Boeing P-26 Peashooter

Discussion in 'Between the wars 1918-1939' started by evangilder, Jan 6, 2011.

  1. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    I will start this new section off with a post on the Boeing P-26 Peashooter. It was the first American fighter with all-metal skin and a monowing. It first flew in 1932 and was obsolete by the beginning of the war, although several were stationed in the Philippines when it was invaded by the Japanese. The Chinese Air Force Third Pursuit Group flew them in the CBI Theater early in the war and saw combat in 1937 against G3M bombers and even engaging with A5M 'Claude' fighters.

    The Spanish Republican Air Force had one P-26 during the Spanish Civil War that recorded no kills before being shot down in 1936.

    Philippine pilots scored a kill against a G3M bomber during the invasion of the Philippines. 3 A6M Zeros were also claimed, but they may have been Oscars.

    In 2006, a flyable P-26 Peashooter flew at the Chino Airshow. It marked the first time in more than 20 years that a P-26 flew at any airshow anywhere in the world.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. johnbr

    johnbr Well-Known Member

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    I have always thought it was pretty plane.
     
  3. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    I liked the looks too, but I don't know that I would want to fly one into aerial combat.
     
  4. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    #4 buffnut453, Jan 7, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2011
    There was a very interesting thread about the Phillipine P-26s on j-aircraft a while back:

    Phillipine Army Air Corps ?

    Cheers,
    Mark
     
  5. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    Good looks. Has more engineering flair to it than the later, WW2 fighters (where horsepower was king). Saw one on sale at Courtesy some time back. I think they were asking about half a million for it.
     
  6. comiso90

    comiso90 Active Member

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    Thats my favorite photo of yours. It would look great with an HDR treatment.

    Beautiful.. nice job...

    Do you happen to have a photo of the P-26 and a Ryan PT-22 in the air at the same time?
     
  7. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    I don't have that shot, but would love to get one. Then again, there is always photoshop...
     
  8. comiso90

    comiso90 Active Member

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  9. davparlr

    davparlr Well-Known Member

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    I always thought it was too cute to be a fighter, seems more like a toy. That and the P-6E. Both are favorites of mine of interwar fighters.
     
  10. daveT

    daveT Member

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    #10 daveT, Jun 17, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2014
    P-26s on the ramp at Wheeler circa 1937
    I love the little plane
    P-26s on the ramp at Wheeler circa 1937.jpg
     
  11. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    Neat stuff, Dave. I am guessing there are more in that photo than there are left that are either airworthy or capable of being so.
     
  12. wheelsup_cavu

    wheelsup_cavu Well-Known Member

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    I check out Planes of Fames P-26 whenever I go there. I always thought it was a neat little plane.


    Wheels
     
  13. daveT

    daveT Member

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    The colors painted on them are just fantasic! The bright yellows, blues reds etc. Before all the aircraft were painted OD green and grey. I miss that.
     
  14. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    Yeah, the high visibility colors make photographing them nice too. They "pop" against the sky.
     
  15. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    I wonder how they were to fly.
     
  16. JoeB

    JoeB Member

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    #16 JoeB, Jul 11, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 11, 2011
    None of the Philippine AF’s claims with P-26’s check out in Japanese records. The most detailed claims were:

    -2 Zeroes Dec 10 1941 including 1 by Jesus Villamor. This combat is pretty apparent in Japanese records: Zeroes of the 3rd Air Group believed they encountered a mixture of P26's and P-35's (no P-35's present), claimed 6 victories (4 actual P-26 losses), and suffered no losses themselves.
    -A Type 96 Land Attack Plane (later codenamed Nell) Dec 12 by Jesus Villamor. The 1st Air Group lost one such a/c this date, and “Bloody Shambles” by Shores et al matches this to the claim, so it’s now repeated in many other sources, but it’s not correct IMO. The claim was made over Batangas, but the 1st Air Group was attacking Clark field, pretty far to the north of Batangas, and its combat report attributes the loss to AA, w/ no enemy a/c encountered. In contrast the Takao AG attacked Batangas with 52 Type 1’s (later called ‘Betty’), around the same number the P-26’s claimed to encounter at the same place, but the Takao suffered no losses, and strangely they reported no contact with enemy a/c either. But some western sources put this Philippine claim on December 13 (for example USAAF official chronology does) when both Kanoya AG Type 1’s and JAAF 14th Sentai Type 97 Heavy Bombers (‘Sally’) did report enemy fighter attacks, 14th Sentai even claimed to have downed an enemy fighter, and US fighters made no known attacks on Japanese bombers either day. OTOH those formations were attacking Nichols (in Manila) and Clark fields respectively, not Batangas. So, it’s still unclear which formation of Japanese bombers the P-26’s attacked December 12th or 13th, but it doesn’t seem a P-26 actually downed a Type 96 Land Attack Plane in the Pacific War (but see below about Sino Japanese War)
    -Lt Jose Kare claimed one of two Zeroes he encountered in the 6th PS’s last operational P-26, but again the date is uncertain, usually reported as December 22 or 23rd 1941, but as December 24th in “Bloody Shambles”. The authors seem to use this date because the Tainan Air Group detachment then based at Legaspi in southern Luzon did lose a Zero in air combat on the 24th. But, this was pretty clearly in combat with US 17th PS P-35’s, an incident the authors seemed unware of but which is well documented, with the details matching pretty well on US and Japanese sides. It doesn’t seem Kare actually made his claim the 24th anyway, and the Tainan AG’s records describe operations on the 22nd and 23rd showing no contact with enemy a/c on either day.

    The JAAF didn’t operate the Type 1 Fighter (later ‘Oscar’) in the first Philippine campaign. The JAAF fighters in that campaign were fixed undercarriage Type 97’s (‘Nate’) which were encountered in December 1941 over northern Luzon after they’d established bases there, which they hadn’t yet at the time of the early raids on Manila area Dec 8-10, and not in southern Luzon where the later P-26 fighter claim was made.

    The height of the P-26’s combat career was as the Boeing Model 281 with the 17th PS of the Chinese Nationalist AF in the early days of the Sino Japanese War in 1937. See link, but to summarize the 281’s had apparent real successes v Type 96 Land Attack Planes in that war, making 6 of 16 Chinese claims against unescorted Type 96’s on August 15 1937, w/ 4 Type 96’s were actually lost and others damaged. A 281 pilot apparently downed 2 more unescorted Type 96’s the following day, but the a/c didn’t fare well in combat with JNAF fighters subsequently, losing 1 to a Type 95 biplane Aug 23, and at least 3 to Type 96 (‘Claude’) monoplane fighters in September with no know victories v Japanese fighters. The small Model 281 force was soon exhausted and the 17th converted to the Polikarpov I-15.
    http://surfcity.kund.dalnet.se/sino-japanese-1937.htm

    Joe
     
  17. airacobra47

    airacobra47 New Member

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    I think it is a pretty cool plane. i like the design, and the engine. I also like Boeing a lot, too. I also think that it is like the first real monoplane fighter, at least in america. i think it will look like a cool biplane, too.
     
  18. Conslaw

    Conslaw Member

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    The National Museum of the United States Air Force (which everyone still calls "The Air Force Museum") has a P-26, P-35 and P-36 on display. When you see these planes in close proximity, the P-26 looks hopelessly out of date.
     
  19. Maxrobot1

    Maxrobot1 Member

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    I always wondered what the other countries air forces thought of the P-26. Were they in awe, were they panicked at the though that their craft were outmoded or did they just pooh-pooh it and ignore it while they built biplanes?
     
  20. s1b

    s1b New Member

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    I think they ignored it as far as fearing it. I'm sure they were consumed by its design, but many biplanes could out perform it.
     
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