Science: What Adds Up to a Zero

The quick-zooming, vulnerable Jap Zero* fighter is a triumph for the world's greatest adapters. How the underestimated little single-motored plane could get away with such power and maneuverability was a mystery for several weeks after Pearl Harbor. U.S. aviators soon found part of the answer (and made the most of it): no armor protection for pilot or self-sealing fuel tanks, therefore less weight. The rest of the story has come out gradually from examination of shot-down Zeros.

In the pre-war days the Japs had plenty of opportunity to pick up plane pointers from sales-minded...

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