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P-61B Black Widow - USAAF 418th NFS, #42-5610 Midnite Madness, Morotai Island, 1944 

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Air Force 1 1:72 0090E
P-61B Black Widow - USAAF 418th NFS, #42-5610 Midnite Madness, Morotai Island, 1944
World War II

Historical Note:



The 418th Night Fighter Squadron was activated on 1 April 1943 at the Army Air Force School of Applied Tactics, Orlando Army Air Base, Florida. After several months of training with Douglas P-70 Havoc night fighters, the unit was deployed to Dobodura Airfield, New Guinea. It was the first dedicated night interceptor squadron assigned to the Pacific Theater. However, it was found that the P-70 was not very successful in actual combat interception of Japanese fighters at night. In September 1944, the squadron was re-equipped with Northrop P-61 Black Widows and moved to Morotai Island in the Netherlands East Indies where they engaged enemy aircraft. In the East Indies, additional North American B-25 Mitchells and P-38s were assigned, using the B-25s for night intruder operations, P-61s for night fighter operations and the P-38s for searchlight cooperation operations. In November the squadron moved to the Philippines, arriving on Leyte on 14 November.

The heavily-armed Black Widow-the United States' first aircraft specifically designed as a night-fighter-first flew on May 21st, 1942. The P-61 had four forward-firing 20mm cannons and a dorsal turret housing four .50-caliber machine guns. The radar equipment in its nose enabled its crew to locate and attack enemy aircraft in total darkness. The twin boom arrangements housed two Pratt & Whitney turbocharged engines and were joined at rear by a large plane and twin rudder formation. The pilot was seated in the main fuselage, with the gunner immediately behind him and the radar operator at the rear of the gondola.

Info: P-61B Black Widow - USAAF 418th NFS, #42-5610 Midnite Madness, Morotai Island, 1944

Product Videos

P-61 Black Widow Night Fighter (12:56)
Subscribe to Dark Skies: https://bit.ly/dark5skies The first operational U.S. aircraft specifically designed as a night-fighter was the P-61 Black Widow. Created in 1940 by Northrop Aviation, in collaboration with the British Royal Air Force, the P-61 was also the first aircraft designed to use radar. With its mysterious appearance and name, the Black Widow ruled the night in the waning months of World War 2. It would even collect the last confirmed air-to-air kill on the last night of the war... - As images and footage of actual events are not always available, Dark Skies sometimes utilizes similar historical images and footage for dramatic effect. I do my best to keep it as visually accurate as possible. All content on Dark Skies is researched, produced, and presented in historical context for educational purposes. We are history enthusiasts and are not always experts in some areas, so please don't hesitate to reach out to us with corrections, additional information, or new ideas. -
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