A6M Zero vs Spitfire/Seafire

The Spitfire/Seafire and the A6M Zero were two of the most recognizable and iconic fighters of World War II.The “ZERO” was one of the best dogfighters of WWII. In a 1 on 1 it could out-turn and out-climb anything the allies had in the beginning of the war.Though these two aircrafts were constructed for very different purposes, the Seafire were used to fly from carrier decks and  Zeros were being used as ground-based interceptors and suicide bombers.

The Seafire had already proven itself during the Battle of Britain whereas the Zero gave the Japan air superiority at the beginning of WWII until the better developed Allied planes came along.

During WW2, dogfight was changed to “bounces” and quick-passes,boosted by team tactics. Maneuverability as in rate of turn was still an important asset, but fighters with powerful engines could run away,or climb their way out of an unwanted dogfight.This is why the biplane fighters,even thought they were more maneuverable than monoplanes, vanished from air combat during WW2. And this is how the American F4F Wildcats,later replaced by the better armored and faster Hellcats,achieved their victories against the nimble Zeros.

A superior dogfighter than the early Allied fighters, the Zero was able to out-maneuver its opposition. To combat this, Allied pilots developed specific tactics for dealing with the aircraft. These included the “Thach Weave,” which required two Allied pilots working in tandem, and the “Boom-and-Zoom,” which saw Allied pilots fighting on the dive or climb. In both cases, the Allies benefited from the Zero’s complete lack of protection as a single burst of fire was generally enough to down the aircraft.

During the course of the war, over 11,000 A6M Zeros were produced. While Japan was the only nation to employ the aircraft on a large scale, several captured Zeros were used by the newly-proclaimed Republic of Indonesia during the Indonesian National Revolution.

Posted on January 3, 2013, in Aviation. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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