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Old 23rd May 2007, 13:44
Pathfinder Pathfinder is offline
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Zeros at Saipan, May '44

I'm wondering if anyone can help with this question:

In May of 1944, taking off from Saipan to intercept U.S. aircraft overhead, what would have been the likely model of Zero, its unit, insignia, and colour scheme. I know a Zero was the aircraft involved and witness accounts say that it almost looked black, although was probably a dark green?

It's a tall order I know, but perhaps someone can answer all or part of it.

Thank you
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Old 23rd May 2007, 16:06
rldunn rldunn is offline
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Re: Zeros at Saipan, May '44

Although transient a/c probably passed through Saipan, the two fighter units based there in May 44 were Air Groups 261 and 265. In mid-May 261 had 42 Zeros on strength with 34 operational. When 265 arrived in early May it had 32 Zeros. A U.S. photo mission identified 68 Zeros on Aslito Airfield (Japanese designation, Saipan No. 1) and no a/c on other airfields. The Zeros were identified as 33 Zeke and 35 Hamp. There were no "Hamps" (Zero 32) on Saipan. The fighters with 11 meter wing spans were model 52s. The "Zekes" were Zero 21s.

About 20 Zeros were captured on Aslito airfield when Saipan was invaded (15 June). There are numerous photos of these a/c both on the field and on board the US aircraft carriers that brought several examples back to the US. Most if not all these a/c wore standard dark green paint schemes.

Rick
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Old 24th May 2007, 01:31
fsbofk fsbofk is offline
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Re: Zeros at Saipan, May '44

The A6M5 Model 52 on display at the National Air and Space Museum on the Mall in Washington DC is one of those Zeros shipped back from Saipan for evaluation.
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Old 24th May 2007, 23:49
Pathfinder Pathfinder is offline
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Re: Zeros at Saipan, May '44

Great information, guys, thanks!
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