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Sunday Photo - The Akutan Zero

In Military History, Featured

On 10 July 1942 a wrecked Mitsubish A6M Zero was spotted on Akutan Island. The crew of the Catalina that spotted the downed Japanese fighter plane circled the crash site for several minutes, noting its position on the map, before returning to the Dutch Harbor.

The following day Lieutenant William “Bill” Thies returned to island with a salvage team. They removed the Japanese pilot, petty officer Tadayoshi Koga, from the cockpit and searched him for any intelligence information before burying him near the crashed aircraft. Then they turned their attention to the plane, finding that the Zero was salvageable.

Finally on 15 July the Zero was recovered and transported to Seattle, where it arrived on 1 August. Once the repair work was completed the American’s finally had their hands on a flyable Zero, and the information gained from the test flights helped American tacticians devise strategies to defeat the Zero.

The photograph below shows US Navy personnel inspecting the Akutan Zero on 11 July, 1942.

 Source: Wikipedia

Anyone interested in reading more about this iconic Japanese fighter should take a look at Air Vanguard 19: Mitsubishi A6M Zero, scheduled to be published in September 2016.

Post Comments

C-Bone posted on 12 Jul 2016 00:00:38
Thanks Pete!
Pete @ Osprey posted on 11 Jul 2016 09:07:05
Tadayoshi's aircraft was shot down during the Battle of Dutch Harbor on 3-4 June 1942. He was killed instantly on impact but his wingmen were unsure whether or not he was still alive and so they decided not to strafe the plane, going against orders they had to destroy any Zeros that crash-landed in enemy territory.
C-Bone posted on 10 Jul 2016 21:00:55
Interesting. How much time elapsed between Tadayoshi's crash and discovery by the Catalina?

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