The Mitsubishi A6M Zero was a lightweight fighter aircraft operated by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service (IJNAS) from 1940 to 1945. The origin of its official designation was that “A” signified a fighter and “6” for the sixth model built by Mitsubishi (“M”). The A6M was usually referred to by the Allies as the “Zero”—a name that was frequently misapplied to other Japanese fighters, such as the Nakajima Ki-43—as well as other codenames and nicknames, including “Zeke”, “Hamp” and “Hap”.
Its history mirrored that of the Empire of Japan in World War II. When it was introduced, the Zero was the best carrier-based fighter in the world and it was greatly feared by Allied pilots.The IJNAS also frequently used the type as a land-based fighter. A combination of excellent maneuverability and very long range made it one of the finest fighters of its era. In early combat operations, the Zero gained a legendary reputation, outclassing its contemporaries. Later, design weaknesses and the increasing scarcity of more powerful aircraft engines meant that the Zero became less effective against newer fighters. By 1942, due to the evolution of new tactics and techniques, Allied pilots were able to engage the Zero on more equal terms. By 1943, American and British manufacturers were producing fighters with greater firepower, armor, and speed, and approaching the Zero’s maneuverability. The Mitsubishi A6M was outdated by 1944, but remained in production. During the final years of the War in the Pacific, the Zero was utilized in kamikaze operations.
The pre-series A6M2 Zero became known in 1940-41, when the fighter destroyed 266 confirmed aircraft in China. At the time of Pearl Harbor, there were 420 Zeros active in the Pacific. The carrier-borne Model 21 was the type encountered by the Americans, often much further from its carriers than expected, with a mission range of over 1600 statute miles (2,600 km). The Zero fighters were superior in many aspects of performance to all Allied fighters in the Pacific in 1941 and quickly gained a great reputation. However, the Zero failed to achieve complete air superiority due to the development of suitable tactics and new aircraft by the Allies. During World War II, the Zero destroyed at least 1,550 American aircraft.
This coin is minted in a proprietary brass alloy and given a bronze antique finish.
Each coin measures 1 1/2 inch (39mm) in diameter.
This is a surplus NWTM item.