Type 0 Fighter Model 32
|Coastal Defense Ship||Destroyer|
|Light Cruiser||Torpedo Cruiser|
|Heavy Cruiser||Training Cruiser|
|Aviation Cruiser||Fast Battleship|
|Light Carrier||Standard Aircraft Carrier|
|Armored Carrier||Seaplane Tender|
|Submarine||Aircraft Carrying Submarine|
|Submarine Tender||Fleet Oiler|
This is an improved version of the Type Zero Fighter Model 21, the "Type Zero Model 32 carrier fighter".
The wing tips were squared off and the plane was given a new engine for better performance. Its ammunition for its guns were also increased. It had downsides such as its cruising range but it participated in the battles in the skies of Rabaul, Buin and the Solomons.
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In 1941, Nakajima introduced the Sakae 21 engine, which used a two-speed supercharger for better altitude performance, and increased power to 840 kW (1,130 hp). A prototype Zero with the new engine was first flown on July 15, 1941.
The new Sakae was slightly heavier and somewhat longer due to the larger supercharger, which moved the center of gravity too far forward on the existing airframe. To correct for this, the engine mountings were cut back by 185 mm to move the engine toward the cockpit. This had the side effect of reducing the size of the main fuselage fuel tank (located between the engine and the cockpit) from 518 l (137 US gal) to 470 l (120 US gal). The cowling was redesigned to enlarge the cowl flaps, revise the oil cooler air intake, and move the carburetor air intake to the upper half of the cowling.
The Sakae 21 engine and other changes increased maximum speed by only 11 km/h (6.8 mph) compared to the Model 21, but sacrifed nearly 1,000 km (620 mi) of range. Nevertheless, the navy accepted the type and it entered production in April 1942.
The shorter wing span led to better roll, and the reduced drag allowed the diving speed to be increased to 670 km/h (420 mph). On the downside, turning and range, which were the strengths of the Model 21, suffered due to smaller ailerons, decreased lift and greater fuel consumption. The shorter range proved a significant limitation during the Solomons Campaign, during which Zeros based at Rabaul had to travel nearly to their maximum range to reach Guadalcanal and return. Consequently, the Model 32 was unsuited to that campaign and was used mainly for shorter range offensive missions and interception.
This variant was flown by only a small number of units, and only 343 were built.
On 12 October 1944, Sugiura Shigemine (杉浦茂峰) of the 201st Air Group was one of the first pilots to engage Allied pilots over the skies of the Haiwei area during the Formosa Air Battle. When his Model 32 Zero was hit and caught fire, it hurtled toward a small coastal village. In a desperate attempt to avoid the settlement Sugiura steered his plane away from residential areas, crashing the crippled aircraft in a nearby field.
- He is recognized as the deity Feihu Jiangjun (Chinese: 飛虎将軍), or "General Flying Tiger" thanks to his actions on that day. In 1971, at the location of the crash site, a temple was built in Tainan in Sugiura's honor, called the Flying Tiger or Chen-an Temple. In 1993 a larger temple building was constructed, to cater for the many visitors from Japan. Temple manager Hsieh Chu-ji says all requests are granted, "except for wealth". Daily ceremonies occur, in which worshipers play the Japanese national anthem Kimigayo and light cigarettes to honor Sugiura. In the evening the gunka Umi Yukaba is played.
- Mitsubishi A6M3 Zero Model 32 - Wikipedia
- 零式艦上戦闘機 - Wikipedia (Japanese link)
- Aircraft Profile: The Mitsubishi A6M3 Zero-Sen ("Hamp")