Akutan Zero facts for kids
The Akutan Zero, also known as Koga's Zero and the Aleutian Zero, was a type 0 model 21 Mitsubishi A6M Zero Japanese fighter plane. This type of airplane was the Imperial Japanese Navy's most common fighter plane during World War 2. It crashed on Akutan Island, Alaska Territory, during June 1942. It was the first flyable Zero that the United States got during the war. The Americans fixed the plane and test pilots flew it to find out how it worked. American tacticians were able to find ways to defeat the Zero.
Tadayoshi Koga was the pilot. He was a 19-year-old flight petty officer first class. He launched from the Japanese aircraft carrier Ryūjō as part of a June 4 1942 raid on Dutch Harbor, Alaska. Small gun fire cut the oil line in the plane. Without oil, the plane crashed and killed the pilot. The plane did not break apart in the crash. The pilots of other Zero planes flying with Koga thought that he might be alive. Because of this, they did not try to destroy his plane. The Americans got the plane in July.
The Akutan Zero was very important to the American war effort. Some said it may have been "one of the greatest prizes of the Pacific war". Japanese historian Masatake Okumiya thought that losing the Akutan Zero to the Americans was similar to Japan losing the Battle of Midway. He said it made Japan lose the war sooner. On the other hand, John Lundstrom is among those who do not agree with "the contention that it took dissection of Koga's Zero to create tactics that beat the fabled airplane".
The Akutan Zero was destroyed in a training accident in 1945. Parts of the plane are kept in several museums in the United States.
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Akutan Zero Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.