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|Signatures on this item|
|*The value given for each signature has been calculated by us based on the historical significance and rarity of the signature. Values of many pilot signatures have risen in recent years and will likely continue to rise as they become more and more rare.|
Flt Lt Joseph Peterburs
*Signature Value : £45
|Joe Peterburs enlisted in the US Army Air Corps on the 30th of November, 1942 and was called to active duty as an Aviation Cadet on 26th January, 1943. On 15th April, 1944 after a rigorous flying training program, he received his pilots wings and commission as a 2nd Lieutenant. After graduation he flew the P-40N and A-24 during combat replacement training. On 6th November, 1944 Lt. Peterburs arrived in England and was assigned to the 55th Fighter Squadron of the 20th Fighter Group. He was 19 years old. The unit was equipped with the P-51 Mustang fighter aircraft and he quickly checked out in a P-51B and accumulated about 20 hours in the B, C and D models before flying combat. He flew many memorable missions, the 49th and last of which was the most exciting. On this mission, 10 April, 1945, Joe Peterburs shot down German Ace Walter Schuck in his Me262 turbo jet. Later that day Joe Peterburs was also shot down by enemy ground fire while strafing an airfield. He was captured, escaped and fought with a Russian tank unit to the battle of Wittenberg on the Elbe.|
|The Aircraft :|
|Mustang||The ubiquitous North American P-51 Mustang, which many consider to be the best all-around fighter of WW II, owes its origins to the British Air Ministry. Following Britains entry into WW II in 1939, the RAF was interested in purchasing additional fighter aircraft from American sources, particularly the Curtiss P-40. Curtiss, which was busy, was unable to guarantee timely delivery so the British approached North American Aviation as a possible second source for the P-40. North American chose to propose its own fighter design which would use the same Allison engine as the P-40. Utilizing new laminar flow wings, the North American fighter was expected to have performance better than the P-40. Developed in record time the new aircraft was designated as a Mustang I by the Brits, whereas the USAAF ordered two for evaluation which were designated XP-51 Apaches. Intrigued with the possibility of using this aircraft also as a dive bomber, North American proposed this to the USAAF which decided to order 500 of the P-51 aircraft to be modified for dive bombing use. Designated as the A-36 Invader, this version of the Mustang utilized dive flaps, and bomb racks under each wing. Some reinforcing of the structural members was also required because of the G-forces to be encountered in dive bombing. A-36s entered combat service with the USAAF prior to any P-51s. In early 1943 the 86th and 27th Fighter Bomber Groups of the 12th Air Force began flying A-36s out of Northern Africa. Despite some early problems with instability caused by the dive flaps, the A-36 was effective in light bombing and strafing roles. It was not, however, capable of dog fighting with German fighters, especially at higher altitudes. Despite these drawbacks one USAAF pilot, Captain Michael T. Russo, who served with the 16th Bomb Squadron of the 27th Fighter Bomber Group, was credited with five confirmed aerial victories in the A-36, thereby becoming the first mustang ace.|
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