The first American fighter fitted with a tricyle 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 unreliabilty 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. 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.
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Osprey's Aircraft of the Aces series combines full colour artwork, the best archival contemporary photography, and first hand accounts from aces to bring history's greatest airborne conflicts to life.About the Author:
John Stanaway has written two best-selling volumes in the Aces series both covering the exploits of the greatest Pacific fighter of them all, the P-38 Lightning. He is also an official historian of the National P-38 Pilots' Association.
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