Re: [Box-Art] Free Download Alert 31JAN11
Thanks. Very cool photos.
A little "Zeke" trivia; one reason for the low survival rate of the Mitsubishi Zero-Sen today (other than the Allied Forces in the Pacific and China-Burma-India Theaters) is its construction. As Jiro Horikoshi, its head designer, relates in his book "Eagles of Mitsubishi", the Zero-Sen's construction made extensive use of a special "super-lightweight" aluminum alloy (also containing magnesium, IIRC) to keep weight down and not compromise performance. This was needed due to the relatively low power of Japanese aircraft engines; the Nakajima Sakae radial used in the Zero-Sen generated 950 METO HP, and it was the most powerful air-cooled radial they had.
It all worked right, and made the Zero-Sen a formidable air-superiority fighter. But, the aluminum alloy also had major corrosion problems over time, more so than the heavier alloys used by other combatants. And of course, the Zero-Sen, being a Navy fighter, was constantly operating in areas of high humidity, plus high salt content in that humidity. Add in the hot conditions in the Southwest Pacific, and corrosion became a major maintenance problem even while the war was in progress. After the war, of course, even those planes not destroyed by the Allies didn't receive the level of maintenance necessary to stem the corrosion, especially not those abandoned at island bases.
In terms of long-term survival, the Zero-Sen's innovative structure was also its Achilles' heel.