Armour Collection B11F045 USAAF North American B-25H Mitchell Medium Bomber - "Barbie III", 1st Air Commando Group, Burma, 1944 (1:48 Scale)
"The Air Commando concept was to have a self sufficient, self-contained force that could deploy anywhere in the world and conduct operations."
- Retired Brig. Gen. Harry C. "Heinie" Aderholt, a commander of Air Commandos in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War
Built by North American, with no previous experience on multi-engined aircraft, the B-25 Mitchell proved to be one of the most versatile combat aircraft to see action in World War II. So impressed with what they saw on the drawing board, the USAAC ordered 184 aircraft -- to be designated the B-25 -- before metal had even been cut on a revised design.
Christened the Mitchell after maverick army bomber proponent William 'Billy' Mitchell, the bomber fought not only with the USAAF in the Pacific and ETO/MTO, but also with US Navy/Marine Corps, British, Dutch and Australian units. By war's end, the veteran Mitchell had outlasted its rivals from Douglas and Martin to become the most prolific American medium bomber of the conflict. Today some 34 remain airworthy across the globe.
This particular 1:48 scale replica of a USAAF North American B-25H Mitchell medium bomber, nicknamed "Barbie III", was flown by the 1st Air Commando Group, then operating out of Burma during 1944. Sold Out!
Wingspan: 17 inches
Length: 13.2 inches
Release Date: April 2009
Historical Account: "Burmese Pythons" - The 1st Air Commando Group was a U.S. Army Air Force group of fighters, bombers, transports, military gliders and small planes operating in the South-East Asian Theatre of World War II. They were part of the U.S. Tenth Air Force providing air support for the British Fourteenth Army in the Burma Campaign.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt, amidst the Quebec Conference in August 1943, was impressed by Brigadier Orde Wingate's account of what could be accomplished in Burma with proper air support. To comply with Roosevelt's proposed air support for British long range penetration operations in Burma, the United States Army Air Forces created the 5318th Air Unit to support the Chindits. In March 1944, they were designated the 1st Air Commando Group by USAF Commander General Hap Arnold. Arnold chose Colonel John R. Alison and Colonel Philip Cochran as co-commanders of the unit.
Alison was a veteran flight instructor of P-40 aircraft, and gained renown as a pilot with Major David Lee "Tex" Hill's 75th Fighter Squadron, part of Col Robert Lee Scott, Jr.'s 23rd Fighter Group, the USAF successor of the AVG's famed Flying Tigers in the China-Burma-India Theatre. General Claire Lee Chennault lobbied to Arnold, who knew Alison from service at Langley Field, suggesting Alison be given the new command. Cochran was a decorated P-40 veteran pilot from the North Africa Campaign, noted for his unconventional aeriel tactics.
The group consisted of 13 C-47 air transports, 225 Waco CG-4A military gliders, a squadron of 30 P-51 Mustangs, a squadron of 12 B-25H bombers and 100 L-1 and L-5 Sentinel liaison aircraft. The group tested the United States' first use of a helicopter in combat, six Sikorsky R-4s, in May 1944.