In April 1942 thirty-six Japanese Zeros attacked a British naval base at Colombo, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), and were met by about sixty Royal Air Force aircraft of mixed types, many of them older obsolete british designs. Twenty-seven of the RAF planes went down; fifteen Hawker Hurricanes (of Battle of Britain fame), eight Fairey Swordfish, and four Fairey Fulmars. The Japanese lost one Zero. After Pearl Harbor and attacks like this one, the Allied forces quickly discovered how deadly an aerial dogfight could be with this Japanese fighter.

The article below describes a little known piece of history on how a twist of fate helped the Allied forces learn intimate details about the Zero’s strengths and weaknesses, and helped to win the air war against the Japanese air force.

[this is a very well done article with some great historical pictures]

[For more info about the Japanese Zero and Petty Officer Koga’s final mission you can also check out these links in Wikipedia.]