Hobby Master HA7702 RAF North American Mustang Mk. IVA Fighter - "GA-S", No. 112 Squadron, Cervia, Italy, Spring 1945 (1:48 Scale)
"Why should we have a navy at all? There are no enemies for it to fight except apparently the Army Air Force."
- General Carl Spaatz, Commander of the US 8th Army Air Force, after WWII
No other aircraft of WWII could fly as high, go as far, or fight as hard as the famed Mustang. Piloted by a record 281 Aces, this agile and ferocious dogfighter tallied more kills than any other Allied airplane. As the bombers of the Eighth Air Force fought their way deep into Hitler's Germany, it was the Mustang that cleared the skies of Luftwaffe fighters. The powerful Rolls-Royce Merlin engine gave the Mustang a speed of 445 mph. Re-styled with an aerodynamic bubble canopy for greater visibility, and outfitted with 6 fast-firing .50 caliber machine guns, the P-51 became the best fighter of the war.
Pictured here is a 1:48 scale replica of a North American Mustang Mk. IVA fighter that was flown by the RAF's No. 112 Squadron, then deployed to Cervia, Italy during the Spring of 1945.
Release Date: July 2010
Historical Account: "The Shark Squadron" - No. 112 Squadron was a squadron of the Royal Air Force. It served in both the First World War and Second World War and was active for three periods during the Cold War. It is nicknamed "The Shark Squadron", an allusion to the fact that it was the first unit from any air force to use the famous "shark mouth" logo on Curtiss P-40s,
As war loomed again, the squadron was re-formed on May 16th, 1939, on board the aircraft carrier HMS Argus for service in Egypt. It was based initially at RAF Helwan. On 26 May, "B" Flight was detached and sent to Sudan. The squadron did not receive its aircraft, obsolescent Gloster Gladiator biplane fighters, until June. After Italy entered the war, on June 10th, 1940, the squadron was almost immediately in action, defending Egypt from Italian bombers. "B" Flight became part of No. 14 Squadron RAF on June 30th. In January 1941, the squadron joined Allied forces defending Greece, providing air cover and offensive support over Albania. It later took part in fierce dogfights as part of the air defence of the Athens area. With the collapse of the Allied campaign on the Greek mainland, 112 Squadron withdrew to Crete and then to Egypt, from where it rejoined the North African Campaign, supporting the Eighth Army.
For much of the remainder of the war, the squadron was part of No. 239 Wing, along with No. 3 Squadron RAAF, No. 250 Squadron RAF and/or No. 450 Squadron RAAF. For the Allied invasion of Sicily (Operation Husky) on July 10th, 1943, No. 239 Wing consisted of these four squadrons and No.260 Squadron as part of Air Vice Marshal Harry Broadhurst's Desert Air Force, an element of Air Marshal Sir Arthur Coningham's Northwest African Tactical Air Force in the Northwest African Air Forces of Lt. Gen. Carl Spaatz, one of the major sub-commands of the Mediterranean Air Command under Air Commander-in-Chief Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder.
During July 1941, the squadron was one of the first in the world to become operational with the P-40 Tomahawk, which it used in both the fighter and ground attack role, with the Air Headquarters, Western Desert. Inspired by the unusually large air inlet on the P-40, the squadron began to emulate the "shark mouth" logo used on some German Messerschmitt Bf 110s of Zerstorer Geschwader 76 earlier in the war. This practice was later followed by P-40 units in other parts of the world (including the Flying Tigers, American volunteers serving with the Chinese Air Force). In December, the Tomahawks were replaced by the updated P-40 Kittyhawk, which the squadron used for the remainder of its time in North Africa, often as a fighter bomber.
The squadron during this time included a significant number of personnel from the air forces of Poland, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Another member was the English ace Neville Duke (later prominent as a test pilot). For most of 1942, it was commanded by the highest-scoring Australian ace of World War II, Clive Caldwell, the first Empire Air Training Scheme graduate to command a British unit. He was succeeded by Billy Drake, the highest-scoring RAF P-40 pilot and the second-highest-scoring British Commonwealth P-40 pilot, behind Caldwell.