Mitsubishi A6M Reisen
Aircraft Series

Japanese Naval Ensign


Genesis and Development

War Prize

The Lean Years

Aircraft Identity

Colour Schemes

Power Plant



Zero and its Opponents

Preserved Zeros


References & Acknowledgments


Royal Thai Air Force Museum



All text material on this site is
© Peter Lewis
1985, 1999
unless otherwise acknowledged

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This is a resource devoted to the Mitsubishi A6M Japanese fighter aircraft, commonly known at the Mitsubishi Zero.

Although the site provides considerable background information on the design philosophy of the type and its actual design, construction and use within the Japanese military system, it is primarily devoted to detailing the history of one particular machine.

This Zero was discovered on the South Pacific island of Bougainville by the Allied military forces. Recovered by members of the Royal New Zealand Air Force, it was bought back to New Zealand in 1945.

After some years of storage and neglect, it now resides on display at the Auckland Museum.

As a result both of the secrecy surrounding Japanese WWII military aircraft in general, and the difficulties on tracing the antecedents of one particular piece of captured military hardware, this aircraft has always been the subject of speculation and confusion.

At the invitation of the Auckland Institute and Museum, I researched the background and Zero at Ohakea, 1958history of this aircraft in the early 1980s, and the resultant document was published both by the Aviation Historical Society of New Zealand (in the June 1985 issue of the Society's Journal) and as a stand-alone booklet by the Museum.

Currently, the information on this site is a direct extract from this work. In the immediate future, I intend to update the information held here to reflect knowledge that has come to light since the original publication.

Your input is welcome. I particularly seek news and photographs on other examples of the breed that survive today.


Peter Lewis


update 10 Feb 2000
- avionics page information expanded and photographs added

update: 13 July 1999:
- construction number explanation added

update 8 July:
- preserved/museum listing updated and more photographs added
- links page started




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