Zeroing in: The Japanese fighter plane that went all-in, literally

You could say that the Japanese were really prepared for the WWII. Actually, looking at their preparation as signified by the early entry of multiple new-design warplanes into the war, you could be excused for thinking that the Japanese actually stoked the fighting.

Among their vast collection of WWII warplanes is the Mitsubishi A6M Zero, commonly referred to a just ‘Zero’ by both themselves and the Allies. The plane was briefly coded ‘Zeke’by the Allies, but they eventually settled for ‘Zero.’

This plane took its first shot at war in 1940. By then, it had taken three years of design and construction. It came to the war front boasting an unprecedented range and meticulous maneuverability. It had a constant-speed propeller and could achieve a top speed of up to 565 km/hr. Some people, however, argue that maneuverability decreased as speed increased.

The plane’s ability has made it a prominent feature in video games like Call of Duty where gamers, especially those who play online, always have a field day battering their opponents.

Beside’s speed, the Zero had a generous supply of armor, carrying two machine guns, a similar number of cannons and an ability to haul two bombs of 60 kg weight each. Moreover, it could stay airborne for extensive lengths of time thanks to its 591-liter internal fuel tank and an external tank of around half that capacity. The external tank could be dropped once it became empty- or otherwise unneeded- to allow the plane to gain more speed.

The Zero was also a serious dog fighter, meaning it could engage other planes in an aerial combat without backing down. It really was a pain in the rear for The Allies who were not able to bring forth a plane to match its ability until 1943- after three years of taking a beating!

Eventually, the Japanese took to sending out Zeroes on kamikaze missions. They were really fond of them, producing over ten thousand during the war duration. Gamers who play online are equally fond of the craft, with game store purchases of the Zero ranking among the highest on most platforms.