Oxford AC033 USAAF Bell P-39Q/N Airacobra Fighter - Lt. Zed Fountain, "Patsy Flight", 67th Fighter Squadron, "Whistlin' Bitches", Tontouta, New Caledonia, 1942 (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.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of a USAAF Bell P-39Q/N Airacobra fighter. Sold out!
Wingspan: 5-3/4 inches
Length: 5 inches
Release Date: February 2013
Historical Account: "Whistlin' Bitches" - Continually active since January 1941, the 67th Fighter Squadron was activated as a single-engine fighter operational and replacement training unit as part of the 58th Pursuit Group. It was initially assigned to III Fighter Command, and reassigned to I Fighter Command in 1942. Used P-39 Aircobras and P-40 Warhawks for training. Converted to an operational squadron, 1943, re-eqipped with P-47 Thunderbolts.
Deployed to the South Pacific Area during 1943, being assigned to the 347th Fighter Group, Thirteenth Air Force. Began combat operations in February 1944, providing protection for U.S. bases and escorting transports initially, then escorting bombers over New Guinea and sea convoys to Admiralty Islands. From Noemfoor, bombed and strafed Japanese airfields and installations on Ceram, Halmahera, and the Kai Islands.
Moved to the Philippines in Nov, flew fighter sweeps against enemy airfields, supported U.S. ground forces, and protected sea convoys and transport routes. Beginning in July 1945, attacked railways, airfields, and enemy installations in Korea and Kyushu, Japan from Okinawa.