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Boeing Model 281 1703, 17th Sqn., Chinese Air Force, Nanking, WWII
General Background
Boeing’s first and last all-metal monoplane fighter produced for the US Army Air Corps. was the P-26. Known as the “Peashooter” there were 111 P-26As produced. The wings were braced with wire instead of wooden struts and this reduced drag and along with a 500 hp engine the aircraft was much faster than the older bi-planes. The mono-wing also meant a higher landing speed so flaps had to be added to slow the aircraft down. It had fixed landing gear and an open cockpit with just a windscreen to protect the pilot.
The Aircraft
In 1934 the Chinese Air Force ordered 11 Model 281 aircraft, the export version of the Boeing P-26. The “Peashooters” were assigned to the 17th Pursuit Squadron of the 3rd Pursuit Group based at Chuyung Airfield near Nanking. The aircraft were delivered with an overall light grey with large black letters. In mid August 1937 the 17th PS began defending Nanking from Japanese G3M attacks. Due to losses from the new Japanese A5M and a lack of spare parts the Model 281 was out of service when Nanking fell on December 13 1937.
Specifications :
Country of origin: USA
Manufacturer: Boeing Aircraft Company
Role: Fighter
Crew: One
Dimensions: Wing span - 27 ft. 11.5 in.
  Length - 23 ft. 10 in.
  Height - 10 ft. 5 in.
Weight: Empty - 2,197 lbs
  Maximum - 2,955 lbs.
Performance: Engine - Pratt and Whitney R-1340-27 (500 hp)
  Maximum speed - 234 mph (203 knots)
  Cruising speed - 199 mph (172 knots)
  Landing Speed - 82 mph (71.26 knots)
  Range - 360 statute miles (313 nautical miles)
  Service ceiling - 27,400 ft.
Armament 2 X fixed .30-cal. machine guns or,
  1 X .50- and one .30-cal. machine gun and
  Up to 200 lbs. of bombs