Spitfire VC vs A6M2/3 Zero-sen Darwin 1943

The 1943 air campaign fought over Darwin between No. 1 Fighter Wing, RAAF, Spitfire VCs and 202nd Kokutai, IJNAF, A6M2/3 Zeros.

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Spitfire VC vs A6M2/3 Zero-sen Darwin 1943

The 1943 air campaign fought over Darwin between No. 1 Fighter Wing, RAAF, Spitfire VCs and 202nd Kokutai, IJNAF, A6M2/3 Zeros.

In the 1943 dry season, two air units of similar strength faced each other in the skies over Darwin, capital of Australia's Northern Territory. These were the Imperial Japanese Naval Air Force's 202nd Kokutai, equipped with A6M2/3 Zero-sens, and No. 1 Fighter Wing, RAAF, flying Spitfire Mark VCs recently shipped out from Britain. This campaign occurred far from the main Pacific theatres of New Guinea and the South Pacific, so it has remained little-known outside of Australia. The Spitfire pilots included Battle of Britain and Malta veterans, and they were fully confident of sweeping their opponents from the skies. However, the results were mixed due to the battle-hardened nature of the Zero-sen pilots involved, and the campaign had been tainted with controversy ever since. This was air combat fought on roughly equal terms, well before the Pacific War "Turkey Shoots" of 1944-45. Indeed, both aircraft types were well matched, for although the Spitfire had superior flight characteristics, it was hampered by short range and material defects in the tropical conditions.

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