Recognition of the Japanese Zero Fighter

“See that plane, climbing to heaven like a skyrocket? Heaven's the wrong destination for that baby.”

“That's a Zero, the real McCoy.”

“It was shot down over Alaska and, as luck would have it, the only thing that got really damaged was the pilot. He broke his neck. Swell, heh!”

“Think you could recognize her again?”

“Let's make sure.”

“This is the Japanese Zero. Take a good look at her. Your recognition of her may save your life. Your recognition of the Zero may destroy its life.”

“Watch her closely. Study every characteristic to aid you in your recognition.”

“Look at that nose. A perfect circle, broken only by the oil cooler.”

“Note the slight dihedral angle.”

“Look at that low wing and middle tail.”

“Notice the oil scoop and air cooler directly beneath the engine cowling.”

“See how the fuselage tapers to a point in the rear. It's like a big cigar.”

“Note the tapering edges of the wings, the rounded tips.”

“See how straight the line is from engine to tail. “

“And that tail. See how the leading edge of that vertical piece tapers more than the trailing edge. Look how it curves outward to a point away from the nose.”

“Think you could recognize her? Don't think. Be sure. “

“Watch her. Watch her closely.”

“Yes, we know. That's no Zero. That's a P-40. “

“But did you know? They don't look alike to you now, do they? “

“Look at the difference in the shape of those noses. The P-40, with its deep radiator, is oval. The Zero is a perfect circle broken only by that oil cooler.”

“Get those under-carriage bearings on the P-40. “

“Compare the tails. The tail on the P-40 is high. The tail of the Zero is middle.”

“Let's look at her from below. Look at the pointed nose of the P-40 and the blunt nose of the Zero.”

“The leading edge of the wings of the P-40 has no taper. The wings of the Zero taper back. “

“The tail of the P-40 is notched. The tail of the Zero tapers into the fuselage which extends beyond it.”

“Now, let's take them in profile. The engine of the P-40 is in-line. The Zero is radial. Note the deep radiator on the P-40 as compared to the shallow oil cooler and air scoop on the Zero. “

“Next, see how the cockpit canopy on the P-40 is much further back from the nose than on the Zero. “

32 “What's more, the canopy no the P-40 fits into the fuselage while the canopy on the Zero sits on the fuselage.”

33 “Now, for the tails. The P-40's is rounded and curves in towards the nose. The Zero's is pointed and curves out away from the nose. “

34 “No one could possibly mistake them for each other, could they? You think not? Well, let's see. Let's take the case of one pilot. “

35 “His name was Jimmy Sanders. His story starts on the day when he was flying to a base somewhere in the Far East.”

36 Sanders reports for duty. The two men talk, and Sanders says he likes the P-40. The one guy tells Sanders that some P-40s have been shot down by American pilots who couldn't tell the difference between the P-40 and the Zero. Sanders asks how anyone can mistake the two planes, and the Major says some men start shooting before they are sure what they are shooting at. He says it's better to let a Zero get away then to shoot down one of your own planes.

37 Then he says pilots can be too cautious, that someone was shot down while trying to get close enough to decide if the plane he saw was a Zero or not.

38 The wing tips can be folded to make more space on a carrier.

39 It also has retractable landing gear. What Sanders (Ronald Reagan) is doing is going over the physical characteristics of the Zero. The Major goes into a lot more details about the Zero such as weight, range, fuel tanks, etc.

40 Sanders then gets his chance to fly and spots a plane in the distance. He shoots at the plane and misses, then realizes it's a P-40.

41 The pilot of the plane shot at complains to the Major.

42 The Major looks at the gun-camera film from Sander's plane and again points out the physical characteristics of the P-40.

43 After he almost shot down the P-40 he later spots another plane.

44 He's able to identify it for sure as a Zero.

45 He ended up shooting down the Zero.

46 The narrator repeats the characteristics of the Japanese Zero.


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