Bell 39Q Airacobra Fighter
History of the US Bell 39Q Airacobra Fighter: The Bell P39Q Airacobra Fighter was one of America's first-line pursuit planes in December 1941. The aircraft made its initial maiden flight in April 1939 at Wright Field, Ohio, and by the time of the Pearl Harbour attack, nearly 600 had been built. Although its mid-engine placement was the beginning of a pioneering effort the Bell 39q Airacobra's design was lacking an efficient turbo-supercharger, limiting the aircraft to low-altitude flight work, but on the contrary, the Bell 39q Airacobra was deployed by the Soviet Air Force with great success. The most successful use of the Bell 39q Airacobra was in the hands of the Soviet Air Force. It is said that the tactical environment of the Eastern Front did not demand the extreme high-altitude operations that both the RAF and USAF had employed with their big bombers. The low-speed, low-altitude turning nature of most air combat on the Russian Front suited the 39q's strengths, sturdy construction, reliable radio gear, and adequate firepower so much so that in the hands of the Soviets the Airacobra fighter was used extensively for air-to-air combat against a variety of German aircraft, including Messerschmitt Bf 109s, Focke-Wulf Fw 190s, Junkers Ju 87s, and Ju 88s.The Russians nicknamed the Airacobra "Little Cobra." Of the 9,584 Airacobras had been built by Bell Aircraft, 4,773 were sent to the Soviet Union through lend-lease agreement. The Russian pilots was delighted with the cannon-armed US 39q fighter for its ground attack capability. The Airacobra 39q aircraft fighters saw combat throughout the world, particularly in the Southwest Pacific, Mediterranean and the Russian Front. Due to its engine not being equipped with a supercharger, the 39qs performed at their best below the height of 17,000 ft and it was mostly used at lower altitudes for such missions as ground strafing. Nonetheless, it was the Soviet Air Force, who scored the highest number of individual kills attributed to any U.S. aircraft fighter type in World War II!