North American P51D Mustang – 359th FG, RAF East Wretham, England, Lt. Col. A.P. Tacon Jr., D-Day June 1944

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Corgi Aviation Archive 1/72 scale History Channel HC32210: North American P51D Mustang 359th FG based at RAF East Wretham, England, as flown by Lt. Col. A.P. Tacon Jr., D-Day June 1944

Length 5.25 inches Wingspan 6.25 inches

In January 1943, then Lieutenant Colonel Tacon was transferred to Westover Field, Mass., to assume command of the newly organized 359th Fighter Group. The group was ordered to Europe in November 1943 and became operational at one of the many bases in England. As commander of his group, he led his men on fighter sweeps against occupied France and Germany and bomber escort missions.

After completion of his combat tour, he became executive officer of the 67th Fighter Wing with headquarters near Peterborough, England.

After the cessation of hostilities in Europe, Tacon was assigned to Headquarters American Graves Registration Command in Paris, for the purpose of organizing a staff section to aid in the location of missing aircrews. He remained in this assignment until April 1946 when he returned to the United States.

Designed to meet an RAF requirement for fighter-bomber and reconnaissance aircraft, the P-51 Mustang was first flown on October 26th, 1940. This versatile aircraft was capable of escorting bombers on long-range missions, engaging in dogfights, and dropping down to destroy German targets on the ground. At least eight versions of the P-51 were produced, but it was the definitive P-51D that gave the Mustang its classic warbird appearance. Britain and the US both tested the airframe with the Rolls-Royce Merlin engine, which gave the aircraft tremendous performance gains. The Truman Senate War Investigating Committee called the Mustang “the most aerodynamically perfect pursuit plane in existence.”

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Weight 0.7 kg