Following the beginning of the Pacific War and starting from December 23, 1941, the 3rd Kokutai relocated to Davao in Mindanao island from its original base in Takao, Taiwan. Three weeks later the unit advanced to Manado on the Celebes in January 1942. This official IJNAF photo showing Zero Model 21s was taken in Manado during that period. Note the data stencil applied on the cowling side.
After the capture of Java, the 3rd Ku was stationed there to fight the remnants of the enemy forces and for air patrol. From April 1942 the main force of the 3rd relocated to Kupang airfield on Timor island. From there together with field attack units, they were engaged in raids against Australia's Port Darvin. The photo below was taken in Kupang.