Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Posts posted by fastzx

  1. Kevin,


    Oh boy! Christmas time is here!

    The one time of the year the wife does not mind a model or book arriving unannounced in the mail.


    I look forward to this raffle as it really brings the LSP community together.

    Please be so kind to add my name to the raffle.




    I will dig through my stash and try to find something interesting to donate.


    Thanks for coordinating this gigantic event.


    Merry Christmas to all!


    Jon Payne


  2. Chris


    Glad you enjoyed that book.

    Interesting to discover the tremendous pressure those young men put on themselves during the war.


    Very interesting the abilities they both had in flying the P38. Unreal.


    Great job so far on your p38 kit.

    Looking forward to your conversion.



  3. History of war website


    The 81st Fighter Group was one of the units allocated to support Operation Torch, the Allied invasion of North Africa. Its group echelon landed on 8 November 1942, but the aircraft and pilots didn't begin to arrive until the end of the year, and the group didn't enter service until January 1943.


    The group began by supporting the ground troops in Tunisia. Between April and July 1943 it used its P-39s to patrol off the African coast. During this period it provided protection for the invasions of Pantelleria and of Sicily. In January 1944 it took part in the early stages of the Anzio campaign, before being moved to India.


    The group arrived in India by March 1944, where it swapped its P-39s for P-40 Warhawks and P-47 Thunderbolts. After a period training with its new aircraft, the group moved to China, joining the Fourteenth Air Force. There it performed a variety of roles, amongst then ground attack in support of the Chinese army and providing fighter escort for the bomber groups operating from China.




    Bell P-39 Airacobra: 1942-1944

    Curtiss P-40 Warhawk and Republic P-47 Thunderbolt: 1944-1945




    13 January 1942 Constituted as 81st Pursuit Group (Interceptor)

    9 February 1942 Activated

    May 1942 Redesignated 81st Fighter Group

    October 1942-February 1943 Moved to North Africa

    January 1943-February 1944 Active with Twelfth Air Force, North Africa and Italy

    February-May 1944 Training in India

    May 1944-December 1945 Fourteenth Air Force, China

    Commanders (with date of appointment)


    Captain Harry E Hammond: 5 May 1942

    Captain John D Sureau: 10 May 1942

    Lt. Colonel Paul M Jacobs: 22 May 1942

    Lt. Colonel Kenneth S Wade: July 1942

    Colonel Philip B Klein: May 1943

    Lt. Colonel Michael J Gordon: 2 July 1943

    Major Frederick S Hanson: 15 July 1943

    Colonel Philip B Klein: 26 August 1943

    Lt. Colonel Fred G Hook, Jr: 27 September 1944

    Colonel Oliver G Cellini: 24 October 1944


    Main Bases


    Morris Field, North Carolina: 9 February 1942

    Dale Mabry Field, Florida: May 1942

    Muroc, California: 28 June-2 October 1942

    Mediouna, French Morocco: 5 January 1943

    Thelepte, Tunisia: 22 January 1943

    Le Kouif, Algeria: 17 February 1943

    Youks-les-Bains, Algeria: 22 February 1943

    Le Kouif, Algeria: 24 February 1943

    Thelepte, Tunisia: March 1943

    Algeria: 3 April 1493

    Monastir, Tunisia: 25 May 1943

    Sidi Ahmed, Tunisia: 10 August 1943

    Castelvetrano, Sicily: 12 October 1943

    Montocorvino, Italy: February 1944

    Karachi, March 1944

    Kwangham, China: 12 May 1944

    Fungwansham, China: February 1945

    Huhsien, China: August-December 1945


    Component Units


    91st Fighter Squadron: 1942-1945

    92nd Fighter Squadron: 1942-1945

    93rd Fighter Squadron: 1942-1945


    Assigned To


    1942: 7th Fighter Wing (later 47th Bombardment Wing); XII Tactical Air Command; Twelfth Air Force

    January 1943-February 1944: 62nd Fighter Wing; XII Fighter Command; Twelfth Air Force

    May 1944-December 1945: 312th Fighter Wing; Fourteenth Air Force:

    1946-1947: 7th Fighter Wing; Seventh Air Force (Hawaii)

  4. the final chapter in “Fighters over Tunisia†(by Shores, Ring & Hess), “Conclusionsâ€, there are some quite interesting pilot comments on the various fighter planes used. With earlier discussions on the Airacobra in mind, it is interesting to note that there are several pilot remarks on the Airacobra, and none of them is kind. In fact, no fighter type is torn apart to such an extent by the pilots interviewed in “Fighters over Tunisia†as the Airacobra.


    Jerry Collingsworth, who flew as a Lieutenant with US 31st FG in Tunisia, is quoted saying:


    “The P-39 [Airacobra] was a miserable fighter for Tunisia; we used to have to escort them because the Me 109 and Fw 190 outperformed them in every conceivable way; dive, climb, manoeuvre, speed - you name it!†(p. 416)


    Wg.Cdr. M. G. F. Pedley, who served as a Wing Leader in 323 Wing in Tunisia, is quoted on the same subject:


    “P-39 Airacobra . . . Its rate of climb was poor, armament inefficient and engine unreliable.†(p. 424)


    John L. Bradley of US 33rd FG is quoted to say this on the Airacobra:


    “I flew a couple of escorts for P-39s during my tour. Many of the pilots on these aircraft were afraid of them and figured they didn't have a chance if they were jumped by enemy aircraft without top cover.†(p. 404)


    There is not one positive word on the Airacobra among these harsh condemnations. Hardly suprising, since by looking up the two Airacobra units operating in Tunisia (81 FG and 350 FG) in the index of “Fighters over Tunisiaâ€, one gets the impression of a fighter plane which was badly mauled by Luftwaffe fighters without any chance to pay back. In late February 1943 350 FG was withdrawn from first-line service and degraded to coastal patrols with the North-West African Air Force. A little later, the other Airacobra unit, 81 FG, was badly beaten up by II./JG 77.


    On 13 March 1943, Bf 109s of II./JG 77 - possibly reinforced by some Bf 109s from III./JG 77 - attacked 12 Airacobras of 81 FG, provided with top cover by Spitfires of 307 and 308 Sqns. In the ensuing combat, seven of the twelve Airacobras were shot down without any loss to the Germans. The shot down Airacobras were piloted by Lt. Murray, Lt. Turkington, Lt. Smith, Lt. Leech, Lt. McCreight, Lt. Lewis, and Lt. Lyons. The Eastern Front veteran Ernst- Wilhelm Reinert scored five victories against Airacobras (at 1744, 1748, 1756, 1756 again, and 1800 hours)


    (Earlier that day, II./JG 77 had clashed with 34 P-40 Warhawks of US 57 FG and shot down four of these against one own loss. II./JG 77 claimed to have shot down five Warhawks, including two by Ernst-Wilhelm Reinert; thus, the Eastern Front veteran Reinert scored seven victories against US fighters on 13 March 1943, increasing his total victory tally to 135.)


    All of this, including Reinert's feat, is a perfect illustration of the Luftwaffe Eastern Front veterans repeating what they previously had accomplished on the Eastern Front against the same kind of fighters.


    To compare with the Eastern Front, 216 SAD, equipped with Airacobras and Warhawks, sustained five Airacobras and a Warhawk shot down in a similar outburst of air fighting on 15 April 1943.


    However, to be fair, it should be noted that only a few days before II./JG 77's massacre on US-piloted Airacobras, other Airacobras flown by Soviet pilots of 19 GIAP managed to shoot down three of III./JG 5's Bf 109s in a single engagement (against only one own Airacobra lost). Lt. Jakob Norz's Bf 109 F-4 (WNr 13108), Lt. Gerd Grosse-Brauckmann's WNr 10183, and Fw. Ernst Schulze's WNr 10122 were all reported destroyed as a result of that combat. Without drawing any far-fetched conclusions, I can only note that AFAIK the American Airacobra pilots never managed to accomplish anything similar against Luftwaffe fighters.


    In any case, shortly after it had received such a bad beating by II./JG 77, this US Airacobra unit also was withdrawn from first-line service and joined the other Airacobra unit in coastal patrols with the North-West African Air Force - where they were saved from encountering any Bf 109s or Fw 190s.



    From forum 12oclockhigh

  5. The lack of a readily-visible serial number on Army aircraft began to be a serious problem, and on October 28, 1941, shortly after the USAAF had been formed, an order was given that numbers of no less that 4 digits would be painted on the tail fin of all Army aircraft (where feasible) in a size large enough to be seen from at least 150 yards away. This was officially called the radio call number, but was almost universally known as the tail number. Since military aircraft were at that time not expected to last more than ten years, the first digit of the fiscal year number was omitted in the tail number as was the AC prefix and the hyphen. For example, Curtiss P-40B serial number 41-5205 had the tail number 15205 painted on its tail fin, Curtiss P-40K serial number 42-11125 had the tail number 211125 painted on the fin, and P-51B 42-106559 had 2106559 painted on the tail. Since the Army (later Air Force) used the last four digits of the tail number as a radio call sign, for short serial numbers (those less than 100), the tail number was expanded out to four digits by adding zeros in front of the sequence number. For example, 41-38 would have the tail number written as 1038.

    Consequently, in most situations for a World War II-era aircraft where the tail number is visible, you can deduce the serial number simply by putting a dash after the first digit, prefixing a 4, and you automatically have the serial number. Unfortunately, there were many deviations from these rules--there are examples in which only the last 4 or 5 digits were painted on the tail, which makes identification of the aircraft particularly difficult.

    From usaf_serials/usafserials.html

  6. "funny" you should mention this, for a couple of weeks ago i saw a really good documentary on the Angels (come to think of it, it was on youtube), and all aspects of this team were shown, from ground personnel to the aviators and all in between, and one scene caught my attention where a crewchief was very proud of his and their jets mentioning the fact that "their effort in maintaining perfect operations was "despite the fact that the navy would let them only have "obsolete" aircraft that were pulled off the line"...........


  • Create New...