A tremendous amount of folklore about the Mitsubishi A6M Zero was created in the early stages of the war, especially when US and British fighter pilots tried to dogfight with them. The planes' maneuverability, rate of climb, range, and service ceiling made them exceedingly dangerous foes. Changes in Allied tactics for dealing with Zeros quickly turned the tide, and Allied kill ratios became quite high.
At the beginning of the war when code names were being assigned, the codename Zeke was assigned to the Zero, nominally to the entire A6M series. Later, two variants were given code names of their own: A6M2-N (float plane) was named Rufe (Rufe was built by Nakajima); A6M3-32 became Hamp originally, Hap, but it is said that General Arnold was not amused, so the name was changed. Because a Design Analysis article was published, the Hamp is covered in a section of its own.
A few articles focused on the Zero were published:
- "Jap Zero Fighter Shows Nipponese Copying Ability" [ HTML ] claims to show that the Zero is derivative from the Fw-190 and Fiat G-50.
- "The Zero" [ HTML ] gives a few particulars and appears to have been written primarily to debunk the "super-fighter" image that the Zero had garnered.
- "Combat Cousins of the Jap Zero" [ HTML ] describes the Zero and compares it with some previous-generation Japanese and US fighters.
- "Flight-Testing the Zero" [ HTML ] describes the plane and pilot impressions of the Zero recovered from Akutan Island in the Aleutians.
- Japanese Fighter Design" [ HTML ] discusses history and naming conventions of Japanese fighters with an emphasis on the Zero.
- A Yearbook entry from 1943 shows a captured Zero in US markings, seen from 2 o'clock low, with a 3-view silhouette.
- A news clip with photo, "Float Zero for check-up" shows a Rufe hulk being offloaded for inspection.
- A Sketchbook drawing shows a cutaway of a Zero drop tank.
- Yearbook entries from 1944 show three members of "the Zero family" in 3-view silhouettes:
- A Sketchbook drawing shows an exploded view of the oil pump from a Zeke.
- A National Screw & Manufacturing Co ad compares quality of hardware from a Zero with American practice.
- Yearbook entries from 1945 show two members of "the Zero family" with 3-view line drawings and photos: