Brief description: This picture gallery contains aircraft models of World War II on a scale 1:72 as injection moulded, resin- and vacu- formed kits as well as home-made conversions.
Here, you will find photos of aircraft models of World War II on a scale 1:72. e.g. those of the United States Army Air Force (USAAF), the United States Navy (USN), the Royal Air Force (RAF), the Royal Navy (RN) , the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force (IJAAF), the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Force (IJNAF), the German Air Force (Luftwaffe, GAF) and the Air Force of the Soviet Union. Within these branches of the services you can select between fighters, fighter-bombers, bombers, trainers etc. Also you can select projects, designed on the drawing board as well as post-war developments, whose origin dated back into the time of WW II.
Important notice: Among the aircraft models shown here there are many aircraft from the former German Air Force (Deutsche Luftwaffe). They all show the swastika as a national symbol of that time. I would like to point out that this is not a political statement, but rather a source of historical information on the types of aircraft flown by the German Luftwaffe before and during the Second World War. It is to be taken as a reference for all aviation enthusiasts, and not taken as an expression of any sympathy for the Nazi regime or any Neo-Nazi or Right wing hate Groups.
I have built all these models just for fun and never, it has been my intention to show them anybody or to present them at a show. Over the years more then 1.500 models have emerged, and many more kits have not been completed yet, or are still waiting for the finish or the last little detail.
POWER PLANT: One Hitachi 22 (Ha-23) radial engine, rated at 510 hp
PERFORMANCE: 211 mph
COMMENT: The production of the Army Type 2 Advanced Trainer Ki-79 (Allied code Nate) at the Mansyu plant in Manchuria, occupied by the Japanese, began on January 19, 1943 with the production under license by Nakajima of two variants at once: the Ki-79a single-seat trainer and the Ki-79b two-seat trainer. Both versions had an all-metal semi-monocoque design with low load-bearing surfaces and non-retractable landing gear, exactly the same as that of the Nakajima Ki-27 fighter, since the airframe design was almost completely transferred to the new aircraft. The only significant difference in the trainer was the open cockpit. Since the Hitachi engine was somewhat lighter than its predecessor, the Nakajima Ki-27, despite its almost identical diameter, had to be moved forward a little to maintain the same alignment of the aircraft. Because of this, the length of the serial Ki-79 increased by 0.32 m compared to the length of the three prototypes, where the engine was not moved and the dimensions remained the same as that of the Ki-27. Two-bladed wooden propeller with a diameter of 2.50 m or three-blade wooden propeller with variable pitch were provided. The Mansu Ki-79 trainer was a cantilever monoplane with a low wing along with a cantilever tailplane.
A total of 1,329 aircraft were built in four sub-versions: The single seat Ki-79a with an Hitachi Ha.13a-I engine and the Ki-79c with an Ha.13a-III engine. The two-seat versions Ki-79b had a Hitachi Ha.13a-I engine and the Ki-79d version with a Ha.13a-III engine. Manyu Ki-79a and Ki-79c were of all-metal construction. The versions Ki-79b and Ki-79d had a mixed structure with steel fuselage frame with plywood sheathing and a wooden wing.
The Mansyu Ki-79 were seen at the Army Junior Flight Schools (Rikugun Shonen Hiko Gakko) in Tokyo, Otsu and Onta in Japan, where young pilots trained before becoming an Imperial Japanese Army Air Force (IJAAF) cadet. At the end of the war, these schools trained future members of the Shinpū Tokubetsu Kōgekitai, (Divine Wind Special Attack Unit), part of the Special Assault Units of the IJAAF, known as Kamikaze. They flew sicide attacks for the Empire of Japan against Allied naval vessels in the closing stages of the Pacific campaigne of World War II, intending to destroy warships more effectively than with conventional air attacks.
Kamikaze aircraft were essentially pilot-guided explosive missles, purpose-built or converted from conventional aircraft. Even trainers as the Mansyu Ki-79c were used alongside with older aircraft such as the Tachikawa Ki-9, Ki-7 and Ki-55. Most aircraft were equipped with one 250 kg bomb under the fuselage.
Also the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force also had similar units as the Rikugun Koku Tokubetsu Kogekitan (Army Special Assault Unit). Their purpose was to ram Boeing B-29 Superfortress mid air. These units were called Thanatari (Thunderstorm) (Ref: 1, 24).
POWER PLANT: One BMW 003 A-1 turbojet engine, rated at 800 kp thrust
PERFORMANCE: No data available
COMMENT: During November 1944, the RLM issued a requirement for the simplest possible type of fighter which could be more rapidly produced than the Heinkel He 162 Salamander (“Volksjäger”), (People-fighter) then being built. The design was not, however, to be a semi-expendable weapon in the manner of the Bachem Ba 349 Natter, because conventional landings and take-offs were to be made. Much had already been done in the Volksjäger competition to simplify airframes, so attention now turned towards simplifying the power unit, though without losing too much in the way of performance. Thus, the power unit was to be a simple pulse-jet as produced by Argus for the Fieseler Fi 103 V 1) flying bomb, a turbojet engine or a liquid-fuelled rocket. The Kleinstjäger or Miniaturjäger was to employ the minimum of strategic materials, dispense with refinements such and electronic equipment and, by virtue of quick production, increase the chances of intercepting the enemy by flying in large numbers.
The problem of supplying all the new pilots was common to both Miniatur- and Volksjäger programmes whichever was adopted. Only three firms, which also participated in the Volksjäger competition, put forward Miniaturjäger projects, Blohm und Voss, Heinkel and Junkers.
There is also some evidence that the Dornier Company was working on a design for a Miniaturjäger. In literature a three-view thumbnail sketch of a design is known, the in-house project designation is given as Do P…. The little aircraft was to be powered by a BMW 003 turbojet engine. A high-mounted wing with light swept leading edge was envisaged, the air intake was located in the nose with the pilots seat in prone position above it. The turbojet engine was located at the fuselages end, the conventional tail plane was mounted on a boom protruding from the fuselages end. For take-off probably a trolley was used, the landing was provided by means of a retractable skid. No further facts or details are reported. (Ref.: 22 and
J. R. Smith, Antony L. Kay: German Aircraft of the Second World War. Putnam & Company, London, 1972)
POWER PLANT: One Bristol Centaurus XII radial engine, rated at 2,500 hp
PERFORMANCE: 468 mph at 20,000 ft
COMMENT: In the middle war years it was realized that the current fighter like the Hawker Typhoon were in many respects a bit too large to meet the current requirement for single-seat fighters. Consequently, in September 1942 Specification F.6/42 was issued for a smaller and lighter fighter, the document stating an armament of four 20mm cannon and a speed of 450 mph at 20,000 ft, and this aircraft was to be superior in climb, speed and maneuverability to any fighter that might be developed out of Germany’s superb Focke-Wulf Fw 190. Proposals were forthcoming from Airspeed, Boulton Paul, Folland, Hawker, Supermarine, Vickers and Westland and those from Folland and Hawker were favored, the latter eventually being covered by the new Specification F.2/42 and flown as Hawker Fury.
Follands Fo.117 project generated some attention, particularly its contra-rotating airscrew which was then a new feature in fighter design. The Air Staff had assumed that the reason for having this smaller diameter propeller was to provide a smaller undercarriage and a more compact gun installation, but in fact Folland had used it to raise the wing in relation to the fuselage so that the exhaust and cooling air would be ejected above and below the wing roots, thereby reducing drag. The Fo.117 design was favored by RAE Farnborough but there were doubts about the firm having the ability to develop and manufacture such an advanced aircraft quickly enough.
Follands ability to carry through the project had been thoroughly assessed and it was clear that the company could not do the job by itself, but Folland was prepared to work with another firm. By 29 December several minor changes had been made to the design which had improved the Fo.117’s performance figures and altered the all-up weight to 4,160 kg.
Nevertheless, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) felt that the design had some particularly good qualities, especially in its potential maneuverability. Indeed the Folland and Hawker F.6/42 projects were discussed and compared very closely during January 1943. However, in March the Folland Fo.117 was abandoned, in part because the country’s design capacity was already overloaded and there were worries about squandering precious resources by giving a job like this to a company who would probably not have the aircraft ready in a sufficiently short period of time, Folland being relatively new and inexperienced in a job of fighter design. In addition, despite the Fo.117 offering a potentially better performance, Hawker’s own project would be ready much earlier.
However, later in 1943 the project was revived as Fo.117A, the revised design introducing a laminar flow wing while the 2,500 hp Centaurus XII still had the contra-rotating propeller. Plans were laid down for production aircraft to be produced by English Electric and six prototypes were actually ordered in September 1943 to an updated specification F19/43.However, in the end they were never built and there are no further details available to describe these airplanes and compare them with the original Folland Fo.117.
(Ref.:Tony Buttler: British Experimental Combat Aircraft of World War II, Prototypes, Research Aircraft and Failed Production Designs. Hikoki Publications, Manchester M22 5LH, 2012
POWER PLANT: One BMW 003R combined turbojet, rated at 1.000 kp thrust and one BMW 109-718 liquid fuel rocket, rated at 410 kp thrust
PERFORMANCE: 1.118 mph (estimated)
COMMENT: By 1943, the Hortens were discussing the possibility of supersonic flight. While this remained unchartered territory, the decided to experiment with a highly swept glider that would provide an understanding of slow speed handling with a highly swept configuration that might be capable of reaching or exceeding Mach 1.
The glider was designed as Horten Ho XIIIa and construction is believed to have begun in early 1944. The aircraft used wings from the Horten Ho III attached to a new central section which provided a span of 40 ft and a sweep of 60 degrees. The design was very clean with few protrusions apart from a dorsal spoiler and there were no vertical control surfaces. The pilot was housed in a gondola arrangement, mounted below the center section, with access via a tail cone cover. In an emergency, the pilot would jettison his cover and slide out the back of the unit.
The first test flight took place at Göttingen Airfield on 27 November 1944 and further 19 flights were conducted at Homberg by test pilot Hermann Strebel who reported that the glider handled well although he complained about poor roll control, limited forward visibility and landing problems caused by the extended skid.
Nevertheless, the Hortens were contemplating the construction of a more advanced prototype that would be powered by an Argus As10 piston engine in a pusher configuration. But this never came about ans at the end of the war a group of Russian soldiers who had just been liberated from a prison camp discovered the Ho XIIIa and destroyed it. Furthermore, all the plans and research material for this project vanished without a trace. It now appears that the Ho XIIIb was the anticipated final development of this program and it was expected to have a supersonic performance under certain conditions. Looking very much like an advanced Lippisch design, this fighter would have been about the same size as the HoXIIIa with the same 60 degrees wing sweep. But unlike the glider there would have been a substantial upright fin containing the cockpit in very similar fashion to the proposed supersonic Lippisch P. 13a.
This similarity has often been remarked on although Reimar Horten denied any knowledge of Lippisch’s work during this time in post-war London. However, this seems highly unlikely and there was almost certainly wartime contact between the Hortens and Lippisch. The supersonic Ho XIIIb would have been powered by mixed propulsion system. This could have been either a BMW 003R combined turbojet linked to a BMW 718 rocket engine or a Heinkel/Hirth HeS 011 turbojet and a supplementary Walter rocket engine.
Presumably, a two seater version of the supersonic Horten Ho XIIIb was on the drawing board when in 1945 the “Third Reich” collapsed.
Bill Rose: Secret projects. Flying wings and Tailless Aircraft, Midland Press, Reprint of Ian Allan Publishing Ltd., Hersham, Surrey KTI24RG, 2010.
POWER PLANT: Two Lockheed L-1000 axial-flow turbojets 2,345 kp thrust each
PERFORMANCE: 625 mph
COMMENT: The Lockheed L-133 was an exotic design started in 1939 which was proposed to be the first jet fighter of the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) during World War II.
The radical design was to be powered by two axial-flow turbojets with an unusual blended wing-body canard design capable of 612 mph in level flight. The USAAF rejected the 1942 proposal, but the effort speeded the development of the USAAF’s first successful operational jet fighter, the Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star, which did see limited service near the end of war. The P-80 was a less radical design with a single British-based Allison J33 engine, with a conventional tail, but it retained a wing which was the same shape as the outer wing sections of the Lockheed P-38 Lightning.
The Lockheed aviation company was the first in the United States to start work on a turbojet-powered aircraft, the L-133 design started in 1939 as a number of “Paper Projects” by engineers around Clarence L. „Kelly“ Johnson. By 1940 preliminary work on a company-financed turbojet-fighter had been started, which progressed to several different versions on the drawing board. In the meantime, Lockheed was working on an axial-flow L-1000 turbojet engine of their own design, which was intended to power the culmination of the twin-engine jet fighter project, the Model L-133-02-01.
Throughout World War II, the development of a jet-powered fighter had the potential to bring a decisive advantage in the air battles of the war; as history played out, only Germany built significant numbers of jet fighters before the war ended, but they reached service in the Luftwaffe too late to make a difference.
On March 30, 1942, Lockheed formally submitted the L-133-02-01 to the USAAF for consideration. Powered by two L-1000 turbojets and featuring a futuristic-appearing canard design with slotted flaps to enhance lift, the single-seat fighter was expected to have a top speed of 612 mph in level flight, but a range of only 310 mi.
The L-133 had a main wing shape that was essentially identical to the outer wing sections of the Lockheed P-38 Lightning. In many respects the L-133 was far ahead of its time, with futuristic features including: canard layout, blended wing-body planform, and two engines in a very low-drag integral fuselage location.
The USAAF considered the L-133 to be too advanced for the time, and did not pursue the project. The experience gained with the design served Lockheed well in the development of the USAAF’s first operational jet fighter, the P-80 Shooting Star. Although entering combat service after the war had ended, the P-80 was less advanced than the L-133. Because the USAAF didn’t give the L-133 project the go-ahead, the advanced engines intended for the L-133 had long pauses in their development. The most expedient engine choice for the P-80 thus became the Allison J33, based on British centrifugal compressor designs. The P-80 was a cheap-to-build single-engine aircraft with a conventional wing and tailplane design, not using the blended wing-body and canard layout of the L-133 (Ref.:24).
POWER PLANT: Two Heinkel-Hirth HeS 011 turbojet engines, rated at 1,300 kp each
PERFORMANCE: 621 mph at 13,000 ft
COMMENT: In 1944, Focke-Wulf created three designs of a bomber using two Heinkel-Hirth He S 011 turbojets. These bombers were known under the name of the 1000x1000x1000 Bomber-Projekt and were under the direction of Dipl.-Ing. H. von Halem and D. Küchemann. The designation meant that the aircraft could carry a 1000 kg (2205 lbs) bomb load 1000 km (621 miles) and fly at 1000 km/h (621 mph).
The first design under Focke-Wulf’s design number 031 0239/01 (Projekt A) was for a fairly conventional layout. The fuselage was long and tapered aft of the wing leading edge. Fuel was carried in several tanks located within the fuselage. The wings were thin and swept back at 35 degrees . Two Heinkel-Hirth He S 011 turbojet engines each developing 1300 kg of thrust were slung beneath the wings. Although the engines would cause more drag in this location, maintenance accessibility would be improved and a shorter design time would be achieved. The tail planes were also swept back; this along with the wing sweep and the fuselage thinning aft of the wing leading edge would help achieve the Mach number of .90. The main gear are mounted just inboard of the jet nacelles and retracted in and forward; the nose gear was beneath the cockpit and retracted to the rear. A single pilot sat in a cockpit located in the nose and afforded fairly good visibility. No armament was planned at this stage, and the bomb load of 1000 kg was carried in an internal bomb bay.
The second design under the Focke-Wulf internal designation Fw P.031 0239/10 “3×1000 Bomber, Projekt B” was of a flying wing layout.
The third design (Projekt C) again was of conventional layout similar to the first design (Projekt A
Since these designs would have taken several years to complete, the end of the war ended all development.
POWER PLANT: One Rolls-Royce Merlin XX liquid-cooled engine, rated at 1,185 hp
PERFORMANCE: 340 mph at 21,000 ft
COMMENT: The Hawker Hurricane was a British single-seat fighter aircraft of the 1930s–40s that was designed and predominantly built by Hawker Aircraft Ltd. for service with the Royal Air Force (RAF). It was overshadowed in the public consciousness by the Supermarine Spitfire’s role during the Battle of Britain in 1940, but the Hurricane inflicted 60 percent of the losses sustained by the German Luftwaffe in the engagement, and fought in all the major theatres of the Second World War. The Hurricane was developed through several versions, into bomber-interceptors, fighter-bombers, and ground support aircraft as well as fighters. Versions designed for the Royal Navy known as the Sea Hurricane had modifications enabling operation from ships. Some were converted as catapult-launched convoy escorts. By the end of production in July 1944, most oft he 14,487 Hurricanes had been completed in Britain and Canada.
In June 1936, the Hurricane was formally ordered into production, the Air Ministry having placed its first order that month for 600 aircraft. On 26 June 1936, the type name “Hurricane”, which had been proposed by Hawker, was approved by the Air Ministry
A key reason for the aircraft’s appeal was its relatively simple construction and ease of manufacture. In comparison to the Supermarine Spitfire, it was significantly cheaper and involved less labour, requiring 10,300 man hours to produce versus 15,200 for the Spitfire. As a large-scale war was looking increasingly likely, and time was of the essence in providing the RAF with an effective fighter aircraft, it was unclear if the more advanced Spitfire would enter production smoothly, while the Hurricane made use of well-understood manufacturing techniques.
On 12 October 1937, the maiden flight took place of the first production Hurricane I, which was powered by a Merlin II engine. Production deliveries had been delayed by roughly six months due to a decision to equip the Hurricane only with the improved Merlin II engine, while the earlier Merlin I had been prioritised for the Fairey Battle and the Hawker Henley. By the following December, the first four aircraft to enter service with the.RAF. By February 1938, No. 111 Squadron had received 16 Hurricanes. Upon the outbreak of the Second World War, over 550 Hurricanes had been produced, which had equipped a total of 18 squadrons, while a further 3,500 aircraft were on order.
The Hawker Hurricane was a low-wing cantilever monoplane outfitted with retractable undercarriage and an enclosed cockpit for the pilot. A clean, single-seat fighter, it was developed to provide a competent combatant for aerial combat against the latest fighter designs that were emerging amongst the air services of other powers of the era. The Hurricane was typically equipped for flying under both day and night conditions, being provided with navigation lights, landing lights, complete blind-flying equipment, and two-way radios.
The design of the Hurricane’s construction was already considered to be somewhat outdated when introduced to service and resembled those used on the earlier biplanes. Hawker had decided to employ its traditional construction techniques instead of radical measures such as the adoption of a stressed-skin metal exterior. An all-metal, stressed-skin wing of duraluminium was introduced in April 1939 and was used for all of the later marks. “The metal skinned wings allowed a diving speed that was 80 mph higher than the fabric-covered ones. The great advantage of the metal-covered wings over the fabric ones was that the metal ones could carry far greater stress loads without needing so much structure beneath
First production version was the Hurricane Mk I, with fabric-covered wings, a wooden two-bladed, fixed-pitch propeller or three bladed variable pitch propeller.
The Hurricane Mk I (revised) had constant speed metal, metal-covered wings, armour and other improvements. A total of 4,200 Mk I were built by Hawker, Gloster Aircraft Company and Canadian Car and Foundry.
Next, the Hurricane Mk IIB (Hurricane IIA Series 2) were fitted with racks allowing them to carry two 110 kg or two 230 kg bombs. This lowered the top speed of the Hurricane to 301 mph, but by this point mixed sweeps of Hurricanes carrying bombs, protected by a screen of fighter Hurricanes were not uncommon.
Hurricane Mk IIA Series 1 was equipped with a new and slightly longer propeller, spinner, and 4 additional wing-mounted .303 in (7.7 mm) Browning machine guns; for a total of 12 guns. The first aircraft were built in February 1941 and were renamed Mark IIB in April 1941. A total of 3,050 IIB built until November 1942.
The Hurricane Mk IIC (Hurricane Mk IIA Series 2) was equipped with new and slightly longer propeller and spinner, and fully replaced the machine-gun armament with four 20 mm Hispano Mk II cannons and a slightly modified wing. The new wings also included a hardpoint for a 500 or 110 kg bomb and, later in 1941, for fuel tanks. By then performance was inferior to the latest German fighters, and the Hurricane changed to the ground-attack role, sometimes referred to as the Hurribomber. There were 4,711 Hurricane Mk IIC built by Hawker between February 1941 and July 1944.
Later important versions were the Hurricane Mk IID and Hurricane Mk IV. Overall, some 14,487 Hurricanes and Sea Hurricanes were produced from 1937 to 1944 in England and Canada. This excellent and versatile aircraft was the basis for the development of its successor, the Hawker Typhoon (Ref.: 24)
COMMENT: After the end of “WW II, when the Allied occupied Germany they found a huge amount of secret project documents. Among these were several unconventional designs from the Messerschmitt Company e. g. the so called “Animal Names” types. These were a single-turbojet midget fighter “Libelle” (Dragonfly) and two designs of the “Wespe I” and „Wespe II“ (Wasp) light fighters, a twin-engine fighter“ Me P.1079/18 „Schwalbe“(Swallow), a bomber-transporter “Wildgans” (Brant) and two versions of a heavy ground-attacker “Zerstörer – Projekt I” and „Zerstörer – Projekt II“ (Destroyer I and II).
As far as these latter are concerned these projects appear to consist of studies from the period 1941/42. But very unusual for Messerschmitt project drawings is that none of the dotted-outline turbojets matched with the contures of any turbojets that were under development by BMW, Daimler-Benz, Heinkel-Hirth, Junkers and Porsche nor do the thrust figures quoted for them correpond to the known turbojet variants in production or development at that time.
An other confusing fact is that the Zerstörer ProjektII had the air intakes in the wing rootes and the sole turbojet engine was located in the rear fuselage. But additionally there were two openings on both sides the fuselage and the wings leading edges. This could be interpreted that the Zerstörer project II was powered by two turbojet engines.
On the other hand the high T-tailplane leads to the assumption of a later design period 1944/45. Focke-Wulf employed the T-taiplane for the first time in 1945 in the design of the Tank Ta 183. Messerschmitt, Heinkel and other aircraft manufacturers followed hastingly, as too little was known of the related flying characteristics of this type of tail surface. After the war the Allied quickly recognized its advantage and adopted this design feature.
Finally, a further factor indicating that the Zerstörer-designes were of later vintage is that both designes had a nosewheel tricycle undercarriage – a design feature that was first introduced in the Messerschmitt Me 262. Also, the rearward reclining seat and flush canopy blending into the fuselage nose contures were not features of high-speed aircraft designes oft he 1941/42 period.
In conclusion and perhaps more likely is the fact that these designs are more after war fantasy than reality. So this comment is in contrast to the comment, given with the Messerschmitt Zerstörer-Projekt, Ausführung I, (Destroyer-project, Scheme I) on that website.
POWER PLANT: Two Allison V-1710-49/53 liquid-cooled engines, rated at 1,225 hp each
PERFORMANCE: 351 mph at 10,000 ft
COMMENT: The Lockheed P-38 Lightning was an American single-seat, piston-engined fighter aircraft that was used during World War II. Developed for the United States Army Air Corps, the P-38 had distinctive twin booms and a central nacell containing the cockpit and armament. Along with its use as a general fighter, the P-38 was utilized in various aerial combat roles including as a highly effective fighter-bomber, a night-fighter and as a long-range escort fighter when equipped with drop tanks. The P-38 was also used as a bomber-pathfinder, guiding streams of medium and heavy bombers; or even other P-38s, equipped with bombs, to their targets. Used in the aerial reconnaissance role, the P-38 accounted for 90 percent of the aerial film captured over Europe.
Delivered and accepted Lightning production variants began with the P-38D model. The few “hand made” YP-38s initially contracted were used as trainers and test aircraft. There were no Bs or Cs delivered to the government as the USAAF allocated the ‘D’ suffix to all aircraft with self-sealing fuel tanks and armor. Many secondary but still initial teething tests were conducted using the earliest D variants.
The first combat-capable Lightning was the P-38E Lightning and its photo-recon variant the F-4, which featured improved instruments, electrical, and hydraulic systems. Part-way through production, the older Hamilton Standard Hydromatic hollow steel propellers were replaced by new Curiss Electric duraluminium propellers.
The first P-38E rolled out of the factory in October 1941and promptly filled the news wires of the world. Because of the versatility, redundant engines, and especially high speed and high altitude characteristics of the aircraft, as with later variants over a hundred P-38Es were completed in the factory.
After 210 P-38Es were built, they were followed, starting in February 1942, by the Lockheed P-38F, which incorporated racks inboard of the engines for fuel tanks or a total of 910 kg of bombs. Early variants did not enjoy a high reputation for maneuverability, though they could be agile at low altitudes if flown by a capable pilot, using the P-38’s forgiving stall characteristics to their best advantage. From the P-38F-15 model onwards, a “combat maneuver” setting was added to the P-38’s Fowler flaps which allowed the P-38 to out-turn many contemporary single-engined fighters at the cost of some added drag. However, early variants were hampered by high aileron control forces and a low initial rate of roll, and all such features required a pilot to gain experience with the aircraft, which in part was an additional reason Lockheed sent its representative to England, and later to the Pacific Theater.
In March 1942 the first deliveries of the photoreconnaissance version Lockheed F-4 were made. Otherwise similar to the P-38E from which it was converted, the F-4 had the nose armament supplanted by four K-17 cameras for reconnaissance duties. A drift sight and auto pilot were standart in the photographic Lightnings, which were painted in cerulean blue. More than 100 F-4 reconnaissance aircraft based on the P-38E and 20 F-4A based on the P-38F were built.
The aircraft shown here belonged to the 12th Photo Reconnaissance Group, 15th Air Force, Mediterranean Theater (Ref.: 24).
COMMENT: The end of WW II saw a great amount of secret project documents burned, captured or left to blow around empty hangars. Some companies documents were almost completely lost, others were scattered. After the war some of these seemingly reappeared but most likely many of these projects are imaginations. Some were relatively conventional, others were futuristic, but it is unknown whether these designs are from the period 1940/41 or from the time at the end of the WW II.
This is true for instance for Messerschmitt’s “Animal Names” types. These were a single-turbojet midget fighter “Libelle” (Dragonfly) and two designs of the “Wespe I” and “Wespe II” (Wasp) light fighters, a twin-engine fighter Messerschmitt Schwalbe (Swallow), a bomber-transporter “Wildgans” (Brant) and two versions of a heavy ground-attacker “Zerstörer I” and “Zerstörer II” (Destroyer).
Both Messerschmitt “Wespe I” and “Wespe II” had swept-back wings, were to be powered by a single turbojet-engine and had a tricycle landing-gear. From this point of view these projects could be dated to the end of the war.
In contrary, unusual for these Messerschmitt project drawings is that none of the dotted-outline turbojets in each of the drawings matches with the contours of any turbojets that are under development or production by BMW, Daimler-Benz, Heinkel-Hirth and Junkers, nor do the thrust figures quoted for them correspond to the known turbojets variants. Gas turbine development in Germany was concerned from the very beginning with the axial-flow type, save for the radial-flow turbojets developed by Dr. ing. von Ohain. This leads to the conclusion that at beginning of the war Messerschmitt possessed no documentation on turbojet development or installation plans hypothesizing that all these “Animal Name” projects could also be dated to the early 1940’s.
In conclusion, perhaps and more likely are these designs the product more of fantasy than reality.
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