Armour Collection B11E735 USAAC Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina Flying Boat - "Patron 52", NAS Quonset Point, RI, 1941 (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
The PBY Catalina was the US Navy designation for an American and Canadian-built flying boat of the 1930s and 1940s. PB stands for Patrol Bomber, with Y being Consolidated's manufacturer identification. It could be equipped with depth charges, bombs, torpedoes, and .50 caliber machine guns and was one of the most widely used multi-role aircraft of World War II. Catalinas served with every branch of the US military and in the air forces and navies of many other nations.
In World War II, PBYs were used as anti-submarine warfare aircraft, patrol bombers, convoy escorts, search and rescue aircraft, and transports. The Catalina can be considered the most successful aircraft of its kind, as no other flying boat was produced in greater numbers. The last active military Catalinas were not retired from service until the 1980s. Even today, over seventy years after its first flight, the aircraft continues to fly as an airtanker in aerial firefighting operations all over the world.
The Catalina was originally designed to be a patrol bomber, an aircraft with a long operational range intended to locate and attack enemy transport ships at sea in order to compromise enemy supply lines. With a mind to a potential conflict in the Pacific Ocean, where troops would require resupply over great distances, the US Navy in the 1930s invested millions of dollars in developing long-range flying boats for this purpose. Flying boats had the advantage of not requiring runways to take off and land, in effect having the entire ocean available as its runway. Several different flying boats were adopted by the Navy, but the PBY Catalina was the most widely used and produced.
Although slow and ungainly, Catalinas distinguished themselves in World War II as exceptionally reliable aircraft. Allied armed forces used them successfully in a wide variety of roles that the aircraft was never intended for. They are remembered most by veterans of the war for their role as rescuing aircraft, where they saved the lives of thousands of aircrewmen shot down over the Pacific Ocean.
Pictured here is a 1:48 scale replica of a US Army Air Corp Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina flying boat known as "Patron 52", which was based at NAS Quonset Point, Rhode Island, during 1941.
Wingspan: 23 inches
Length: 16 inches
Release Date: June 2008
Historical Account: "Quonset Hut" - Naval Air Station Quonset Point was a United States Naval Base in Quonset Point, Rhode Island. Next to NAS Quonset Point was Camp Endicott at Davisville, home of the Naval Construction Battalions known as the Seabees. Quonset Point also gave its name to the Quonset hut, a standardized temporary structure used by the U.S. military starting in World War II. Former US President Richard M. Nixon went through basic naval officer training at Quonset Point in 1942.
Commissioned on July 12th, 1941, and encompassing what was once Camp Dyer, NAS Quonset Point was a major naval facility throughout World War II and well into the Cold War. Prior to its closure, it had been home to numerous aviation squadrons, primarily those land-based patrol squadrons operating the P-2 Neptune and carrier-based antisubmarine and airborne early warning squadrons operating the S-2 Tracker, the E-1 Tracer and various modified versions of the A-1 Skyraider.
NAS Quonset Point was also the off-season home of Antarctic Development Squadron Six (VXE-6) during the 1950s, 60s and 70s, operating the LC-47 Skytrain, LP-2J Neptune, C-54 Skymaster, C-121 Constellation, and eventually the LC-130F and LC-130R Hercules, as well as a variety of helicopters.
In addition to flying squadrons, the air station was also home to a major aircraft overhaul and repair (O & R) facility, later renamed Naval Air Rework Facility (NARF) Quonset Point. O & R Facilities, and their later incarnation as NARFs, are the predecessor of the present day Fleet Readiness Centers (FRCs), previously known as Naval Aviation Depots (NADEPs).