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Thread: Spitfire & Zero

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2005

    Spitfire & Zero

    The Spitfire andThe Spitfire and the Zero seem to be the most maneuverable fighters; at least in the early part of the Second World War. So how did they compare? I’m unaware of any actual dogfights between the Spit and Zero.
    How would a Spitfire Mk V compare to an A6M2? Clearly the Zero has far superior range but which would you rather face off in and why?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    I'm no expert on this, Mk12 will no doubt appear on this thread soon, but I was always under the impression that, unlike the Spit, the Zero suffered from a lack of development, particularly with regard to protection for the pilot.
    I always thought that when the Mk5's appeared in the Far East that the Zero was stuffed, presumably any air combat took place in Burma, or with Seafires in the later stages of the war over Japan, but this is all off the top of my head, over to those that know.
    On the face of it, I would go for the Mk5 Spit.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Actually there are too many differences in the design criteria for this sort of comparison. Essentially the Zero was designed as a longe range escort fighter but too achieve this it was lightly built and lacked significant pilot protection.

    The Spitfire was designed as a short range interceptor fighter and, despite some attempts at increasing its range, it remained that.

    Of the two aircraft on very simple manoeverability terme the Zero was better, as also was the Hawker Hurricane the Spitfire's fighting mate in the Battle of Britain.

    However the Spitfire did have "built in" potential for development and the MkIX while not the fastest was probably the best. The Zero did not have the same "built in" potential. All its later developments saw a decrease in the sheer brilliance of the original design. Pilot armour, increased armanent and the real lack of increased engine power worked against the original design.

    In any case Spitfires and Zeros never met in any significant encounters to demonstrate the ascendency of one over the other.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    according to one oz vet's article that i read when spit mkv's met zero's over darwin that the zero's were at a great advantage .
    the zero's biggest problem in the long run was the ijnaf who insisted the the zero should be better armed and protected but wouldn't alow mitsubishi to put a more powerful engine in it until it was too late.
    according to saburo sakai the a6m8 with the more powerful mitsubishi kinsei would have bought the zero up to the hellcat in perfomance ,but only two prototypes mand one proction aircraft had flown by the end of the war ,mitsubishi had asked for aproval to reengine the zero in 1942 along with the extra arnament and pilot protection that came with the a6m5 but were refused permission.
    on the otherside the spitfire was allowed many improvements over it's service life (still remained a short range aircraft though)doubling in horsepower better guns and pilot protection,etc.
    the zero never went into combat with more than 1150hp and still in a good pilots hand was a fighter not to be taken lightly and never to get into a turning fight with.
    ps i allway's thought that the beast pilots spit was the mkviii:diablo:

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Penzance, Cornwall, UK
    For monoplanes perhaps, but for fighters I think the 2 to be compared should be the FIAT CR 42 and the Gloster Gladiator. Had the war started sooner it would have been the FIAT CR 32 and the Gloster Gauntlet. Both of these were quite superb at maneuverabilty, even better than their faster replacements, but of course quite unable to intercept monoplane bombers - a feat that was hard enough for the 42 and Glad.[/QUOTE]

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Japanese designed and built planes for range & maneuverability.

    Below 300mph the Zero would have come out a winner in a dogfight but given poor protection (armour) it might have been close. Above 310 mph the Zero suffered from heavy alierons & elevators (the same alierons & elevators that gave it soo much maneuverability at low speeds).

    Historically, there is alot of misconception about the Spit vs Zero. much of it can be found here
    including the myth that 17 Spits were taken out by Zeros in one encounter.

    REQ: please post pictures of the RAF in the far east if you have any
    Vintage Warbird & German WWII galleries @

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