Lockheed P-38J Lightning Droop Snoot – Eze Does It, Ezell, 77th FS, USAAF, RAF Kings Cliff 1944
1 in stock
1 in stock
Corgi Aviation Archive 1/72 scale AA36602: Lockheed P-38J Lightning Eze Does It, as flown by Herschel Ezell of the 77th FS, 20th FG, USAAF based at King’s Cliff, England, 1944. Limited Edition of 4,730 Pieces.
Length 6.25 inches Wingspan 8.75 inches
Largely the creation of Col. Cass Hough of Operational Engineering, the Droop Snoot was a P-38 converted to carry a bombsight and bombardier in the nose. Work on a prototype commenced at Bovington in January, 1944, the project being transferred to Lockheed at Langford Lodge for the major engineering needed. The aircraft’s name was bestowed when someone, viewing the cut-off nose during modification, enquired as to the purpose of the “droop- snooted P-38.” Changes involved all armament and associated equipment being removed from the nose, an escape hatch fashioned on one side, a Plexiglas molding fitted to the front , Norden bombsight and bombing fitting installed , together with a seat for the bombardier and oxygen supply.
Tactical employment was planned whereby the Droop-Snoot would lead a tight formation of standard P-38s, all carrying bombs on the wing shackles, to make a high speed attack on heavily defended targets such as airfields. A mass drop would make the Droop Snoot release in similar fashion to the mode of attack used by medium and heavy bombers. Designed bombload for the Droop-Snoot was two 1,000 lbs., but a maximum of 6x500lbs. bombs could be carried. Successful trials were carried out from Bovington over Bradwell range using aircraft # 42-681184, while six other conversions were being made at Langford Lodge. The first operational use of the Droop-Snoot was on April 10, 1944 when 20th and 55th Fighter Groups used one each to lead formations. Droop-Snoots were subsequently employed by all for 8th.AF P-38 Groups and by the 56th. Group to lead P-47 Thunderbolts. The 20th FG’s Droop-Snoot (#42-67450) was nick-named “Eze Does It.” Named after Herschel F. Ezell, who was assigned to the 20th. Fighter Group on 28 April, 1944 following a complete tour of 25 missions as a bombardier on B-17 Flying Fortresses with the 306th. Bomb Group. On 14 May he was made Group Personal Equipment Officer, but his primary reason for being assigned to the 2oth.FG was as Group Bombardier on Droop Snoot bombing missions. He flew ten of these before being returned to the States on 10 August, 1944. He was awarded the Air medal with 4 clusters.
Designed to meet a USAAC requirement for a high-performance fighter, the P-38 Lightning was first flown on January 27th, 1939. The easily recognizable P-38 had twin-booms, twin turbo-supercharged engines, a central pod for the pilot, contra-rotating propellers and tricycle landing gear. Its roles included dive bombing, level bombing, ground strafing and photo reconnaissance. When equipped with drop tanks it was also flown as a long-range escort fighter. The Lightning’s armament was clustered in the nose of the plane, which gave the pilot a direct line of site to the target and also gave the weapons a “buzz saw” effect that was useful for strafing.