20 Spectacular WWII Color Images Of The P-51 Mustang

The P-51 Mustang Fighter, a North American Aviation, is one of the most iconic fighter / fighter bombers that is single-seated and was used during World War 2. In total over 15,000 of these were manufactured.

The Mustang was designed originally to be used with the Allison V-1710 engine – making it a very good aircraft. When the B & C models were made of the P-51, they added a Rolls Royce Merlin engine and this completely transformed its performance at high altitude (15,000+ feet) which meant it matched or even bettered that of the Luftwaffe’s fighter jets.

The final version of the P-51 was the P-51D, and this was powered by yet another engine, the Packard V-1650-7, and was fully armed with .50 caliber M2 machine guns (6 in total on each jet).

From late in 1943 P-51’s were used to escort bombers in raids over occupied Europe and over Germany, all the way to Berlin. The P-51’s with the Merlin engines were also used as fighter-bombers which made sure that the Allied ruled supreme in the air in 1944.

The P-51 was also used in service with Allied air forces in Italian, Mediterranean and North African areas of service and also saw action in the Pacific War against the Japanese. Within World War 2, P-51 pilots claim to have shot down 4,950 enemy aircraft.

P-51 Mustang fighters at rest at an airfield in Burma, date unknown via WW2db

P-51B & P-51A Mustang fighters side-by-side at North American Aviation plant at Inglewood, California, United States, 1943 via WW2db

American ground crew preparing to arm P-51 Mustang fighter at an airfield with six M2 machine guns and 0.50 caliber ammunition, date unknown via WW2db

P-51A Mustang during a test flight near the North American Aviation plant in Inglewood, California, United States, Oct 1942 via WW2db

P-51 Mustang fighters being prepared for test flight, North American Aviation, Inglewood, California, United States, Oct 1942 via WW2db

A North American Aviation worker preparing a P-51 Mustang fighter for painting, Inglewood, California, United States, Oct 1942; note B-25 Mitchell bombers in background via WW2db

P-51A Mustang fighter of US 311th Fighter Group in flight over Burma, 1943-1945 via WW2db

P-51D Mustangs of the 4th Fighter Squadron in flight, Italy, 1944. via WW2db

USAAF Capt Don Gentile sits on the wing of his P-51B Mustang “Shangri-La” of the 336th Fighter Squadron at RAF Debden, Essex, England, UK; 1944-45. Via WW2db

View from the control tower at Martlesham Heath, Suffolk, England, UK, of P-51D Mustangs of the 360th Fighter Squadron in sandbag revetments, 1944. Via WW2db

P-51B Mustang “Ding Hao!” and Maj James Howard (in cap) of the 356th Fighter Squadron at RAF Boxted, Essex, England, UK; early 1944.

Major James Howard had one of the more interesting victory totals. Before the war, he flew Navy dive-bombers from carriers Lexington, Wasp, and Enterprise. He resigned his Naval commission to join the American Volunteer Group in China, the “Flying Tigers.” He destroyed 6 Japanese aircraft with the AVG. He accepted a commission as a major in the USAAF after the AVG disbanded in 1942. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on January 11, 1944. This photo was likely staged to commemorate that award and to show off his unique “scoreboard.” Via WW2db

‘The Iowa Beaut,’ a P-51B of the 354th Fighter Squadron flown over the English countryside by Lt Robert E Hulderman, mid-1944. A different pilot in this plane was lost near Rechtenbach, Germany, Sep 11, 1944 via WW2db

P-51 Mustang fighters of the US Army Air Force 375th Fighter Squadron flying in formation, Europe, 7 Jul-9 Aug 1944 via WW2db

P-51D Mustang aircraft ‘Tika IV’ of the US Army 361st Flight Group, Jul-Dec 1944 via WW2db

B-17G Fortresses of the 381st Bomb Group are escorted by a P-51B of the 354th Fighter Squadron, Summer-Fall 1944 via WW2db

B-24 Liberators of 458th Bomb Group are escorted by P-51 Mustangs of the 486th Fighter Squadron, 1944-45. Via WW2db

P-38H-5-LO Lightning, P-51A-10 Mustang, and P-47D Thunderbolt aircraft in flight together, United States, 1944-1945 via WW2db

P-51D of the 99th Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group shows off it distinctive red tail, probably at Ramitelli Airfield, Italy, 1944-45. Via WW2db

US pilot Lieutenant Colonel C. H. Older in the cockpit of a P-51D Mustang fighter, China, circa Feb-Mar 1945 Via WW2db

P-51B and P-51C Mustang fighters of the US Army Air Force 118th Tactical Recon Squadron at Laohwangping Airfield, Guizhou Province, China, Jun 1945 via WW2db

Joris Nieuwint

Joris Nieuwint is a battlefield guide for the Operation Market Garden area. His primary focus is on the Allied operations from September 17th, 1944 onwards. Having lived in the Market Garden area for 25 years, he has been studying the events for nearly as long. He has a deep understanding of the history and a passion for sharing the stories of the men who are no longer with us.

@joris1944 facebook.com/joris.nieuwint