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Site 2, Mitsubishi A6M3 Zero

Click on any of the below pictures for full resolution

The team surveying the site, except for me--I am out taking pictures!

 
 

From this view you can see the Zero of site 3 in the background.

Aft view of the Zero.

 

We feel that the damage indicates that this zero was armed, fueled, and ready to go when it was caught in a strafing or bombing attack.
 
   

The cockpit, especially at the forward fuel tank, shows extensive fuel-fed fire damage.

   
     
  While we cannot say for sure that this was the same raid that damaged this plane, the diary below describes a likely scenario for how this plane was damaged. Thanks to Bill Ryan for sharing his fathers diary.  

 

The wing tanks show only light fire damage, such as a fuel-fed fire on the ground, except right where it meets the cockpit fire. (left) The entire plane had shrapnel damage, like the leading edge of the wing. (right)

     

This engine was heavily corroded compared to all the other engines we saw. This was from the metal being tempered by the fuel-fed fire. One of the blades had a bullet hole and a bullet slug in it.

   
 
 
 

The left wing has a faint outline of the "meatball" hinomaru Japanese insignia.

 
 
 
 

The aluminum alloy used for the spar caps had a very high strength to weight ratio, but that was at a price of anti corrosion properties. Virtually all of the Zeros we saw were plagued by this type of wing structural failure.
Right wing pictured.

     

The exfoliation corrosion of the spar caps look very similar to wood grain and might be the source for the rumors that Zeros had their spars made of wood. The piece I am holding on the right had fallen to the ground and was doing a good wood impression.

 
 
 

Sites 2 and 3 are only a half mile from the new airport. Here a Continental B737 back-taxis on the runway.


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