Corgi US37107 USAAF North American P-51B-5 Mustang Fighter - Captain Duane W. "Bee" Beeson, 334th Fighter Squadron, 4th Fighter Group, RAF Debden, Essex, England, 1944 (1:72 Scale)
"Okay, let's go."
- Supreme Allied Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower on the eve of D-Day, June 5th, 1944
No other aircraft of WWII could fly as high, go as far, or fight as hard as the famed Mustang. Piloted by a record 281 Aces, this agile and ferocious dogfighter tallied more kills than any other Allied airplane. As the bombers of the Eighth Air Force fought their way deep into Hitler's Germany, it was the Mustang that cleared the skies of Luftwaffe fighters. The powerful Rolls-Royce Merlin engine gave the Mustang a speed of 445 mph. Re-styled with an aerodynamic bubble canopy for greater visibility, and outfitted with 6 fast-firing .50 caliber machine guns, the P-51 became the best fighter of the war.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of a USAAF North American P-51B-5 Mustang fighter that was piloted by Captain Duane W. "Bee" Beeson, who was attached to the 334th Fighter Squadron, 4th Fighter Group, then deployed to RAF Debden, Essex, England, during 1944.
Wingspan: 6.25 inches
Length: 5.25 inches
Release Date: September 2009
Historical Account: "Busy as a Bee" - Duane W. Beeson (1921-1947) was a World War II fighter pilot. He scored 22.08 victories, including 17.3 air to air kills, 5.3 of which were scored in the P-51-B Mustang. Beeson was one of ten U.S. Army Air Forces pilots who became an ace in two different types of fighter plane.
On September 5th, 1942, Beeson was posted to No. 71 Squadron at Debden, Essex. At this time, however, the United States Army Air Forces were arriving in England for operations over Europe. The RAF Eagle Squadrons were being absorbed into the Eighth Air Force, and Beeson was among those who resigned their RCAF commissions and transferred to the USAAF. The newly formed 4th Fighter Group continued to fly its RAF issued Spitfires, until it received the P-47 in early 1943.
Beeson flew his first combat mission with his new unit, the 334th Fighter Squadron. In November, Beeson flew a test flight to fire his guns and flew unauthorized over the French coast, attacking German road transport and damaging his aircraft. In January 1943, Beeson trained up on the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt. On May 8th, 1943, Beeson engaged a group of German fighters and shot down a Bf 109. On June 26th, during an escort mission over Dieppe, he spotted two Messerschmitt Bf 109s, one with a P-47 on his tail. Beeson shot down one Bf 109 into the sea, using just 400 rounds of ammunition. A month later Beeson was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in recognition of 37 combat missions and two victories.
On July 2nd, the 4th Fighter Group became the first Fighter Group to penetrate German air space. Over the Netherlands the Group engaged a flight of Bf 109s attacking a formation of B-17s. Beeson and his wing man dove from 21,000 feet into the enemy formation and Beeson shot down another Bf 109. In September, after 65 combat missions, he was awarded the Silver Star. On October 8th, 1943, Beeson shot down two more Bf 109's over the Netherlands. On January 28th, 1944, he shot down a Bf 109 and a FW 190, earning him the Distinguished Flying Cross. A day later Beeson claimed his 10th enemy aircraft.