Post by Dave Homewood on May 12, 2007 21:10:10 GMT 12
Most of us are familiar with the famous P-40M Wairarapa Wildcat.
Most model manufacturers who've ever produced a kit of or decals for an RNZAF P-40 have chosen this particular aircraft colour scheme.
And rightly so, as it was very much associated with the top scoring RNZAF (and British Empire) ace of the Pacific, Geoff Fisken. It's usually referred to as his personal aircraft - I guess it's more realistic to say it was the aircraft that wore his personal markings as the aircraft were swapped around by the pilots on an as needed basis.
The kill markings on the cowl beside the famous furious cat nose art were the kills of Fisken himself, not of the aircraft.
Interestingly Geoff Fisken only made two kills in NZ3072, but the aircraft was an ace with six confirmed kills.
They were: NZ3072 Kills
F/O Geoff Fisken 14 Squadron Two Zekes destroyed 12 June 1943
F/Sgt Noel Pirie 16 Squadron One Hamp destroyed 26 Aug 1943
F/Lt Robert 'Jim' Balfour 18 Squadron Two Zekes destroyed 1 Nov 1943
F/O Len Rayner 18 Squadron One Val destroyed 17 Nov 1943
NZ3072 served with No 15 Squadron, then 14 Squadron, then 16 Squadron and finally 18 Squadon. It suffered a slight accident and was repaired and then returned to New Zealand.
It was then used as an operational trainer at No. 2 OTU, Ohakea for the rest of the war.
Sadly it ended its days at Rukuhia and was cut up for scrap.
I wonder, as far as aircraft that shot down enemy aircraft, was this particular airframe the RNZAF's highest scorer?
Post by Dave Homewood on May 12, 2007 21:22:05 GMT 12
Something else of note with this aircraft as it was in the No. 4 OTU Ardmore four-ship formation in which a collision between it and NZ3112 resulted in the death of Sgt John Tirakatane, which has been documented in both Bryan Cox's books and by Trevor Pearce who was flying the lead ship, NZ3110.