|Built by:||Jason van Lint|
|Kit:||1/48 Academy USAAF P-40N “Battle of Imphal” (No. 12341)|
|Built ‘Out Of Box’|
|Unit:||89th FS, 80th FG, 10th AF|
|Location:||Imphal, India, 1944|
|Pilot:||2nd Lt. Philip Adair|
Area of Operations
Japan attempted to destroy Allied forces in and around the city of Imphal to open the way to the
conquest of India. At this time the war was going badly for Japan and the Allies were massing forces
around Imphal with the intent to drive the Japanese out of Burma. The Japanese launched their
attack on Imphal on the 8 th of March 1944 with the aim of destroying the Allied forces, capturing
Imphal and advancing into India to finally cut off all supply routes to China. The battle was a turning
point in the Burma campaign, ending with the defeated Japanese breaking off their offensive on the
3 rd of July 1944 and opening the way for the Allies to recapture Burma.
Allied air support for the campaign was provided by the RAF 3 rd Tactical Air Force (3 rd TAF) and the US
10 th Air Force (10 th AF). The 80 th Fighter Group (FG) was attached to the 10 th AF and initially defended the Indian end of the “Hump” route. This was the massive effort to fly supplies over the Himalayas, the Hump, to China.
During the Battle for Imphal and the subsequent drive into Burma, the 80 th FG provided support for
Allied ground forces by bombing and strafing Japanese troops, destroying artillery, supply dumps
and lines of communication. Calling themselves the “Burma Banshees”, the group decorated the
nose of their P-40s with gruesome skull designs.
2 nd Lt. Philip Adair was a flight leader as part of the 89 th Fighter Squadron (FS) of the 80 th FG. His most notable mission was his 44 th , on the 13 th of December 1943, while flying the first “Lulu Belle”. He had just landed from an uneventful patrol and was resting when the alert for an incoming raid was
sounded. Jumping in his refuelled and rearmed aircraft he found himself alone and above the
incoming raid which consisted of 24 bombers and an estimated 35-40 fighters. Adair made several
passes and was credited with one Ki-43 ‘Oscar’ fighter destroyed, two damaged and one Ki-21 ‘Sally’
bomber damaged for the mission.
This “Lulu Belle” was Adair’s second P-40N and by the time he was flying this aircraft in early 1944 he
was flying mostly air to surface missions in defence of Imphal and in support of “Merrill’s
Marauders”, a long-range Army unit fighting behind Japanese lines in the north of Burma. Adair was credited with a further two Oscars on the 17 th of May while flying this aircraft to bring his total to
three kills plus three damaged.