|This page is about the Japanese fighter A6M5. For other uses, see A6M (Family).|
The A6M5 Reisen is a rank III Japanese naval fighter with a battle rating of 4.7 (AB/SB) and 4.3 (RB). This aircraft has been in the game since the start of the Open Beta Test prior to Update 1.29.
The A6M5 Reisen (Zero) is a fighter that excels at low to medium speed turning engagements, it is the classic dog-fighter! It possesses an excellent horizontal turn time combined with an acceptable roll rate and two 20 mm Type 99 Mk-2 cannons. This allows the plane to be an absolute monster if opposing planes get slow enough for it to catch and force into a dogfight.
However, with its impressive dog-fighting characteristics come the Zero's inherent weakness "Speed"! It is vulnerable to enemy fighters that do not engage it on the Zero terms at low speed and instead chose to stick to high-speed passes. This forces the Zero to evade and only leaves a limited window for the Zero to return fire as the opposing fighter just zooms away!
The most notable difference of the A6M5 compared to earlier variants is the modification of the Nakajima Sakae engine's exhaust system to point the exhaust pipes backwards and provide a small, but noticeable increase in thrust. There had been a less noticeable decrease in the wingspan of ~1 metre leading to slightly worse turning performance than early Zero variants but helps push the speed to 565 kph at 6 km, making it the fastest Zero variant.
Describe how the aircraft behaves in the air. Speed, manoeuvrability, acceleration and allowable loads - these are the most important characteristics of the vehicle.
| Max Speed
(km/h at 6,000 m)
| Max altitude
| Turn time
| Rate of climb
| Max Speed
(km/h at 6,000 m)
|Max altitude (meters)||Turn time (seconds)|| Rate of climb
|Take-off run (meters)|
|Combat flap||Take-off flap||Landing flap||Air brakes||Arrestor gear|
| Wing-break speed
| Gear limit
| Combat flap
|Max Static G|
|< 310||< 420||< 410||> 260|
|Optimal altitude||100% Engine power||WEP Engine power|
|2,500 m||1,095 hp||1,213 hp|
|Optimal altitude||100% Engine power||WEP Engine power|
|5,000 m||965 hp||1,069 hp|
Survivability and armour
Examine the survivability of the aircraft. Note how vulnerable the structure is and how secure the pilot is, whether the fuel tanks are armoured, etc. Describe the armour, if there is any, and also mention the vulnerability of other critical aircraft systems.
The A6M5 is armed with:
- 2 × 20 mm Type 99 Model 2 cannon, wing-mounted (100 rpg = 200 total)
- 2 × 7.7 mm Type 97 machine gun, nose-mounted (700 rpg = 1,400 total)
The A6M5 can be outfitted with the following ordinance:
- Without load
- 2 × 60 kg Navy Type 97 Number 6 ground bombs (120 kg total)
- 1 × 250 kg Navy Type 98 Number 25 Model 2 bomb (250 kg total)
Usage in battles
The A6M5 is an excellent dog-fighter nearly peerless in a low-speed engagement, even the renown Spitfire look clumsy and slow compared to an A6M5. However, at its battle rating of 4.3, it faces some extremely difficult opponents. Many opposing fighters tend to be specialized in a performance-based energy manoeuvre with Boom and Zoom fighting styles rather than the classic turning and dogfighting of the A6M5. This can lead to the A6M5 struggling to engage them on the offensive due to its weak performance and low top speed and all too often is forced onto the defensive. The Zero is capable of evading attacks and striking back, but it requires a confident and knowledgeable pilot.
Aircraft position is incredibly important to the A6M5. While it can win any dogfight, a low-speed Zero distracted by getting it guns on target is a very easy target to dispatch. If in a dog-fighting stance, success can be had with the A6M5; but to excel, consideration between different tactics need to be had. Pick the battles and only use dog-fighting as a last resort and attempt to use Energy fighting as the primary mode of attack when possible.
The can begin with a disadvantage, spawning from carriers on Pacific Naval maps. However, this can help the Zero as it is quite a good low-speed climber thanks to its low wing-loading, spaded it will climb to 6 km in ~5 minutes. For manual engine control users, climb at ~220 kph (100% prop pitch, 30% radiators and supercharger change at 3.4 km on WEP or 4 km on 4 km), this will place the plane in a good position to select targets at a similar altitude to the Zero's position. It is important to note that the A6M5 performs considerably worse above 5 km, so be mindful of the limitations to prevent being in a position of disadvantage.
When fighting on the offensive, select a target lower than the Zero, or in rare cases slower, then stick to Energy fighting and dive on them. Reset after each attack, resist the temptation to be drawn into dogfight! Battles can be won, but it will cost a considerable amount of energy that might be needed later. The fight might also leave the player distracted and vulnerable to other fighters, so stay cautious!
Be conscious of the Zero's low dive limit of 740 kph so do not power dive onto targets. Many fighters will also be able to outrun the A6M5 in an extended dive, in these cases it is better to give up and recover than engage in a protracted chase that will ultimately equalize on energy.
When fighting on the defensive, speed is critical in engagement because most of the enemies will be considerably faster than the A6M5. Use the barest minimum to evade opposition fire to keep the speed as high as possible. The biggest and longest window to return fire on an enemy is when they overshoot and begin to zoom away. The A6M5 has a very low stall speed of 121 kph with flaps, so pursuing an opposition fighter in a zoom climb is possible. However, the Nakajima Sakae engine makes it difficult to recover energy quickly so choose when to extend carefully or the Zero will end up lacking the speed to evade when the enemies begin to attack!
A preferred evasion tactic is to perform a shallow spiral dive; turn tight enough to keep out of the opposition fighters guns, but try to keep it just close enough to make the enemies believe they could still catch the A6M5 in its sights. A rather difficult manoeuvre, but this move can tease enemies into longer turns and cause them to burn more energy while on the A6M5 tail. The enemy's lowered speed will benefit when the A6M5 moves around to gun them, especially when the enemy overshoots.
The A6M5 can be a frustrating bird to fly due to the considerable disadvantages on the performance front while emphasizing on manoeuvres to get the enemy into the sights. However, a skilled pilot with the A6M5 can be immensely rewarding in surviving and securing kills in defensive flying. Not a beginner-friendly plane, but an A6M5 player surviving in the War Thunder battlefield can consider themselves a skilled pilot.
7.7 mm Type 97
Though not very effective weapons being 7.62 mm, time and patience with the aiming can still secure tallies and the weapons are still better than nothing. Stealth allows for sneaky attacks while having several incendiary rounds that could start fires. Tracer can also be used as a pure AP belt, so while fires may be hard to start, it may penetrate the cockpit armour and hit the pilot, or even force the enemy into costly defensive evasion to help put them into the Zero's sights.
20 mm Type 99 Mk 2
These are quite effective cannons even if the rate of fire is a little low at ~500 rpm. Stealth belt provides a pattern of three HEF and two AP-I rounds, giving a good rounded HE Frag and AP damage potential with the added bonus of not letting the opponents see the shells as they travel by. Universal belt with a one HEF-T, two HEF, and one AP-I pattern is a decent second choice if a tracer element is needed to aim. Tracer belt with pure HEF-T is rather excellent, but the tracer round has less explosive filler than the pure HEF shell, so overall power is reduced with the ability to guide each shot. Finally, Ground targets belt give a mix of five AP-I, one HEF, and one HEF-T with the AP-I more useful against fighting ground targets, especially when there are ground targets such as light tanks on certain maps.
All enemy fighters will be considerably faster than the Zero, but less able to dogfight so should be approached in the same way.
Bombers should be avoided unless confident in aiming and crippling the bomber on the first pass. The Zeros are quite fragile and the defensive gunners on a bomber can easily shred the A6M5 if it is not approaching fast enough to engage and disengage before being hit.
Manual Engine Control
|Controllable||Not controllable||Not controllable||Not controllable||Separate||Not controllable||Not controllable|
|I||Fuselage Repair||Radiator||Offensive 7 mm|
|II||Compressor||Airframe||New 7 mm MGs||9 in (mod30)|
|III||Wings Repair||Engine||Offensive 20 mm|
|IV||Engine Injection||Cover||New 20 mm Cannons||12 in (mod30)|
Pros and cons
- Great manoeuvrability
- Relatively good weaponry
- Low stall speed
- Low wing-loading
- Fairly clear cockpit
- Bomb options
- The Machine Guns, at least, are inaccurate proximity, dealing more damage than the spread-out guns of the Spitfire's
- Easy to catch fire
- Low speed (both a pro and a con)
- Low acceleration, dive speed, and climb rate
- Little ammunition, though better than the Spitfire
- Only two 7.7 mm Machine Guns to supplant the cannon
- Cannons relatively spread out
The Japanese had hopes of a new interceptor becoming available to fight against newer allied fighters. When no such plane could be produced, the A6M3 was modified to continue to fill that role. In late of 1943 changes were made to simplify the aircraft. These changes were made to help speed up production, as well to increase dive speed. The wings remained the same size and shape as the A6M3 Reisen mod. 22. Modifications were made including the removal of the wing folding mechanism. The A6M5 received heavier gauge wing skinning as well. Other noticeable modifications were made to the aircraft's exhaust. The A6M5 also had CO2 fire extinguishers installed in the wing fuel tanks starting from production number 4274 onward.
At the beginning of the war, A6M series planes were among the best fighter planes, not only in Japan but also in the world.
However, over time, better Japanese aircraft were needed to effectively counter such enemies as the American F6F Hellcat and the F4U Corsair. The Japanese Navy needed a carrier-based fighter with better speed than the A6Ms could offer. Japan had no engine more powerful than the Sakae 21 (used for the A6M3), so to create the A6M5 Model 52 they had to come up with a number of tricks to coax the best performance they could out of it. The plane’s non-folding wings had rounded wingtips, and their span was reduced to 11 meters (one meter shorter than the A6M2 Model 21). The exhaust system was improved by replacing the common exhaust system with separate exhaust nozzles for each pair of cylinders.
All of these changes reduced mobility but increased speed, making the model 52 the fastest of all the Zeros. A diving A6M5 model 52 could reach speeds of up to 657 kilometres per hour.
A total of 747 A6M5 model 52s were produced.
Skin and Camouflages for the A6M5 in Warthunder Live.
- Related development
- Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- Brewster F2A Buffalo
- Vought F4U Corsair
- Grumman F4F Wildcat
- Grumman F6F Hellcat
- Reggiane Re.2001
- Macchi C.202
- Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa (▃Oscar)
- Supermarine Seafire
- Hawker Sea Hurricane
|Mitsubishi Aircraft Company (Mitsubishi Shokai)|
|Fighters||A5M4 · Hagiri's A5M4|
|A6M2 mod. 11 · A6M2 · A6M3 · A6M3 mod. 22 · A6M3 mod. 22Ko · A6M5 · A6M5 Ko · A6M5 otsu|
|A7M1 (NK9H) · A7M2|
|J2M2 · J2M3 · J2M4 Kai · J2M5 · J2M5|
|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 (1945+)|
|A5M||A5M4 · Hagiri's A5M4|
|A6M||A6M2 mod. 11 · A6M2 · A6M3 · A6M3 mod. 22 · A6M3 mod. 22Ko · A6M5 · A6M5 Ko · A6M5 otsu|
|A7M||A7M1 (NK9H) · A7M2|
|J2M||J2M2 · J2M3 · J2M4 Kai · J2M5 · J2M5 (30 mm)|
|N1K-J||N1K1-Ja · N1K2-J · N1K2-Ja|
|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 · Ki-61-I hei Tada's · Ki-61-I tei · Ki-61-II|
|Ki-84||Ki-84 ko · Ki-84 otsu · Ki-84 hei|
|Ki-100||Ki-100 · Ki-100-II|
|Other countries||▅F4U-1A · ▅Bf 109 E-7 · ▅Fw 190 A-5|
|*Imported designation of the He 112 (A6M was in development - A7M wasn't heard of yet)|