ISSUE NUMBER 11

HISTORICAL MINIATURES BY GEORGE GRASSE
HISTORICAL MINIATURES JOURNAL

FEBRUARY 2011

HISTORICAL MINIATURES JOURNAL ISSUE NUMBER 11

PUBLISHED BY GEORGE GRASSE

PHOTO TOUR OF THE MARCH FIELD AIR MUSEUM, PART 1 (up to WW2)

RIVERSIDE, CALIFORNIA, SEPTEMBER 2010

By George Grasse

 

#1:  The pathway to the entrance takes you through a rather remarkable memorial area called "Heritage Courtyard".  This view is to the left (east) as you walk towards the entrance and shows the USAAF 15th Air Force Memorial Wall in the background and a bronze bust of Lt. General James "Jimmy" Doolittle, one of aviation's brightest stars.   Number "17975" beyond the wall is the tail of the museum's SR-71 "Blackbird".

 

#2:  This view is to the north on the opposite side of the courtyard.  The area to the right of the P-38 sculpture, in the center of the courtyard, is space dedicated to the DFC Memorial (see next photo). #3:  This is the main aerial sculpture designating the spot where the in-progress Distinguished Flying Service Memorial is to be completed, in the center of the courtyard. 

 

#4:  Two views of the replica Nieuport 11 "Bb" N 437 in Italian colors suspended above the museum's Gift Shop.  I visited the museum on a Saturday which is not the best time to see the exhibits in the main hall because the museum sponsors a great number of weekend activities.  On this day, temporary walls were set up and exhibits were pushed out from the center creating a crowded display area.

 

#5:  Boeing Stearman PT-13D "Kaydet" U. S. Army 1940 primary trainer..

 

#6:  Fairchild PT-19B "Cornell" low-wing primary trainer famous for its part in the Civilian Pilot Training (CPT) program in the United States.

 

#7:  Bell P-39 "Airacobra" circa 1941.  Total built exceeded 9,000.  Armed with four wing-mounted .30 caliber machine guns, two upper cowling mounted .50 caliber machine guns, and one propeller hob mounted 37mm cannon..

 

#8:  Bell P-59A "Airacomet" single-seat twin-jet engine fighter.  First flew in October 1942.  Bell was awarded a production contract for 80 aircraft of which 50 were completed before the contract was cancelled due to low performance.  Bell produced two versions: 20 P-59A and 30 P-59B (only slightly improved than the "A").  Each was armed with one 37mm cannon with 44 rounds and three .50 caliber machine guns with 200 rounds each.

 

#9:  Vultee BT-13 "Valiant" U. S. Army Air Corps single-engine basic trainer of the late 1930s (U. S. Navy version was the SNV).  This was the second phase trainer after completion of the first, or primary phase.  Featured more powerful engine, radio equipment, landing flaps, variable-pitch propeller, but with fixed landing gear.  Over 11,000 of all variants built.

 

#10:  North American B-25J "Mitchell".   The original B-25 was proposed in 1938 and upgraded through World War II from the "A" model to the "J" model which went into production in 1943.  Arguably, the best twin-engined medium bomber of World War II because of its great range of multi-purpose uses.  Almost 10,000 in all its variations were built.

 

#11:  Boeing B-17 "Flying Fortress".  Although out-built by the longer-range, larger-bomb load Consolidated B-24"Liberator", the B-17 is the icon of the U. S. Army Air Corps air operations in Europe during World War II.  First designed in the mid-1930s, by the end of World War II over 12,500 had been built.

 

#12:  Boeing B-29 "Superfortress".  Designed as a super heavy long-range, high-altitude bomber, its late development and the improving situation in Europe, made this an ideal bomber to cover the vast distances of the Pacific.  It's two most infamous roles were the fire-bombing of Japanese cities and the dropping of the atomic bombs.

 

#13: Aichi D3A "Val" (replica based on the Vultee BT-13).  Appeared in "Tora, Tora, Tora!" as a Japanese dive bomber over Pearl Harbor. 

 

#14: North American AT-6 (USAAF)/SNJ-4 (US Navy) "Texan".  USAAF World War 2 advanced trainer of which well over 15,000 of all versions were built. 

 

#15: Douglas A-26 single-seat, twin-engine three-crew attack bomber.  This 1942 design was intended for low-level ground attack.  Nearly 2500 were built.

 

I TOOK THESE PHOTOS IN SEPTEMBER 2010

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REFERENCE

March Field Air Museum Website:  www.marchfield.org   Email: info@marchfield.org

 

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