Sunday 28 June 2020

IJAAF & IJNAF wrecked aircraft #34 - Saipan Pt.6

And now Group 4.
In the beginning there were only three Zeros in front of the hangar.

Zero14 was an A6M5 Model 52 with tail marking "61-120".

The tails of the other two Zeros (15 & 16) are not clear in the photos. But let's see the third video, of exceptional quality, from here.

From the beginning, we can see that the Zeros of Group 4 are now five.

A nice close up of the engine.

The Group 4 from a different angle.
The third Zero from the left is "61-120" and is under a camouflage net. Note the cowling cover of the second Zero from the left and the spinner. They are the same with the Zero in the photo below.
The tail marking is barely visible, but Zero15 is "8-28".
More photos of the Zeros of Group 4.

Unfortunately, we have found no more information about the rest of the Zeros in Group 4. At least for now.

There is one Zero found in a hangar that is not clear if it was brought out and was placed in a group. Tail marking is "61-125".

And ofcourse, there were Zeros that were too damaged to be of any use.

And some had various parts taken as souvenirs.

As mentioned in a previous post, the aircraft were placed on trailers...

...and were brought to Saipan harbor to be shipped to the U.S.A.
Above is Zero "8-36" of Group 3.
Zeros "61-131" and "8-03" of Group 3.

We discussed in older posts how various Japanese aircraft were transported to the U.S., in our 8-part series "Toraware no Nihonki", here. Some of these Saipan Zeros (13 Mitsubishi A6M Zeros, 1 Nakajima B5N "Kate" and 37 engines, according to Wikipedia) were ferried on board USS Copahee. The total of the Zeros we found in all groups is 18, which means five were left behind. The 1 "Kate" is without doubt "KEB-306" we saw in the previous post. Here's a list of all the Zeros we have identified in this series. 
From the "8" unit: "8-13" & "8-17" (Group 1), "8-07 & "8-34" (Group 2), "8-36" & "8-03" (Group 3), "8-28" (Group 4).
From the "61" unit: "61-197" & "61-180" (Group 2), "61-131" (Group 3), "61-120"(Group 4).
Total 11 out of 18 Zeros.

Let's see how these Zeros were placed on Copahee.
There are two without a tail marking. One more intact Zero on the top left, and another without an engine in the middle. I believe the one without an engine is Zero 10 of Group 2.
Here are the Zeros with their numbers.

There are four Zeros we could not place in the Groups.
"8-24", below is another photo. Note the lack of tail cone.

Another Zero is "61-121". There is also the Zero without a tail number and the one in the back of the photo with a "6" tail marking we can't read.

We know that "8-34" (Zero6) was also on Copahee as can be seen in the photo below and was placed in front of "8-24" and on the port side of "61-121".

Here's another photo of another group of Zeros carried by Copahee.
And their numbers.
We can't read with certainty the tail marking of the Zero on the top right.

So, from the total 13 Zeros on Copahee, we have identified 8 also spotted in the Groups, two that appear only on Copahee and one without a tail marking. Plus two we can't read their tail markings. 8+2+1+2=13. But actually if you look closer at the photos, you will notice there are 14 Zeros. Seven in the first Copahee photo plus "8-34" and six in the second photo. Where's "Kate"?...


Brendan McGovern said...

The research and information in this series is impressive! Thanks for sharing.

Best wishes,

Baronvonrob said...

Nice work as usual !

.. Does anyone else notice what appears to be some sort of camouflage patten on the Copahee group ?

Darío Risso said...

Thank you very much for the info. I read that the "camouflaged" pattern is actually due to washing the aircraft, as can be seen here:
Airplane next to Zero 15 looks like 61-126 or 61-128 to me. It's an interesting modelling subject, because have some details like paint chipping, showing (to my eyes) aluminum and no red primer; the hinomarus white borders have been repainted; have 2 panels in NMF (one on starport wing root and the other on starport stabilizer