Hobby Master HA1702 USAAF Bell P-39Q Airacobra Fighter - "Devastating Devil", 46th Fighter Squadron, 15th Fighter Group, 7th Air Force, Makin Island, Autumn, 1943 (1:72 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 P-39 was one of America's first-line pursuit planes in December 1941. It made its initial flight in April 1939 at Wright Field and by the time of the Pearl Harbor attack, nearly 600 had been built. Its unique engine location behind the cockpit caused some pilot concern, but this proved to be no more of a hazard in a crash landing than with an engine located forward of the cockpit. However, the P-39's spin characteristics could be quite a problem if recovery techniques were ignored.
The Airacobra saw combat throughout the world, particularly in the Southwest Pacific, Mediterranean and Russian theaters. Because its engine was not equipped with a supercharger, the P-39 performed best below 17,000 feet altitude, and it often was used at lower altitudes for such missions as ground strafing. When P-39 production ended in August 1944, Bell had built 9,584 Airacobras, of which 4,773 had been allotted to the Soviet Union. Russian pilots, in particular, liked the cannon-armed P-39 for its ground attack capability. Other P-39s served with French and British forces.
This particular 1:72 scale replica of a P-39Q Airacobra served with the 46th Fighter Squadron, 15th Fighter Group, 7th Air Force, then operating on Makin Island during the autumn of 1943. Sold Out!
Wingspan: 5-3/4 inches
Length: 5 inches
Release Date: December 2007
Historical Account: "The Makin Raid" - The Makin ("muggin") Raid occurred on August 17th-18th, 1942, and was an armed raid by the United States Marine Corps on Japanese military forces on Makin Island (now known as Butaritari Island) in the Pacific Ocean. The purpose was to destroy Japanese installations, take prisoners, gain intelligence on the Gilbert Islands area, and divert Japanese attention and reinforcements from the Allied landings on Guadalcanal and Tulagi. Marines landed from two submarines (USS Nautilus and USS Argonaut), wiped out Japanese defenders on the island, and were evacuated from the island by the same two submarines. Nine U.S. Marines were mistakenly left behind during the evacuation and were subsequently captured and executed by Japanese forces at Kwajalein.
Although the Marine Raiders succeeded in killing the entire Japanese garrison on the island, the raid failed to meet its other objectives. No Japanese prisoners were taken, and no meaningful intelligence was collected. Also, no significant Japanese forces were diverted from the Solomon Islands area. In fact, because of the vulnerabilities to their garrisons in the Gilbert Islands highlighted by the raid, Japanese forces strengthened their fortifications and defensive preparations on the islands in the central Pacific, which may have caused heavier losses for U.S. forces during the battles of the Gilbert and Marshall Islands campaigns.