By the first half of 1942 the Japanese military juggernaut had smashed its way to victory throughout South East Asia ... Hong Kong had fallen first ... then Malaya and Singapore ... The Philippines followed as did the Dutch East Indies. Across the Pacific in the island chains that connected their recent conquests the Japanese now began to build up their defenses knowing full well that the Allies, particularly the Americans, would sooner or later strike back.
The Imperial Japanese Navy rapidly began construction of dozens of airfields on these distant islands as a first line of defence against any kind of attack from either land, sea or air.
Among the aircraft selected to be deployed from these land bases was their highly successful Mitsubishi A6M “ZERO” carrier-borne fighter.