Quotes - A6M

Until then, the standard color scheme of IJN aircraft was bright silver and red hinomaru. However, that changed to grey on the new Zero-sen, which gave me a strange impression on me as if the new fighter was borrowed from a foreign country. Its streamlined shape, too, was somewhat feminine compared to the Type 96 Fighter which looked ferocious like a sharp blade. Honestly speaking, it just didn't strike me that this elegant looking plane was a fighter with which I will be attacking and shooting down the enemy.

The size of the new fighter was also much larger than the Type 96, which made me wonder about its agility. Worst of all, it had an enclosed canopy which they had once tried on the Mark 2 Model 2 of the Type96. Everybody hated that and the canopy was soon removed. Don't they learn?

Anybody involved with machinery develops trust and attachment to the machines they've been using, and tries to hang onto them. The Type 96 was such an outstanding plane that my first impression of the Zero was not very good.

Saburo Sakai
Zero-sen no Shinjitsu , Saburo Sakai ISBN 4-06-205886-3

In addition to the 7.7mm guns, the Zero had two Type 99 20mm cannons. The barrels of these cannos were some 30cm shorter than those of the 20mm canons mounted on Shidenkais, and the cannon shells, which were also shorter than those for Shidenkais, were housed in 100 round ammo drums.

This ammo drum weighed about 30kgs and lifting this was a major task for me since I was no power lifter. Since the drum had to be fitted precisely into the rather crammed ammo compartment from underneath the wings, someone had to lift the drum on his shoulder with knees bent halfway and keep it that way until the drum could be secured into the ammo bay. This was very painful and this was the chore that I hated the most. It was very time consuming, and we were made to practice doing this again and again to shorten work time. It was so painful!

Later Shidenkais had beltfed cannons which could be loaded from above the wings and was much easier to work with.

Kohjiro Funatsu, former IJN maintenance crew.
Zero-sen Yomoyamabanashi ISBN4-7698-2072-0

I lowered my altitude to go below the cloud level, then climbed up from outside the cloud to confirm. Sure enough, there were eight box-kite like P-38s flying in a single column. We go into combat at the same altitude.

At the altitude of 4000 meteres (13,000ft), the Zero model 21 could pursue the P-38 with ease. The twin engine fighter also provided a big target.

I shot down one P-38 on my first pass, and our flight eventually shot down six of them , but the remaining two fled into the clouds, and we could not catch them.

Tetsuzo Iwamoto, describing combat on Nov 20, '43 over Rabaul.
Zerosen Gekitsui-o ,Tetsuzo Iwamoto ISBN4-7698-2050

"The decision to adopt the 20mm cannon on the Zero is generally believed to be an epoch making advance in fighter design. However, having used the cannon in combat, I had always held this weapon in doubt, despite its great destructive power. In fact, I would go as far as to say that I regarded the cannons in disfavor. "

"70% of my kills in fighter vs fighter combat was made with 7.7mm machine guns"

Saburo Sakai disliked the 20mm wing cannons because of the small ammunition load and the low initial velocity.
Zero-sen no Shinjitsu , Saburo Sakai ISBN 4-06-205886-3

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