F4U Corsair versus A6M Zero-sen

F4U Corsair versus A6M Zero-sen

Rabaul and the Solomons 1943–44

Duel 119
  • Author: Michael John Claringbould
  • Illustrator: Jim Laurier, Gareth Hector
  • Short code: DUE 119
  • Publication Date: 17 Mar 2022
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About this Product

The aerial clashes between the iconic Corsair and Zero-sen translated into a contest of speed and altitude for the former, versus the latter's outstanding agility and range.

Whilst the F4U Corsair eventually proved to be a superior fighter in Pacific operations, its introduction into combat in this theatre initially demonstrated its weaknesses. Indeed, the ‘Saint Valentine's Day Massacre' debacle showcased exemplary Zero-sen fighter tactics, and American losses were of sufficient magnitude that further daylight missions toward Bougainville were discontinued until Allied fighter tactics could be improved. As a result, for the next two months the Corsair's combat results were much subdued. Indeed, the F4U only became a superb fighter when both its pilots and their commanders worked out how to deploy the gull-wing design effectively. Optimum circumstances for effective engagement did not always occur, and the Zero-sen remained effective against the Corsair until February 1944 in the South Pacific, after which all IJNAF fighter units vacated Rabaul. This book closely examines these two different fighters in the Solomons/Rabaul theatre, and the unique geographic conditions which shaped their deployment and effectiveness. It contains rare photographs and digital artwork that accurately showcases and aligns combats of both types in-theatre with unprecedented accuracy. Both sides vastly over-claimed. With full access to IJNAF and US Navy/US Marine Corps records, these numbers will be presented accurately.

Biographical Note

Michael John Claringbould had an extensive career in the Australian Foreign, completing six postings within Asia and the Pacific. He is author of numerous books concerning the USAAF Fifth Air Force and Japanese Pacific air power, including Osprey Duel 87 and Duel 103. Michael lives in Australia. The illustrators for this volume are Gareth Hector (cover and battlescene) and Jim Laurier (armament views, cockpit and engaging the enemy).


Design and Development
Technical Specifications
The Strategic Situation
The Combatants
Statistics and Analysis
Further Reading
To illustrate the unique features of the F4U and A6M5 Model 52 Zero-sen, including armament, cockpit details and basic fighter formations, as well as the location they flew from in-theater. Also included will be an engaging the enemy cockpit artwork and a battlescene spread.

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