Japanese Navy A6M3 Model 32 Zero - Zamperini Intercept

This aircraft (serial number 3148) was built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in September 1942.  It was one of only 343 built.  It was assigned to the 252nd Air Group (Kokutai) and deployed to Taroa in the Marshall islands, and was likely flown in combat by pilot ace Isamu Miyazaki.  When Miyazaki was asked shortly before his death if he ever flew this specific Zero while based at Taroa (tail code S-112), he said, "Almost certainly".  This was a very rare sponsored aircraft, paid for by the Manchurian Secondary Schools and given to the Japanese Navy (note the fuselage markings aft of the hinomaru).
 
In April 1943, the 252nd, and possibly this specific aircraft, intercepted and badly damaged Lt. Louis Zamperini's B-24D bomber.  This action is described in the best selling book 'Unbroken', being released as a major Hollywood film in 2014.   
 
Signed and numbered. 

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