Shot by Corsair fighters during World War II in the Pacific Theatre of Operations (PTO), this movie gives you a remarkable up-close look at aerial combat between U.S. Navy Corsairs and Japanese Zeros. While the entire film is in color, a few segments have been converted back into black & white to capture as much action as possible.
I have never seen this footage released anywhere else. The film has been locked away for years and was recently rediscovered.
I got a call from Don Hoirup (VF-16 and VF-8), a PTO Corsair Ace. Don and I chatted about the segments in this movie and he confirmed that the tactics you will see were exactly what they used in battle. Don stated that his Corsair could overtake the Zero from above but the Zero was extremely maneuverable, could outturn the Corsair and could climb quickly.
Once you receive this video you will get a chance to see all of this action, just like Don experienced, in color.
“WOW!! This is best video any Corsair nut must see, great job, fast shipping, AAAA++++”
“Tired of seeing those same sequences of air combat repeated in nearly every television documentary? Here is the answer: Rare Aviation’s Corsair Versus Zero DVD. This release shows spectacular COLOR gun camera footage from F4U Corsairs in the Pacific. For anyone interested in dogfights and air combat, this release is not to be missed!
Series creator, Steve Rhode has color corrected each clip and set the sequences to music, which heightens the sense of excitement and combat in each segment. Also interesting are the snippets of cockpit audio present in some of the sequences – excited pilots calling out their victories or radio chatter during combat.
After each sequence plays, it is repeated in slow motion, bringing out further details.
This video contains over fifty individual sequences of dogfight combat, nearly all over water.
Most of the sequences are against the famous A6M Zero fighter, the primary Imperial Japanese Navy interceptor.
Other notable sequences include a PBY water rescue sequence, and a spectacular sequence showing an E13 Jake seaplane caught on the surface of the water, and strafed to bits.
What is interesting is the variety of combat, some sequences have a definitive ending, with the Japanese aircraft being shot down or exploding.
Others, leave the viewer marveling at the twisting intensity of the dogfight without positive proof of a ‘kill’.
This video shows the view of just how challenging and heart-pounding air combat was.”
- Mitsubishi Type 0 A6M Reisen “Zero” AKA “Zeke” Camera plane is in steep dive on Zero passing below it. One round pierces the left-wing tank of Zero. A large explosion results in a fireball rapidly mushrooming from the wing. The plane disappears from view. Nice view of the top view of plane, painting, and markings.
- Mitsubishi Type 0 A6M Reisen “Zero” AKA “Zeke” Zero is flying lower than the camera plane. The camera plane chases Zero from five o’clock high. Zero appears to outclimb the camera plane and break free.
- Mitsubishi Type 0 A6M Reisen “Zero” AKA “Zeke” Against a dark sky a Zero is pursued and explodes in a bright orange fireball.
- Mitsubishi Type 0 A6M Reisen “Zero” AKA “Zeke” Zero is pursued in the long segment. Corsair is diligently trying to capture Zeke but Zero is trying hard to evade. Notice the wild rudder variations which cause the Zeke to fishtail while being pursued. At times, aircraft appear to be as little as fifty feet above the ocean.
- Mitsubishi Type 0 A6M Reisen “Zero” AKA “Zeke” Zeke appears to be just above ocean surface under hot and close pursuit by camera plane. The camera plane gains on Zero and the last frame shows a hard strike on the right-wing of Zero. Uncertain if it is a fire or smoke seen.
- Mitsubishi Type 0 A6M Reisen “Zero” AKA “Zeke” Very interesting Zeke attack. The camera plane shows a second Corsair just ahead but Zero takes both planes on in a head-to-head approach. Zero breaks left at the last moment and two planes pass within feet of each other. All the planes are firing constantly.
- Mitsubishi Type 0 A6M Reisen “Zero” AKA “Zeke” A group of three Zeros are pounced. They are stacked low to high. Top Zeke climbs rapidly out of frame. Bottom Zero rolls and dives left. The middle Zero is targeted, fired upon, and lost.
- Mitsubishi Type 0 A6M Reisen “Zero” AKA “Zeke” Three Zeros flying in loose formation are pounced from seven o’clock. Middle Zero is targeted. Zero appears to be a Mitsubishi A6M2 Model 21 with a centerline fuel drop-tank.
- Mitsubishi Type 0 A6M Reisen “Zero” AKA “Zeke” Zero floatplane with a large center float in dark green paint scheme is gained on by camera plane in low tight left turn while firing. The large center float on the Zeke is clearly seen. One round explodes either into the cockpit or just in front of the cockpit.
- Aichi E13A “Jake” A rare glimpse at an Aichi E13A “Jake” long-range reconnaissance floatplane under pursuit about 100 feet above the water in a tight left-hand turn. The Jake was primarily launched from Japanese cruisers and was scarce when fighters were about.
- Mitsubishi Type 0 A6M Reisen “Zero” AKA “Zeke” Zero passes below the camera plane and is under attack. Smoke is training from the left side.
- Aichi D3A dive bomber “Val” A Aichi D3A dive bomber “Val” dives towards the ocean surface while under attack. Right-wing is struck and fuel appears to be streaming from the wing.
- Mitsubishi Type 0 A6M Reisen “Zero” AKA “Zeke” A Zero is caught in dark skies and outmaneuvers the camera plane. Zeke vanishes up and out of frame, but not before being struck.
- Mitsubishi Type 0 A6M Reisen “Zero” AKA “Zeke” Wing spewing Zero is struck at close range.
- Mitsubishi Type 0 A6M Reisen “Zero” AKA “Zeke” Attack by camera plane under darkness shows tracer fire at unknown targets. As the camera plane climbs, more light reveals at least two Zeros under pursuit. One Zero turns sharply across the camera to vanish left across the screen.
- Mitsubishi Type 0 A6M Reisen “Zero” AKA “Zeke” Zero is caught at medium range and escapes from the camera plane. Very nimble and agile flying.
- Mitsubishi Type 0 A6M Reisen “Zero” AKA “Zeke” Flying at a low altitude above the ocean surface, a Zero is struck. The entire right side of the fuselage is on fire. The Zeke is struck again in the left-wing and fire erupts from the wing. Island formation in the background may help to identify the location.
- Mitsubishi Type 0 A6M Reisen “Zero” AKA “Zeke” Zero attack under a dark sky shows quick evasive action by the Japanese pilot. The fire appears to be belching out the exhaust on both sides of the plane.
- Mitsubishi Type 0 A6M Reisen “Zero” AKA “Zeke” Medium range attack on Zero shows a very interesting evasive maneuver. The Zero rolls and reverses direction.
- Mitsubishi Type 0 A6M Reisen “Zero” AKA “Zeke” Under cover of darkness an aerial battle is underway. Tracer fire is seen and results in a strike that creates a large trailing fireball.
- Mitsubishi Type 0 A6M Reisen “Zero” AKA “Zeke” Zero is descended on from six o’clock high. Gunfire must have damaged the engine. Zero begins to trail smoke. The angle of intercept is fairly steep and the Zero climbs up out of guns.
- Mitsubishi Type 0 A6M Reisen “Zero” AKA “Zeke” Zeke attempts to escape the gunfire. Dives towards the ocean.
- Mitsubishi Type 0 A6M Reisen “Zero” AKA “Zeke” Dark sequence showing camera plane firing on enemy aircraft from above.
- Mitsubishi Type 0 A6M Reisen “Zero” AKA “Zeke” Twilight segment showing Zero outperforming Corsair. Zips out of harm’s way. No strikes seen.
- Mitsubishi Type 0 A6M Reisen “Zero” AKA “Zeke” At higher altitude than most battles a Zero is struck in the left-wing and smoke is seen.
- Mitsubishi Type 0 A6M Reisen “Zero” AKA “Zeke” Zeke is under heavy attack from a camera plane located behind and above target.
- Mitsubishi Type 0 A6M Reisen “Zero” AKA “Zeke” During a low engagement over water. A Zero is repeatedly struck with flames seen. To avoid further strikes, the Zero dives. It is hard to imagine that the plane did not strike the water. Very nice color segment.
- Mitsubishi Type 0 A6M Reisen “Zero” AKA “Zeke” Unknown water target. Camera planes focus on one spot in the ocean and covers it with lead.
- This is the first in a series of water rescue segments. A Catalina PBY flying boat is seen up current from a fluorescent dye stream in a relatively calm ocean.
- Camera plane catches what looks like a downed pilot in a rubber raft, paddling furiously. The dye pack must have been recently tossed in the water. Dye has not spread that far yet.
- A Catalina rescue flying boat is seen floating on the surface of the ocean.
- Appears to be a pilot in a rubber raft. The dye pack is some distance from the raft. No movement was seen during the low camera plane pass over the raft.
- Mitsubishi Type 0 A6M Reisen “Zero” AKA “Zeke” Aerial attack on a ground target. The attack is very focused on one location. Companion Corsairs can be seen in the segment. The steep angle of attack dive.
- Mitsubishi Type 0 A6M Reisen “Zero” AKA “Zeke” Large columns of smoke are rising from the ocean surface. The unidentified target is burning. A Corsair is seen ahead of the camera plane.
- Mitsubishi Type 0 A6M Reisen “Zero” AKA “Zeke” Appears to be a collection of huts that serve as the focus of this attack on ground targets. Structures located along the ocean. The camera plane levels off out of attacking dive and fly’s out over the ocean.
- Mitsubishi Type 0 A6M Reisen “Zero” AKA “Zeke” Pair of Zeros is flying in tight formation. Corsair is in a good position close behind Zeke pair. Zero on right is struck, begins to smoke from right side, and dives. The camera plane attempts to climb after the second Zero but is so close to the other Zero.
- Mitsubishi Type 0 A6M Reisen “Zero” AKA “Zeke” Lone Zero is spotted below the camera plane.
- Quick shot of Zero in flight.
- Corsair is shooting at a Zero as it does a wingover to evade.
- There are 12 more segments after this point.
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