Oxford AC030 USAAF Lockheed P-38J Lightning Interceptor - Major Maurice McLary, 55th Fighter Squadron, 20th Fighter Group, RAF Wittering, England, 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
It was fast, heavily armed and extremely versatile. And many believe the Lockheed P-38 Lightning to be the finest American fighter of WWII. Its low-drag, aerodynamic shape and heavy weight enabled this twin-engine, twin-boomed aircraft to accelerate to high speeds faster than any previous warplane, making it a potent fighter and a superb fighter-bomber. Popular among fighter pilots, P-38s carried out the intercept mission that downed Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, who planned the attack on Pearl Harbor. In the Mediterranean, Luftwaffe pilots showed respect for the Lightning by calling it "der gabelschwanz teufel" (the forked-tail devil). The ultimate P-38 was flown by Dick Bong and Tommy McGuire, who were among the most successful American fighter pilots in history.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of a USAAF Lockheed P-38J Lightning interceptor that was piloted by Major Maurice McLary, who was attached to the 55th Fighter Squadron, 20th Fighter Group, then deployed to RAF Wittering, England, during 1943. Now in stock!
Wingspan: 8.75 inches
Length: 6.25 inches
Release Date: December 2012
Historical Account: ""Fighting Fifty Fifth" - At the beginning of World War II, the 55th sent its personnel to units fighting overseas and continued to train aviators for squadrons in Europe and the Pacific. In May 1942, it was redesignated a fighter squadron and transitioned to the P-39 Airacobra, operating from several locations in the United States before acquiring P-38 Lightnings.
The 55th was in the skies over Europe by August 1943, operating from RAF Wittering, England. The squadron flew 175 combat missions with the Lightning before acquiring the P-51 (F-6) Mustang in 1944. With the rest of the 20th Fighter Group, the 55th flew daily strafing, long-range-patrol and bomber-escort missions. In June, they provided air cover during the massive allied invasion of Normandy.
As the war progressed, the 55th performed escort and fighter-bomber missions supporting the Allied advance through Central Europe and the Rhineland. In December 1945, they took part in the Battle of the Bulge, escorting bombers to the battle area. The squadrons 175th and last combat mission in the P-51 was flown in April 1945, the day after American and Soviet forces met at the Elbe River. The 55th was demobilized on October 18th, 1945, after the wars end, but was reactivated on 29 July 1946, at Biggs Field, Texas, flying air power demonstrations and training operations in the P-51.