Boeing P-26 Model 281

The Boeing P-26 Peashooter, known as the Model 281 in Chinese service, was the first monoplane fighter to be embraced by the USAAC. It was an all metal, low wing design with a semi-monocoque construction, which was very advanced for the era. However, it was deliberately designed without retractable landing gear in order to appease conservative generals in charge of acquisition, as well as having unnecessary wing braces.

A total of 10 Model 281s were produced for the Republic of China Air Force in 1934, but because the Chinese were unable to pay for them they remained in the US until 1936. Once accepted into service, the 281s proved to be amongst the most capable fighters that the Chinese possessed. A group of the fighters intercepted the raid on Nanking by the G3Ms of the Kisarazu Kokutai on 15th August 1937, shooting down several. 281s also participated in the first aerial combat between metal monoplanes when they met Japanese A5M fighters over Nanking.

The rigours of combat took their toll on the Chinese 281s, and by the end of 1937 all had been destroyed in aerial combat, by bombing on the ground, or in accidents.

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