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Corgi WWII War in Europe: 1939-1945 Series (1:72 Scale)

Corgi WWII War in Europe: 1939-1945 Series (1:72 Scale)

Air warfare was a major component in all theaters of World War II, and, together with anti-aircraft warfare, 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; the Axis powers downplayed the advantage of fleets of strategic bombers, and were late in appreciating the need to defend against Allied strategic bombing. By contrast, Britain and the United States took an approach that greatly emphasized strategic bombing, and (to a lesser degree) tactical control of the battlefield by air, as well as adequate air defenses. Both Britain and the U.S. built substantially larger strategic forces of large, long-range bombers. Simultaneously, they built tactical air forces that could win air superiority over the battlefields, thereby giving vital assistance to ground troops. The U.S. and Royal Navy also built a powerful naval-air component based on aircraft carriers, as did the Japanese; these played the central role in the war at sea.

Before 1939, all sides operated under largely theoretical models of air warfare. Italian theorist Giulio Douhet in the 1920s summarized the faith that airmen during and after World War I developed in the efficacy of strategic bombing. Many said it alone could win wars, as "the bomber will always get through". The Americans were confident that the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bomber could reach targets, protected by its own weapons, and bomb, using the Norden bomb sight, with "pickle barrel" accuracy. Japanese aviation pioneers felt that they had developed the finest naval aviators in the world.

#AA27707 - RAF Bristol Beaufighter TF.X Torpedo Bomber - No.45 Squadron "Operation Firedog", RAF Kuala Lumpur, Malaya, 1949 (1:72 Scale)
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USAAF North American P-51D Mustang Fighter - 44 14164  E2 D, "Detroit Miss", Lieutenant Urban L. Drew, 375th Fighter Squadron, 361st Fighter Group, October 1944 USAAF North American P-51D Mustang Fighter - 44 14164 E2 D, "Detroit Miss", Lieutenant Urban L Drew, 375th Fighter Squadron, 361st Fighter Group, October 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 Consolidated B-24H Liberator Heavy Bomber - 42-52534, "Witchcraft", 790th Bombardment Squadron, 467th Bombardment Group, USAAF Station 145 Rackheath,  Norfolk, January 1945 USAAF Consolidated B-24H Liberator Heavy Bomber - 42-52534, "Witchcraft", 790th Bombardment Squadron, 467th Bombardment Group, USAAF Station 145 Rackheath, Norfolk, England, January 1945 (1:72 Scale)

Life for the B-24 heavy bomber began in 1939, when the Army Air Corps initiated a request for a new bomber designed to exceed the performance of the B-17. Consolidated Aircraft responded quickly with its proposal, labeled Consolidated Model 32 and, on March 30th, 1939, was awarded the contract. One day short of nine months later, on December 29th, 1939, the first flight of the XB-24 bomber prototype took place.

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USAAF Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress Heavy Bomber - 43-37756, "Milk Wagon", 708th Bombardment Squadron, 447th Bombardment Group, RAF Rattlesden, England, 1945 USAAF Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress Heavy Bomber - 43-37756, "Milk Wagon", 708th Bombardment Squadron, 447th Bombardment Group, RAF Rattlesden, England, 1945 (1:72 Scale)

The B-17, arguably World War II's most famous heavy bomber, first flew on July 28th, 1935, before a crowd of reporters eager to see Boeing's new bomber take wing. It was dubbed the "Flying Fortress" by the members of the press in attendance because of its (at least for the time) heavy defensive armament.

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