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Pilots of Japanese Navy 202nd Air Group, Kupang, Timor, Dutch East Indies, Feb 1943; note Yoshiro Hashiguchi (left most pilot), Kiyoshi Ito (right most pilot), and Zero fighters

Caption   Pilots of Japanese Navy 202nd Air Group, Kupang, Timor, Dutch East Indies, Feb 1943; note Yoshiro Hashiguchi (left most pilot), Kiyoshi Ito (right most pilot), and Zero fighters ww2dbase
More on...   
A6M Zero   Main article  Photos  
Kiyoshi Ito   Main article  Photos  
Added By C. Peter Chen
Added Date 19 Aug 2013

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
10 Jun 2011 12:49:32 PM

GROUP PHOTO: UNIFORM OF THE DAY, JAPANESE PILOTS WITH GROUNDCREW Standing in front of A6M3 Model 32/22 Zero fighters, aircraft are light gray in color with blue-black engine cowlings. Pilots are dressed light weight tropical clothing and wear a mix of shirts and short pants, w/kopak filled life jackets, the others are wearing one piece brown summer flight suits w/kapok filled life jckets and fur lined flying helmet w/goggles. Pilots also wore silk scarves that were from salvaged parachutes, or bought. Why did they ware scarves? besides to wipe the sweat or oil away from the face, the scarves kept the neck from becoming sore and irritated having to look around for enemy aircraft. The groundcrew are dressed in tropical work fatigues with soft cap. Some pilots carried a semi-automatic 8mm Nambu pistol the pilots also wore a Hachimaki headband and were used to keep the sweat from the eyes and to also symbolise the manly spirit.
2. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
10 Jun 2011 04:25:06 PM

At the start of the Pacific war, the Japanese Navy had the best trained pilots in the world. Pilots were enlisted Petty and Chief Petty Officers along with Commissioned Flying Officers. Japan trained only the very best, as the war continued veteran pilots that were killed or wounded were replaced by hastily trained replacements. By 1943 with mounting losses in aircraft and aircrew, Japan could never keep up with the losses. A THOUSAND STICHES: Pilots wore a "Belt of a Thousand Stiches" it was supposed to protect the wearer from harm. Mothers, Sisters, Wives and Friends would stitch each belt, until they made the One Thousand Stiches. To learn more about the Mitsubishi A6M Zero and pilot training continue clicking on each photograph, here at the ww2bd.
3. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
13 Jun 2011 12:57:59 PM

To improve the Zeros performance, Mitsubishi installed a 1,130hp Sakae 21 engine driving a larger three blade propeller, the engine cowling was redesigned, with the carburetor intake moved to the top. The wing tips were removed, to increase maneuverability this version was the Type 32 A6M3, the clipped wing increased speed slightly, 342 were built and saw service in the Solomon Islands. Both versions of the Zero were armed w/2x7.7mm machine guns and 2x20mm cannons. One A6M3 Model 22 is on display at the Auckland War Museum, Auckland New Zealand to learn more about this aircraft, click on to the photos about the Zero at ww2db. In 1942 Mitsubishi restored the folding wing tips adding extra fuel to each wing this version became the Type 22 A6M3 and had the longest range of any Zero, 560 were built and also saw service in the Solomon Islands
4. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
15 Jun 2011 04:55:07 PM

By the end of the Guadalcanal campaign in 1943, both the A6M2 and the A6M3 Zero fighters were outclassed by new US fighters except in range and maneuverability. The Imperical Navy and Mitsubishi developed an improved version the A6M5 the airframe was running out of further development. The A6M5 appeared in mid 1943 and was powered by a more powerful Sakae engine and became the main fighter until the end of the war. 1943/44 Serving as a carrier-based fighter, with Japan's remaining carriers, and land-based until the end of the war. It had just enough performance, to hold its own against new Allied fighters However, with the loss of veteran pilots, and the few experienced ones left the Japanese were rushing the training of pilot replacements, with little experience and were second and third rate pilots flying against the Allies.
5. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
15 Jun 2011 06:23:17 PM

THE LAST ZERO: A6M8 The last version of the Zero was the A6M8 powered by a 1500hp Kinsei 62 engine driving a larger propeller and spinner. The large diameter of the engine required a redesign of a new cowling with the upper-carburetor intake being enlarged, the two machine guns in the upper fuselage decking were deleted. Two prototypes were built in April 1945, and a production order for 6300 fighters, but none were completed before wars end. Armament was 2x13mm machine guns and 2x20mm cannons mounted in the wings.
6. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
29 Jun 2011 10:28:58 AM

The Japanese Zero was built light and was very maneuverable some pilots even removed the radio, to save weight, in the hands of a skilled pilot it was a deadly combat aircraft. As the war continued Allied pilots found that the Zero was vulnerable to .50 caliber fire with unprotected fuel tanks the aircraft would breakup or exploded. The early A6M2 Model 21 were powered by 860hp air-cooled radial engines, and continued to serve even with the improved models of the Zero that arrived. Pre-war pilot training took about 18 months and by late 1943 many of the veteran pilots had been killed or wounded replaced by pilots with less training and experience.
7. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
1 Aug 2011 08:02:11 PM

Continued from comment # 2 sorry I misspelled Stitches. During the Pacific War items were taken from dead or wounded Japanese fighting men, among them were the One Thousand Stitch Belts, Family Autographed Flags, Hachimaki Head Bands, Samuari Swords, Uniforms and other Military and Personal Items. GIs would capture many of these items as souvenirs. What was that old saying: The Germans fought for Hitler, The Japanese fought for the Emperor, and the GI fought for souvenirs... VIETNAM WAR... Among my personal Souvenirs taken during my tours in Vietnam 1967-1970 are a Viet Cong Flag, VC Scarf and a Chicom SKS 7.62mm Magazine Chest harness. Also carried the Chicom Type 56/AK-47 items were captured at great personal risk, but that was when I was younger, much younger. I thank the editor/ww2db for allowing me to leave this comment.
8. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
30 Dec 2011 09:30:25 PM

PRE-WAR TRAINING ONLY THE VERY, VERY BEST LOSSES MOUNT: In 1941 the Imperial Japanese Navy had about 3,500 front-line pilot and crewmen they were the best trained naval aviators in the world with hundreds of flying hours. By 1943 the Japanese lost 6,203 aircraft and 4,828 airmen, this is more pilots and crewmen than they had at the start of the war The replacements that followed the pre-war trained airmen would never have been selected before the war. The men that didn't qualify and washed out of the pre-war flight training wasn't due to poor flying and academic skills, it was the intense training course. In the 1930s for every ten men that entered flight training, one would pass the training and become a qualified as a naval aviator. When war came, the very best and the best were not there to make up the losses.
9. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
25 Nov 2013 05:24:52 PM

THOUSAND STITCH BELT: During the Pacific War, Japanese pilots wore what is called the thousand stitch belt, this item was made and sent by the man's Mother, Sister, Wife Girlfriend or other family relatives, in which 1,000 women had sewn one stitch as a symbol of uniting with their fighting men. Besides the Thousand Stitch Belt pilots also wore the Hachimaki headbands around their flight helmets. A good example in wartime photographs show many kamikaze pilots wore such hachimaki bands around their flight helmets. HISTORICAL ACCURACY: In the 1970 movie Tora! Tora! Tora! Japanese actor Takahiro Tamura, who played strike commander Lt.Cmdr. Mitsuo Fuchida was given a hachimaki head band by his ground crew for good luck. RALLY POINT: During the war women's civilian patriotic groups throughout Japan, would create these belts en masse. Even a female passer by would be asked to sew one stitch, these belts were not limited only to pilots and aircrew, but to every Japanese fighting man. SIGNIFICANCE: The Thousand Stitch Belt would provide the service man with protection during battle and his safe return. This was a personal adornment and not part of issued equipment. Its tradition goes back to samurai times and was intended to hold off bodily harm. UNIFORM OF THE DAY: Pilots have been issued light weight shirt and trousers. Two pilots ware light weight flying suit w/leather flying helmet, flight goggles and the kapok life jacket flying boots, silk scarf was worn around the neck to prevent chafing, the pilot would continue turning his head around in the cockpit looking for enemy aircraft. Plots also carried a 8mm Nambu semi auto pistol, flight clock, worn around the neck during flight operations and gloves. Some pilots were issued parachutes while others didn't carry them same with radios whatever could cut weight down in the pilots plane were taken out. Aircraft in photograph are Mitsubishi A6M Zero Fighters, Models could be either the A6M3 Model 32 (Hamp) or the A6M3, Model 22
10. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
25 Nov 2013 06:53:57 PM

I thank the editor/ww2db for his continued assistance for allowing me to leave my comments based upon my historical library and personal knowledge of World War Two...

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Modern Day Location
WW2-Era Place Name Kupang, Timor, Dutch East Indies
Lat/Long -10.1833, 123.5833
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