P-26 A Peashooter Fighter
Begun in 1931 as a private project, with the US Army providing the engines and instruments, the model 248 first flew in 1932. The prototype had a high landing speed which necessitated adding flaps to reduce the landing speed. In spite of this it was still a tricky plane to land with a tendency to flip on it's back. This required adding a taller, armored headrest. Deliveries began in December 1933 with the 151st aircraft coming off the assembly line in 1936. The P-26 Peashooter was the first US all metal production fighter aircraft and the first pursuit monoplane used by the United States Army Air Corps. Overall, 22 different squadrons flew the P-26 and they were the USAAC front line fighter plane until 1938. Although removed from front line service the P-26 was still in use with the USAAC as late as 1941 in the Philippines. The P-26 was also exported to the Philippines, China and Guatemala. Their first combat action was in China on August 15, 1937 when eight Chinese Air Force P-26s fought eight Mitsubishi G3M Nell bombers. They shot down 2 bombers with no loses. In December 1941 there were 28 P-26s in the Philippines they claimed one G3M and two Mitsubishi A6M2 Zeros. The rest were burned on December 24, 1941. In 1942 Guatemala acquired seven P-26s. They continued to serve until the last two were retired in 1956. The B-26 was armed with either two.30 cal. M1919 Browning machineguns or one .30 cal. and one .50 cal. machineguns. It could also carry two 100 lb GP bombs or five 31 lb antipersonnel bombs. There are two original P-26 Peashooters still surviving. This model shows a P-26 Peashooter flying with the 94th Pursuit Squadron in the mid 1930s.