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In Memory of June 6, 1944
6 axis machining
Image by Storm Crypt
I thought I’d just break away from my Rome photo series however once more. I never break photo series so usually –unless there’s actually anything crucial to post. Here is a photo, taken from a spot about 2 hours by train from Paris, France. On a hill, facing a beach, and the English Channel — and hidden behind the morning mist on the horizon, is England.

The beach is now quiet, a couple of folks right here and there, sailing, fishing, walking, jogging. They can now park their cars appropriate beside the beach and get pleasure from the sight. 65 years ago even though… this coastline was red with blood. About 5,000 soldiers died in this stretch of beach alone.

On June 6, 1944, allied troops landed on this beach, overlooked by this hill. Sitting ducks for concealed German bunkers (like what you’re seeing in the photo) equipped with machine guns, raining down fire on the wading allied forces.

On this beach, 65 years ago, 5,000 allied troops died. That is on this stretch of beach alone. In the 80 days prior to and after June six, a quarter million soldiers died in total.

What occurred right here 65 years ago, was the greatest ever military landings of all time. Personified by numerous wonderful films like &quotThe Longest Day&quot, &quotSaving Private Ryan&quot amongst other individuals.

Omaha Beach
Normandy, France

Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center: Northrop P-61C Black Widow
6 axis machining
Image by Chris Devers
Evaluate &amp contrast:

Northrop P-61C Black widow:
* Front view
* Above view

Star Wars ARC-170 Fighter:
* Official page
* Wikia
* Wikipedia
* Toy review

I put it to you that they’re the Very same Thing.

* twin engines
* double-cockpit in front
* gunner’s cockpit in back
* broad wing coming out from the middle

• • • • •

See a lot more pictures of this, and the Wikipedia post.

Specifics, quoting from Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum: Steven F. Udvar-Hazy | Northrop P-61C Black Widow:

The P-61 Black Widow was the very first U.S. aircraft created to locate and destroy enemy aircraft at evening and in negative climate, a feat created attainable by the use of on-board radar. The prototype initial flew in 1942. P-61 combat operations started just after D-Day, June six, 1944, when Black Widows flew deep into German airspace, bombing and strafing trains and road visitors. Operations in the Pacific started at about the exact same time. By the end of Planet War II, Black Widows had noticed combat in each and every theater and had destroyed 127 enemy aircraft and 18 German V-1 buzz bombs.

The Museum’s Black Widow, a P-61C-1-NO, was delivered to the Army Air Forces in July 1945. It participated in cold-weather tests, high-altitude drop tests, and in the National Thunderstorm Project, for which the prime turret was removed to make room for thunderstorm monitoring gear.

Transferred from the United States Air Force.

Northrop Aircraft Inc.


Nation of Origin:
United States of America

All round: 450 x 1500cm, 10637kg, 2000cm (14ft 9 3/16in. x 49ft two 9/16in., 23450.3lb., 65ft 7 three/8in.)

Long Description:
The P-61 Black Widow was the 1st United States aircraft created from the begin to uncover and destroy other aircraft at evening and in negative climate. It served in combat for only the final year of World War II but flew in the European, Mediterranean, Pacific, and China-Burma-India theaters. Black Widow crews destroyed 127 enemy aircraft and 18 robot V-1 buzz bombs.

Jack Northrop’s large fighter was born throughout the dark days of the Battle of Britain and the London Blitz in 1940. British successes against German daylight bombers forced the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) to shift to evening bombing. By the time Royal Air Force (RAF) Spitfires could launch, climb out, and then try to intercept these raids, the bombers crews had generally dropped their loads and turned for residence. An aircraft was required to patrol the skies more than England for up to seven hours during the evening, and then follow radar vectors to attack German aircraft just before they reached their target. U.S. Army Air Corps officers noted this requirement and decided that America need to have a night fighter if and when it entered the war.

The Army awarded a contract to Northrop on January 30, 1941. The resulting design and style featured twin tail booms and rudders for stability when the aircraft closed in behind an intruder. It was a large aircraft with a big fuel load and two potent engines. Armament evolved into 4 20 mm cannons mounted in the belly firing forward and a powered, remote-controlled turret on leading of the center fuselage equipped with 4 .50 cal. machine guns. The 3-man crew consisted of the pilot, a gunner seated behind him, and a radar observer/gunner at the rear behind the gun turret. Only the pilot could fire the cannons but any of the 3 could operate the machine guns.

Simultaneously, operate was proceeding, at a laboratory run by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to create the airborne radar set. The Army tested an early design in a Douglas B-18 in 1941. The a lot-improved SCR-520 set was ready by early 1942. Meanwhile, Army enthusiasm for the XP-61 made an additional contract on March ten, 1941, for 13 service-test YP-61s. Even prior to these airplanes flew, Northrop received orders for 410 production machines! Northrop test pilot Vance Breeze flew the aircraft on Could 26, 1942. Although the Black Widow was nearly as huge as a medium bomber, it was a true fighter. The only prohibited flight maneuvers have been outside loops, sustained inverted flight, and deliberate spins.

As Northrop advanced the style toward production, provide difficulties arose and modifications became needed. The four-gun best turret was the identical type fitted to the top forward position on the Boeing B-29 Superfortress (see NASM collection) and that bomber had production priority more than the P-61. As a result, many hundred P-61s did not have this turret. Those that did skilled buffeting when the turret was traversed from side to side and a fix took time. By October 1943, the very first P-61s have been coming off the line. Training started right away, and the first night fighters arrived in the European Theater by March 1944. Combat operations began just after D-Day (June six) and the Black Widows rapidly departed from their original part as defensive interceptors and became aggressors. They flew deep into German airspace, bombing and strafing trains and road visitors and producing travel difficult for the enemy by day and at night.

P-61s arrived in the Pacific Theater at about the same time as the European Black Widows. For years, the Japanese had operated lone bombers more than Allied targets at evening and now U. S. fighters could find and attack them. Even so, on June 30, 1944, a Mitsubishi BETTY (see NASM collection) became the 1st P-61 kill in the Pacific. Soon, Black Widows controlled the evening skies. On the evening of August 14-15, a P-61 named &quotLady in the Dark&quot by her crew encountered an intruding Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa (Peregrine Falcon) OSCAR (see NASM collection) and sooner or later forced it into the sea with out firing a shot. Though the war was officially more than, no one particular was certain that all of the Japanese had heard the message and stopped fighting. The American evening fighters flew once again the next night and &quotLady in the Dark&quot once more located a target. It was a Nakajima Ki-44 Shoki (Demon) TOJO and the fighters maneuvered wildly as they attempted to obtain an benefit. The P-61 crew lost and reacquired the Ki-44 several instances then finally lost it for good and returned to base. The subsequent day ground troops located the wrecked TOJO. In the darkness, Lady in the Dark’s crew had forced the Japanese pilot to fly into the ground, once again with no firing a shot.

With the war over, the Army cancelled additional production. Northrop had built 706 aircraft like 36 with a very modified center fuselage. These F-15As (later redesignated RF-61C) mounted a quantity of cameras in the nose and proved in a position reconnaissance platforms. Several of these airplanes participated in the first good aerial photographic survey of the Pacific islands. A couple of, plus some unique purpose P-61s, stayed in active service till 1950.

NASM’s Black Widow is a P-61C-1-NO, U.S. Army Air Forces serial number 43-8330. Northrop delivered it to the Army on July 28, 1945. By October 18, this P-61 was flying at Ladd Field, Alaska, in cold weather tests and it remained there until March 30, 1946. This airplane later moved to Pinecastle Air Force Base, Florida, for participation in the National Thunderstorm Project. The project’s aim was to learn much more about thunderstorms and to use this knowledge to better protect civil and military airplanes that operated close to them. The U. S. Climate Bureau and the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) undertook the study with cooperation from the Army Air Forces and Navy. With its radar and distinct flight qualities, the P-61 was capable of obtaining the most turbulent regions of a storm, penetrating them, and returning crew and instruments intact for detailed study.

Pinecastle personnel removed the guns and turret from 43-8330 in July 1946 to make area for new gear. In September, the aircraft moved to Clinton County Army Air Base, Ohio, exactly where it remained till January 1948. The Air Force then assigned the aircraft to the Flight Test Division at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Right after declaring the airplane surplus in 1950, the Air Force stored it at Park Ridge, Illinois, on October 3 along with crucial aircraft destined for the National Air Museum.

But 43-8830 was not done flying. NACA asked the Smithsonian to lend them the aircraft for use in another specific system. The committee wanted to investigate how aerodynamic shapes behaved when dropped from higher altitude. The Black Widow arrived at the Ames Aeronautical Laboratory, Naval Air Station Moffett Field, California, on February 14, 1951. NACA returned the aircraft and delivered it to the Smithsonian at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, on August ten, 1954. When the engines shut down for the last time, this P-61 had accumulated only 530 total flight hours. Smithsonian personnel trucked it to the Paul Garber Facility in Suitland, Maryland. In 2006, the aircraft was preserved and assembled at the Udvar-Hazy Center. The three various paint schemes from its previous service life have been revealed by meticulously removing individual layers of paint.