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Unleash the Fighters (September 1940 - May 1945)

Unleash the Fighters (September 1940 - May 1945)

Air warfare of World War II was a major component of World War II in all theatres, and consumed a large fraction of the industrial output of the major powers.

Germany and Japan depended on air forces that were closely integrated with land and naval forces; they downplayed the advantage of a large strategic bombers, and were late in appreciating the need for a defensive error system against Allied strategic bombing. By contrast Britain and the United States had a more complex approach that gave enormous weight to strategic bombing, as well as tactical control of the battlefield and adequate air defenses. They both built a strategic force of a large long-range bombers that could carry the air war to the enemy's homeland. Simultaneously they built tactical air forces that could win air superiority over the battlefields, thereby giving vital assistance to ground troops. They both built a powerful naval-air component based on aircraft carriers, as did Japan; these played the central role in the war at sea

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RAF De Havilland Mosquito FB VI Fighter-Bomber - No. 105 Squadron, RAF Horsham St. Faith, England, 1942 RAF De Havilland Mosquito FB VI Fighter-Bomber - No. 105 Squadron, RAF Horsham St. Faith, England, 1942 (1:144 Scale)

The "Mossie," as it was known affectionately by its British crews, was both simple in construction and design. It was a twin engine, single boom aircraft that placed the pilot and navigator in a side-by-side sitting configuration. The Mosquito was one of the most cost effective aircraft ever built because it was constructed out of wood.

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German Focke-Wulf Fw 190A-3 Fighter - Hauptmann Hans Hahn, III./JG 2 "Richthofen", Summer 1942 German Focke-Wulf Fw 190A-3 Fighter - Hauptmann Hans Hahn, III./Jagdgeschwader 2 "Richthofen", Summer 1942 (1:72 Scale)

Nicknamed the "Butcher Bird", the Fw 190 was Germany's best air-to-ground fighter. Faster and more agile than the British Spitfire, it dominated the skies over Europe as a fighter and was the Luftwaffe's most important ground-attack aircraft.

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USAAF North American P-51D Mustang Fighter - Capt. Leonard Kit Carson, Nooky Booky III, 362nd Fighter Squadron, 357th Fighter Group, Europe, 1944 USAAF North American P-51D Mustang Fighter - Capt. Leonard 'Kit' Carson, "Nooky Booky III", 362nd Fighter Squadron, 357th Fighter Group, Europe, 1944 (1:72 Scale)

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.

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RAF Hawker Hurricane Fighter - No. 87 Squadron, England, 1941 RAF Hawker Hurricane Fighter - No. 87 Squadron, England, 1941 (1:72 Scale)

The Hawker Hurricane was the first monoplane to join the Royal Air Force as a fighter aircraft, capable of reaching speeds in excess of 300-mph in level flight. Often compared with the sleek-looking Supermarine Spitfire, the Hurricane, in actuality, shouldered the brunt of the fighting during the "Battle of Britain", equipping more than three-fifths of the RAF's Fighter Command squadrons.

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USAAF Republic P-47D Thunderbolt Fighter - Harriet, 5th Emergency Rescue Squadron, 65th Fighter Wing, Boxted, England, May 1944 USAAF Republic P-47D Thunderbolt Fighter - "Harriet", 5th Emergency Rescue Squadron, 65th Fighter Wing, Boxted, England, May 1944 (1:72 Scale)

Nicknamed the "Jug" for its bulky shape, the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt was considered a monster of a machine. Despite its size, the Thunderbolt proved to be a fast and maneuverable warbird able to hold its own in combat.

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USAAF North American P-51D Mustang Fighter - Lt. Col. Avelin P. Tacon Jr., 368th Fighter Squadron, 359th Fighter Group, June 6th, 1944 USAAF North American P-51D Mustang Fighter - Lt. Col. Avelin P. Tacon Jr., 368th Fighter Squadron, 359th Fighter Group, June 6th, 1944 (1:72 Scale)

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.

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USAAF Republic P-47D Thunderbolt Fighter - Fred Christensen, 62nd Fighter Squadron, 56th Fighter Group, Rozzie Geth, Boche Buster, 62nd Fighter Squadron, 56th Fighter Group USAAF Republic P-47D Thunderbolt Fighter - Fred Christensen, "Rozzie Geth/Boche Buster", 62nd Fighter Squadron, 56th Fighter Group (1:72 Scale)

Nicknamed the "Jug" for its bulky shape, the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt was considered a monster of a machine. Despite its size, the Thunderbolt proved to be a fast and maneuverable warbird able to hold its own in combat..

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German Messerschmitt Bf 109G-10 Fighter - 11./Jagdgeschwader 7 "Nowotny", Austria, April 1945 German Messerschmitt Bf 109G-10 Fighter - 11./Jagdgeschwader 7 "Nowotny", Austria, April 1945 (1:72 Scale)

Numerically the most abundant fighter produced by either side during WWII, the Messerschmitt Bf 109 formed the backbone of the Jagdwaffe on both the eastern and western fronts, as well as in the Mediterranean and North Africa.

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German Focke-Wulf Fw 190A Fighter - Oberleutnant Otto "Stotto" Stammberger, 4./Jagdgeschwader 26, 1943 German Focke-Wulf Fw 190A Fighter - Oberleutnant Otto "Stotto" Stammberger, 4./Jagdgeschwader 26, 1943 (1:72 Scale)

Nicknamed the "Butcher Bird," the Fw 190 was Germany's best air-to-ground fighter. Faster and more agile than the British Spitfire, it dominated the skies over Europe as a fighter and was the Luftwaffe's most important ground-attack aircraft. Controlled by the skilled hands of aces like Oberleutnant Otto Kittel, the FW-190 gained the reputation of being one of the greatest fighters of all time.

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German Messerschmitt Me 262 "Sturmvogel" Jet Fighter - Generalleutnant Adolf Galland, White 3, Jagdverband 44, 1945 German Messerschmitt Me 262 "Sturmvogel" Jet Fighter - Generalleutnant Adolf Galland, "White 3", Jagdverband 44, 1945 (1:72 Scale)

The jet-powered Me 262 Sturmvogel ("Stormbird") has long since gained its place in the annals of international aeronautical history. With its sleek aerodynamic design and high performance jet engines, the Me 262 radically changed the way in which air combat was waged.

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RAF Hawker Tempest Mk. V Fighter - Flight Lieutenant L. C. Luckhoff, No. 33 Squadron, 1945 RAF Hawker Tempest Mk. V Fighter - Flight Lieutenant L. C. Luckhoff, No. 33 Squadron, 1945 (1:72 Scale)

The Hawker Tempest was a British fighter aircraft primarily used by the Royal Air Force (RAF) in the Second World War. The Tempest was an improved derivative of the Hawker Typhoon, and one of the most powerful fighter aircraft used in the war.

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USAAF North American P-51D Mustang Fighter - Maj. Louis Red Dog Norley, Red Dog XII, 4th Fighter Group, RAF Debden, England, 1945 USAAF North American P-51D Mustang Fighter - Maj. Louis "Red Dog" Norley, "Red Dog XII," 4th Fighter Group, RAF Debden, England, 1945 (1:72 Scale)

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.

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USAAF Republic P-47D Thunderbolt Fighter - 22nd Fighter Squadron "Stingers", 36th Fighter Group, Belgium, 1944 USAAF Republic P-47D Thunderbolt Fighter - 22nd Fighter Squadron "Stingers", 36th Fighter Group, Belgium, 1944 (1:72 Scale)

Nicknamed the "Jug", the P-47D was one of the most important, widely produced fighter of the American Air Force during the WWII. Although the P-47D was the largest and heaviest single-seat aircraft to see service in the Second World War, it became a high speed and high altitude capable fighter when powered by the huge 2000hp Pratt & Whitney R-2800 "Double Wasp" engine and a unique supercharging system.

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German Messerschmitt Bf 109F Fighter - Hauptmann Hans von Hahn, III./Jagdgeschwader 2, 1941 German Messerschmitt Bf 109F Fighter - Hauptmann Hans von Hahn, III./Jagdgeschwader 2, 1941 (1:72 Scale)

Numerically the most abundant fighter produced by either side during WWII, the Messerschmitt Bf 109 formed the backbone of the Jagdwaffe on both the eastern and western fronts, as well as in the Mediterranean and North Africa.

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RAF Supermarine Spitfire Mk. I Fighter - Squadron Leader Henry Cozens, No. 19 Squadron, RAF Duxford, 1938 RAF Supermarine Spitfire Mk. I Fighter - Squadron Leader Henry Cozens, No. 19 Squadron, RAF Duxford, 1938 (1:72 Scale)

The Spitfire is the most famous British aircraft of all time. Although less numerous than the Hawker Hurricane, it is remembered as the sleek, thoroughbred fighting machine that turned the tide during the Battle of Britain. The Spitfire was among the fastest and most maneuverable prop-driven fighters of World War II, serving in virtually every combat theater.

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RAF Gloster Meteor F.8 Jet Fighter with German V-1 "Doodlebug" Flying Bomb - No. 616 Squadron, No. 122 Wing, Nijmegen, Holland, 1945 RAF Gloster Meteor F.8 Jet Fighter with German V-1 "Doodlebug" Flying Bomb - No. 616 Squadron, No. 122 Wing, Nijmegen, Holland, 1945 (1:72 Scale)

The Gloster Meteor was the first British jet fighter and the Allies' first operational jet. Designed by George Carter, it first flew in 1943 and commenced operations on July 27th, 1944, with 616 Squadron of the Royal Air Force (RAF).

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RAF De Havilland Mosquito FB VI Fighter-Bomber - Flt. Lt. Stanley Nunn and Flg. Off. J. Carlin, 248th Strike Wing RAF De Havilland Mosquito FB VI Fighter-Bomber - Flt. Lt. Stanley Nunn and Flg. Off. J. Carlin, 248th Strike Wing (1:72 Scale)

The "Mossie," as it was known affectionately by its British crews, was both simple in construction and design. It was a twin engine, single boom aircraft that placed the pilot and navigator in a side-by-side sitting configuration. The Mosquito was one of the most cost effective aircraft ever built because it was constructed out of wood.

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French Morane-Saulnier M.S.406 Fighter - Escadron de Entertainment, 1941 French Morane-Saulnier M.S.406 Fighter - Escadron de Entertainment, 1941 (1:72 Scale)

The M.S.406 was a French Armee de l'Air fighter aircraft built by Morane-Saulnier starting in 1938. Numerically it was France's most important fighter during the opening stages of World War II. The type was generally free of problems but was largely under-powered, under-armed, as compared to the next generations of fighters appearing then.

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German Focke-Wulf Fw 190A Fighter - Unidentified Unit, Germany, 1945 German Focke-Wulf Fw 190A Fighter - Unidentified Unit, Germany, 1945 (1:72 Scale)

Nicknamed the "Butcher Bird," the Fw 190 was Germany's best air-to-ground fighter. Faster and more agile than the British Spitfire, it dominated the skies over Europe as a fighter and was the Luftwaffe's most important ground-attack aircraft. Controlled by the skilled hands of aces like Oberleutnant Otto Kittel, the FW-190 gained the reputation of being one of the greatest fighters of all time.

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RAF Supermarine Spitfire Mk. V Fighter - No. 485(NZ) Squadron, France, 1944 RAF Supermarine Spitfire Mk. V Fighter - No. 485(NZ) Squadron, France, 1944 (1:72 Scale)

The Spitfire is the most famous British aircraft of all time. Although less numerous than the Hawker Hurricane, it is remembered as the sleek, thoroughbred fighting machine that turned the tide during the Battle of Britain. The Spitfire was among the fastest and most maneuverable prop-driven fighters of World War II, serving in virtually every combat theater.

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USAAF North American P-51D Mustang Fighter - Fred Glover, Rebel Queen, 336th Fighter Squadron, 4th Fighter Group, RAF Debden, England, April 1945 USAAF North American P-51D Mustang Fighter - Fred Glover, "Rebel Queen", 336th Fighter Squadron, 4th Fighter Group, RAF Debden, England, April 1945 (1:72 Scale)

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.

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USAAF Republic P-47D Thunderbolt Fighter - 5th Reconnaissance Squadron, RAF Boxted, England, June 6th, 1944 USAAF Republic P-47D Thunderbolt Fighter - 5th Reconnaissance Squadron, RAF Boxted, England, June 6th, 1944 (1:72 Scale)

Nicknamed the "Jug", the P-47D was one of the most important, widely produced fighter of the American Air Force during the WWII. Although the P-47D was the largest and heaviest single-seat aircraft to see service in the Second World War, it became a high speed and high altitude capable fighter when powered by the huge 2000hp Pratt & Whitney R-2800 "Double Wasp" engine and a unique supercharging system.

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RAAF North American Mustang Mk. IV Fighter - Warrant Officer Lewis Robert "Lew" Ranger, 3 Squadron, Europe, 1945 RAAF North American Mustang Mk. IV Fighter - Warrant Officer Lewis Robert "Lew" Ranger, 3 Squadron, Europe, 1945 (1:72 Scale)

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.

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German Messerschmitt Me 262 "Sturmvogel" Jet Fighter - Operation Bodenplatte, 1945 German Messerschmitt Me 262 "Sturmvogel" Jet Fighter - Operation Bodenplatte, 1945 (1:72 Scale)

The jet-powered Me 262 Sturmvogel ("Stormbird") has long since gained its place in the annals of international aeronautical history. With its sleek aerodynamic design and high performance jet engines, the Me 262 radically changed the way in which air combat was waged.

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RAF Hawker Tempest Mk. V Fighter - No. 3 Squadron, No. 150 Wing, RAF Newchurch, England, 1944 RAF Hawker Tempest Mk. V Fighter - No. 3 Squadron, No. 150 Wing, RAF Newchurch, England, 1944 (1:72 Scale)

The Hawker Tempest was a British fighter aircraft primarily used by the Royal Air Force (RAF) in the Second World War. The Tempest was an improved derivative of the Hawker Typhoon, and one of the most powerful fighter aircraft used in the war.

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USAAF Republic P-47D Thunderbolt Fighter - Lt. Col. Luther Richmond, "Sweetie," 486th Fighter Squadron, 352nd Fighter Group, 1944 USAAF Republic P-47D Thunderbolt Fighter - Lt. Col. Luther Richmond, "Sweetie," 486th Fighter Squadron, 352nd Fighter Group, 1944 (1:72 Scale)

Nicknamed the "Jug", the P-47D was one of the most important, widely produced fighter of the American Air Force during the WWII. Although the P-47D was the largest and heaviest single-seat aircraft to see service in the Second World War, it became a high speed and high altitude capable fighter when powered by the huge 2000hp Pratt & Whitney R-2800 "Double Wasp" engine and a unique supercharging system.

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RAF Supermarine Spitfire Mk. I Fighter - 57 OTU (Operational Training Unit), RAF Hawarden, March 1942 RAF Supermarine Spitfire Mk. I Fighter - 57 OTU (Operational Training Unit), RAF Hawarden, March 1942 (1:72 Scale)

The Spitfire is the most famous British aircraft of all time. Although less numerous than the Hawker Hurricane, it is remembered as the sleek, thoroughbred fighting machine that turned the tide during the Battle of Britain. The Spitfire was among the fastest and most maneuverable prop-driven fighters of World War II, serving in virtually every combat theater.

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German Focke-Wulf Fw 190D-9 Fighter - Hans Dortenmann, 12./Jagdgeschwader 54, Oldenberg, Germany, 1944 German Focke-Wulf Fw 190D-9 Fighter - Hans Dortenmann, 12./Jagdgeschwader 54, Oldenberg, Germany, 1944 (1:72 Scale)

Nicknamed the "Butcher Bird," the Fw 190 was Germany's best air-to-ground fighter. Faster and more agile than the British Spitfire, it dominated the skies over Europe as a fighter and was the Luftwaffe's most important ground-attack aircraft.

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RAF Bell P-39Q Airacobra Fighter - No. 601 Squadron County of London, Duxford, England, October 1941 RAF Bell P-39Q Airacobra Fighter - No. 601 Squadron "County of London", Duxford, England, October 1940 (1:72 Scale)

The P-39 was one of America's first-line pursuit planes in December 1941. It made its initial flight in April 1939 at Wright Field and by the time of the Pearl Harbor attack, nearly 600 had been built. Its unique engine location behind the cockpit caused some pilot concern, but this proved to be no more of a hazard in a crash landing than with an engine located forward of the cockpit.

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USAAF North American P-51D Mustang Fighter - "Sweet Arlene", 2nd Lt Arthur Reed Bowers, 334th Fighter Squadron "Fighting Eagles", 4th Fighter Group USAAF North American P-51D Mustang Fighter - "Sweet Arlene", 2nd Lt Arthur Reed Bowers, 334th Fighter Squadron "Fighting Eagles", 4th Fighter Group (1:72 Scale)

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.

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