History[edit | edit source]
France operated only a single Nakajima A6M2-N “Rufe” (the floatplane version of the Mitsubishi A6M2 naval fighter), and that only for the shortest possible time. This particular plane had belonged to the 934th Naval Air Group of the JNAF during WWII and ended the war at Surabaya in the Dutch Indies (today Indonesia). From there it was flown by the British to Singapore, and then to an RAF base at Tebrau in Malaya where it was evaluated by by ATAIU-SEA. In September 1945 it was donated to France and flown to Cat Lai, French Indochina. This particular plane had not been well-maintained by the Japanese in the final months of the war, and had been run hard by ATAIU afterwards. It was badly in need of service, which was not easy as the A6M2-N combined the complexity of a fast fighter with the added challenges of a saltwater seaplane. The whole effort was for nothing anyways. During the “Rufe”s first operational mission on 19 February 1946, it crashed near Rach Ba Sang.