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Next up in our Big Reveal is our Combat Aircraft series, which will see 5 new titles landing onto shelves in 2018.
B-25 Mitchell Units of the CBI
The B-25 Mitchell was the only American medium bomber to operate in the China-Burma-India (CBI) Theater. Commencing operations in July 1942 in China, and a few months later from India, the B-25 flew continuously until the end of the war. For nearly a year a single squadron of B-25s were the only American bombers available in China. When this was later increased to two bomber groups, the B-25 represented a substantial portion of Allied bombing capacity in China, ultimately dropping more bombs than their larger four-engined B-24 Liberator brethren. The B-25 units in the CBI Theater flew nearly every version of the Mitchell, using the B-25 for medium altitude bombing missions, low-level strafing missions and bridge-busting missions.
Heinkel He 177 Units of World War 2
In many ways, the Heinkel He 177 ‘Greif’ (Griffon) was Nazi Germany's ‘lost’ strategic bomber. With some fundamental creases ironed out, and built in large numbers, the He 177 would have offered the Luftwaffe the means with which to carry out long-range, mass bombing attacks against targets of a strategic nature. Although competing interests and personalities served to prevent this from happening, from mid-1943 the aircraft nevertheless saw service over Britain, the Atlantic, the Mediterranean and the Soviet Union. The He 177 flew to the end of the war, with some machines undertaking extremely hazardous low-level missions against Soviet armour in Poland in late 1944-45.
Savoia-Marchetti S.79 Sparviero Bomber Units
Initially developed by Savoia-Marchetti as a transport, the S.79 had evolved into a dedicated medium bomber by the time the aircraft made its combat debut in the Spanish Civil War in 1936. During World War 2, it became Italy’s most successful bomber, and the most produced, with around 1,370 built between 1936 and early 1944. Although initially hampered by poor tactics, the S.79 bomber crews nonetheless scored sunk a number of Allied vessels, and provided a constant threat to Allied sailors in the Mediterranean in the early stages of the war. In East Africa and the Red Sea the Sparvieri were the most modern bombers in-theatre, proving a challenge to RAF and SAAF biplane fighters.
Short Stirling Units of World War 2
Of the RAF’s trio of four-engined heavy bombers in World War 2, the mighty Short Stirling was the first to enter service in August 1940. From its first raid in February 1941, the Stirling was at the forefront of the British night bombing offensive against Germany before unacceptably high losses forced its relegation to second-line duties later in the war. In its modified form as the Mark IV the Stirling fulfilled vital roles with the RAF as a paratroop transport and glider tug on D-Day, at Arnhem and on the Rhine crossing, as well as flying countless Special Duties operations over Occupied Europe and Norway. After the war, as the Mk V, the Stirling enjoyed a brief spell as a long-range passenger transport. Its last gasp was in 1948-49 when a handful of Mk Vs were acquired by the Royal Egyptian Air Force to bomb Israel in the First Arab–Israeli War.
US Navy F-4 Phantom II Units of the Vietnam War 1969-73
The F-4 Phantom II was the most important fighter-bomber to see action with all three American services during the Vietnam War, but it was essentially a US Navy design, and the carrier-borne squadron crews were its main operators in combat. The aircraft pioneered the use of long-range, radar-guided missiles in combat, although the majority of its Vietnam missions involved ground-attack with a variety of innovative ordnance. From 1968 to 1973 the Phantom II was the standard US Navy fighter in Southeast Asia, having replaced several other types. Its performance and versatility enabled it to perform a variety of different missions, and switch roles as necessary, in the assault on some of the world’s most heavily defended territory.
Which of these five new titles are you most excited for? Which will be joining your collection?