Hobby Master HA2303 USAAF Bristol Beaufighter VIF Night Fighter - "KW147", 415th Night Fighter Squadron, 12th U.S. Army Air Force, Le Vallon, Southern France, Sept. 1944 (1:72 Scale)
"Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."
- British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, commenting on the British airmen in the Battle of Britain
Developed as a private venture by the Bristol Aeroplane Company, the Beaufighter was a two-seat all-metal fighter using components from the Beaufort torpedo-bomber. First flown on July 17th, 1939, the Beaufighter eventually equipped 52 RAF squadrons, giving outstanding service during World War II, in particular as a night-fighter and torpedo-bomber (where the aircraft were affectionately known as 'Torbeaus').
Entry into Fighter Command service came during August 1940 with the Fighter Interception Unit at Tangmere. The following month, five squadrons received the Mark 1F equipped with Mark IV Air Intercept radar for night-fighter duties although the type's first kill wasn't until November of that year. The Beaufighter continued as a night-fighter until 1943, and the last aircraft (a TT10) was not retired from RAF service until 1960, nearly 21 years after the type's first flight.
In the Mediterranean, the USAAF's 414th, 415th, 416th and 417th Night Fighter Squadrons received 100 Beaufighters in the summer of 1943, achieving their first victory in July 1943. Through the summer the squadrons conducted both daytime convoy escort and ground-attack operations, but primarily flew defensive interception missions at night. Although the Northrop P-61 Black Widow fighter began to arrive in December 1944, USAAF Beaufighters continued to fly night operations in Italy and France until late in the war.
By the autumn of 1943 the Mosquito was available in enough numbers to replace the Beaufighter as the primary night fighter of the RAF. By the end of the war some 70 pilots serving with RAF units had become aces while flying Beaufighters.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale USAAF Bristol Beaufighter that was attached to the 415th Night Fighter Squadron, 12th U.S. Army Air Force, then operating out of Le Vallon, Southern France, during September 1944. Sold Out!
Wingspan: 9.75 inches
Length: 7 inches
Release Date: June 2009
Historical Account: "Dark is the Night" - During World War II, the 415th Night Fighter Squadron first flew combat patrols in the Mediterranean Theater in 1943, then in 1944 and 1945 moved to France and later into Germany in the European Theater as a part of Twelfth Air Force. Returning to the United States after the war, it was assigned to Shaw Field, South Carolina.
In June 1947, the 415th NFS was reassigned to Alaskan Air Command, being stationed at Adak in the Aleutian Islands. It flew training patrols until being inactivated on September 1st, 1947, with its personnel and aircraft being assigned to the 449th Fighter Squadron (All Weather) upon inactivation.