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
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