Hobby Master HA7704 USAAF North American P-51D Mustang Fighter - Major James Tapp, 'Margaret IV', 78th Fighter Squadron 'Bushmasters', 15th Fighter Group, Iwo Jima, April 1945 (1:48 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
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 1:48 scale replica of a North American P-51D Mustang that was nicknamed 'Margaret IV', and attached to the 15th Fighter Group, then deployed to Iwo Jima during April 1945. Sold Out!
Release Date: August 2010
Historical Account: "Escort Duty" - In January 1945, ordered into combat, the 15th Fighter Group left Hawaii for Saipan in the Marianas Islands, remaining there until a landing strip could be secured by the Marines on Iwo Jima. The first fighter aircraft to arrive at lwo Jima were P-51s of the 15th's 47th Fighter Squadron the morning of March 6th, with the 45th and 78th Squadrons following the next day. They supported Marine ground units by bombing and strafing cave entrances, trenches, troop concentrations, and storage areas. By the middle of March, the group also began strikes against enemy airfields, shipping, and military installations in the Bonin Islands.
On April 7th, 1945, the 15th flew its first VLR mission to Japan, providing fighter escort for the Boeing B-29 Superfortress bombers that attacked the Nakajima aircraft plant near Tokyo, and was awarded the Distinguished Unit Citation. In late April and early May that year, the 15th struck Japanese airfields on KyĂ»shĂ» to curtail the enemy's suicide attacks against the invasion force on Okinawa and also hit enemy troop trains, small factories, gun positions, and hangars in the Bonins and Japan.
During the summer of 1945, the 15th Fighter Group (along with the 21st from the VII Fighter Command) was reassigned to the Twentieth Air Force 301st Fighter Wing. The group continued its fighter sweeps against Japanese airfields and other targets, in addition to flying long-range B-29 Superfortress escort missions to Japanese cities, until the end of the war. After the war, the group remained on lwo Jima until November 25th, 1945, when it transferred (without personnel and equipment) to Bellows Field, Hawaii. There it absorbed the personnel and equipment of the 508th Fighter Group.