Hobby Master HA7703 USAAF North American P-51D Mustang Fighter - Robert Williams, "Duchess Arlene," 100th Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group, "Tuskegee Airmen", Italy, 1944 (1:48 Scale)
"Here we come, fellas."
- Characteristic cry of members of the 332nd Fighter Group, the "Tuskegee Airmen"
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 USAAF P-51D Mustang that was flown by Robert Williams and nicknamed "Duchess Arlene," who was attached to the 100th Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group, then deployed to Italy, during 1944.
Release Date: November 2010
Historical Account: "Red Tails" - The Tuskegee Airmen is the popular name of a group of African American pilots who fought in World War II. Formally, they were the 332nd Fighter Group of the U.S. Army Air Corps.
The Tuskegee Airmen were the first African American military aviators in the United States armed forces. During World War II, African Americans in many U.S. states still were subject to Jim Crow laws. The American military was racially segregated, as was much of the federal government. The Tuskegee Airmen were subject to racial discrimination, both within and outside the army. Despite these adversities, they flew with distinction. They were particularly successful in their missions as bomber escorts in Europe.
By the end of the war, the Tuskegee Airmen were credited with 112 Luftwaffe aircraft shot down, the German-operated Italian destroyer TA-23 sunk by machine-gun fire, and destruction of numerous fuel dumps, trucks, and trains. The squadrons of the 332nd FG flew more than 15,000 sorties on 1,500 missions. The unit received recognition through official channels and was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation (DUC) for a mission flown March 24th, 1945, escorting B-17s to bomb the Daimler-Benz tank factory at Berlin, Germany. During the action its pilots were credited with destroying three Me-262 jets of the Luftwaffe's all-jet Jagdgeschwader 7 in aerial combat that day, despite the American unit initially claiming 11 Me 262s on that particular mission. Upon examination of German records, JG 7 records, just four Me 262s were lost and all of the pilots survived. In return the 463rd Bomb Group, one of the many B-17 groups the 332nd were escorting, lost two bombers, and the 332nd lost three P-51s during the mission. The bombers also made substantial claims, making it impossible to tell which units were responsible for those individual four kills. The 99th Fighter Squadron in addition received two DUCs, the second after its assignment to the 332nd FG. The Tuskegee Airmen were awarded several Silver Stars, 150 Distinguished Flying Crosses, 8 Purple Hearts, 14 Bronze Stars, and 744 Air Medals.
In all, 994 pilots were trained in Tuskegee from 1941 to 1946, approximately 445 were deployed overseas, and 150 Airmen lost their lives in accidents or combat.