Color Footage of Pilots’ Views From P-51 Mustangs over Japanese Airfields, c. 1945

A North American P-51 Mustang in Flight. Wikipedia / Public Domain
A North American P-51 Mustang in Flight. Wikipedia / Public Domain

Fly with a P-51 Mustang pilot as he levels destruction on Japanese airfields in WWII! This is a breathtaking vantage point from the cockpit of one of the Allied forces’ most feared and revered fighter warplanes, in stunning color film! Like stepping back in time, the green landscape rolls and swells as the pilot soars and dives, annihilating enemy aircraft in a series of strafing runs that are yet to be identified.

The Mustangs featured in this video are likely P-51D variants, produced in May 1944. The P-51D wielded with six .50 calibre Browning machine guns, 10 zero rail rockets under its wings and excelled at destroying enemy defences through strafing runs, such as that depicted here.

P-51D Mustangs were highly valued as fighter plane escorts for B17 bombers over Western Europe. The P-51D had longer flight mileage than its predecessor the P-51B that enabled it to reach any destination in occupied Europe, making it indispensable for daylight raids over Germany. The tight manoeuvrability and speed of the Mustang made it a tricky target for Luftwaffe fighter planes. Strafing runs against the Luftwaffe were a speciality of the Mustang, and became common once increasing numbers of German planes were grounded due to fuel shortages.

The details of these strafing missions are not yet known. As the P-51 Mustang was a fairly late arrival the Pacific theatre of war, this footage was likely taken in 1945, after the American victory at Iwo Jima in March. Once this island had been secured, Mustangs were used to escort the B-29 Superfortress bomber attacks against the Japanese home islands.

Feel the intensity as this pilot swoops and fires at landed aircraft with spectacular, explosive accuracy. This is no flight simulator – it is breathtaking genuine footage of WWI Pacific air operations. Step back in time and experience the adrenaline of flying with a WWII Mustang pilot over Japanese territory.

Audrey Gerrard

Audrey Gerrard is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE