Mitsubishi Zero A6M2 – Model 21 BII-124 (1942)

Japanese naval fighter powered by a 14 cylinder Nakijima radial engine developing 940HP (720Kw). Capable of 328 mph, it was the most agile fighter in the early stages of the Pacific Theatre during WW2. This aircraft crashed at Snake Bay on Melville Island, shot down by a .303 bullet in the engine oil tank during the first raid on Darwin on 19 February 1942.The pilot, Hajime Toyoshima gave a fictitious name because of his belief in the Bushido code of warriors and was transferred to Cowra as Todao Minami. He died during the infamous Cowra breakout in August 1944. This aircraft also took part in the carrier task force that attacked Pearl Harbour and was flown by a flight leader. Aircraft are on display courtesy of Milikapiti Council Melville Island. This Zero BII-124, was not recorded as the first aircraft shot down during the Darwin raids of 19 February 1942 but it was the first that had the pilot captured on Australian soil. The first downed Japanese aircraft was credited to a machine gunner firing from a site at Winnellie near the Aviation Heritage Centre.

For more technical detail, see Wikipedia.

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