A6M3

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This page is about the Japanese fighter A6M3. For other versions, see A6M (Family).
a6m3_zero.png
GarageImage A6M3.jpg
ArtImage A6M3.png
A6M3
Research:18 000 Specs-Card-Exp.png
Purchase:47 000 Specs-Card-Lion.png
Show in game

Description

The A6M3 mod. 32, designated as the Type 0 Carrier-based Fighter Model 32 (零式艦上戦闘機三二型), was the first major improvement of the A6M series, with a new Sakae 21 engine offering more power, and high altitude performance with an added two-speed supercharger. Due to the engine being slightly heavier and longer, it was shifted slightly closer to the cockpit with a new engine cowling and a slightly smaller main fuel tank. It also gained the ability to carry a 330 gallon drop tank (30 minutes of fuel) under the fuselage. Next to engine changes, the Model 32 cuts down on the wing size to eliminate the need for folding wing tips. All of these changes offer a better roll rate, a higher diving speed of 670 km/h, and only an increase in the max speed by 11 km/h. This came at the cost of nearly 1,000 km less range (higher fuel consumption, smaller fuel tank and less lift) and worse turning capabilities, the strengths of the A6M series, which would be shortly reintroduced in the A6M3 mod. 22, as the short comings of the mod. 32 became very clear in the Solomons Campaign. The already built A6M3 mod. 32s were afterwards tasked mainly with shorter range offensive missions and interception.

It has been in the game since the start of the Open Beta Test prior to Update 1.27. As mentioned earlier, the A6M3 mod. 32 offers the new and improved Sakae 21 engine resulting in more power, a bigger ammunition feed for the 20 mm cannons at 100 rounds per gun, but has a trade-off when it comes to the cut and clipped wings. For certain pilots, the new clipped wings allow for a more Boom-N-Zoom approach as it increases the max wing load, better roll rate, and slightly higher top speed, but for the more traditional A6M pilot, the larger turns the Model 32 will make will be noticeable in combat and resulting in different outcomes than expected from the non-clipped wing A6Ms.

Nicknames
  • IJN Pilot nickname: Reisen (零戦) / Zerosen (ゼロ戦) (Abbreviation of 0 - ).
  • Initial Allied reporting name: Hap* / Hamp
  • Allied reporting name: Zeke / Zero

General info

Flight performance

Arrestor gear
Accelerates braking by grabbing the brake cable on the deck of the aircraft carrier
Max speed
at 6 000 m556 km/h
Turn time16 s
Max altitude10 050 m
EngineNakajima Sakae 21
TypeRadial
Cooling systemAir
Take-off weight3 t
The A6M3 is the only model of the zero to feature square wingtips. These increase the roll rate and the top speed.

As an upgrade of the already formidable A6M2 mod. 11, the A6M3 is not to be underestimated. Its clipped wings trade off some agility for extra dive speed (~40 km/h (25 mph) more) and a slightly faster roll rate. The extra 40 km/h provides a bit more freedom of engagement and acts as a surprise element as no one expects a Zero to be able to travel at ~700 km/h without ripping. This can come in handy when facing the Soviet Yak family since they compress and eventually rip slightly earlier than the A6M3. The nimble fighter also maintains its elevator authority until rather late in a dive (around the 550-600 km/h mark) and can withstand some serious wing load (14G at a time) which allows it to pull off risky manoeuvres and surprise opponents with very tight turns which can put it on their sixes in a matter of seconds. But all of this comes at the cost of massive energy bleeding so be wary of your surroundings when pulling such stunts. All in all its best use is as a turnfighter.

Characteristics Max Speed
(km/h at 6,000 m)
Max altitude
(metres)
Turn time
(seconds)
Rate of climb
(metres/second)
Take-off run
(metres)
AB RB AB RB AB RB
Stock 537 522 10050 16.6 17.1 10.1 10.1 288
Upgraded 578 556 15.8 16.0 18.2 13.8

Details

Features
Combat flaps Take-off flaps Landing flaps Air brakes Arrestor gear
X
The A6M3 climbing with a fuel tank and bombs. Note that it is not advisable to use bombs in Air Battles
Limits
Wings (km/h) Gear (km/h) Flaps (km/h) Max Static G
Combat Take-off Landing + -
630 290 397 368 220 ~15 ~7
Optimal velocities (km/h)
Ailerons Rudder Elevators Radiator
< 280 < 420 < 410 > 335

Survivability and armour

Crew1 person
Speed of destruction
Structural0 km/h
Gear290 km/h
  • No armour protection
  • No self-sealing fuel tanks

Modifications and economy

Repair costBasic → Reference
AB867 → 1 097 Sl icon.png
RB1 962 → 2 483 Sl icon.png
SB2 815 → 3 563 Sl icon.png
Total cost of modifications19 700 Rp icon.png
32 100 Sl icon.png
Talisman cost980 Ge icon.png
Crew training13 000 Sl icon.png
Experts47 000 Sl icon.png
Aces400 Ge icon.png
Research Aces280 000 Rp icon.png
Reward for battleAB / RB / SB
50 / 130 / 270 % Sl icon.png
136 / 136 / 136 % Rp icon.png
Modifications
Flight performance Survivability Weaponry
Mods aerodinamic fuse.png
Fuselage repair
Research:
1 300 Rp icon.png
Cost:
2 100 Sl icon.png
130 Ge icon.png
Mods radiator.png
Radiator
Research:
1 300 Rp icon.png
Cost:
2 100 Sl icon.png
130 Ge icon.png
Mods compressor.png
Compressor
Research:
1 100 Rp icon.png
Cost:
1 800 Sl icon.png
110 Ge icon.png
Mods aerodinamic wing.png
Wings repair
Research:
1 700 Rp icon.png
Cost:
2 800 Sl icon.png
170 Ge icon.png
Mods new engine.png
Engine
Research:
1 700 Rp icon.png
Cost:
2 800 Sl icon.png
170 Ge icon.png
Mods metanol.png
Engine injection
Research:
2 100 Rp icon.png
Cost:
3 400 Sl icon.png
210 Ge icon.png
Mods armor frame.png
Airframe
Research:
1 100 Rp icon.png
Cost:
1 800 Sl icon.png
110 Ge icon.png
Mods armor cover.png
Cover
Research:
2 100 Rp icon.png
Cost:
3 400 Sl icon.png
210 Ge icon.png
Mods ammo.png
type89_belt_pack
Research:
1 300 Rp icon.png
Cost:
2 100 Sl icon.png
130 Ge icon.png
Mod arrow 0.png
Mods weapon.png
type97_new_gun
Research:
1 100 Rp icon.png
Cost:
1 800 Sl icon.png
110 Ge icon.png
Mods pilon bomb.png
9 in (mod30)
Research:
1 100 Rp icon.png
Cost:
1 800 Sl icon.png
110 Ge icon.png
Mods ammo.png
type99mk1_belt_pack
Research:
1 700 Rp icon.png
Cost:
2 800 Sl icon.png
170 Ge icon.png
Mod arrow 0.png
Mods weapon.png
type99mk1_new_gun
Research:
2 100 Rp icon.png
Cost:
3 400 Sl icon.png
210 Ge icon.png

Armaments

Offensive armament

The A6M3 is armed with:

  • 2 x 20 mm Type 99 Model 1 cannons, wing-mounted (100 rpg = 200 total)
  • 2 x 7.7 mm Type 97 navy machine guns, nose-mounted (700 rpg = 1,400 total)

Suspended armament

The A6M3 can be outfitted with the following ordnance:

1 2 3
Hardpoints A6M3.png
60 kg Navy Type 97 Number 6 bombs 1 1
330 l drop tanks 1
Maximum permissible loadout weight: 150 kg
Default weapon presets
  • Without load
  • 1 x 330 l drop tank
  • 2 x 60 kg Navy Type 97 Number 6 bombs (120 kg total)

It is recommended to use the drop tank in Air Realistic Battles combined with a minimum fuel load. The reason for this is because you can take just 13 minutes of fuel, use the drop tank for climbing, and once you get into battle, you can jettison the tank giving you increased maneuverability.

Usage in battles

The A6M3 carrying a bomb and a fuel tank

The Zero is a extremely effective dogfighter with a very tight turn. Head on engagements should not be taken with any plane, especially Americans such as the F6F and the P-51, as the Zero is very fragile. Any hit can be lethal. The engine is very weak and fuel tanks can easily catch ablaze. At the start of the match, try climbing to be able to dive on unaware opponents. The plane can exceed 700 km/h allowing it to commit to very steep or long dives with slight stiffening. The biggest threats to the plane are American planes due to their potent and numerous guns, but any plane can be taken in a turn-fight victoriously.

In offence, aim to begin turn-fights with your opponents as you will outclass them, but take very careful shots. The guns are the weakest aspect of the plane and must be used with precision. Always aim for the fuel tanks or pilot as those are the most effective ways to take down enemy aircraft. Make sure to tail burning aircraft loosely as most fuel tanks are self-sealing. Bomber and other heavier planes should not be taken on as the guns are very ineffective. Only careful pilot snipes should be taken, otherwise conserve ammo for future engagements.

To defend yourself from the rear, perform a split S, which consists of rolling and turning downwards in the opposite direction, and turn to the enemy to begin engaging them. Planes will quickly overshoot and will have difficulty regaining dominance. If caught in a head-on situation, roll and dive downwards towards the enemy, make sure to have no commitment.

  • 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, decent rear visibility, and increased cannon ammo capacity. 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, 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 100-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 stableness 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 10-round/one-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.
  • For ground pounding with bombs, look for tanks and pillboxes. First you need some separation between you and the target so you have enough time to line-up the drop. Dive at the target at a rather shallow angle, and release the 60 kg bombs when you are very close, with the target below the gunsight and filling up around half of it. If you only use 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:

Pilots will be thankful for the extra speed, ammo, rate of climb, and roll rate compared to the A6M2, with just a .3 BR increase
  • P-61: 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.
  • F4U, F6F, P-47, etc: these planes are a huge threat to the late Zeros as they have superior firepower, speed, dive acceleration and robust airframes. Their 12.7 mm MGs can easily tear you apart or simply pilot-snipe you even when they are far away, as the M2 Brownings have great velocity and trajectory. They can also set you aflame easily. Start a turnfight whenever you see these stubby planes. The F4U has a long cylindrical nose and the iconic inverted gull wing. The P-47 has a huge, jug-like fuselage, bubble canopy and elliptical trailing edge that usually have invasion stripes painted on them. The F6F, on the other hand, might get confused with other planes as it looks rather average.

Manual Engine Control

MEC elements
Mixer Pitch Radiator Supercharger Turbocharger
Oil Water Type
Controllable Controllable
Not auto controlled
Controllable
Not auto controlled
Controllable
Not auto controlled
Separate Controllable
2 gears
Not controllable

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • 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
  • A6M3 model 32 specific:
    • Ability to carry a drop tank
    • Clipped wings compared to average A6M model
      • Slightly higher dive speed
      • Slightly faster roll rate

Cons:

  • A6M for Carrier-based fighter:
    • Strictly air-to-air role
    • Limited ammo
    • Slow
    • Low dive speed, and easily compressed in a dive
  • A6M3 model 32 specific:
    • Clipped wings compared to average A6M model
      • Slightly worse agility

History


Archive of the in-game description

In April of 1942, a new A6M model fighter was launched. The main difference between the A6M3 model 32 and the A6M2 Model 21 was the new Sakae 21 engine (1130 hp), which had a two-stage supercharger making it more stable at higher altitudes and a propeller diameter of 3.05 m (150 mm greater than that of its predecessor). The engine was much heavier and longer than those used in previous models, so to prevent displacement of the center of gravity the engine was moved closer to the cockpit and the main fuel tank's capacity was reduced from 518 to 470 liters.

Also, the folding wingtips were removed, which increased the plane's dive speed limit but reduced its manoeuvrability and range. The latter side effect was particularly important as it made it impossible to use the A6M3 effectively during the 1942 campaign in the Solomon Islands. The 20 mm guns were replaced by Type 99-I model 3s, and their ammunition was increased to 100 rounds. Also, the aircraft could carry two 60 kg bombs.

A total of 343 A6M3 Model 32s were made for the Japanese navy.


Notable pilots

  • Iwamoto flew sorties throughout the Pacific Theater in an A6M3.

Media

Skins

See also

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

External links


Mitsubishi Company (三菱商会)
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)
Hydroplanes  F1M2
Interceptors  Ki-83 · Ki-109
Bombers  G4M1
  Ki-21-Ia · Ki-21-I hei · Ki-67-I Ko · Ki-67-I otsu
Jet Fighters  Ki-200
Captured  ▃A6M2 · ␗A6M2
See also  Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (Post-War)

Japan fighters
Navy 
Carrier-based fighter 
A5M  A5M4 · Hagiri's A5M4
A6M  A6M2 mod. 11 · A6M2 · A6M3 · A6M3 mod. 22 · A6M3 mod. 22Ko · A6M5 · A6M5 Ko · A6M5 otsu · A6M5 Hei · A6M6c
A7He  A7He1*
A7M  A7M1 (NK9H) · A7M2
Land-based Fighter 
J2M  J2M2 · J2M3 · J2M4 Kai · J2M5 · J2M5 (30 mm)
J6K  J6K1
J7W  J7W1
N1K-J  N1K1-Ja · N1K2-J · N1K2-Ja
Fighter seaplane 
N1K  N1K1
A6M-N  A6M2-N
Army 
Ki-10  Ki-10-I · Ki-10-I C · Ki-10-II · Ki-10-II C
Ki-27  Ki-27 otsu · Ki-27 otsu Tachiarai
Ki-43  Ki-43-I · Ki-43-II · Ki-43-III otsu
Ki-44  Ki-44-I · Ki-44-I 34 · Ki-44-II otsu · Ki-44-II hei
Ki-61  Ki-61-I ko · Ki-61-I otsu · Ki-61-I hei · Tada's Ki-61-I hei · Ki-61-I tei · Ki-61-II Otsu Kai
Ki-84  Ki-84 ko · Ki-84 otsu · Ki-84 hei
Ki-87  Ki-87
Ki-94  Ki-94-II
Ki-100  Ki-100 · Ki-100-II
Other countries  ▅F4U-1A · ▅P-51C-11-NT · ▅Bf 109 E-7 · ▅Fw 190 A-5
  *Imported designation of the He 112 (A6M was in development - A7M would take A7 designation after the cancelation of the A7He)