North American T-6 Texan airplane model. The T-6 Texan advanced trainer was one of the most widely used aircraft in history. Evolving from the BC-1 basic combat trainer ordered in 1937, 15,495 Texans were built between 1938 and 1945. The USAAF procured 10,057 AT-6s, others went to the Navy as SNJs and to more than 30 Allied nations. Most AAF fighter pilots trained in AT-6s prior to graduation from flying school. Many of the "Spitfire" and "Hurricane" pilots in the Battle of Britain trained in Canada in "Harvards," the British version of the AT-6. To comply with neutrality laws, U.S. built Harvards were flown north to the border and were pushed across.
In 1948, Texans still in USAF service were redesignated as T-6s when the AT, BT and PT aircraft designations were abandoned. To meet an urgent need for close air support of ground forces in the Korean Conflict, T-6s flew "mosquito missions" spotting enemy troops and guns and marking them with smoke rockets for attack by fighter-bombers.