A large number of the aircraft in the Flying Heritage Combat Armor Museum’s collection are combat vets. More than “hangar queens and training aircraft,” these are warplanes that were tested in battle.
The institution’s Focke-Wulf Fw 190 was brought down while attacking a Russian train near Leningrad in July of 1943. The museum’s Messerschmitt Bf 109 was last seen tangling with Spitfires over the English Channel in July of 1940. The museum’s Spitfire, too, fought over the English Channel, collecting holes from a close brush with German gunfire in May of 1943.
The museum’s Curtiss P-40 Tomahawk served with the Soviet Union, damaged multiple times by bullets during nearly a year of combat service. In September of 1942, an attacking Messerschmitt got the best of the Red Army fighter, holing its oil tank and bringing it down.
The museum’s North American P-51 Mustang was flown by USAAF ace “Bud” Tordoff. He used the fighter to shoot down an Me 262 jet fighter on March 31, 1945. The Corsair arrived in the Philippines in the last months of the war and participated in many bombing and napalm-dropping runs as well as launching 5-inch rockets in island attacks.
The museum’s Ilyushin Il-2 was shot from the skies on in October of 1944 while attacking a German airfield. Interestingly enough, the plane carries some portions of at least three other Il-2s as well, each brought down while fighting in Northwest Russia.
Decades later, the F-105 seen at the museum flew a great number of combat missions over Vietnam, first lugging bombs and later as a “Wild Weasel.” In October of 1968, the plane was nearly destroyed when the aft section of the plane was heavily damaged during an attack run.
There are probably others. The mangled carcasses of the FHCAM’s Oscar, Zero, and I-16, among others, were all found on the battlefield, but yet their actual wartime records are not yet known.