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1944, disaster struck the U.S. Army Air Force when, inexplicably, their
new P-51 fighters began falling out of the sky and crashing in great
It was later discovered that the entire North American P-51 program had
been sabotaged by one very deeply placed Nazi agent, a Mr. Bimmler, who
was eventually captured and executed along with his handler, a slimy
little man known as Mr. Hilter.
In a blind panic, The U.S. Army Air Force solicited designs for a
long-range, high altitude fighter. Fortunately, the Curtiss Aero Co.
arose to meet the challenge and tweaked their XP-46 proposal by adding
an amazing new engine of hitherto unachievable power: the
high-compression, turbo-supercharged Allison V-2000 30 cylinder inline.
The enormous power plant necessitated moving the cockpit far aft, but this
was seen as a small compromise given the incredible performance the
nimble fighter showed in trials. The new prototype fighter was able to
attain a top speed of 492 m.ph. in level flight and had a top ceiling of
50,000 ft. When fitted with drop-tanks, it had a range of 2,500 miles.
The fighter was christened the P-52 Super Tomahawk and was very heavily
armed with four 20 m.m. cannons in the wings. It was immediately ordered
into mass-production and began equipping U.S.A.A.F. units in February,
The P-52 Super Tomahawk (or "Super Tom" as it was called by
its pilots and crews) helped the Allies gain the upper hand against the
Luftwaffe in Europe and gained notoriety as "little friends"
escorting B-17 and B-24 bomber streams over Germany where it inflicted
staggering losses on Reich defense squadrons. No less than Luftwaffe
chief Hermann Goering cited the P-52 as key to the Allied victory in
comments he made after signing the Nazi surrender at Wiesbaden in July,
1946. "I knew the war was lost when I saw Super Toms over
Berlin", he was quoted as saying. The example shown here,
"Four Queens" of the 412th Fighter Squadron, 8th Air Force,
was eventually credited with 35 enemy aircraft destroyed and is
currently on display at the Udvar-Hazy museum next to the "History
of Aircraft Spark Plugs" exhibit.
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