Kagero's Mitsubishi A6M Reisen Vol 3


Dariusz Paduch




$33.95 from Casemate Publishing


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 3081. ISBN 978-83-66673-82-3, 112 pages

This latest volume in Kagero's Monograph series complete's the story of the A6M Zero. By the time of the third year of the Pacific War, the A6M was reaching obsolescence in comparison with the newer US fighters that it faced. However, its replacement was hampered by the need to get planes built and the usual issues the Japanese had with sufficiently powerful engines.

Despite this, the type was upgraded, the A6M5 having shorter wings without the folding mechanism that helped to save weight. To improve firepower, later versions had additional wing guns. To help with survivability, there was a CO2 system to help prevent fires and the pilot had seat and head armor along with an armored windscreen center section. To help with performance from the same Sakae 21 used in the A6M3, individual 'ejector' exhaust were installed to provide a small amount of additional thrust. There were later variants including the A6M7 which used the fairly unreliable Sakae 31, with a fair number seeing service near the end of the war and the A6M8 which used the more powerful Kinsei 62 engine, but only two of these were completed prior to the end of the war.

However, it was the different variants of the A6M5 that the Japanese Navy used the most in the later stages of the war, and despite it being inferior to US fighters, a skilled pilot (of which there were few)was able to hold his own against the USN's F4U and F6F aircraft.  

The author has done a fine job researching this book. The development of the aircraft is particularly interesting and you are provided a history of its use in major battles. One thing I did note is that the author perpetrates the myth that the A6M found in the Aleutians and brought back to flying condition was used to help design the F6F Hellcat. Of course this is nonsense as the prototype F6F flew in June 1942, about the same time the Aleutian A6M crashed. Kagero books have always provided a nice selection of full color profiles and this one is no exception. In addition there are a ton of period photos as well as many pages of plans in both 1/72 and 1/48 within the book. Another nice addition is a walkaround of the USAF Museum's A6M2. It all makes for a superb read and reference. It is book that is well worth picking up. 

May 2022

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