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American Fighters

Probably the most incredible story of comeback, the American fighter is a story of success. After the First World War, much of the U.S. Army Air Corp was scrapped or sold as surplus. Funding was little; memories of the 'war to end all wars' was still fresh in the minds of the American people. Biplanes ruled the day. The U.S.A.A.C. had the seventh air force in the world. But the revolutionary P-26 'Peashooter' came along. It was an all metal monoplane with an open cockpit and non-retractable landing gear. But in 1936, the U.S. had the seventh best air force in the world. Then came the P-35, the first 'real' modern American fighter. It was an all metal monoplane with an enclosed cockpit and retractable landing gear. It was a major advancement. Skipping ahead we find the twin engine P-38 Lightening, the most important fighter early in the war. And the most famous American fighter, the P-51 Mustang. An inline engine, sleek laminar wing, and heavy armament of six .50 caliber machine guns. It was a fighter pilot's fighter. It took the fight to the Germans and Japanese with it's long range. The American fighter evolved from a lumbering bee to a sleek Mustang (pun intended).

North American P-51
Curtiss P-40
Bell P-39
Republic P-47