In August I hope to attend a reunion of the 325th Fighter group in California. I know at some point I stand a chance of speaking at reasonable length to some of them and I have already asked a lot of questions to them by email (and interviewed on camera).
However my questions may not necessarily be the one's that a community of aviation fans would be interested in so if I get a chance to ask questions (and no promises here!) is there anything you can think of that you would like to know about their service and the aircraft they flew?
Those currently expected to attend are:
P-51 Pilot's will include Barrie S. Davis (P-47 (No victories) and P-51 Ace), Art Fiedler (P-51 Ace), Jerry Edwards (P-51, P-47 and P-40 Pilot 4-Victories), Jack Sherbourne (P-51 Pilot), Tom Batey (P-51 and F-86 Sabre), Ron Dove (P-40 and P-47), Clarance Coonce (Armourer) and Ed Doss (Crew Chief).
Once again I cannot promise to ask all the questions but if there is anything that is of interest to you and I have a chance to ask the question, please post it here and I will post a link to their replies as-soon as I can after the event.
Where in California?
How about direct comparisons of trim requirements (i.e., how hard was it to fly straight and level, particularly while accellerating or de-cellerating?), pilot work load in general, and how they compared in combat at each level (high alts, medium alt and in the weeds) to the enemy aircraft they encountered, as well as to each other.
"Here's your new Mustangs, boys. You can learn to fly'em on the way to the target. Cheers!" -LTCOL Don Blakeslee, 4th FG CO, February 27th, 1944
As you would guess, I'm very interested in what the P40 pilots have to say about their early mounts.
It's fashionable in modern gamer circles to think of the P40 as a flying brick, and often our peers point to their early failure against the Japanese (cleverly omitting the success of the AVG), and the poor record of the RAF in North Africa. Yet, when American pilots showed up after Torch, the record of the P40 in North Africa against the 109 improves markedly. Also it was very successful in the Southwest Pacific, once everyone caught on to using the correct tactics.
So if you could get some of their thoughts on the P40 I'd really appreciate it.
How it compared against their German and Italian adversaries, as they saw it. Where it was weaker, and where it had advantages, and, were any of them sorry to see them replaced?
Personally speaking, the P-40 could contend on an equal footing with all the types of Messerschmitts, almost to the end of 1943.
Nikolay Gerasimovitch Golodnikov
Thanks for the replies guys. I will do my best to get your questions answered. Cheers, MP
I talk to Col Thomas O Batey everyday if you want me to ask him any questions?
He is a one of a kind!