(Image: ww2gallery; “crashed” Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter)
This photograph, showing what appears to be a crashed Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter from World War Two, has done the rounds of the internet over the past few years, including several subreddits. The downed warbird looks to be resting atop a canopy of trees, its crumpled hulk bleached by the hot New Guinea sun. But fanciful as this idea may be, the mysterious “treetop” Zero isn’t, sadly, some recently-rediscovered aviation treasure from the Pacific War.
Look closely and you’ll see that the aircraft’s undercarriage is deployed. Now look closer still and you’ll notice what appears to be some sort of plinth. The wrecked A6M is actually one of several wartime relics to be found in Kieta Memorial Park on Bougainville Island, in Papua New Guinea. Mounted on a pole in the jungle, the derelict Zero is now a memorial to the conflict that gripped the region between 1941 and 1945.
(Image: Google Earth; the Bougainville Zero on Google Earth)
Beady-eyed virtual explorers may also be able to locate the wartime fighter on Google Earth a stones throw from the Bougainville.