Original U.S. WWII Japanese Aircraft Parts Recovered From Invasion of Saipan including Shot Down Mitsubishi A6M Zero Fuselage Section - Recovered By US Marine 1st Sgt. Roscoe Brown
Original Items: Only One Lot Available. This is a lovely little grouping of items that were recovered from the Island of Saipan during the invasion in 1944. The recovered parts include a section of the body of a Mitsubishi A6M Zero Shot Down during the battle, various data tags and even an aluminum seatback! All items were brought home by 1st Sergeant Roscoe Brown sometime after the end of the battle / war.
The Mitsubishi A6M "Zero" is a long-range carrier-based fighter aircraft formerly manufactured by Mitsubishi Aircraft Company, a part of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, and was operated by the Imperial Japanese Navy from 1940 to 1945. The A6M was designated as the Mitsubishi Navy Type 0 carrier fighter, or the Mitsubishi A6M Rei-sen. The A6M was usually referred to by its pilots as the Reisen, "0" being the last digit of the imperial year 2600 (1940) when it entered service with the Imperial Navy. The official Allied reporting name was "Zeke", although the name "Zero" (from Type 0) was used colloquially as well.
The Zero is considered to have been the most capable carrier-based fighter in the world when it was introduced early in World War II, combining excellent maneuverability and very long range. The Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service (IJNAS) also frequently used it as a land-based fighter.
The 9” x 8 ¾” piece of sheet metal appears to be a part of the skin of the aircraft itself, and is painted the correct color for a later war production. Depending on the maker and the section of the aircraft it was used on, later in the war primer was not always used under the top coat. The interior light gray paint has a note written on it in pencil, which reads:
TAKEN FROM JAPANESE ZERO SHOT
DOWN DURING INVASION OF SAIPAN
1ST SGT ROSCOE BROWN
The date is month after the battle itself ended. We believe this date is to reflect the day the pieces were recovered. While the battle officially ended on 9 July, Japanese resistance still persisted with Captain Sakae Ōba and 46 other soldiers who survived with him during the last banzai charge. After the battle, Oba and his soldiers led many civilians throughout the jungle of the island to escape capture by the Americans, while also conducting guerrilla-style attacks on pursuing forces. The Americans tried numerous times to hunt them down but failed due to their speed and stealth. In September 1944, the Marines began conducting patrols in the island's interior, searching for survivors who were raiding their camp for supplies. Although some of the soldiers wanted to fight, Captain Ōba asserted that their primary concerns were to protect the civilians and to stay alive to continue the war. At one point, the Japanese soldiers and civilians were almost captured by the Americans as they hid in a clearing and ledges of a mountain, some were less than 20 feet (6.1 m) above the heads of the Marines, but the Americans failed to see them. Oba's holdout lasted for over a year (approximately 16 months) before finally surrendering on 1 December 1945, three months after the official surrender of Japan.
Oba's resistance was so successful that it caused the reassignment of a commander. U.S. Marines gave Oba the nickname "The Fox."
Other items include 4 data tags, two of which are definitely military issue, though one is Navy marked, while the other Army marked. The other items are most likely from commercially available items, which were widely available and put into use for limitary purposes. Saipan had been captured by Japan during WWI, after which large numbers of immigrants were sent to the island. By WWII the Civilian population was close to 30K, and the fighting ranged throughout the entire island.
The last item appears to be a backboard piece for a seat due to the shape of it, however we are not sure. It definitely has the correct patterns of holes that would be expected for a seatback which would have had cushions attached to it, as well as a covering that went over the entire thing. We unfortunately have not been able to identify what type of aircraft or other vehicle that it came from.
A lovely group of items that come more than ready for further research and display.
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