Zero tactics

Ad: This forum contains affiliate links to products on Amazon and eBay. More information in Terms and rules


Jun 26, 2004
Hi, I'm playing WWII Japan in a RP game (
and I was wondering what tactics to use against other
planes, especially Spitfires....

I was allowed to make some change, let it have 12.7mm
guns instead of 7.7mm ones I also got permission to fit
it with a more poweful engine, I'll post stats here:

A6M Zero

Powerplant: 1 × Nakajima NK1F Sakae 21 radial, rated at 1130 hp (842.4 kW)

Range: 2377 km max

Maximum speed 544 km/h at 6000 m

Empty weight: 1807 kg

Operational weight: 2679 kg typical


2 x 12.7mm guns
2 x 20mm guns
2 x 60kg bombs

A7M Asuka (just a zero verson I just designated it this)

Powerplant 1 × Mitsubishi MK8P Kinsei 62 radial, rated
at 1340 hp (1000 kW)

Empty weight 2040 kg
Operational weight 3040 (with a 500kg bomb ?)

Maximum speed:

573 km/h at 6000 m

Fuel capacity:

internal 545 liters
external Up to 350 liters in one drop tank


4 x 20mm cannons (or should I change two of them into 12.7mm)

Ok, it's late 1939 (I know zeroes>1940) , and I'm mostly concerned
about the supermarine spitfire mk1, what tactics should I use, and I'll
propably have to fight some early P-40's too....

help me plz ;)
well against the spit you shouldn't need 4x20mm cannon, they're just extra weight, only use them for when you come up against bombers,
take the biggest engine you can find, you'll need the power aginst a spit, don't take along bombs, you don't need them in a dogfight, they'll slow you down,
don't bother with the extra drop tank, the zero carries enough fuel internally, only take the extra fuel if you're flying out to the spit, when you start the dogfight, get rid of your tank, even if it's still got fuel in,
i'm not sure about the armourment, that's more down to personal preferance,
when you encounter the spit/P-40, don't let him get away, you can't catch him, don't let him dive or climb, you can't follow him, try to get him into a low level turning dogfight, you can easily turn inside both, use this to your advantage, that's what'll make you a good pilot, keep moving, never fly straight a level, because if either of them get behind you, you don't have any armour or self sealing tanks, as long as you always keep him in your sight, you stand a good chance,

i know that's allot of info and that i didn't put it in a ver good order, but try to follow these two golden rules
1) get you opponent into a low level turning dogfight
2) never give him an opertunity to fire on you, i.e. don't let him out of your site and keep moving

please note, the first rule only works when you're in the zero, don't try it in a spit against a zero

if you hang around i'm sure other people wil be willing to help................
make sure he sees you, maybe fire at him a bit, when he starts to chase you, dive for the dack, but remember to pull out again.........................
It depends what you are going up against. Lanc is mainly right about the tactics against the Spitfire but with other aircraft it's a different matter.
You should always be able to outclimb a P-40. Against a Spit, your success in a climb will depend on what version you are flying against.
I just shot down a F4U on a A6M3 :D

:2gunfire: it needed 38 hits ;)

I'm a noob so I'll just be happy with my victory over the AI :oops:

ps. the spitfires that I'm talking about are Mk1's
The climbing thing, Lanc. As Lightning pointed out some Spitfires could outclimb the Zeros. Since he means Mk. Is then it's ok.
And I didn't just mean the Spitfires, what about Hurricanes, Wildcats, Buffalos (Tactic being 'maul them').
Zero against Wildcat, get it into a turning fight. And don't go at it head on, EVER.
The Zero's lightness and manoevrability were their blessing...only the Spitfire could hope to tangle successfully in a dogfight with them, the Mk.I was the lightest and one of the most manoevrable variants...and 1100 hp engined. Anything else had to 'dive slash' with Zero's...Happy hunting!...
the other thing was it's armourment, it had 2 cammon, but only 60rpg, and that doesn't last long, after that you have two MGs, they do nothing against beefy american fighters...................
One thing to remember in a Zero is the need to keep your speed low. The Zero lost much of its maneuverability above 250mph due to aileron lock. Most Allied fighters were able to match the Zero in a turn at these higher speeds.
Well, nothing Allied could stay with it. The Ki-43 'Oscar' was supposed to be able to turn inside the Zero once it was fitted with 'butterfly' flaps.

Users who are viewing this thread