A6M Zero Model 21 Fighter Plane

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The Mitsubishi A6M Zero Model 21 fighter plane was a Japanese-designed aircraft that was released in 1940. It was the most advanced fighter plane of its time, with a powerful engine, maneuverability, and long range. The aircraft was used by the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II, most famously in the attack on Pearl Harbor. It was capable of high speeds and long-range, making it an ideal choice for the Japanese in their fight against the American forces. The A6M Zero Model 21 was used extensively throughout the war and proved to be a formidable opponent for the Allied forces.

A6M Zero Model 21 Fighter Plane

Design Specifications and Capabilities


The A6M Zero fighter plane was designed to be the most advanced fighter plane of its time. It was highly maneuverable, very lightweight and had excellent range, allowing it to out-maneuver and outpace most other aircraft. It was fitted with two 20-mm cannons, two 7.7-mm machine guns, and two 60-kg bombs. It was capable of reaching a maximum speed of 607 km/h and had a range of 3,000 km.


Despite its impressive speed and maneuverability, the A6M Zero Model 21 had several weaknesses, most notably its lack of armor and self-sealing fuel tanks. This made it highly vulnerable to enemy fire, and it often was unable to withstand sustained fire from larger, more heavily armored aircraft. Additionally, its range was limited when compared to other aircraft, meaning it could only stay in the air for a few hours before needing to refuel.

Attack on Pearl Harbor

Role of Mitsubishi A6M Zero Model 21

The Mitsubishi A6M Zero Model 21 fighter plane was one of the main aircraft used by the Japanese during the attack on Pearl Harbor. The aircraft was designed with a combination of lightweight, speed, and maneuverability that made it ideal for the attack, allowing it to outmaneuver American fighters and fighter-bombers. 

Success of Attack

The attack on Pearl Harbor was a resounding success, with Japanese aircraft inflicting heavy damage on the American forces. Out of the 353 Japanese aircraft involved in the attack, the A6M Zero Model 21 was the most successful, accounting for more than half of all American aircraft shot down. The aircraft's combination of speed, maneuverability, and firepower allowed it to dominate the skies over Pearl Harbor and inflict severe damage on the American forces.

Dethroned by Grumman F6F Hellcat 

Grumman F6F Hellcat


The American-made Grumman F6F Hellcat was designed to outperform the Mitsubishi A6M Zero in every way. It was larger, heavier, and faster than the Zero, with a wingspan of 40 feet and a length of 33 feet. It was powered by a Pratt and Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp engine, producing 2,000 hp, and had a top speed of 382 mph. It was armed with six .50 caliber machine guns and could carry up to 1,000 lbs of bombs or rockets.


The Grumman F6F Hellcat had excellent maneuverability, range, and combat endurance, allowing it to stay in the air longer and cover more ground than the Mitsubishi A6M Zero. It was also able to climb faster and higher than the Zero, reaching heights of up to 32,000 feet. Its armament was also superior to the Zero's, making it a more formidable opponent in air-to-air combat. The Hellcat's armor was also thicker than the Zero's, making it more resistant to cannon fire.

Where Can You Find an A6M Zero Model 21 Today?

The Mitsubishi A6M Zero Model 21 is no longer in production, but it is not extinct. One of these iconic fighter planes can still be seen today. The Planes of Fame Museum in Chino, California, is home to a rare, restored A6M Zero Model 21 that still flies. The museum also displays a non-flying replica of the plane.

The Planes of Fame Museum in Chino is known for preserving aviation history and honoring the pilots who flew these planes in combat. The A6M Zero Model 21 is a reminder of the courage and skill of the Japanese pilots who flew it during World War II. It is also a reminder of the bravery of the Allied pilots who faced it in battle.

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