318th Fighter Squadron P-51 Mustang Model
Fly with the ‘Queen of Hearts’ of the 318th Fighter Squadron in this handcrafted P-51 Mustang Model. Each model is carved from wood and hand painted to provide a piece you’ll love.
- Length- 15 inches; Width – 18″
- Made from Mahogany
- US Veteran-Owned Business
World War II
The squadron was first organized at Mitchel Field, New York on 3 August 1942 as one of the three original squadrons of the 325th Fighter Group, but moved the same day to New Bedford Army Air Field, Massachusetts. It equipped with Curtiss P-40 Warhawks and trained for combat at New Bedford and Grenier Field, New Hampshire until late January 1943, when it began to deploy overseas.
The squadron arrived in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations in February and was established at its first combat station, Tafaraoui Airfield, Algeria by 28 February 1943. It flew its first combat mission on 17 April. It escorted medium bombers. It flew strafing missions and flew sweeps over the Mediterranean Sea from bases in Algeria and Tunisia. The squadron participated in the defeat of Axis forces in Tunisia. It participated in the reduction of Pantelleria and in Operation Husky, the invasion and conquest of Sicily. On 30 July, the 325th Group used diversionary tactics to lure a superior number of enemy planes into the air over Sardinia, destroying more than half of them. The squadron was awarded its first Distinguished Unit Citation for this action. In late September 1943, the squadron was withdrawn from combat to convert to Republic P-47 Thunderbolts and prepare to move to the Italian peninsula.
By early December 1943, the squadron began to operate its Thunderbolts from Foggia Airfield, Italy, flying its first mission with the new plane on 14 December. However, it only operated the P-47 for a short period, converting to North American P-51 Mustangs in March 1944, and moving to Lesina Airfield, Italy on the 29th of the month. However, on 30 January it flew its “T-Bolts” more than 300 miles at very low altitude to make a surprise attack on German interceptors defending airdromes near Villorba. The severe losses it inflicted on the defending forces enabled heavy bombers to attack vital targets in the area without encountering serious opposition. This action resulted in the second award of the Distinguished Unit Citation to the squadron.
It escorted the heavy bombers of Fifteenth Air Force on long range missions against the Daimler Benz factory in Berlin, the Messerschmitt factory in Regensburg and oil refineries near Vienna. It also flew escort for attacks on other targets, such as airfields and marshalling yards and lines of communication in Italy, France, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, Yugoslavia and Romania. It also protected reconnaissance aircraft and strafed trains, vehicles and airfields. The squadron continued operations until May 1945. The 318th was credited with the destruction of 173 enemy aircraft in air to air combat. After V-E Day, it moved to Vincenzo Airfield, Italy, remaining there until October, when it returned to the United States and was inactivated at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey on 28 October.