Zeke 52 Against the World
The landings in France wouldn’t occur until June 1944 when the United States captured 12 almost brand new A6M52 fighters along with a hangar full of spare engines and parts in April 1944. The war in Europe would rage on for 13 more months, while in the Pacific, the fighting would continue for 16 months.
The A6M52 was the latest version of the A6M Type Zero fighter code named Zeke by the Allies. The differences between the earlier A6M21 and the A6M52 were that the 2 had 200 more horsepower, strengthened wing skin, and 40 more rounds for each of its 20 mm cannons in the wings. As a result, the Zeke 52 had better performance than its predecessors.
At this time in the war, the U.S. and Great Britain had a formal program to evaluate captured aircraft. In most situations, the airplanes were captured intact, although a Luftwaffe pilot claimed he was lost when he landed his brand-new FW-190A at a British airfield in Wales in 1941.
Each captured airworthy airplane was evaluated for its performance, flight characteristics, and in mock dogfights against airplanes currently being flown by frontline units. The lessons learned were then disseminated to the aircrews flying in combat.
This video is based on the separate flight tests conducted by the U.S. Army Air Force, pitting the Zeke 52 against the P-38J, P-47D, and P-51D. The Navy flew the A6M52 against the FM-2, F6F-5 and the F4U-1D.
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