was thought to be "incapable of short turns."
I do not know if the document below is the proverbial "smoking gun" related to what the U.S. MIS knew or should have known about Japanese naval air power, but I suspect it is very close to being so!
 
Enjoy FWIW!
Jim Lansdale
 
Re: Smoking Gun: Zero Performance/Specs Known 12/7
 
Posted By: Nick Millman
Date: Sunday, 25 November 2001, at 5:50 a.m.
 
In Response To: Smoking Gun: Zero Performance/Specs Known 12/7/41 *PIC* (James F. Lansdale)
 
The confusion around Chennault's role in warning the US military authorities about the Zero originates from his detailed evaluation of the Type 97 "Nate" as referred to by Rick. In his biography "Way of a Fighter" (1949) Chennault relates that a Type 97 was captured intact by the Chinese in 1939 and brought to Chengtu where he flew it "through extensive service and combat tests" in comparison with the P-36, Gladiator and I-16. Chennault compiled a "thick dossier" on this aircraft, complete with photographs, and turned this over to military intelligence at the War Department in 1939. Although he received a letter of acknowledgement, by 1940 this dossier was missing from the War Department files.
 
Interestingly Chennault identifies the Nate as the forerunner of the Oscar and relates how AVG pilots found it more troublesome than the Zero because of it's "astonishing rate of climb and incredibly short turning radius". Chennault had once reported to the USA from China that the Type 97 "climbs like a sky rocket and maneuvers like a squirrel". This respect for the "obsolete" Nate was shared by RAF pilots who encountered it over Burma (refer to Hemingway, Kenneth, Wings Over Burma, Quality Press London, 1944 and Sutton, Barry, Jungle Pilot, Macmillan & co London, 1946):
 
"Many times since I have thought I would have liked to cram the man who wrote that article into the cockpit of my Hurricane as I twisted and turned, trying to dodge the front end of those slippery little 97's clawing themselves round incredibly tight corners at a couple of hundred miles an hour."
 
Chennault also refers to bringing back to the USA "data" on the Zero in the fall of 1940. The Zeros had first appeared over China in August 1940 but the first Zero wreckage was not examined by the Chinese until May 1941. I believe this original "data" was largely in the form of personal notes about it's assessed performance and was delivered verbally at several venues. Chennault met with the Army's chief of staff General George C Marshall twice during this period and evidently briefed him about the Zero. In a conference two days after they had met Marshall spoke of a "new fast pursuit plane which has just appeared in the hands of Japan and has grounded all the Chinese Air Force". Marshall's use of words suggests the belief that this aircraft may not have been Japanese in origin or rather the disbelief that it was! This was more than a year before Pearl Harbor.
 
It is my humble belief that Chennault's comprehensive Nate "dossier" and briefly assessed Zero "data" have become one and the same in Flying Tigers lore.
However, at Toungoo, Burma, in September 1941 Chennault was able to hand out to fledgling AVG pilots mimeographed data sheets on the Zero which contained "drawings, specifications and performance data" (after which there were a few resignations). This is reported both by Chennault in "Way of a Fighter" and by Hotz who edited Chennault's manuscript (Hotz, Robert B, With General Chennault; the story of the Flying Tigers, Coward-McCann Inc New York, 1943). On 15 October 1941 Air Vice-Marshal Pulford of the RAF Far East Command stated at a press conference:
"Japan's best fighter is the 'Navy 0'. It is on a par with our Buffalo, certainly not much faster". (Shores, Cull & Izawa, Bloody Shambles Vol1, Grub Street, London, 1992)
 
Although possibly apocryphal, RAF confidence in the Buffalo (shared at first by AVG pilots who complained that the RAF had better aircraft than they had) was shaken when it was easily bested in mock dogfights by a P-40 Tomahawk. It is very difficult now to judge how much of the contemporary confidence expressed in the Buffalo was for propaganda purposes rather than genuinely and personally held, but there was a growing demand for Hurricane reinforcements for the Far East in the months prior to Pearl Harbor. Their failure to appear was largely due to Hitler's attack on Russia in the summer of 1941, prompting Churchill to promise Stalin 200 Hurricanes, and the demands of the Middle East theatre, rather than any arrogant belief that the Buffalo squadrons were sufficient to beat the Japanese. When Hurricanes did appear, albeit in numbers too small to turn the tables, the effect on the Japanese moving down through Malaya was dramatic:
 
"Until then our mobile corps had been advancing on the paved roads in broad daylight taking no precautions against enemy raids. While the Hurricanes were flying even single cars moved off the road into the cover of the jungle, and all convoys had to move off the road and get out of sight at the first alarm" (Tsuji, Colonel Masanobu, Singapore: the Japanese Version, St Martin's Press, New York 1960)
 
Re: Smoking Gun: Zero Performance/Specs Known 12/7
 
Posted By: richard dunn <mailto:rdunn@rhsmith.umd.edu?subject=Re: Smoking Gun: Zero Performance/Specs Known 12/7>
Date: Wednesday, 21 November 2001, at 2:49 p.m.
 
In Response To: Smoking Gun: Zero Performance/Specs Known 12/7/41 *PIC* (James F. Lansdale)
 
Jim
This 'smoking gun' has been sitting unclassified in the National Archives for years. There are also some cable reports which indicate the US got its information via the British air attache in Chungking. Chennault very clearly talks about his dossiers on the I-97 and Zero in 'Way of a Fighter' but he was not the only source of US intel info.
 
Rick
 
Re: Smoking Gun
 
Posted By: richard dunn <mailto:rdunn@rhsmith.umd.edu?subject=Re: Smoking Gun>
Date: Wednesday, 21 November 2001, at 3:55 p.m.
 
In Response To: Re: Smoking Gun (James F. Lansdale)
 
Jim
While I'm certain I've seen the specific documents you displayed, a quick search of my notes comes up with a slightly different version. It is 'Office of Chief of the Air Corps, Wash DC, Aircraft Intelligence report, Japanese Aircraft, Dec. 1941, Prepared by the Material Division, Experimental Engineering Section, Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio WF-12-19-41-54.'
 
Says max speed is 345 mph and climb 'considered better than P-40', 75 rounds for wing 20mm (vice 22mm) etc.
Comments say: "Tactics -- Has been highly successful against old Russian I-15's. Have bombed airports...It is believed that the wing cannons weaken the wings and thus restrict the dive. Although it cannot turn quickly, it is rated better than the P-40 in range and climb. However, P-40 is better in dive and speed."
Apparently there was more than one smoking gun published by December 1941!
 
My notes don't have the RG cite for this. I suspect it's in the RG 165 material. Haven't found any notes on your specific report but I recall the reference to 22mm guns. I may come up with more specifics later.
 
Somewhere also I have a report from the British MA in Chungking giving specific Chinese air and ground losses in 1941. They are very similar to Japanese claims.
 
Rick
 
Re: Performance -- sifting through myth
 
Posted By: François P. WEILL <mailto:frpawe@wanadoo.fr?subject=Re: Performance -- sifting through myth>
Date: Friday, 30 November 2001, at 1:13 a.m.
 
In Response To: Performance -- sifting through myth (richard dunn)
 
Hello Rick,
Nice analysis... However one point about the Buffalo seems to be particularly forgotten here when it goes to what the Finns did with it: 
Buffalo engine was poorly cooled due to the cowling design. It means it couldn't get its maximum performances for too long even in temperate climates, let alone the relatively high temperatures to be expected from low to medium altitude in the Far East (where the action was in fact)... The Finns, in the the sub-Arctic climate they fought in were able to get the maximum output during a much longer time frame, an important asset in combat. It might explain for a part their stunning success with the "Flying Barrel".
 
As to the Buffalo in general, what is to be pointed out IMHO is the fact its design was obviously plagued by obsolescence when it entered service. It was neatly part of a transitional generation from the late biplane era and the monoplane fighter triumph. This was true also but to a lesser extent for the Wildcat and even lesser for the Hurricane (essentially for the British plane because of the extensive use of fabric covered surfaces, but less with the Mk II as it has been corrected since main production Mk I). The P 40 was mainly handicapped by the Alison engine which was never a winner when altitude increased, though it performed well at low altitude (see the Mustang story, a plane only getting its full potentialities with the use of RR Merlin engines) but the P 40 was a truly modern plane (even the P 36 was, see the Mohawks IV story in RAF hands in India). The Zero was truly a modern plane (and only paid the price in term of structural weakness and armor to comply with the required exceptional range). Aerodynamically speaking, even the less proficient newbie in aviation history will certainly point out the Buffalo was the poorest design of them all.
 
I really see no reason to re-assess permanently the inferiority of the Brewster design. Of course tactical situation, pilot abilities are factors as decisive as the the built in capabilities of an aircraft (examples are abundant in History) but when you consider the average IJNAF fighter pilot was probably the most proficient naval pilot in the world at the beginning of the conflict, it becomes obvious, as long as its plane could reach the target and fight, even had its adversaries be of the same level (and it was generally a far cry from that) the edge was given to him by the qualities of his mount.
See for example the Flying Tiger story. True, they get some successes against IJAAF fighters at a time the other outfits hardly had a chance. Mainly because they flew a plane which properly handled (both by proficient pilots and with tactics emphasizing the qualities of their mount and minimizing the ones of their adversaries mount) could cope with planes which were partly obsolescent, like the Ki 27 Otsu or light and fragile like the Ki 43-I Hayabusa, even when the number was in their disfavor. But we mustn't forget too the IJAAF average pilot was less proficient than the average "Tiger" and less proficient than the average IJNAF pilot of the time. I personally seriously doubt they would have faired so well against IJNAF Zero equipped Kokutais...
 
Now, the Brewster as a ground attack aircraft... The idea seems to have surfaced for a while as witnessed by an experimental plane (I think a F2A-3 airframe) fitted with two 20 mm cannons in the wings. The poor beast was a sure looser in terms of performances and the idea was dropped (incidentally it marked the end of a Brewster aircraft design for operational use in WW 2, thereafter, Brewster factory only built alien designs as far as combat aircraft were concerned).
Now see the Hurricane story, even concentrating on the part of this story in the Far East... As late as 1944 the Hurricane proved itself a potent and prominent ground attack aircraft, provided the skies around were cleaned from enemy air opposition (Imphal campaign i.e.). The Hurricane could carry two 250 lbs bombs and still retain two (the outboard cannons were often removed) to four (nominal armament) 20 mm cannons in the wings and still be usable. On other fronts it carried two 40 mm cannons for tank bursting duties and thereafter up to 8 "unrifled projectiles" (air to ground rockets). The nominal armament of the Hurricane II b variant (the most numerous one during the early stage of the Far Eastern campaign) was 12 x .303 machine guns, which was reduced to 8 to lighten the plane when facing the nimble Japanese planes. This was an awesome firepower when compared to the Japanese armament and though less potent than the II c with four 20 mm cannon in ground attack role, it was something to be accounted for. The Buffalo never carried such a potent armament (and it was unthinkable it could have done so). I agree with you when you say the tactical situation permitted the Hurricane to use its full ground attack potential in later stages, when air superiority made it virtually immune from enemy air opposition. But whatsoever, even had the allies been the masters of the sky which implies they had the men, the tactic AND THE MACHINES (i.e. a modern fighter)to do so, I doubt the Brewster Buffalo should have been really useful at all. The Buffalo was a second to third ranking kind of aircraft, deemed sufficient to oppose these "myopic badly trained and flying inferior copies of foreign aircraft pilots" the Japanese air service men and machines where officially considered to be by the British. The fact the last US units flying it were Marine units is very illustrative of the way the Brewster fighter was considered by Navy brasses as it was in no way unusual to relegate obsolescent types to the Marines when the Fleet relinquished them or even didn't accept them on their carriers. See the SBD-1, the last Vought Vindicators to operate in frontline or even what variant of the Wildcat the Marines operated early in the war... It is a great piece of (black) humor to consider even the very potent Corsair, deemed unsuitable for carrier operation by the Navy, illustrated itself in Marines'hands (being also relegated there) before being "debounced" (something the Brits did much earlier)and accepted on Fleet carriers...
 
In fact the US authorities were perfectly aware of the Brewster shortcomings and were all too pleased to oblige their allies with them ! ... There is not a single doubt the plane was an inferior one. To try to assess exactly to what extent is IMHO very difficult and almost useless, just because a fair comparative study should imply a perfect equality of the other factors (i.e.: pilot proficiency, level of tactical abilities, sheer force of number). The only thing I think fair and safe to say is the Buffalo was not a total piece of crap as it was sometimes depicted but this doesn't justify its choice by the British purchasing commission nor the Dutch East Indies air service. The real myopia was the allies privilege during this time frame...
 
Friendly.
François
 
Re: Performance -- sifting through myth
 
Posted By: Nick Millman
Date: Sunday, 25 November 2001, at 10:54 a.m.
 
In Response To: Performance -- sifting through myth (richard dunn)
 
Rick,
I agree with you about the Buffalo getting a bad rap. Some RAF pilots who flew the type had the same view (Bingham-Walllis of 67 Sqn for one).
One of the problems that contributed to it's poor reputation was it's unserviceability and maintenance was a continuous struggle. Spot welds would break on the box section undercarriage, rivets were discovered in the fuel lines, fuel pumps and carburettors. Big end bearings cracked and deposited white metal in the scavenge filters. At Singapore the synchronising gear proved troublesome and when the fault could not be identified the fuselage guns were removed. This fault was finally solved by 67 Sqn in Burma although slow burning rounds in the fuselage guns still caused the odd bullet hole in propellor blade roots.
 
An alternative view of the Buffalo is attributed to Kapitan Pieter Tideman of the Dutch LVA in Bloody Shambles (Vol 1 page 65) where it's durability under fire is extolled.
 
The Hurricane was a superb gun platform and whether or not it was actually more effective as a ground attack aircraft than the Buffalo (I think it was) the Japanese certainly respected it's firepower. On the other hand the 67 Sqn Buffalo strafe of Girikham airfield in Thailand is seldom referred to these days.
As we're moving off-topic here perhaps some more interesting discussion on the Buffalo at the General page?
 
Regards
Nick
 
Re: Smoking Gun: Zero Performance/Specs Known 12/7 (Nick Millman) 
 
Date: Sunday, 25 November 2001, at 8:03 a.m.
In Response To: Re: Smoking Gun: Zero Performance/Specs Known 12/7 (Nick Millman)
 
Nick and others
Jim's original comments have certainly generated a variety of responses.
I'm one who thinks the Buffalo got a bad rap. In Malaya and Burma it's pilots were initially surprised by the performance of the Japanese fighters. Two of the four Buffalo squadrons were a bit thin on pilot experience. Thereafter the psychological effects of the early set backs might color a pilot's opinion of his aircraft.
According to Shores et al, Bloody Shambles, vol II the Buffalo and Hurricane were test flown in Burma. "The Buffalo's performance at 20,000 feet and above was actually found to be superior, whilst at 16,000 feet the two aircraft seemed evenly matched. Below that level the Hurricane undoubtedly had the edge." (p.256). No mention of what model Hurricane (believe most but not all in Burma were IIB's).
 
This is quite different from what Air Vice Marshall D.F. Stevenson wrote in his oficial "despatch" on the Burma campaign dated August 1942. He briefly mentions that 67 Sq had about 16 Buffalos when he arrived and then does not even mention them in discussing comparative performance of Japanese and Allied fighters. He rates the Hurricane "definitely superior" above 20,000 feet. In context it is clear this means superior to both Japanese and Allied fighters. He rates the P-40 comparable to the Hurricane at medium altitude and then states that most fighting took place below 19,000 feet. He seems to be making the case that if only he'd gotten the Hurricanes he asked for, he would have taken the Japanese to the cleaners!
 
So according to the "official" version the Zero was "slightly inferior" to the Hurricane and P-40 at medium heights.
Back to the Buffalo. I tend to doubt that the Hurricane was a much more effective ground attack aircraft than the Buffalo (implied in Tsuji's comment). What changed later in the campaign was not just the arrival of Hurricanes but the tactical situation. Japanese columns were closer to RAF bases in Singapore, thus more effective missions could be flown. Early in the campaign the RAF had been denied most of its up country bases.
 
This leads to another comment. Speed, turning circle, climb, weight of fire are all important. However, early in the Pacific war the Japanese fighters gained a large tactical advantage from their superiority in range! Under differing tactical situations the importance of one performance characteristic takes on greater or lesser importance. Japanese fighters were where they were needed. This was not always the case with Allied fighters.
 
The Finns did very well with the Buffalo (but then they did well with almost anything that flew!). The Marines were badly handled at Midway (those flying F4Fs somewhat less so than those flying F2As) but it is not clear a Squadron entirely equipped with F4F-3s would have done significantly better.
Incidentally, in his report Stevenson cites 315 mph as the Zero's maximum speed (same as in the July 1941 intelligence report) and clearly thinks his pilots were fighting Zeros as well as the slower '01s' and '97s'. He does recognize that range gave the Japanese an important tactical advantage.
Amazing how bad information from sixty years ago can continue to impact our anaysis today.
 
Rick
 
Re: Smoking Gun
 
Posted By: Nick Millman
Date: Friday, 23 November 2001, at 4:03 a.m.
 
In Response To: Re: Smoking Gun (richard dunn)
 
Yes, the source was British diplomatic officials in China. There are several published post war references to these reports. The information stemmed from Chinese examination of downed Zeros. I believe the "Chennault Connection" is AVG mythology, wishful thinking and misinterpretation of the later "Neumann" Zero capture. If my references were not still packed up post-house move I would provide the corroborative evidence.
 
Ironically the British seemed to know much more about the Zero prior to the outbreak of war and RAF pilots in Malaya, Singapore, NEI and Burma identified it (and Oscars!) as the "Navy Nought" almost from Day One.
 
I have a nice Observer's recognition picture of the "Navy Type-00" from 1942 with some quaint and curious descriptive text which I will be happy to post once the book comes to light!
 
Re: Smoking Gun: Zero Performance/Specs Known 12/7
 
Posted By: richard dunn <mailto:rdunn@rhsmith.umd.edu?subject=Re: Smoking Gun: Zero Performance/Specs Known 12/7>
Date: Wednesday, 21 November 2001, at 2:49 p.m.
 
In Response To: Smoking Gun: Zero Performance/Specs Known 12/7/41 *PIC* (James F. Lansdale)
 
Jim
This 'smoking gun' has been sitting unclassified in the National Archives for years. There are also some cable reports which indicate the US got its information via the British air attache in Chungking. Chennault very clearly talks about his dossiers on the I-97 and Zero in 'Way of a Fighter' but he was not the only source of US intel info.
 
Rick
 
Re: Smoking Gun
 
Posted By: richard dunn <mailto:rdunn@rhsmith.umd.edu?subject=Re: Smoking Gun>
Date: Wednesday, 21 November 2001, at 3:55 p.m.
 
In Response To: Re: Smoking Gun (James F. Lansdale)
 
Jim
While I'm certain I've seen the specific documents you displayed, a quick search of my notes comes up with a slightly different version. It is 'Office of Chief of the Air Corps, Wash DC, Aircraft Intelligence report, Japanese Aircraft, Dec. 1941, Prepared by the Material Division, Experimental Engineering Section, Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio WF-12-19-41-54.'
 
Says max speed is 345 mph and climb 'considered better than P-40', 75 rounds for wing 20mm (vice 22mm) etc.
Comments say: "Tactics -- Has been highly successful against old Russian I-15's. Have bombed airports...It is believed that the wing cannons weaken the wings and thus restrict the dive. Although it cannot turn quickly, it is rated better than the P-40 in range and climb. However, P-40 is better in dive and speed."
Apparently there was more than one smoking gun published by December 1941!
My notes don't have the RG cite for this. I suspect it's in the RG 165 material. Haven't found any notes on your specific report but I recall the reference to 22mm guns. I may come up with more specifics later.
 
Somewhere also I have a report from the British MA in Chungking giving specific Chinese air and ground losses in 1941. They are very similar to Japanese claims.
Rick
 
Re: Smoking Gun
 
Posted By: richard dunn <mailto:rdunn@rhsmith.umd.edu?subject=Re: Smoking Gun>
Date: Wednesday, 21 November 2001, at 3:55 p.m.
 
In Response To: Re: Smoking Gun (James F. Lansdale)
 
Jim
While I'm certain I've seen the specific documents you displayed, a quick search of my notes comes up with a slightly different version. It is 'Office of Chief of the Air Corps, Wash DC, Aircraft Intelligence report, Japanese Aircraft, Dec. 1941, Prepared by the Material Division, Experimental Engineering Section, Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio WF-12-19-41-54.'
 
Says max speed is 345 mph and climb 'considered better than P-40', 75 rounds for wing 20mm (vice 22mm) etc.
Comments say: "Tactics -- Has been highly successful against old Russian I-15's. Have bombed airports...It is believed that the wing cannons weaken the wings and thus restrict the dive. Although it cannot turn quickly, it is rated better than the P-40 in range and climb. However, P-40 is better in dive and speed."
Apparently there was more than one smoking gun published by December 1941!
My notes don't have the RG cite for this. I suspect it's in the RG 165 material. Haven't found any notes on your specific report but I recall the reference to 22mm guns. I may come up with more specifics later.
 
Somewhere also I have a report from the British MA in Chungking giving specific Chinese air and ground losses in 1941. They are very similar to Japanese claims.
 
Rick
 
Zero Intel pre-Dec 7th
 
Posted By: richard dunn <mailto:rdunn@rhsmith.umd.edu?subject=Zero Intel pre-Dec 7th>
Date: Friday, 23 November 2001, at 6:55 a.m.
 
In Response To: Re: Smoking Gun (Nick Millman)
 
Nick, Jim
In "Dispatch on the Far East", June 25, 1942, Air Chief Marshall, Sir Robert Brooke-Popham (C-in-C Far East,17 Oct 1940-27 Dec 1941) there is an Appendix "O" which contains a 3 July 1941 test report on the Buffalo compared to the Zero intelligence report.
 
It says inter alia: rate of climb to 13,000' Zero 4.3 min, Buffalo 6.1 min; Speed at 10,000' Zero 315 mph, Buffalo approx. 270 mph; Speed at 20,000' Zero 295 mph, Buffalo 292 mph.
 
It also contains a statement concerning the Buffalo that actual experience in Malaya showed that 292 mph could not be obtained.
Despite these indications that the Japanese could field a fighter superior to the Buffalo, there were no high level requests for better fighters prior to Decemeber 7th.
Interesting that the Buffalo test figures are actually low compared to its official figures. The Zero intel report figures are fairly close to official Japanese numbers (317 mph at 16,400) but do not reflect the reality that Japanese fighter pilots often operated in an overboost engine condition in combat. In which case the figures in the US reports (345 mph) are closer.
 
Rick
 
Re: Zero Intel pre-Dec 7th
 
Posted By: Mark Haselden <mailto:mark_rae@email.msn.com?subject=Re: Zero Intel pre-Dec 7th>
Date: Friday, 23 November 2001, at 2:24 p.m.
 
In Response To: Zero Intel pre-Dec 7th (richard dunn)
 
Rick,
From what I have seen of surviving combat reports from Malaya and Burma, certainly the IJAAF fighters were deemed to be slower than the Buffalo. Accounts from pilots who flew Buffalos over Singapore indicate that they soon learned not to "stay and mix it" with the Japanese fighters which, to me at least, indicates that they were able to depart from the fight at a higher speed, almost certainly in a dive. Most reporting seems to indicate that the controls of the early Zero and Hayabusa became very heavy at high speeds, and hence Japanese pilots preferred slower speed, turning combat to high-speed dive and zoom tactics. What is the source of your info about the Japanese conducting combats in overboost (which eats engines rapidly) and thereby achieving 345mph? It seems to contradict everything I've read on the subject.
 
Yours aye,
Mark
 
Re: Zero Intel pre-Dec 7th
 
Posted By: richard dunn <mailto:rdunn@rhsmith.umd.edu?subject=Re: Zero Intel pre-Dec 7th>
Date: Friday, 23 November 2001, at 3:40 p.m.
 
In Response To: Re: Zero Intel pre-Dec 7th (Mark Haselden)
 
Mark
In Sakai's "Samurai" there are repeated references to use of overboost. Moreover, many Allied combat reports indicate Zeros could overtake or stay with P-40's and P-39's at low and medium altitudes. On April 10th 1942 S/L John Jackson of RAAF 75 Sq was shot down when unable to outrun Zeros at sea level. Three months later RAAF Kittyhawks were chased away from Buna by Zeros. In 50 miles they could not open any distance on the Zeros. This could not be done at the "official" operating speeds of the Zero. Combat reports also mention white smoke coming from Zeros whereupon they broke off otherwise close combats.
The Zero's overboost was actually regulated so that overboost was not "overboosted". This is not necessarily the same as "going through the stops" in an Allied fighter.
 
This is not one of those things you can necessarily "look up" in a book but requires integrating diverse info.
Short answer to a serious question.
 
The Buffalo in Malaya but seldom encountered a "real" Zero. There were only about twenty operational with the 22d Air Flotilla's ad hoc fighter unit. They were actually ecountering Ki 43s and Ki 27s and possibly early Ki 44s. The whole point about Malaya and the Zero is not actual combat but pre-war intelligence.
 
Rick
 
Re: Zero Intel pre-Dec 7th
 
Posted By: Gordon Clarke <mailto:gordonc@adf-serials.com?subject=Re: Zero Intel pre-Dec 7th>
Date: Wednesday, 5 December 2001, at 5:57 a.m.
 
In Response To:  (richard dunn)
 
Rick,
There were only about twenty operational with the 22d Air > Flotilla's ad hoc fighter unit.
Do u mean the 22nd Koku Sentai here? If so, Francillon lists 25 A6M2 Zekes in the Special Detachment as well as 92 Zekes in Tainan Kokutai and 92 Zekes in the Third Kokutai of the 23rd Koku Sentai.
 
So I would imagine the Buffalos had a good chance of encountering Zekes in the Malayan skies, unless 23rd KS didn't take part in the action at all.
Looking through the claims of 453 Sqn RAAF for that period there is very little in the way of claims for destroyed Zekes (only one that I can see), only one probable destroyed and at least 3 damaged. So they didn't encounter them in the numbers they did with the IJA a/c and they didn't have the
success over the Zeke as they did with the Army a/c. They were actually ecountering Ki 43s and Ki 27s and possibly early Ki 44s.
 
They certainly appear to be the major a/c encountered. They (the Buffalo pilots) make reference to fighting a/c like Me-109s, but the only a/c that I can think of like that was the Ki-61 Tony which wasn't introduced into combat until the next year. I have April 43 as being that date. So unless I have the date wrong for the Tony, would anyone care to make an informed guess as to which a/c the pilots were referring to?
 
Thanks...Gordon
 
Re: Smoking Gun
 
Posted By: Larry <mailto:Hldeziv@aol.com?subject=Re: Smoking Gun>
Date: Friday, 23 November 2001, at 6:52 a.m.
 
In Response To: Re: Smoking Gun (Nick Millman)
 
According to a recently published scholarly work by the highly respected British university professor, Fulbright scholar and Director of the Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies in the U.K., Richard J. Aldrich, "Intelligence and the War Against Japan" (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2000), it is stated on page 63 in reference to the "Zero fighter": "Detailed information of its startling performance was obtained [by Far East Combined Bureau (FECB) in Singapore - HLD] from China in May [1941 - HLD] and again in September 1941." Aldrich maintains that not all of this detailed information was disseminated by FECB to London and that that which was was met by disbelief. Even the senior RAF officers in Singapore refused to believe it and, accordingly, "did not pass it on to their pilots."
Worth noting in the above is that there were two reports on Zero specs in British hands prior to 7(8) December, but not all of it was passed along as it should have been. It seems like this adds an additional "twist" to the puzzle.
 
(Larry)
 
Re: Smoking Gun
 
Posted By: John Lundstrom <mailto:jl@mpm.edu?subject=Re: Smoking Gun>
Date: Saturday, 24 November 2001, at 11:23 a.m.
 
In Response To: Re: Smoking Gun (Larry)
 
One USN officer who believed it was Lieut. John S. ("Jimmy") Thach, the CO of VF-3 on the Saratoga. After seeing the description of the Zero (top speed 345-380 mph, cruise of 210 to 250 mph, and an armament of two 20-mm cannons and two 7.7-mm machine guns) published in the US Fleet Air Tactical Unit Intelligence Bulletin of 22 Sept. 1941, he devised his "Beam Defense" tactics later called the "Thach Weave." See my book The First Team, 477-85. The gun's been smoking a long time.
 
Zero War Prize: The "Guadalcanal-SAKAI Zero"
 
Posted By: James F. Lansdale <mailto:LRAJIM@aol.com?subject=Zero War Prize: Tales of Two Zeros (Part 2) *PIC*>
Date: Sunday, 21 October 2001, at 9:54 a.m.
 
The crew of Zero 4573, Tainan ku [V-179] has not been positively identified, however, preliminary analysis is pointing to the strong possibility this aircraft was lost during late September 1942 and may have been flown by WO TAKASUKA, Toraichi from No.3 ku. TAKASUKA was lost 27 September 1942 over Guadalcanal, according to HATA/IZAWA p.379.
Don MARSH has presented us with a superb view of Mitsubishi A6M2 model 21 Zero, s/n 4573, [V-179] from Tainan Ku, September 1942. Yellow paint was found on fragments from the fuselage and serve as the basis for the yellow stripe in the style of Tainan ku. (N.B. The radio antenna may have been cut-off (Tainan ku practice) at the canopy line or remained whole (No.3 ku practice). This detail is not known for certain.
 
Re: Zero War Prize: The "Guadalcanal-SAKAI Zero" *PIC*
 
Posted By: James F. Lansdale <mailto:LRAJIM@aol.com?subject=Re: Zero War Prize: The 'Guadalcanal-SAKAI Zero' *PIC*>
Date: Monday, 22 October 2001, at 4:04 a.m.
 
In Response To: Re: Zero War Prize: Tales of Two Zeros (Part 2) (Martin)
 
Hi Martin 
You ask, " (Is) this ... the famous 'Guadalcanal' Zero that was found with crew remains? Are there any actual pics of the a/c?"
Zero s/n 4573 [V-179] is not the same Mitsubishi A6M2 model 21 Zero to which you refer. I have seen film clips taken at the time of the recovery of the other "Guadalcanal" or "SAKAI Zero" [V-103]. It was found near Honiara, (on the outer perimeter of the old Henderson Field) in 1993 by Patrick M. MURPHY. This Zero has previously been featured on this MB.
It allegedly had been flown by Saburo SAKAI as [V-103] and its s/n was 3647. [V-103] was lost on a mission to Guadalcanal while flown by another pilot. Dr. Minoru KAWAMOTO arranged for the recovered crew remains to be sent to Japan, but they have yet to be identified.
It is my understanding that SAKAI-san was presented with fragments from this crash site by Dr. KAWAMOTO and other fragments recovered from the same crash site have turned-up from time to time. At least two pieces have been subjected to paint analysis. The engine and most of the airframe fragments were placed in a cargo container in Honiara. However, it is also my understanding, that the main tail components, as well as other significant parts, have "mysteriously" vanished.
While portions of the story regarding the fate of the recovered relics from [V-103] is hearsay, much of this account has been confirmed. I am sure the "missing" pieces will eventually find their way to the surface in some museum or private collection!
 
Re: Zero War Prize: The "Guadalcanal-SAKAI Zero"
 
Posted By: Masahiro Washio <mailto:m-washio@zero-fighter.com?subject=Re: Zero War Prize: The 'Guadalcanal-SAKAI Zero'>
Date: Wednesday, 24 October 2001, at 9:50 a.m.
 
In Response To: Re: Zero War Prize: The "Guadalcanal-SAKAI Zero" *PIC* (James F. Lansdale)
 
Jim Lansdale-san.
I read in "Tatakau Zero-sen" that Saburo Sakai was piloted V-138 ,when he got injured at Guadalcanal. There is a photo that Saboro Sakai walking from V-138.
But Saburo Sakai wrote in his "Saigo no Zero-sen". He remember piloted V-103 ,when he got injured at Guadalcanal.
Do you know which is right.
 
Re:Sakai Zero [V-138]? *PIC*
 
Posted By: James F. Lansdale <mailto:LRAJIM@aol.com?subject=Re:Sakai Zero [V-138]? *PIC*>
Date: Wednesday, 24 October 2001, at 7:48 p.m.
 
In Response To: Re: Zero War Prize: The "Guadalcanal-SAKAI Zero" (Masahiro Washio)
 
Washio-san
You wrote, "I read in 'Tatakau Zero-sen' that Saburo Sakai ... piloted V-138 ,when he got injured at Guadalcanal. There is a photo (showing) Saburo Sakai walking from V-138."
 
I scanned the photo from "Tatakau Zero Sen" on page 51 showing SAKAI-san walking away from the Tainan Kokutai flight line on 7 August 1942. I do not know what the caption says. However, as you will see in the photo close-up below, Mitsubishi A6M2 model 21 [V-138] has two tail stripes applied above and below the call numbers. Usually these stripes would indicate a Hiko Chutaicho or Buntaicho. I believe SAKAI-san was a Shotaicho and his Zero would probably have carried only one stripe on the tail.
 
It is likely the Zero shown was assigned to the Tainan Ku, No.3 Hiko chutai/buntaicho or it may even have been the Zero assigned to Lt. SASAI. Maybe someone else will share some insights into this matter.
 
FWIW
Jim Lansdale
 
Re:Sakai Zero [V-138]?
 
Posted By: Graham Boak <mailto:graham@boak98.freeserve.co.uk?subject=Re:Sakai Zero [V-138]?>
Date: Friday, 26 October 2001, at 3:41 a.m.
 
In Response To: Re:Sakai Zero [V-138]? *PIC* (James F. Lansdale)
 
Thanks to you two gentlemen for these fascinating comments.
I can only add that the one stripe/two stripe argument probably differentiates between the aircraft allocated to those pilots,and possibly that normally flown: it does not help as to the aircraft flown on a particular day. Aircraft go sick: pilots will use whatever is available. Presumably if Sakai's normal aircraft was unserviceable on the day he would have preferred an aircraft with some kind of leader's markings to one without.
So V-138 cannot be ruled out on the grounds of having the "wrong" markings. I agree that a photograph showing both the damaged cockpit and the tail number would confirm matters.
 
Re:Sakai Zero [V-138]?
 
Posted By: James Holloway <mailto:bobwimple@aol.com?subject=Re:Sakai Zero [V-138]?>
Date: Friday, 26 October 2001, at 11:27 a.m.
 
In Response To: Re:Sakai Zero [V-138]? (Graham Boak)
 
Sirs, Sakai san showed me a Japanese magazine that had a photo that showed him still in the cockpit. It was grainy and a bit blurred, but he pointed out that his pilot's helmet that was bunched up on his head because the scarf was tucked under it. He said the caption was in error as it said he was taking off for the Guadlecanal mission when he had actually just landed. The photographer had jumped onto the wing and shot thru the canopy, unfortunately, the photo cut off the forward portion of the canopy, so we made a drawing of the damage as well as he could remember it. So, there are probably many more photos of the incident and I'll bet there is one out there of the plane as well. Sincerely, James Holloway
 
Re:Sakai Zero [V-138]?
 
Posted By: Masahiro Washio <mailto:m-washio@zero-fighter.com?subject=Re:Sakai Zero [V-138]?>
Date: Thursday, 25 October 2001, at 4:47 a.m.
 
In Response To: Re:Sakai Zero [V-138]? *PIC* (James F. Lansdale)
 
Jim Lansdale-san.
I am surprised that you have Japanese Book.
Yoji Watanabe wrote it from the viewpoint of conviction. Sakai piloted V-138 Zero model 21.
I doubted it, too. It can't be proved in that photograph. But one Japanese BBS member wrote: Yoji Watanabe has much more photos ,taken at the same time.
 
Re: Zero War Prize: The "Guadalcanal-SAKAI Zero"
 
Posted By: James F. Lansdale <mailto:LRAJIM@aol.com?subject=Re: Zero War Prize: The 'Guadalcanal-SAKAI Zero'>
Date: Wednesday, 24 October 2001, at 10:49 a.m.
 
In Response To: Re: Zero War Prize: The "Guadalcanal-SAKAI Zero" (Masahiro Washio)
 
Washio-San
SAKAI-San listed many Zeros in his log book. I do not know for certain which Zero he flew on 7 August 1942. One of his records lists [V-128]. I have also seen the photo of [V-138] behind him the day he was wounded, but I am not certain that was the Zero he flew that day. [V-138] could be another Zero on the Tainan Ku flight-line at Lakunai Field. Sometimes captions are not accurate. What we need is a photo of this aircraft which would show the damage to the canopy.
 
HTH
Jim Lansdale
 
Zero Wheel Well Color
 
Posted By: Bill Aicklen <mailto:WFAicklen@aol.com?subject=Zero Wheel Well Color>
Date: Wednesday, 5 September 2001, at 8:51 p.m.
 
What would the color have been for the interior wheel wells and flaps on a A6M2 Zero at Pearl Harbour?
 
Re: Zero Wheel Well Color
 
Posted By: Greg Springer <mailto:gspring@ix.netcom.com?subject=Re: Zero Wheel Well Color>
Date: Thursday, 6 September 2001, at 6:14 p.m.
 
In Response To: Zero Wheel Well Color (Bill Aicklen)
 
Hi Bill,
I was waiting for Ryan Toews to answer but I guess I'll save him the trouble. All Zeros at PH were Mitsubishi-built. Therefore the wheel wells and inner surfaces of the flaps are dark green translucent aotake color. I reproduce this by spraying a base coat of aluminum. I then take an unmixed bottle of Modelmaster 'British Green Metallic' and pour the green portion off of the metal pigment in the bottom. Thin this and spray it on the aluminum in very light coats until you are satisfied with the shade. The inner surfaces of both the inboard and outboard landing gear doors are the same gray-green-khaki as the overall color of the airframe. IHTH!
 
Cheers!
Greg
 
Mitsubishi Zero Cockpit Deck Color
 
Posted By: Ryan Toews <mailto:ritoews@mb.sympatico.ca?subject=Mitsubishi Zero Cockpit Deck Color>
Date: Monday, 19 November 2001, at 1:42 p.m.
 
Hello All,
It has been established for some time now that the cockpit deck color on the Zeros painted overall in Hairyokushoku was black. However, there is a degree of uncertainty if this practice was continued on Zeros that were camouflaged at the factory with dark green paint on their upper surfaces. It would appear, according to the A6M5 pictured in the upper photo on page 70 of MA 510, that Nakajima continued the practice of black painted cockpit decks. The Nakajima built A6M5 in the IWM seems to back up this conclusion.
 
But what Mitsubishi did is somewhat problematic. The A6M3 22 in the RNZAF Museum appears to have its cockpit decking painted black, but the photos I have seen are not of good enough quality to establish this with certainty. Furthermore, in his book on cockpit interiors, Robert Mikesh states on page 127 "Interior decking matched the exterior green when camouflage was applied by the manufacturer." The NASM's Mitsubishi built A6M5 has been painted to follow this practice, but has anyone come across any other evidence that demonstrates if this in fact was the case with Mitsubishi built Zeros?
 
Ryan
 
Re: Mitsubishi Zero Cockpit Deck Color
 
Posted By: Derek Brown <mailto:dbrown303@aol.com?subject=Re: Mitsubishi Zero Cockpit Deck Color>
Date: Tuesday, 20 November 2001, at 5:07 p.m.
 
In Response To: Mitsubishi Zero Cockpit Deck Color (Ryan Toews)
 
On the Mitsubishi A6M3 being restored here, you can clearly see the black color that was protected from fading and sunlight by the canopy. The rear canopy section has been removed during the restoration and the black decking color clearly shows where the canopy section was. They obviously painted the deck prior to installing the canopy.
 
DB
 
Re: Mitsubishi Zero Cockpit Deck Color
 
Posted By: joe taylor <mailto:jtaylor@bhfs.bellhowell.com?subject=Re: Mitsubishi Zero Cockpit Deck Color>
Date: Tuesday, 20 November 2001, at 7:42 a.m.
 
In Response To: Mitsubishi Zero Cockpit Deck Color (Ryan Toews)
 
Ryan, with the respect to the Mitsubishi built Zero's in overall Hairyokushoku, was the cockpit deck "black" or the cowling Blue-Black????
thanks,
 
joe.
 
Re: Mitsubishi Zero Cockpit Deck Color
 
Posted By: Ryan Toews <mailto:ritoews@mb.sympatico.ca?subject=Re: Mitsubishi Zero Cockpit Deck Color>
Date: Tuesday, 20 November 2001, at 7:56 a.m.
 
In Response To: Re: Mitsubishi Zero Cockpit Deck Color (joe taylor)
 
Hello Joe,
I do not know if this has ever been confirmed on way or the other. As far as I know, it has simply been assumed that the color was Mitsubishi blue-black. An arguement could be made for either option.
 
Ryan
 
Re: Mitsubishi Zero Cockpit Deck Color
 
Posted By: Don Marsh <mailto:marsh44@fuse.net?subject=Re: Mitsubishi Zero Cockpit Deck Color>
Date: Monday, 19 November 2001, at 2:35 p.m.
 
In Response To: Mitsubishi Zero Cockpit Deck Color (Ryan Toews)
 
Hi Ryan
Sorry I can't comment on Mitsubishi, but I have two color photos of Nakajima built A6M5's in the field; one a/c 601-? and the other "Yo"D-135 at Atsugi, and both clearly have black cockpit decking.
 
Good luck on your quest.
-Don
 
Re: Mitsubishi Zero Cockpit Deck Color
 
Posted By: Ryan Toews <mailto:ritoews@mb.sympatico.ca?subject=Re: Mitsubishi Zero Cockpit Deck Color>
Date: Monday, 19 November 2001, at 3:35 p.m.
 
In Response To: Re: Mitsubishi Zero Cockpit Deck Color (Don Marsh)
 
Thanks Don,
I was fairly sure about the Nakajima use of black, but I have a nagging uncertainty about Mitsubishi. Although the NASM Zero was incorrectly painted in a Nakajima scheme there still was some solid research done as to paint details. And the conclusion they came up with was it had the decking in the same color as the exterior. Now, I understand that the paint had been stripped from the plane when it was examined by the Army, but I doubt all the paint was removed and the remnants that were found were held to be green. But it would be nice to get other evidence to support this.
Ryan
Guadalcanal Zero Colours and Markings
 
Posted By: Daniel Alfonsea <mailto:alfonsea@terra.es?subject=Guadalcanal Zero Colours and Markings>
Date: Friday, 16 August 2002, at 5:47 a.m.
 
Hello,
This question is related to the one I have posted on Zero Tail Details.
What Zero squadrons would have flown in missions (and lost planes) over Guadalcanal? What colours and markings would these have sported - specially in the tail?
 
Thanks,
Dani
 
Re: Guadalcanal Zero Colours and Markings
 
Posted By: James F. Lansdale <>
Date: Friday, 16 August 2002, at 6:38 a.m.
 
In Response To: Guadalcanal Zero Colours and Markings (Daniel Alfonsea)
 
Dani
There were several IJNAF Kokutai which flew missions over Guadalcanal from August 1942 on to late 1943. The early missions were flown by the land-based, Tainan Ku (later No.251 Ku), No. 6 Ku (later No.204 Ku) and No.2 Ku (later No.582 Ku); various carrier-borne units flying from carriers and/or land bases; and, in 1943 several other numbered Kokutai.
 
There were several camouflage schemes and A6M models used, plus a huge range of command and tactical markings, as well as a variety of unit tail codes.
A good starting point would be for you to be more specific by time period and model of Zero.
A good source of information would be Famous Aircraft of the World series, Nos.55 and 56.
 
HTH
Jim Lansdale
Natural metal finish on Zero's......
 
Posted By: Edgar <mailto:spifire@mail4u.co.nz?subject=Natural metal finish on Zero's......>
Date: Thursday, 11 July 2002, at 4:32 a.m.
 
Hi all, was there ever a time in the Zero's history, that the a/c flew in natural metal? Home defence?
thanks for your help.
Edgar.
 
Re: Natural metal finish on Zero's......
 
Posted By: Dave Pluth <mailto:dave@j-aircraft.com?subject=Re: Natural metal finish on Zero's......>
Date: Thursday, 11 July 2002, at 5:25 a.m.
 
In Response To: Natural metal finish on Zero's...... (Edgar)
 
Edgar,
Most that were captured by the US were flown in a Natural Metal scheme.
-Dave
rufe in french service
 
Posted By: michele marsan <mailto:m.marsan@tiscali.it?subject=rufe in french service>
Date: Wednesday, 4 September 2002, at 12:07 a.m.
 
And what about Rufes in French aeroNavale markings???? Apart the ATAIU craft, painted with british or french insignias, some sources report about three or four Rufes from a cruiser servicing with Flotille 8S, French aeronavale in Indochina , 1946. AS I am preparing a feature for a big british modeling magazine, I am seeking furhter informations. Help me!
 
Re: rufe in french service
 
Posted By: John MacGregor <mailto:JohnMacG6@hotmail.com?subject=Re: rufe in french service>
Date: Wednesday, 4 September 2002, at 12:38 p.m.
 
In Response To: rufe in french service (michele marsan)
 
get the french magazine 'Avions' #77, August 1999. (Try www.avionsbateaux.com) It has an article on Japanese Navy a/c in French service in Indo-China. it includes details on the one - repeat one - A6M2-N used by the French (the 'ATAIU' example). It actually flew several times in French markings before crashing.
Several E13As were used by the French Navy at this time, you may be mistaking these for Rufes.
 
Re: rufe in french service
 
Posted By: Graham Boak <mailto:graham@agboak.freeserve.co.uk?subject=Re: rufe in french service>
Date: Wednesday, 4 September 2002, at 3:03 a.m.
 
In Response To: rufe in french service (michele marsan)
 
Contact Avions magazine, who carried an article on this subject a year or two back.
 
Re: rufe in french service
 
Posted By: William Knoth <mailto:baronred4@cs.com?subject=Re: rufe in french service>
Date: Wednesday, 4 September 2002, at 8:52 a.m.
 
In Response To:  (Graham Boak)
 
You can find them in Arco-Aircam No.18 Mit.A6M1/2/-2N Zero-Sen Pub. 1970 (profile & Photo of french Rufe)
 
Posted By: Tom Drysdale <mailto:drysdale4@sympatico.ca?subject=Re: rufe in french service>
Date: Wednesday, 4 September 2002, at 9:35 a.m.
In Response To: rufe in french service (michele marsan)
 
There is a nice picture of one at this address and a little description. Cool markings to say the least.
http://frenchnavy.free.fr/seaplanes/rufe/rufe.htm
Type 21 Zero of Pearl Harbor
 
Posted By: Brad Main <mailto:themains@shaw.ca?subject=Type 21 Zero of Pearl Harbor>
Date: Friday, 26 July 2002, at 6:30 p.m.
 
I am finishing up a Hasegawa 1/48 scale Type 21 Zero in the markings of LCdr Shigeru Itaya, and although these and other Pearl Harbor attack aircraft were relatively new, I am sure they would have shown some weathering. I am wondering where I would find some stains and streaks on these planes, sorry this is my first one. I have the Aero Detail 7 Book as a ref, but they don't show too many war time close up shots.
TIA
Brad
 
Re: Type 21 Zero of Pearl Harbor
 
Posted By: Grant Goodale >
Date: Friday, 26 July 2002, at 6:37 p.m.
 
In Response To: Type 21 Zero of Pearl Harbor (Brad Main)
 
Brad -
There might be *some* staining but these aircraft were delivered fresh from the factory to the carriers and the maintenance crews would be exceptionally dilligent as they were embarking on the "adventure" of their lives.
My personal advice would be to only use some light exhaust staining.
FWIW
- Grant
 
Re: Type 21 Zero of Pearl Harbor
 
Posted By: Brad <mailto:themains@shaw.ca?subject=Re: Type 21 Zero of Pearl Harbor>
Date: Friday, 26 July 2002, at 8:18 p.m.
 
In Response To: Re: Type 21 Zero of Pearl Harbor (Grant Goodale)
 
Thanks Grant, I will try and keep it to a minimum ;) Now, would the exhaust be present where the manifold is or along the side of the plane where the cowl flaps are? I must say, its taking me a bit to get used to the grey-green paint scheme on this zero, I have always been acustom to seeing the zero in a light grey. I also painted the deck behind the pilots headrest interior green as per the instructions, but I have seen pics of it dark grey or interior green in the book I have, does it matter?
Thanks for the help.
Cheers
Brad
 
Re: Type 21 Zero of Pearl Harbor
 
Posted By: Grant Goodale <mailto:grant.goodale@sympatico.ca?subject=Re: Type 21 Zero of Pearl Harbor>
Date: Saturday, 27 July 2002, at 7:34 a.m.
 
In Response To: Re: Type 21 Zero of Pearl Harbor (Brad)
 
Brad -
Greg Springer (see below) developed a paint mix based on relics recovered from the Pearl Harbour raid. An out of the bottle paint that is very similar is Polly Scale Concrete from their Railroad Acrylics line (not the enamel). My eyes see it as a light tan colour.
If you want an enamel, contact Greg and he can give you a very precise mix.
HTH
- Grant
 
Re: Type 21 Zero of Pearl Harbor
 
Posted By: Greg Springer <mailto:gspring@ix.netcom.com?subject=Re: Type 21 Zero of Pearl Harbor>
Date: Saturday, 27 July 2002, at 7:14 a.m.
 
In Response To: Re: Type 21 Zero of Pearl Harbor (Brad)
 
Hi Brad,
The strict discipline in force in the IJN would ensure that every aircraft was maintained in a very clean condition aboard ship. Any exhaust stains would be cleaned up as soon as the aircraft returned from a flight. The color of the headrest and decking inside the canopy is the same as the cowling, gloss blue-black. You might wish to mix up a very slightly lighter shade of the gray-green to paint ailerons, elevators and selected panels. This, along with a very thin wash of gray in panel lines, will give a nice effect to your model. IHTH.
Greg
 
Re: Type 21 Zero of Pearl Harbor
 
Posted By: William Knoth <mailto:baronred4@cs.com?subject=Re: Type 21 Zero of Pearl Harbor>
Date: Saturday, 27 July 2002, at 11:38 a.m.
 
In Response To: Re: Type 21 Zero of Pearl Harbor (Brad)
 
I'm an A&p mech. and there is no way the planes were that clean.I worked with a flight school which maintaned their planes to a high standard and drit and griem would work into the paint and this is moddern paint not 1940s stuff not until it was painted did they look clean William Knoth
 
Re: Type 21 Zero of Pearl Harbor
 
Posted By: Grant Goodale <mailto:grant.goodale@sympatico.ca?subject=Re: Type 21 Zero of Pearl Harbor>
Date: Friday, 26 July 2002, at 7:49 p.m.
 
In Response To: Re: Type 21 Zero of Pearl Harbor (William Knoth)
 
William -
I would recommend very little shading based on the very clear photos that we have of crashed Zeroes.
FWIW
- Grant
 
Zero color question (not another one!)
 
Posted By: Mike Connelley <mailto:msc@ifa.hawaii.edu?subject=Zero color question (not another one!)>
Date: Monday, 2 September 2002, at 5:38 a.m.
 
Howdy:
It's late at night and studying for exams is really boring, so I figured I'd stir the pot a little. I just took a look at the very nice photos of the A6M2 in the Harada (sp?) collection, recently posted on this site. I noticed that it's painted in the rather nice looking light gray, as most surviving early Zeros tend to be and as (judging by looking at models on the web) most peopler think they were. But, from what I've read here it seems that early Zeros were most definatively painted in the brownish-greenish-light gray similar to RLM02 or "khaki". So, my question is: Were early Zeros EVER painted in the nice light gray that we tend to see so often these days, or were they only in the RLM02-ish gray until the IJN switched to the green over light gray scheme???
Cheers
Mike Connelley
 
Re: Zero color question (not another one!) *PIC*
 
Posted By: James F. Lansdale <mailto:LRAJIM@aol.com?subject=Re: Zero color question (not another one!) *PIC*>
Date: Monday, 2 September 2002, at 7:08 a.m.
 
In Response To: Zero color question (not another one!) (Mike Connelley)
 
Hi Mike
You asked, "Were early Zeros EVER painted in the nice light gray that we tend to see so often these days, or were they only in the RLM02-ish gray until the IJN switched to the green over light gray scheme?"
All genuine artifacts/relics from Mitsubishi or Nakajima constructed A6M2s, A6M3s (Mitsubishi only) and A6M5s which were put away in storage shortly after recovery during WW II indicate that such Zeros have originally been painted hairyokushoku (gray-green/"grey-poupon" or whatever!) at the factory, either over all surfaces or on the lower surfaces of those Zeros with the factory-applied two-tone camouflage scheme.
All such genuine artifacts which have been recovered from wrecks exposed to fire or long periods of weathering (many years) have turned a chalky "white-gray" or "blue-gray" on the exposed surfaces. Where these weathered items have been protected by the metal overlapping metal or by a subsequent coat of paint, evidence of the hairyokushoku still remains.
See Ryan TOEWS' research article on the BLAYD Zeros located on our home page.
I have not yet confirmed that either Mitsubishi or Nakajima ever painted the traditional "gray" paint on the lower metal surfaces of Zeros, but new relics are becoming available for analysis.
Some earlier analysis was done on weathered relics from a very few A6M5 relics which gave some indication that the traditional "gray" was used on the lower surfaces of late production A6M5s, but these studies could have been flawed and done on the weathered hairyokushoku surfaces. Therefore, these relics need to be re-examined.
I cannot say that the traditional "gray" color of Zeros was NEVER applied, only that I have examined no relics with such a scheme other than the paint found on the fabric control surfaces from some Zeros.
FWIW
Jim Lansdale
Origins of References
For
 
Japanese Aircraft Camouflage and Markings
by
James F. Lansdale
(First Draft June 1998)
 

Introduction

Great Britain and Germany had been engaged in aerial combat for little more than a year when the Harborough Publishing Company, Limited, of England released the first of a seven volume series of texts entitled the Aircraft of the Fighting Powers (AFP). The texts’ editor, D.A. Russell, using the compiled works of various authors, produced what was then considered to be the premier source of information on military aircraft. The texts contained photographs, line drawings, and commentary on multinational camouflage and markings. This source was to remain the single most important reference on the subject of camouflage and markings for the next two decades. Research on the origins of references for Japanese aircraft camouflage and markings began with the study and analysis of the contents in these widely read books. While the publications did serve as the state of the art on the subject for the times, the authors and publishers suffered from conditions of
war-time censorship and secrecy. Official intelligence reports were not available for analysis and the few combat photographs released often had been subjected to more than one censor. In addition, monochromatic photographs did not make for accurate color interpretations. Panchromatic film was not always used for the accurate registry of variations in color brightness. Written descriptions of colors as being gray, green, or brown, left much latitude for interpretation by artists and model builders as to exact hues. Nevertheless, Harborough had produced what were to become virtual bibles of resource material on the subject. Consequently, more than one generation of historians and model builders have been incorrectly influenced with frequently erroneous or unsubstantiated assertions as to the color schemes of Japanese warplanes contained within these volumes. Such erroneous information needs analysis, correction, and revision in the light of more recent research and available evidence.
 
The following analysis is the result of efforts by a network of historians working on compiling information on wartime Japanese camouflage color schemes and markings. They have utilized declassified documents from the National Archives and have examined documented relics from the period. The citations and commentary are intended to clarify several issues which have generated controversy over time in this field of study and present the latest information available from the on-going research.

Part I: Original Reference To Japanese Color Schemes and Markings

The first color references to Japanese aircraft camouflage and markings by Harborough Publishing Company, Limited, did not appear until the publication of their third volume of Aircraft of the Fighting Powers (AFP) in December 1942, one year after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Editor, D.A. Russell had begun to include a section entitled "A Compendium Of International Military Aircraft Markings, With Some Notes On Regulation Colour Schemes Applied To Various Classes of Aircraft." Under the sub-heading "Japan" appeared the following description:

"International markings: A red disc painted above and below the wing tips and sometimes on the fuselage sides, but not on the tail assembly. A narrow white band is painted around the rear fuselage, or sometimes midway between the wings and the tail group. Unit markings take the form of horizontal and diagonal strips painted across the fin and rudder. The camouflage consists of irregular patches of greys and purples on the upper surfaces and a light shade beneath the wings and fuselage. The light shade meets the camouflage with an undulating line." (AFP, Vol. III; p. xliv)

Commentary: Russell’s first textual reference to Japanese colors and markings has been found to be generally accurate. His main failing was not providing a color standard and the uncertain interpretation required of the reader by his use of generic words such as "greys" and, interestingly, a reference to "purple." It is known today that the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force (IJAAF) did not apply the fuselage hinomaru during the early stage (December 1941 through February/March 1942) of combat operations. The IJAAF was also the branch of service which almost universally utilized the single "narrow white band," or so-called combat stripe, on the fuselage of its aircraft immediately in front of the fin. In some theaters this so-called combat stripe was red in color. Imperial Japanese Naval Air Force (IJNAF) bomber units, while not the only units to do so, were the most likely to utilize the "horizontal and diagonal strips painted across the fin and rudder" as tactical formation markings. Other color references to Japanese aircraft in AFP, Vol. III included:

"S-96 [A5M Claude] fighters are now camouflaged in the standard fashion, but were formerly light grey unrelieved save for the red disc national insignia and the unit markings in the form of hieroglyphics [kanji, katakana, or hiragana markings]." (AFP, Vol. III; p. 64)

"Both Army and Navy versions of the S-97 [Ki-27 Nate] are now camouflaged, but in pre-war days they were silver and the Naval fighters usually had the cowling painted in the flight or group color." AFP, Vol. III; p. 65)

Commentary: In the light of later knowledge, it is apparent that there was some confusion in the discrimination of the Mitsubishi A5M Claude naval fighters, whose early production numbers left the factory in natural metal finish, from the Nakajima Ki-27 Nate army fighters, which left the factory in a color now evidenced to be similar to a gray-green (FS-16350). Mid to late production Claudes did leave the production line in similar livery. The exact hue of these A5Ms continues to be researched. Army air units frequently painted the cowlings of the Ki-27 in the hiko chutai colors, however the naval A5M fighter cowls were invariably a dark gray or black color. In addition, red tail surfaces on IJNAF aircraft were used as a branch of service marking.

Succeeding pages of volume III went on to describe the Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero, Kawasaki Ki-32 Mary, Mitsubishi Ki-51 Sonia, Kugisho B4Y1 Jean, Mitsubishi
Ohtori (Eve) operated by the Asahi Shimbun, and the Mitsubishi G3M1 Nell as being "camouflaged in the usual way," or "silver" with various white fuselage bands or white stripes on the tail. (AFP, Vol. III; p.p. 66 -71). Russell then went on to describe the Mitsubishi Ki-21 Sally:

"In China the Mitsubishi OB-97s [Ki-21 Sally] were not camouflaged and one squadron carried a star insignia against two diagonal white bands painted spiral-fashion around the rear fuselage. In addition to this special marking the usual white band was painted just forward of the tailplane. The national insignia [is] painted on the wings only." (AFP, Vol. III; p.72)

Commentary: Noteworthy of this citation is that of three photographs which accompanied the article, two illustrated the markings mentioned as consisting of "two diagonal white bands" along with the "star insignia." However, the stripes are obviously not white or light in color! The bombers’ overall color appears to be the standard factory-applied finish known today to be similar to FS-16350 gray-green.

Part II: Origins of References to Clear Coating

Volume IV of AFP was published in 1943. In the Japanese section of the Compendium of International Military Aircraft Markings [and] Regulation Colour
Schemes appears an interesting mixture of information.
"International markings: A red disc painted above and below the wing tips and on the fuselage sides of both Army and Navy aeroplanes. On camouflaged surfaces the red disc is outlined in white. Many differing camouflage schemes have been tried on Japanese aeroplanes and some have been finished in a clear lacquer [Italcs added] so as to reflect the natural surroundings. The upper surfaces are camouflaged in tints of grey, purple, and green, while the lower surfaces are pale grey. Other machines have been painted pale grey or pale green on both upper and lower surfaces. Unit markings take the form of white horizontal bands of varying thicknesses across the vertical tail surfaces and vertical bands surrounding the rear fuselage." (AFP, Vol. IV; p.LII)

Commentary: While most of the material cited is generally accurate in spite of the use of generic color descriptions, the most interesting statement herein is the alleged application by the Japanese of "a clear lacquer so as to reflect the natural surroundings." This citation provides the first published record of a so-called clear coat on Japanese aircraft. Research and examination of scores of relics since the time of this publication have failed to support this contention. In fact, the Japanese Naval Test and Research Center at Yokosuka had come to a much different conclusion as early as February 1942. In the Yokosuka kokutai official Report No. 0266, Research of Camouflage For the Type 0 Carrier Fighter, the writer of the report stated an opposite finding:

"1. The effectiveness of camouflage by the application of various colors differs greatly and is dependent on the background. Therefore, it is difficult for just one color to fit any kind of situation.

2. It is easy to spot aircraft without paint because the reflection of light on the metal [may be seen] at a great distance. If one renders the surface lusterless, one can reduce this weak point no matter what color is applied." (Yokosuka kokutai Report No. 0266; p. 2)

Thus, if a clear coat were to be applied and contribute an effective camouflage it would need to be transparent yet not shiny nor made "to reflect the natural surroundings" much like a mirror! However, the assertion that a clear coat had been applied by the Japanese to their aircraft was erroneously repeated:

"The usual camouflage markings are carried by the OB-01 [Mitsubishi G4M Betty] and it is reported that certain of them have been finished in clear lacquer so
as to reflect the surroundings in which they are operating." AFP, Vol. IV; p.75.

Commentary: One possible explanation for the shine reportedly observed on the Betty land-based naval bombers is that the glint may have been the result of
light reflection on the unpainted lower surfaces of the aircraft or it was the reflection from a paint scheme which had not been rendered "lusterless." Again, it must be emphasized that the reflection of light by the application of a "clear lacquer" would have been the antithesis to the purpose of camouflage and certainly unnecessary if the surface paint were glossy when applied. There would have been no purpose to apply a clear coat to an already shiny surface other than to protect an otherwise bare metal. A flat opaque coat of paint would have been equally effective in protecting the surface and serving as camouflage. In the event, it is extremely difficult to determine if light reflection from a surface is due to the application of a clear coat by merely observing it. One would have to physically examine the painted surface in question layer by layer to make a definitive determination.

Part III: More Clear Coat and New Colors

In the compendium section for the 1944 edition of AFP, it was reported for Japan that on camouflaged aircraft the hinomaru was "outlined in white or
against a yellow square background." Also reported was that "differing camouflage schemes have been tried out on Japanese aeroplanes and some have
been finished in a clear lacquer so as to reflect the natural surroundings. The upper surfaces are camouflaged dark green, while lower surfaces are light
blue. Other machines have been painted blue-grey on both upper and lower surfaces. Some aircraft have a grey-green mottle on the sides and upper
surfaces. A white or yellow band about 10" wide is often painted round the rear fuselage on some types." (AFP, Vol. V; p. LXIX)

Commentary: The above citations include the first published account of a "yellow square background" for the hinomaru. This is not conclusive evidence that this practice was a fact and data substantiating this practice has yet to be documented. Documented relics recently examined and analyzed demonstrate that the upper surface dark green on IJNAF planes was most often similar to FS-34052 or FS-34077 and the lower surfaces were most often either unpainted, painted FS-36307 or FS-36314 light blue-gray or FS-36357 gray. Aircraft reported to have been "painted blue-grey on both upper and lower surfaces" are most likely to have been labeled as such because of photographic misinterpretation of a color that modern research reveals was most similar to FS-16350 or FS-24201 gray-green.

"One [Ki-46] Dinah aeroplane has been seen with the Japanese word Ri (Victory) painted on the rudder. Normally this type is unpainted although some are
finished in light blue grey on all surfaces." (AFP, Vol. V; p. 66)

Commentary: Examples from the Mitsubishi Ki-46 Dinah from both the Burma and New Guinea theaters have been examined. All relics from the aircraft samples
examined are a close match to FS-16350 gray-green. None have been unpainted While it is not possible to completely rule out the described "light blue grey
on all surfaces," other than the fabric on the control surfaces, the Dinahs were most likely painted overall in a color similar to FS-16350 gray-green.
Later, field-applied finishes varied as evidenced by wartime photographs. Other factory applied finishes are also currently being researched.

"Most [Mitsubishi A6M3 model 32] Hamp and [A6M2] Zeke fighters are painted a very light blue grey on all surfaces, sometimes with coloured motor cowlings
and normally with coloured identification bands running around the rear of the fuselage. A few of these aircraft have appeared with dark green camouflage on
the upper surfaces and light blue under-surfaces. A number of Hamp aircraft have been seen with the Japanese word Aikoku (Patriotism) painted on the
fuselage in ideographs followed by a number. Two particular aircraft are Aikoku-872 with the number Q-102 on the fin and rudder and Aikoku-870 with the
number V-187 on the fin and rudder. Both airplanes are painted blue-grey on all surfaces with red motor cowlings." (AFP, Vol. V; p. 67)

Commentary: Fortunately there are relics in existence from both of the Hamps described above which are preserved in the National Archives and private
collections (Q-102 s/n 3030 and V-187 s/n 3028 as well as many A6M2 Zeros). The color of the metal surfaces in all cases is either a close match to
FS-16350 or FS-24201 gray-green. This evidence refutes the contention that they were "blue-grey on all surfaces." In addition, color slides and 8 mm
color film of the wreckage at Buna, where these aircraft were recovered, clearly demonstrate that the cowls are not "red." They appear as a shade of
dark gray or gray-black. The Zeros which "have appeared with dark green camouflage on the upper surfaces and light blue undersurfaces" were probably
painted a color similar to FS-34077 dark green over FS-36314 blue-gray, as demonstrated by relics from Nakajima built Zeros. Two-color Mitsubishi
constructed A6M Zekes were most frequently painted FS-34052 dark green over FS-36357 gray lower surfaces.

The myth of Zeros being "blue-grey on all surfaces with red motor cowls" was, unfortunately, reinforced and perpetuated by the noted Harborough artist John
Stroud. In 1945, Stroud authored and illustrated the classic Harborough Publishing Co.,Ltd., edition of Japanese Aircraft with the first full color profiles of Japanese aircraft published. On pages 13 and 15, in this path finding publication, there were Zeros and Hamps erroneously portrayed in a light blue-gray overall finish and red or yellow cowlings! This was the origin of a myth which has continued to the present. Many authors, including Richard M. Bueschel, would later report IJNAF aircraft with a "black or blue and red cowling." (Japanese Aircraft Insignia, Camouflage and Markings by Richard M. Bueschel, 1966: p. 7)

The sixth volume of AFP was published in 1945, after Japanese Aircraft had been published and Russell was very likely influenced by Stroud’s work. In this edition, Russell made the following comments regarding Japanese color schemes and markings:

"National Markings; A red disc painted above and below the wings and on the fuselage. Carried by both Army and Navy aircraft. On camouflaged aircraft
the red disc is outlined in white or painted against a yellow square ground. Various camouflage schemes. Some aircraft are Pale Grey on all surfaces [N.B.
probably a reference to FS-16350 or FS24201]. Others are Dark Green [N.B. probably a reference to naval aircraft with FS-34052 or FS-34077 dark green]
on top and Grey [N.B. probably a reference to naval aircraft FS-36307, 36314, or 36357 blue-gray or gray] underneath. A third variety is Grey-Green mottle
camouflage on the upper surface." (AFP, Vol. VI: p. il)

The seventh and final volume of AFP was published in 1946. These last and certainly least words on the subject of Japanese color schemes and markings in
AFP were a faint and, seemingly, a weary echo of what had so often been said before:

"National Markings. A red disc painted above and below the wings and on the fuselage. Carried by both Navy and Army aircraft. On camouflaged aircraft the disc is surrounded by a white or yellow ring. Various camouflage schemes. Some aircraft pale grey all over. Others dark green on top and grey underneath. A third variety is grey-green mottle camouflage." (AFP, Vol. VII: p. 2)

Commentary: Other than the "yellow ring" around the hinomaru, which has not been substantiated, there was no new material. Again, the generic description of "pale gray all over" did little to establish a precise color or shade. Today, the preponderant evidence is that Japanese army and naval aircraft in the overall light colored paint schemes, were painted in a color similar to FS-16350 or FS-24201 gray-green on their metal surfaces. Often, only the fabric surfaces have shown evidence of what Russell called a "grey" or "blue-grey" color.

The year 1946 also saw the publication of Harborough author Owen G. Thetford’s, first of a two volume series of camouflage and markings books, Camouflage of 1939-42 Aircraft. The second volume, to be published later, would cover the 1943-45 period. Both had three-view drawings and full color illustrations by C. Rupert Moore and were to establish the style of the genre, along with John Stroud’s Japanese Aircraft. On the subject of Japanese camouflage schemes and markings, Thetford wrote about the usual "grey and green" of Japanese aircraft and about the locations of the hinomaru. Then he added:

"Other Japanese aeroplanes observed at one period were pale grey or pale green [Italics added and perhaps alluding to the early overall FS-16350 or FS-24201
gray-green hues] on both upper and lower surfaces. On the pale grey machines the white outline around the red disc was not carried. Unit markings on Japanese aeroplanes took the form of white horizontal bands of varying thickness painted across the fin and rudder, and vertical bands around the rear fuselage. Some Japanese aeroplanes seen over Burma and N. Australia were clear varnished all over so as to reflect the jungle vegetation and merge with their natural surroundings [Italics added]." (Thetford, 1946: p. 76)

Commentary: In addition to the usual generic descriptions of color and markings, now appears the first undocumented statement that Japanese aircraft "seen over Burma and N. Australia were clear varnished all over." Once again, it must be restated that a clear coat is not detectable without having a physical sample in hand nor would aircraft be provided any camouflage value if their surfaces had a clear coat "so as to reflect the jungle vegetation and merge with their natural surroundings." Research is on-going to find hard evidence that a clear coat was ever actually applied by the Japanese to their aircraft during World War II.

Part IV: Fantastic Color Schemes Reach A Zenith

D.A. Russell next production, after AFP, was Aircraft Camouflage and Markings 1907-1954. The book was written by Bruce Robertson and it was first released
in the Autumn of 1956 by Harleyford Publications Limited, now synonymous with "Harborough" Publications. It was reprinted three times with two revised editions. The last edition was published in 1961. Two pages of text dealing with the camouflage and markings of Japanese aircraft did not add to the accuracy of what was then known nor was there documentation of the previously presented material. Furthermore, Robertson’s writings placed the entire subject of Japanese camouflage and markings into increased doubt. The author, inaccurately and incorrectly stated:

"General Finish For both Japanese Army and Naval aircraft a polished metal finish or white doped fabric had been usual. A transparent rust-resisting lacquer was applied producing a smooth surface. To this finish, a camouflage was applied as necessary." (Robertson, 1956: p. 160).

Commentary: Reinforcing what had been inaccurately published before in reference to a so called clear coat, Robertson’s statements did contain some elements taken from a captured enemy material report involving the paint analysis done on the rudder fabric and components of a downed A6M2 Zeke, coded V-110 s/n 1575. (JIC Bulletin No. 1 edited by David Aiken, 1983: p. 20) Robertson continued:

"When Japan struck it was with Japanese Navy aircraft in clear finish - or in brightly coloured schemes [Italics added]. In fact, during the attack on Pearl Harbour, Kates and at least one Jake were painted with red wings and yellow fuselages [Italics added]." (Robertson, 1956: p.160)

Commentary: Robertson, without source citation, repeats the canard of the so called clear coat or "clear finish" and then proceeds to publicizing the most persistent myth regarding the finish on some of the Pear Harbor attackers. The allegation that some of the Pearl Harbor attackers were painted with "red wings and yellow fuselages" has never been substantiated. One theory is that there may have been some observers who, in the midst of the attack, experienced lasting impressions of the red hinomaru on the wings or the yellow and red tactical markings on the tail surfaces of some attacking aircraft. Later, they may have reported seeing the "brightly coloured" schemes alluded to by Robertson. Another theory is that some observers may even have reported seeing one or more of the yellow civilian flight trainers, which were also in the air at the time of the first attack, as "yellow" Japanese aircraft. Allied news reporters of the time would also have desired to picture the Japanese attackers in "yellow" aircraft. Americans, for whom yellow was the symbolic color of cowardice, would have readily accepted such portrayal of an enemy who, at the time, were billed as treacherous and cowardly.
"With the Pacific War a few days old a navigator of a B-17C reported Japanese fighters unlike the silver ones he had previously noted, in that these had a pale green finish." (Robertson, 1956: p. 160)
Commentary: Inadvertently, Robertson had, without citation, quoted one of the first factual references to the Japanese pale gray green schemes (FS-16350 or
FS-24201 gray-green). Walter D. Edmonds wrote the American version of Japanese ace Saburo Sakai’s attack on the B-17 flown by Capt. Colin P. Kelly,
Jr. on 10 December 1941 over the Philippines. In order to record the first description of the A6M2 Zeros flown by Saburo Sakai and other members of the
Tainan kokutai on that date, it is appropriate to here quote from Edmonds’ greatly respected and excellently documented historical classic, They Fought With What They Had. The navigator on the B-17, 2nd Lt. Joe M. Bean, saw fighters "climbing very fast, as if they meant business, and he noticed them especially because, unlike most Japanese fighters, which were finished silver or white, these were painted a soft, pale green [Italics added]." Following the account of the strafing attack by Saburo Sakai and other pilots on the B-17 and Bean’s parachuting from the severely damaged bomber, Bean again saw the Zeros which had attacked them. "The planes were painted the same pale green [Italics added] as the fighters Bean had seen taking off at Aparri…." (Edmonds, 1951: p.p. 128-129)

"When Japan, having swept the Philippines and S.E. Asia, went on to attack Northern Australia, rising suns with orange rays were spread across the wing
undersurfaces of some of the attacking aircraft…." (Robertson, 1956: p. 151)
Commentary: This statement by Robertson has never been substantiated, although a much photographed pre-war civil aircraft owned by the Asahi Shimbun
did sport such markings. Other than another statement by Robertson that, "Little attention was paid to undersurface camouflage, the natural silver-grey
finish with transparent lacquer being most usual," the remaining paragraphs pertaining to Japanese camouflage were, to his credit, generally accurate.

Part V: The American Pioneers

The final, Fourth (Revised) Impression of Bruce Robertson’s Aircraft Camouflage and Markings 1907-1954 was released in the summer of 1961. By this
time, an American historian of Japanese camouflage and markings, Richard M. Bueschel, had published the first scholarly approach to the subject. Bueschel
compiled sufficient data to produce an eleven page article, including illustrations and photographs, entitled "Japanese Aircraft Markings" in the Winter 1960 issue of Air Progress. This work, other than one or two minor errors of interpretation (i.e. a "yellow panel" or surround to the hinomaru, undoubtedly influenced by John Stroud’s artwork, and a reference to the use of the "Cocarde" version of the hinomaru), would become the bench mark for future American studies of the subject. Bueschel’s colorful follow-up article related to IJAAF unit markings, "The Gaudy Killers," appeared in the March 1961 issue of the Royal Air Force Flying Review. Once again, he established a "first" in the English language by publicizing the flamboyant IJAAF tail markings with classic color illustrations. However, influenced once again by John Stroud’s art work in Japanese Aircraft, Bueschel illustrated a Ki-43 Oscar of the 50th hiko sentai with "pink’ lightning markings and
misidentified the markings of the 13th hiko sentai as belonging to the 24th hiko sentai. Five years later, Bueschel authored a combined and expanded version of his two previous articles in a twenty-four page booklet, Japanese Aircraft Insignia, Camouflage and Markings. The booklet was published by World War I Aero Publishers, Inc. of West Roxbury, Massachusetts in 1966. Bueschel’s efforts and work are truly classical.

Influenced in great measure by the work of Bueschel and the Japanese author/illustrator Minoru Akimoto, Donald W. Thorpe, began his studies. Thorpe began by drawing upon the resources of an international network of renowned Japanese aviation researchers including Hideya Anda, Richard M. Bueschel, Charles J. Graham, B. Calvin Jones, Lloyd S. Jones, Witold Liss, Robert C. Mikesh, Yasuo Oishi, and James Wood. Thorpe scoured the photographic files of the National Archives, the Air Force, private collections, and tramped every research area possible. But, his best original data and factual knowledge came from the study of metal scraps and relics of Japanese warplanes which had been contributed by Dr. Charles Darby. Darby had gathered Japanese warplane artifacts from his many trips to the battlegrounds of the Pacific. The end result of these studies was Thorpe’s two-volume standard reference on Japanese camouflage and markings. The first volume, Japanese Army Air Force Camouflage and Markings [of] World War II: Aero Publishers, Inc., was released in 1968. The companion volume, Japanese Naval Air Force Camouflage and Markings [of] World War II, also produced by Aero Publishers, Inc. was published nine years later in 1977. Today, in spite of a few errors which crept into the work as published, the two volumes have remained the quintessential sources on the subject of Japanese camouflage
patterns, color, and markings in the English language.

Respected and renowned Japanese authors and illustrators, including Minoru Akimoto, Kikuo Hashimoto, Shigeru Nohara, Tadashi Nozawa, and Rikyu Watanabe
have added immeasurably to our knowledge of Japanese camouflage and markings and aided research. Yet, research is still on-going with international teams of scholars who continue to make advances in the knowledge of this subject matter. No single work may be considered to be truly definitive, however, the continued efforts in the field by so many individuals evidences the striving for such an ultimate goal.
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