|This page is about the Japanese fighter A6M5. For other variants, see A6M (Family).|
The A6M5 Reisen is a rank III Japanese fighter with a battle rating of 4.7 (AB/SB) and 4.3 (RB). It has been in the game since the start of the Open Beta Test prior to Update 1.27.
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.
|Characteristics|| Max Speed
(km/h at 6,000 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)|
|< 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
- No armour protection
- No self-sealing fuel tanks
The A6M5 is armed with:
- 2 x 20 mm Type 99 Model 2 cannons, wing-mounted (100 rpg = 200 total)
- 2 x 7.7 mm Type 97 machine guns, nose-mounted (700 rpg = 1,400 total)
The A6M5 can be outfitted with the following ordnance:
- Without load
- 2 x 60 kg Navy Type 97 Number 6 bombs (120 kg total)
- 1 x 250 kg Navy Type 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 renowned Spitfire looks clumsy and slow compared to an A6M5. However, it faces some extremely difficult opponents. Many opposing fighters tend to be specialized in performance-based energy manoeuvres 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 its 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 A6M5 can begin with a disadvantage, spawning from carriers on Pacific 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 km/h (100% prop pitch, 30% radiators and supercharger change at 3.4 km on WEP or 4 km otherwise), 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 km/h 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 km/h 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.
- 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. For the 250kg, drop it with the gunsight slightly more above the target. 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.
7.7 mm Type 97
Though not very effective weapons being 7.7 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 fragmentation 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.
Enemies worth noting:
- 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
Not auto controlled
Not auto controlled
Not auto controlled
|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 and great low speed handling
- Excellent smooth handling in simulator and great rear visibility
- Low wing-loading
- Fairly clear cockpit with thin frames
- Bomb options of 2x 60kg or 1x 250kg bombs, can be useful in tank RB
- 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
- Limited 20 mm cannon ammo of only 100 RPG -- better than the early Zeros but still inadequate
- Has lots of bars inside the cockpit, limiting visibility
- Low cannon velocity makes leading harder
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.
- Mitsubishi A6M3 mod. 22 (previous model)
- Mitsubishi A6M5 Ko (variant)
- Mitsubishi A6M5 otsu (variant)
- 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 Company ()|
|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 (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 (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)|