North American – P-51 Mustang




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North American P-51 Mustang  – American single-seat long-range fighter during the Second World War.

During the Second World War, From 1942, “Mustangs” began to be actively used in the Royal Air Force of Great Britain. They patrolled the English Channel and flew to attack ground targets in northern France. The Mustang fought its first air battle on July 27, 1942 over Dieppe. This flight sortie was attacked by a pair of FW-190s and lost the first Mustang, which was flown by American volunteer pilot Hollis Hillis of 414 Squadron RAF. On August 19, 1942, the P-51A, together with the Spitfires, covered the landing zone during Operation Jubilee. – the landing of British troops in the port of Dieppe, where it showed itself well in battles (in Dieppe, P-51 pilots shot down two German aircraft, while 11 Mustangs were lost).

From the beginning of 1944, Mustangs began to be used as reconnaissance aircraft and cover fighters for long-range bombers striking German territory. The ability to install additional fuel tanks and improved altitude performance made them the best escort fighters of the time. Using fuel from outboard tanks, the Mustang could escort bombers taking off from English bases to strike Berlin and other German cities.

The appearance of the Mustangs in the skies over Germany greatly worsened the situation for the air defense of the Third Reich, since from that moment German fighters had to fight American fighters that linked them with attacks during takeoff, climb and attempts to intercept allied bomber aviation.

The total combat losses of “Mustangs” in the European theater of operations amounted to 2,520 vehicles.

After World War II, the P-51s were most actively used during the Korean War. They suffered heavy losses, according to the official American document “USAF Statistical Digest FY1953” in the war, the US Air Force lost 356 conventional Mustangs and 22 “doubles” (332 F-51, 24 RF-51 and 22 F-82, about 300 pilots were killed), of which 300 F-51s, 22 RF-51s and 11 F-82s were lost in action, 32 F-51s, 2 RF-51s and 11 F-82s lost in incidents. 28 Mustangs were shot down by Soviet MiG-15 fighters and 12 by Chinese MiG-15.


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During the Second World War, in the course of deliveries under the Lend-Lease of the USSR, 10 Mustangs were provided, which entered the Air Force Research Institute for review. Despite its high speed and flight range, the Mustang did not cause enthusiasm among Soviet pilots: here battles were fought at medium altitudes near the front line; for which the ” Airacobra “, which had high maneuverability, was more suitable. There were no further deliveries of the P-51 to the USSR.



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