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 Franklin Mint B11F047 - North American P-51A Mustang - USAAF 1st Air Commando group (ACG) , Philip Cochran, Burma, 1944

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Kyushu J7W

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PostSubject: Franklin Mint B11F047 - North American P-51A Mustang - USAAF 1st Air Commando group (ACG) , Philip Cochran, Burma, 1944   Sat Feb 18 2017, 21:50

North American P-51A Mustang  

Producer - Franklin Mint Armour  
Scale 1/48
Model Number   B11F047
North American P-51A Mustang  
USAAF 1st  Air Commando group (ACG) , Philip Cochran, Burma, 1944

This is one of the earlier FM models.  The overall shape is correct and the cowling but the joins could be better.  Its the only P51A That I'm aware of in diecast .   There are some attempts at weathering, soot on exhausts and the gun ports .

North American P-51A Mustang
310 built at Inglewood, California. It was the last Allison engined version built.

Model: P-51A
Wing Span: 37' 0"
Length: 32' 3"
Height: 12' 2"
Max Speed: 409 mph
Gross Weight: 9,000 lbs
Power Plant: Allison V-1710-81
Horsepower: 1,200
Fuel Capacity: 184 gallons
Armament: 4 x .50 caliber machine guns.


Data below from multiple sources, wikipedia

The 1st Air Commando Group was a U.S. Army Air Force group of fighters, bombers, transports, military gliders and small planes operating in the South-East Asian Theater of World War II. They were part of the U.S. Tenth Air Force providing air support for the British Fourteenth Army in the Burma Campaign.

Designed to meet an RAF requirement for fighter-bomber and reconnaissance aircraft, the P-51 Mustang was first flown on October 26th, 1940. This versatile aircraft was capable of escorting bombers on long-range missions, engaging in dogfights, and dropping down to destroy German targets on the ground. At least eight versions of the P-51 were produced, but it was the definitive P-51D that gave the Mustang its classic war bird appearance. Britain and the US both tested the airframe with the Rolls-Royce Merlin engine, which gave the aircraft tremendous performance gains. The Truman Senate War Investigating Committee called the Mustang "the most aerodynamically perfect pursuit plane in existence."


   





On September 9, 1940, only 102 days after the contract had been signed, the NA-73X prototype was rolled out though still waiting for its engine. The new fighter was named Mustang by the British, and the first British version was designated Mustang I. As soon as it was available, the 1,120hp Allison V-171 0-39 power plant was installed, and engine and taxi tests began. On 26 October, Vance Breese lifted the aircraft off the runway for a maiden flight. Testing continued until Paul Balfour was forced to make a deadstick landing. The NA73X flipped over on its back, and it took six weeks to make repairs and get the aircraft ready to fly again. The first production Mustang I soon joined the repaired prototype in the test program, and shortly other Mustangs were heading for England. The prototype handled well and accommodated an impressive fuel load. The aircraft's two-section, semi-monocoque fuselage was constructed entirely of aluminum to save weight. It was armed with four .30 in (7.62 mm) M1919 Browning machine guns, two in the wings and two mounted under the engine and firing through the propeller arc using gun synchronizing gear.

As expected, the evaluation of the flight test aircraft showed that the NA-73 was indeed superior to the P-40 Warhawk which was considered to be the best single-engine fighter in the U.S. Army Air Corps inventory at the time. A lot of criticism has been written about the AAC's initial lack of interest and subsequent slowness to act concerning acquiring Mustangs for its own use. This simply is not so. All evidence is to the contrary, particularly considering the political and economic situation in America at that time.  
The Army contract for Mustangs consisted of an order on August 24, 1942 for 1200 NA-99 versions with the USAAF designation of P-51A. Unlike the A-36A, these aircraft from the start were meant to be fighters, not bombers. The first P-51A flew on February 3, 1943, and the first deliveries began the next month. In the event, only 310 P-51As were actually built between March and May of 1943 before production was switched over to the Merlin-powered P-51B.



These aircraft had the same external stores capability as the A-36A Invader, but had no dive brakes and no fuselage guns, the armament being limited to four 0.50-inch machine guns mounted in the wings. The inboard pair had 350 rpg and the outboard pair had 280 rpg. An underwing load consisted of two 250 lb, 325, or 500-pound bombs. Maximum takeoff weight rose to 10,600 pounds, but maximum ferry range was increased to 2350 miles. The P-51A had the Allison V-1710-81 (F20R) engine rated at 1200 hp for takeoff and 1125 hp at 18,000 feet, with significantly better high-altitude performance than the V-1710-39 of the P-51. The engine was fitted with a new supercharger which further enhanced low-altitude performance. In addition, a larger-diameter propeller was fitted. Maximum speed rose to 409 mph at 11,000 feet, faster at medium altitudes than any other fighter then in service. Because of the thin wing cross section, the wing guns lay almost on their sides and the ammunition belt feeds had to be built with some rather sharp kinks in them in order to direct the bullets into the guns. This awkward arrangement resulted in many gun jams, particularly after maneuvers in which high g-values were pulled.
Of the 310 P-51As built, 35 of them were fitted with twin-K24 camera installations and had their guns removed. These were re designated F-6B. 50 P-51As went to the RAF, becoming Mustang IIs. These planes replaced the NA-91s that had been diverted from RAF Mustang IA orders for conversion as USAAAF F-6As. The RAF serials of the Mustang IIs were FR890/FR939. Deliveries were made late in 1942. Mustang II FR901 was fitted with special deep-section fuel tanks beneath the wings for ultra-long-range flying. FR893 was tested at Boscombe Down, and demonstrated a best rate of climb of 3800 feet per minute at 6000 feet, with n altitude of 20,000 feet being reached in 6.9 minutes and 34,000 feet in 24 minutes. The Mustang I, IA, and II had astonishingly long service with the RAF, with the last front-line RAF Allison-engined Mustangs being phased out in early 1945.






The first P-51A group was the 54th, which remained in Florida for replacement training. Later, P-51As went to Asia with the 23rd, 311th, and 1st Air Commando Groups. Almost all of the P-51As served in the China, Burma, India (CBI) theatre of operations. On November 25, 1943, the 530th Fighter-Bomber Squadron of the 311th Fighter Bomber Group flew the first of the Mustang's long-range escort missions, using drop tanks to escort B-24 Liberators in an attack on Rangoon, Burma, a round trip of nearly 900 miles.
By comparison, Mustangs with the Allison engine could outperform the Merlin-powered variants below 15,000 feet, but no writer has criticized the P-51B, -C, -D, or -K for having less performance at low altitudes. It has been claimed that the Merlin engine is what allowed the Mustang to reach its potential. If only high-altitude performance is considered, this would be true. But a more correct assessment would be that both the Allison and Merlin-powered versions performed very well at the altitudes where they were designed and intended to operate. F-6Bs did serve in Europe, mainly with the 107th Tactical Recon Sqdn based in England. Of the 310 P-51As built, 35 had guns removed, were fitted with twin-K24 cameras, and were redesignated F-6B. One P-51A went to USN for evaluation [57987]When production of the Allison-engined Mustang ended, 1580 examples had been built.

 

Pilot observations

Chief Naval Test Pilot and C.O. Captured Enemy Aircraft Flight Capt. Eric Brown, CBE, DSC, AFC, RN, tested the Mustang at RAE Farnborough in March 1944, and noted, "The Mustang was a good fighter and the best escort due to its incredible range, make no mistake about it. It was also the best American dogfighter. But the laminar flow wing fitted to the Mustang could be a little tricky. It could not by any means out-turn a Spitfire [sic]. No way. It had a good rate-of-roll, better than the Spitfire, so I would say the plusses to the Spitfire and the Mustang just about equate. If I were in a dogfight, I'd prefer to be flying the Spitfire. The problem was I wouldn't like to be in a dogfight near Berlin, because I could never get home to Britain in a Spitfire!


Walter Wolfrum
During the war I had the opportunity to fly captured P-47's and P-51's. I didn't like the Thunderbolt. It was too big. The cockpit was immense and unfamiliar. After so may hours in the snug confines of the 109, everything felt out of reach and too far away from the pilot. Although the P-51 was a fine airplane to fly, because of its reactions and capabilities, it too was disconcerting. With all those levers, controls and switches in the cockpit. I'm surprised your pilots could find the time to fight. We had nothing like this in the 109. Everything was simple and very close to the pilot. You fitted into the cockpit like a hand in a glove. Our instrumentation was complete, but simple: throttle, mixture control and prop pitch. How your pilots were able to work on all their gadgets and still function amazes me."

Kurt Bühligen, the third-highest scoring German fighter pilot of World War II's Western Front (with 112 confirmed victories, three against Mustangs), later stated, "We would out-turn the P-51 and the other American fighters, with the Bf '109' or the FW '190'. Their turn rate was about the same. The P-51 was faster than us but our munitions and cannon were better."



The 1st Air Commando Group was formed to support Wingate's Raiders behind enemy lines in Burma and was a mixed unit that carried out a wide range of tasks across Burma and beyond.
The 1st Air Commando Group was originally an experimental group, designed to be a self-supporting air force capable of supporting a Chindit style deep penetration. It thus had a mix of fighters, transport aircraft, bombers and gliders. Although the group performed well the rapid expansion of American air power allowed the same task to be performed by standard units types and some of the new Air Commando Groups that had been formed for Burma went to the South-West Pacific instead.
The group was formed in India in March 1944 and was originally formed into six sections - bomber section (B-25 Mitchell), fighter section (P-51 Mustang), light plane section (Stinson L-1 Vigilant ,
Stinson L-5 Sentinel and early helicopters), transport section (C-47), glider section (Waco CG-4A and TG-5 Grasshopper) and light-cargo section (Noorduyn UC-64 Norseman). After its first burst of operations the group was withdraw and reorganised and by the end of 1944 consisted of two fighter squadrons, three liaison squadrons and one troop carrier squadron.
The group entered combat almost immediately, operating in support of Wingate's men behind Japanese lines. It carried out a mix of supply drops and casualty evacuations to directly support the troops as well as attacking Japanese airfields and transport links. The group was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for its actions between March 1944 and the end of the first phase of operations in May 1944.
The group was caught up to a certain extent in the complex command arrangements in India and Burma. As late as November 1943 it was the only USAAF that was officially committed to Mountbatten's South East Asia Command - all other American units in the area reported either to the American chiefs of staff or to Chiang Kai-shek.
By the autumn of 1944 the group formed part of the Combat Cargo Task Force, which reported to the Fourteenth Army and in October 1944 had 167 transport aircraft provided by the 1st Combat Cargo Group, 1st Air Commando Group and No.177 Wing, RAF.
In December 1944 the group was used to fly Chinese troops and their supplies back to China from Burma. For the rest of the war it was used to support Allied troops in Burma, flying a mix of supply, casualty evacuation and liaison duties.
As well as transport missions the group took part in standard ground attack missions. In May 1945 it was involved in the attacks on the rail network on Formosa, destroying two engines in an attack on 28 May. The group was used to attack Japanese troops, transport links and oil facilities across Burma and also provided some fighter escorts early in 1945.

Non-U.S. service
After World War II, the P-51 Mustang served in the air arms of more than 25 nations During the war, a Mustang cost about $51,000. while many hundreds were sold postwar for the nominal price of one dollar to signatories of the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance, ratified in Rio de Janeiro in 1947
The following is a list of some of the countries that used the P-51 Mustang.
 Australia    Bolivia  Canada  China People's Republic of China
The Communist Chinese captured 39 P-51s from the Nationalists while they were retreating to Taiwan.
 Costa Rica Cuba  Dominican Republic  El Salvador  France   Germany  Guatemala
 Haiti  Indonesia Israel  Italy  Japan  Netherlands Nicaragua  New Zealand
 Philippines  Poland  Somalia South Africa  South Korea  Sweden  Switzerland
United Kingdom USSR Uruguay


Aces A-36  One pilot of the 27th FBG, Lt Michael Russo, became the only ace in the Allison-powered Mustang, although several other of his colleagues scored victories, as well.  His was the A-36 version.

Aces  P-51A
76th FS, 23rd FG, 14th AF, Capt.John S. Stewart


The Pilot.
 


Philip Gerald Cochran (born in Erie, Pennsylvania January 29, 1910 – August 26, 1979) was an officer in the United States Army Air Corps. Cochran developed many tactical air combat, air transport, and air assault techniques during the war, particularly in Burma during operations as co-commander (with Col John R. Alison) of the 1st Air Commando Group. Cochran was the inspiration behind characters in the Terry and the Pirates and Steve Canyon by Milton Caniff.  Cochran's character was named General Philerie; a combination of his first name, Phil, and his hometown, Erie.
after earning a business degree from Ohio State University in 1935. Cochran enlisted as a pilot in the Army Air Corps because "it looked like a good way to make an easy living.
 
During Operation Torch in North Africa, Cochran led the "Joker Squadron of the 33rd Fighter Group in Army P-40s off the British carrier Archer.  Later he led the 58th Fighter Squadron of the 33rd Group in combat throughout North Africa.  Colonel Cochran helped train and introduced into combat the first all-black 99th Fighter Squadron.  He left North Africa with a reputation as a proven Unorthodox combat leader.Major Cochran led the 33rd Fighter Group's "advanced attrition" fighter planes and replacement pilots to the North African campaign. His men called themselves the "Joker Squadron because the squadron had been designated as "J Squadron" in the plan for the landings in North Africa. In December, 1942 he took the 58th Fighter Squadron into the advanced airfield at Thelepte, an airfield in western Tunisa that had been captured by advancing French troops. His Deputy Commander called him “a colorful individual, a natural leader. "He was aggressive, but not ambitiously so". Cochran soon found himself mentioned in press reports.[5] While flying from Thelepte, Cochran dropped a 500 pound bomb that skipped directly into the German headquarters at the Hotel Splendida, Kairouan, Tunisia.[6] He destroyed telegraph wires by flying over them with a lead weight on the end of a wire attached to the wing of his pursuit plane, a tactic he would employ later in Burma. By the end of hostilities in the theater, he had shot down two German fighter planes.[7] Burma
Cochran, by now a Lieutenant Colonel, and John R. Alison (former deputy commander of the 75th Fighter Squadron) were picked by General Hap Arnold as co-commanders of the 1st USAAF Air Commando Group. (While there an informal agreement existed between Cochran and Alison over who was effectively Commander [Cochran] and Deputy Commander [Alison], this arrangement was unofficial. To this day, USAF records indicate Col Cochran and Col Alison as 'co-commanders'.)[10] The 1st Air Commando, among other missions, was assigned the task of supporting Allied Long Range Penetration Groups, of the British Army's Chindits, invading Japanese-held Burma. Some of these forces were designated to fly in by towed gliders; all required resupply by regular airdrops during their missions, as well as air support. Under Cochran's command, the 1st Air Commando's C-47 pilots perfected the tactic of snatching loaded gliders from small areas of ground cleared of jungle vegetation into the air using stretchable nylon ropes, all while flying at 15 to 30 feet using breaks in the jungle canopy. Upon witnessing one of these demonstrations, the Allied theater commander, Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten exclaimed, "Jesus Christ All Bloody Mighty!


1st Air Commando was also called upon to perform ground support missions for the Long Range brigades, including bombing and strafing attacks. In one incident, where the group's P-51 Mustangs failed to down a single telephone line on wooden poles using bombs, the P-51's used a more daring tactic:  
"The lead plane swooped and banked...his lower wing tip ripped momentarily across an open space in the jungle, perhaps three feet above the ground...the second plane swerved...straight at us out of the land in a tight turn, wing tip brushing the ground...[We saw] telephone wire hanging around in festoons at the edge of the jungle."
Postwar
Cochran was director of aerial scenes in the Howard Hughes film Jet Pilot starring John Wayne and Janet Leigh.  Col. Cochran eventually retired from the USAAF, returning home to Erie, Pennsylvania.  Cochran dated actress Betty White in the early 1960s after being introduced by Jack Paar.   Cochran died of a heart attack while fox hunting in Geneseo, New York in 1979. While serving his country he earned the Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross with three oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with four oak leaf clusters, Soldier's Medal, and British Guene with star and palm leaf.




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If you score a victory but lose your wingman, you lost the battle.
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PBRStreetgang

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PostSubject: Re: Franklin Mint B11F047 - North American P-51A Mustang - USAAF 1st Air Commando group (ACG) , Philip Cochran, Burma, 1944   Sun Mar 19 2017, 21:02

A terrific thread Ken. Cool

So this is new tooling?? You note Ken that you think they have represented the shape quite well and I believe you.

Trying to figure this one out. The FM P51D tooling is pretty poor in comparison to HM's and EI's toolings. But this one looks very different, with the rivets etc. I don't have any of FM's efforts for the B/C models, so I don't know if this release is derived from them or its a brand new tooling?

If its a brand new tooling, then this its model is pretty special. I have Burma/China theme going in 1:48 (surprisingly the theme has some game in Diecast 1:48), so I think I should make an effort to track it down. The release was a little dismissed back in the day.

Also the 1 Cdo GP is pretty unique and the command structure and how they deployed/manoeuvred would have to be pretty interesting. A combined self deployable capability with integral administered/logistic assets to keep the capability operating independently.

As usual,...terrific thread Ken and as usual you have piqued my interest in the history you have described.
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