|This page is about the premium fighter A6M2 (USA). For other uses, see A6M (Family).|
The Japanese A6M2 "Zero" was perhaps one of the most capable fighter aircraft in the Pacific Theater, and while some Allied aircraft and tactics allow pilots to reach a parity to contest the Zero, there was an effort to understand the aircraft in order to devise better countermeasures to destroy them. This moment came in July 1942 when the Americans discovered a crashed, but intact A6M2 in Alaska during Japanese operations in the area in June. The recovered A6M2, which would become known as the "Akutan Zero", was sent back to the United States mainland, repainted and repaired, then began to be tested to find weaknesses that the Allies can exploit. The Akutan Zero would continue to serve with the USA until a training accident in February 1945 caused a SB2C Helldiver to crash into the Zero.
The ▃A6M2 Reisen, present since the start of the Open Beta Test prior to Update 1.27, is identical performance-wise to the A6M2 in the Japanese tech tree. The main differences are cosmetic, with a similar color scheme to other American naval fighters. The A6M2's fame in manoeuvrability can be utilized to dance around opponents while getting a good aiming solution to destroy the target. Unlike the usual American aircraft with a large reserve of heavy machine gun rounds, A6M2 players must express good trigger discipline as there are only 120 rounds of 20 mm cannon ammo to use, or only 60 rounds per gun. The different capabilities the A6M2 introduces can allow players to experience a whole new type of gameplay while staying in the American tech tree.
|Characteristics|| Max Speed
(km/h at 4,400 m)
| Max altitude
| Turn time
| Rate of climb
| Take-off run|
|Combat flaps||Take-off flaps||Landing flaps||Air brakes||Arrestor gear|
|Wings (km/h)||Gear (km/h)||Flaps (km/h)||Max Static G|
|Optimal velocities (km/h)|
|< 270||< 420||< 410||> 325|
|Optimal altitude||100% Engine power||WEP Engine power|
|3,360 m||935 hp||1,055 hp|
Survivability and armour
- No armour protection
- No self-sealing fuel tanks
Modifications and economy
The A6M2 (USA) is armed with:
- 2 x 20 mm Type 99 Model 1 cannons, wing-mounted (60 rpg = 120 total)
- 2 x 7.7 mm Type 97 navy machine guns, nose-mounted (680 rpg = 1,360 total)
Usage in battles
The Zero's lightly loaded, high lift wing and low weight make it a dream to fly at speeds below 400 km/h, with an ability to execute wild gyrations and zoom climbs at the whim of the pilot. However, the Zero is hard to handle as it approaches speeds of 480 km/h.
Force an enemy pilot into a dogfight at 370 - 400 km/h and below 6,000 meters. At this speed and altitude, no enemy fighter can out-manoeuvre or out-climb you. Jump on cruising enemy aircraft from above. Fasten onto the tail of the bandit, use your superior manoeuvrability to match his evasive moves, and put enough rounds into him to bring him down. Use your machine guns first to "bore-sight" the enemy - once you get hits on him, finish him off with your cannons. Below 480 km/h you can fling the Zero all over the sky to get on an enemy's tail or to shake off all but the most determined attacker. Climb away from most enemy aircraft, hanging on your prop in a near-vertical climb. Manoeuvres like the Immelmann are easy, and heavier fighters can't stay with you. The Zero rolls faster to the left than to the right. Roll left to tighten your turn and get onto the enemy's six. Don't dive away from attackers - your plane doesn't have the power or weight to out-run most fighters. To exploit your plane's best performance, force the enemy lower and slow down the pace of the engagement.
- In Simulator, the A6M Zero is overall a great plane to fly. Its advantages include the extremely smooth handling, impressive turn rate, low stall speed, the ability to not enter spins in extreme manoeuvres, and decent rear visibility. It is able to pull really tight turns or barrel rolls without losing control or going into a spin, allowing the player to use this stability to their advantage. Its disadvantages, however, are the fragile protection, wing-mounted guns with very little ammo, and the cockpit scattered with frames. Although not thick, these frames can still be obstructions in a fight. Also the gunsight is small and mounted very low, resulting in inadequate visibility over the nose. This can limit the player's ability to see the target in a turn fight since to lead the target, the player must cut inside its turn, meaning the nose will now block the target. The A6M can perform dogfighting, some ground pounding and some intercepting.
- You can bring the minimum amount of fuel (29 minutes) since this model of the Zero only has a 60-round drum per cannon, as a result you might need to constantly return to airfield to reload so there is no need to bring more fuel. Set the convergence to 150-300 m. When taking off, the A6M will shift severely to the left so it is best to set separate keybind for left and right brakes to counter the torque.
- For dogfighting, it is better to engage with an altitude advantage so climb to around 2,500 m. Track the opponent using lead or pure pursuit, as with lag pursuit you will eventually end up at the 6'o clock of the target aircraft whose fuselage will soak up most of your MG bullets, and your wing mounted cannons will become really awkward to aim. With the amazing stability the aim should be easy. Target their wings or nose and avoid the back half of the fuselage as there is usually nothing in there. You can turn with most planes with your combat/takeoff flaps deployed. Note that it is best to fire in 5-round/half-second bursts to avoid wasting cannon rounds. Once the cannons are out, the leftover 7.7 mm MGs can only effectively damage single engine fighters.
- The American Zero does not have access to any bombs so the ability is greatly limited. However the 2x 7.7mm MGs have plenty of ammo. For ground pounding with the MGs, your targets are trucks, AAA and howitzers. Dive at it and stabilise the plane so the gunsight stays overall still at the target. Then, once the target fills out around 1/6 of the gunsight, open fire. If your aim is accurate you can destroy one target in a single pass. However, it is very recommended to set keybind for firing MG only as you can definitely not waste the valuable cannon rounds. Save them for any unexpected dogfights.
- Landing is easy thanks to the low stall speed and lovely handling. Line up and approach the airstrip at treetop, decrease speed to at most 210 km/h and deploy combat, takeoff and landing flaps in order. Further decelerate so the touchdown speed is no more than 180 km/h to avoid bouncing up. Keep braking until the plane reaches a full stop, you don't have to worry about the nose dipping down and causing a propeller strike.
Enemies worth noting:
- P-61A-1 or C-1: this plane is one tough nut to crack. It is quite fast, packs a fatal punch, has a searching radar, and a deadly turret on top. The turret consists of 4 x 12.7 mm M2 Browning machine guns that cover the upper half of the plane, and most P-61 players tend to fly low or get you into their upper half to target you with the turret. Avoid being above them at all costs, utilise the Zero's manoeuvrability and sneak under their belly. Its appearance resembles a P-38: a center fuselage with two engine nacelles extending backwards and forming the twin tail like a frame, you will know it is a Black Widow and not a Lightning when red tracer bullets start shooting out from it.
- I-16: the late I-16s are equipped with ShVAK cannons that can be pretty dangerous to your fragile airframe. They can turn equally well as the Zero, have superior roll rate but the stability is so terrible that as soon as they pull a little more on the stick, they will enter spins. Therefore it is quite easy to counter them: engage a turnfight with them and turn tighter and tighter, or do a few barrel rolls. They will quickly lose control and start spinning and it is quite hard to recover. Then simply get some separation, turn around and put some solid shots into them. They have an I-15's short and fat fuselage, a flat radial engine and triangular stabilisers located right after the low-mounted mono wings, all covered in olive green paint.
Manual Engine Control
Not auto controlled
Not auto controlled
Not auto controlled
|Separate|| Not controllable
Pros and cons
- A6M for Carrier-based fighter:
- Strictly air-to-air role
- Decent cannon armament
- Extremely manoeuvrable
- Excellent turn rate
- Excellent roll rate
- Very short takeoff distance
- Common Navy plane construction:
- Excellent manoeuvrability
- Nose mounted armament
- Small radiator drag
- A6M for Carrier-based fighter:
- Strictly air-to-air role
- Limited ammo
- Low dive speed, and easily compressed in a dive
- Common Navy plane construction:
Mitsubishi A6M2 Type 0 Model 21 (Akutan Zero, Koga's Zero) single-engine carrier-based fighter
A single-seat carrier-based all-metal cantilever monoplane fighter with an enclosed cockpit and a retractable landing gear system.
The aircraft was developed by the Mitsubishi Company's design bureau. A prototype model made its first flight on April 1, 1939. Full-scale production began in June 1940. The plane was accepted for service with the Imperial Japanese Navy under the designation of Navy Type 0 Model 11 Carrier Fighter.
During World War II, the first Zero captured by the Americans in flyable condition was the A6M2 (Model 21), more commonly known as the Akutan Zero (after the name of the island that the plane crash-landed on) or Koga's Zero (after the pilot's name).
In June 1942, while preparing to capture Midway Atoll, the Northern Force of the Imperial Japanese Navy was operating in the area of the Aleutian Islands. The plan was to create a diversion and attack the US Navy base at Dutch Harbor, on the island of Unalaska.
On June 4, 1942, during the raid on Dutch Harbor, the A6M2 fighter with serial number 4593 was launched from the aircraft carrier Ryujo, and its oil line was damaged in battle. Tadayoshi Koga, the Flight Petty Officer 1st Class who piloted the aircraft, attempted a forced landing on the desert island of Akutan. The pilot mistook swampy tundra for hard soil, and the plane nosed over upon landing, killing the pilot. About a month later, the plane was discovered by an American Catalina flying boat. Inspection showed that it had been minimally damaged upon landing.
The Americans transported the Akutan Zero away from the island and sent it to Naval Air Station North Island, California, where it was completely restored.
The restored Akutan Zero made its first flight from NAS North Island on September 20, 1942. The trophy was extensively tested, its weak points were revealed, and tactical manoeuvre were developed, allowing American fighters to gain an advantage over the Zero.
The Akutan Zero was subsequently used to imitate the enemy during combat training for American pilots. Some experienced pilots were given the opportunity to fly the A6M2 in order to make an objective assessment of its strong and weak points. Air duels were simulated between the Akutan Zero and main Navy fighters, such as the F6F and the F4U. Later, similar simulated air duels were performed with army fighters, such as the P-38, the P-39, the P-40, and the P-51.
The Akutan Zero was destroyed in February 1945 when it collided with a SB2C Helldiver dive bomber while taxiing for takeoff.
- Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- Brewster F2A Buffalo
- Curtiss-Wright CW-21
- Grumman F4F Wildcat
- Nakajima Ki-43 Oscar
- Supermarine Spitfire
- Hawker Sea Hurricane
|Mitsubishi Company ()|
|Fighters||A5M4 · Hagiri's A5M4|
|A6M2 mod. 11 · A6M2 · A6M3 · A6M3 mod. 22 · A6M3 mod. 22Ko · A6M5 · A6M5 Ko · A6M5 otsu · A6M5 Hei · A6M6c|
|A7M1 (NK9H) · A7M2|
|J2M2 · J2M3 · J2M4 Kai · J2M5 · J2M5 (30 mm)|
|Interceptors||Ki-83 · Ki-109|
|Ki-21-Ia · Ki-21-I hei · Ki-67-I Ko · Ki-67-I otsu|
|Captured||▃A6M2 · ␗A6M2|
|See also||Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (Post-War)|
|P-26 Peashooter||P-26A-33 · P-26A-34 · P-26A-34 M2 · P-26B-35|
|P-36 Hawk||P-36A · Rasmussen's P-36A · P-36C · ○P-36C · P-36G|
|P-39 Airacobra||P-400 · P-39N-0 · P-39Q-5|
|P-40||P-40C · P-40E-1 · P-40E-1 TD · P-40F-10|
|P-47 Thunderbolt||P-47D-22-RE · P-47D-25 · P-47D-28 · P-47M-1-RE · ⋠P-47M-1-RE · P-47N-15|
|P-51 Mustang||P-51 · P-51A (Thunder League) · P-51C-10 · P-51D-5 · P-51D-10 · P-51D-20-NA · P-51D-30 · P-51H-5-NA|
|P-63 Kingcobra||P-63A-5 · P-63A-10 · P-63C-5 · ␠Kingcobra|
|F2A Buffalo||F2A-1 · Thach's F2A-1 · F2A-3|
|F3F||F3F-2 · Galer's F3F-2|
|F4F Wildcat||F4F-3 · F4F-4|
|F4U Corsair||F4U-1A · F4U-1A (USMC) · F4U-1D · F4U-1C · F4U-4 · F4U-4B · F4U-4B VMF-214 · F2G-1|
|F6F Hellcat||F6F-5 · F6F-5N|
|F8F Bearcat||F8F-1 · F8F-1B|
|Other countries||▃Ki-43-II · ▃Ki-61-Ib · ▃A6M2 · ▃Bf 109 F-4 · ▃Fw 190 A-8 · ▃Spitfire LF Mk IXc|
|USA premium aircraft|
|Fighters||Thach's F2A-1 · Galer's F3F-2 · F2G-1 · F4U-4B VMF-214 · P-26A-34 · P-40C · P-43A-1|
|P-47M-1-RE · ⋠P-47M-1-RE · P-51A · P-51D-10 · P-51D-20-NA · ␠Kingcobra · XP-55|
|▃A6M2 · ▃Ki-43-II · ▃Ki-61-Ib · ▃Bf 109 F-4 · ▃Fw 190 A-8 · ▃Spitfire LF Mk IXc|
|Twin-engine fighters||XP-38G · Bong's P-38J-15 · P-38K · YP-38 · P-61A-11 · XF5F · XP-50 · F7F-3|
|Jet fighters||P-59A · F-86F-35 · F-89B · F-89D · F-4S Phantom II · F-5C|
|Strike aircraft||A-1H · A2D-1 · AU-1 · XA-38 · AV-8A · A-6E TRAM · A-10A|
|Bombers||A-26C-45DT · B-10B · BTD-1 · PBM-3 "Mariner" · PV-2D|