The standard fighter of the Imperial Japanese Navy throughout World War II, the Zero, or to give it it’s full title, Mitsubishi A6M2 Type O Rei-sen, was a quite remarkable fighter. During its design a development stage, the aircraft had to be kept as light as possible due to the poor performance of the planned engine. No provision for self-sealing fuel tanks was made, nor armour protection for engine or pilot. This weight saving together with good design and eventually a more powerful engine made the zero a fantastic machine in a ‘turning fight’, and a
feared opponent for the more powerful but heavier American fighters. Moreover, with a centreline fuel tank fitted, the A6M could achieve an incredible range of 1930 miles.