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Japanese Zero

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Zero squadrons were the villains of Pearl Harbor and the Pacific air-war that followed.

How did American pilots defeat them?

The Smithsonian Institution celebrates many of Americas greatest heroes, so it might be surprising to some that its Air & Space Museum houses a fighter plane that was one of America’s greatest villains. Squadrons of Japanese Zero fighter planes were responsible for the devastating attack on Pearl Harbor that left thousands of Americans dead.

The Zero was legendary for its speed and agility, which were the reasons they were so vastly superior to American flyers during WWII. Or maybe not.

Museum Secrets travels to a Houston TX air-show featuring one of the last remaining operational Zeros. With the help of aviation historian Osamu Tagaya, and Zero pilot Warren Pietsch, we investigate the secrets of a great American nemesis.


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