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Osprey Aircraft of the Aces 36 : P-39 Airacobra Units of World War 2

The first American fighter fitted with a tricycle undercarriage and mid-mounted engine, the P-39 proved less than successful in the hands of its launch customer, the US Army Air Force (AAF). Hampered by unreliability and poor engine performance at high altitude, the P-39 nevertheless served alongside the P-40 and P-38 in the bitter struggle to capture Guadalcanal in 1942/43, as well as seeing much action over the jungles of New Guinea. It was also used in the Mediterranean by the AAF. Around a dozen AAF aces scored five kills with the P-39, although this total was far outstripped by the Soviet Red Air Force, whose pilots rated the Airacobra as one of the best lend-lease fighters of the war. Indeed, well over 30 communist pilots used the aircraft to 'make ace', with several finishing with scores in excess of 50 kills. The exploits of both air forces are covered in detail in this title, as is the limited use made by the RAF of the Airacobra I in 1941. Text by John Stanway with illustrations by Jim Laurier.

 

Osprey Aircraft of the Aces


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