Northrop Black Widow P-61

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Northrop P Black Widow What is a Pre-Order?

Northrop P Black Widow - discovery, restoration, flying - Australian Flying

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HUNTING THE BIGGEST PLANE IN THE GAME - P-61 Black Widow (War Thunder Bomber Hunting)

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Item Code: A04006V

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The remaining units received their aircraft over the next seven months, by which time the aircraft was scoring regular victories — the 6th NFS scored its first victory on 20 June, the st on 7 July and the th on 5 August.

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By the end of the war the 6th had scored 16 confirmed kills, making it the second highest scoring American night-fighter squadron of the war. During aerial targets became increasingly rare, and so many P units turned to long range night-time intruding, carrying out the same mission as the aircraft they had originally been stalking.

Bite of the Black Widow – Northrop’s P-61

The th NFS even flew a number of direct infantry support missions, helping with the battle on Negros. Only two squadrons operated the P in the European theatre — the nd and th Night Fighter Squadrons. It had been hoped that both of these squadrons would be ready by D-Day, but the Black Widow's combat debut was eventually delayed until mid-July, and a shortage of aircraft and spare parts greatly limited the role played by the two squadrons. Its first aircraft didn't arrive until 23 May, and training flights didn't start until mid-June.

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Just as the squadron's air crews were getting used to their new aircraft the 9th Air Force decided to use the Mosquito instead. Only after a fly-off on 5 July, in which the Black Widow out-flew a Mosquito, was the future of the P in Europe secured.

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  6. The result of the fly-off has been greeted with a certain amount of scepticism, with many believing that the Mosquito crew were ordered to lose in order to prevent precious aircraft being lost to the USAAF. This is probably not the case, at least as far as speed was concerned — the test was between a Mosquito NF Mk XVII and the PA, and the two aircraft had a very similar top speed especially if the PA was a later model with more powerful engines. As to manoeuvrability, the P had after all been designed from the start as the fighter, while the Mosquito had originally been seen as a unarmed bomber, using its high speed to escape German pursuit.

    Despite the results of the fly-off a good case could still have been made for withdrawing the P from the European theatre in favour of the Mosquito. The two P squadrons were nearly always short of aircraft and spares, dramatically reducing their efficiency during the Battle of the Bulge, but by mid, with two squadrons already forming around the P, the time to make that decision had already passed, and if the war had dragged on into the summer of , as many expected, then the P would have made a bigger contribution.

    Northrop P-61 Black Widow - discovery, restoration, flying

    The nd finally went operational of 16 July against the V-1 flying bomb, destroying five before moving to France on 25 July. The two units then moved east with the Allied armies. This brought them up against the Luftwaffe for the first time. In the last few months of the two squadrons found themselves operating against German intruders, including Fw fighter-bombers, Jus in both bomber and night-fighter versions and the Ju The two squadrons could have played a major part in the battle of the Bulge, but a lack of aircraft and spare parts meant that they spent much of the battle grounded.