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Friday, October 4, 2013

Introducing the US Air Force

The US Air Force had its origins pre-WWI, as a branch of the US Army Signal Corps. The reason for this is that hot air balloons had been used in the past for observation and communication purposes. Hence in 1907, the Aeronautical Division was established. The first planes were tested in 1908, and by the time WWI ended, it was already operating a fleet of close to 300 aircraft. At the time of WWII, the organization had been spun out of the Signal Corps and renamed United States Army Air Forces. WWII brought along a furious expansion. In 1941, the USAAF had a little over 12,000 aircraft and close to 25,000 men. At its peak, in 1944, it had over 2.4 million service members and operated close to 80,000 aircraft and even though on paper it was a unit within the US Army, in reality it operated as an independent branch. This was eventually formalized in 1947 when Congress declared it an independent branch and renamed it the United States Air Force. In terms of casualties, the USAAF suffered 88,000 deaths, of which roughly 45,000 took place in battle. It also lost 65,000 aircraft. About 18,500 were lost fighting in Europe and 4,500 in the Pacific. In exchange for these losses, Germany lost approximately 30,000 craft and Japan 10,500. Since the focus of my collection is troops and ground vehicles, I don't have any planes to show -although Forces of Valor does offer some nice ones in 1/32 scale-, but I do have an Air Force ground crew, which is displayed below.

TimMee 60mm US Air Force - Part I
This is an interesting set. It is supposed to represent a ground crew, a couple of pilots and officers from the Us Air Force. Since I don't really collect airplanes in this scale (or any other) I don't have much use for them, however I think some of these guys would work really well as a tank maintenance crew. Even the pilot, second man from the left, could pass as a tank driver.

TimMee 60mm US Air Force - Part II
In this picture you can see that these figures represent post WWII Air Force guys. The pilot seems to be wearing a helmet with an oxigen mask, the kind that a jet pilot or a high altitude bomber pilot would use. He is not going to make it into my tank crew scene for sure. About the bugler, doesn't he seem like an odd figure to have in this set? 

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