The first American fighter fitted with a tricyle undercarriage and mid-mounted engine, the P-39 proved less than successful in the hands of its launch customer, the US Army Air Force (AAF). Hampered by unreliabilty and poor engine performance at high altitude, the P-39 nevertheless served alongside the P-40 and P-38 in the bitter struggle to capture Guadalcanal in 1942/43, as well as seeing much action over the jungles of New Guinea. Around a dozen AAF aces scored five kills with the P-39, although this total was far outstripped by the Soviet Red Air Force, whose pilots rated the Airacobra as one of the best lend-lease fighters of the war.
About the Author
John Stanaway has written two best-selling volumes in the Aces series both covering the exploits of the greatest Pacific fighter of them all, the P-38 Lightning. He is also an official historian of the National P-38 Pilots' Association.
"Loved by some, hated by others, the Bell P-39 Airacobra is a fascinating, but largely forgotten aircraft of WWII history that played a significant role in the early air combat in the Pacific. This book is another excellent work of research by author John Stanaway and full of interesting history, photographs and appendixes of pilots who scored kills in the Airacobra." -www.pacificwrecks.com