Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Baby Jug

In today's installment of 'TWW' we present a somewhat obscure 1930s pursuit ship that proved a fairly impressive successor to its younger cousin, the Seversky P-35, but which was, in turn, almost completely overshadowed by its phenomenally successful big brother... the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt.

The Republic P-43 Lancer exhibited excellent performance as compared to the initial requirements it was intended to meet. But, as with most 'modern' U.S. fighters of that period, evaluation of its foreign contemporaries showed that the P-43 was already obsolete by the time production got underway. Fortunately for Republic, the P-47 was in the pipeline. But it would be a while before the 'Jug' was fully developed... so, in the meantime, Republic's assembly lines were kept open and well-oiled with production of the P-43 until its successor was ready. And once that happened, the P-43 was destined to be thought of as nothing more than a historical footnote... a mere stepping stone to something greater.

A fine shot of the first of thirteen YP-43s ordered by the U.S.A.A.C. Between 1939 and 1942, a total of 272 P-43s would be built.

Project 914 Archives

Of the total number of P-43s constructed, 180 were originally earmarked for China. That number was then reduced to 125, and they were initially intended for use by an envisioned third American Volunteer Group. Ultimately, only fifty-one P-43s were delivered to China and there were no further 'A.V.G.' outfits formed.

Though a small number found their way into the hands of the first A.V.G., most of the P-43s were flown by Chinese pilots, as shown in this photo.

NARA via Fold3.com

You can see another shot of a Chinese P-43 in one of our earliest installments of 'TWW'... HERE.

Fade to Black...

No comments:

Post a Comment