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View Full Version : Did the P-51 do anything other than escort?



XyZspineZyX
11-06-2003, 03:40 PM
Was wondering if the P-51 did any other missions other than mainly bomber escort in the war. I realize this was it's main objective, but am curious.

Thanks,
Atticus
Voxdei

XyZspineZyX
11-06-2003, 03:40 PM
Was wondering if the P-51 did any other missions other than mainly bomber escort in the war. I realize this was it's main objective, but am curious.

Thanks,
Atticus
Voxdei

XyZspineZyX
11-06-2003, 03:48 PM
Sure. Although its main task was to escort Allied bombers deep into the Reich, it also went on fighter sweeps to maintain air superiority and attack targets of opportunity on the ground, especially in 1945. Water-cooled P-51 was much more vulnerable to ground and small arms fire than the Jug.

Horrido!

XyZspineZyX
11-06-2003, 03:50 PM
Absolutely. My grandfather flew the P-51 as a ground attack pilot at the end of WW2 and in early Korea. In fact, after using the P-80s awhile in Korea, they went back to the P-51! In WW2, he fought in the Philippines and later Okinawa. At one point he was using the P-38 and then made the transition to the P-51. He was exclusively ground attack, never an interceptor or escort. Admittedly given that the P-51 was more fragile (due to water cooled engine... one well placed shot could ruin your day) I wonder that they used it in this role, but they did! Don't know if roles varied from Pacific to European theatre. Perhaps they weren't used as ground attack in Europe? Someone else may be able to answer.

Matt

fluke39
11-06-2003, 04:05 PM
I'm pretty sure RAF used them for ground attack in european theatre, well definitely the P51B's anyway (Mustang III)




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XyZspineZyX
11-06-2003, 04:11 PM
some ground attack and even target marking
those 617 boys /i/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif
actully one time the pilot in the p51 for target marking was trying to make himself the marker due to bad visablity.
hoped bombers would see his shiny plane stunting about, they didnt /i/smilies/16x16_smiley-sad.gif
came home with a swiss cheese plane /i/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif

XyZspineZyX
11-06-2003, 05:14 PM
The p51 was amazing low level, without its drop tanks of course, they hit many ground targets a little less then p47s but over 15,000 ground targets ships trains airfieds factories in wwii, this talk of the fragile engine and oleg making it weaker then any other engine is ridiculous, any inline engine didnt take damage very well yes it was prone to ground fire "oilcooler: but so were most planes 109s spitfires hurricanes and the il2 if hit in the radiator. Im confident he will give the .50s justice at longer range then 100m and not make the engine die anytime your hit

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XyZspineZyX
11-06-2003, 05:33 PM
This is good news. Was hoping some cool campaigns would come on inline that had some variety.

Thanks,
Atticus

XyZspineZyX
11-06-2003, 05:34 PM
Mustangs, P38s and TBolts all conducted daily fighter sweeps and ground attack missions before the Normandy Invasion, interdicting German supply lines. During long range escort missions, standing orders were to use remaining fuel and ammunition on LW airfields, transportation and AA sites. I believe more pilots were lost to ground fire at the end of the war than to air combat. Leadspitter is right; the P51's inline, liquid-cooled engine made it vulnerable. But according to my father, who was a B-24 crewman in the 15th AF out of Italy, the P51s were most important role was escort service. No surprise there.

XyZspineZyX
11-06-2003, 05:49 PM
If you read the history of the 4th Fighter group in Europe you will find excerpts from some of those boys strafing german airfields on their return from Escorting Bombers over Germany in their P51's. One of the 4th FG guys actually crashed landed and was taken prisonar after hitting a telephone pole during a strafing run on a german airfield.

XyZspineZyX
11-06-2003, 05:54 PM
In the Pacific the Mustang was used for long range high speed photo recon and for long range fighter sweeps as well as escorting B-29s over Japan.

XyZspineZyX
11-06-2003, 06:52 PM
Other common USAAF escorts were the P-38's and P-47's.

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XyZspineZyX
11-07-2003, 03:15 AM
In agreement, while the main role of the P-51 was escort, it did proform fighter sweeps which did result in more deaths then intercepting. Indeed later in the war, (early to mid'45) i think that it was agreed that a ground aircraft kill was the same as an air kill. This was an attempt to destroy all remaining LW aircraft as the allies believed that all production had all but holted and so only the planes on the airfields were left.

This would have been rather dangerous as the relatively weak airframe and engine made then easy to destroy from beneth. I must ask though... were the P51's frequently armed with bombs? i know a skilled pilot could knock out a panzer with defelection shots under it, but not whether bombs were often carried by P-51...

XyZspineZyX
11-07-2003, 03:19 AM
Sherman8r wrote:
- In agreement, while the main role of the P-51 was
- escort, it did proform fighter sweeps which did
- result in more deaths then intercepting. Indeed
- later in the war, (early to mid'45) i think that it
- was agreed that a ground aircraft kill was the same
- as an air kill. This was an attempt to destroy all
- remaining LW aircraft as the allies believed that
- all production had all but holted and so only the
- planes on the airfields were left.
-
- This would have been rather dangerous as the
- relatively weak airframe and engine made then easy
- to destroy from beneth. I must ask though... were
- the P51's frequently armed with bombs? i know a
- skilled pilot could knock out a panzer with
- defelection shots under it, but not whether bombs
- were often carried by P-51...

I cannot remember who issued the ground ace order..... was it Doolittle? but it basically said ground kills of Luftwaffe aircraft counted to the pilots kill tally.

I also recall, after a certain date the returning escorts were ordered allowed to hunt for targets off opportunity to expend their remaining ammunition on.




"As weaponry, both were good, but in far different ways from each other. In a nutshell, I describe it this way: if the FW 190 was a sabre, the 109 was a florett, or foil, like that used in the precision art of fencing." - Gunther Rall

XyZspineZyX
11-07-2003, 09:26 AM
The deflecting shots under tanks is a bogus idea. .50 cals are capable of penetrating medium steel plates at over 600 meters at a 45 degree angle.
Thus shooting at the ground would just knock holes in the ground.

However they could still take out tanks, by no special feat's or sillyness. It's simple while most tank armor would stop a .50 cal it will not stop 100's of .50 cals striking in the same area.

Just like a Sherman couldn't punch through a tigers frontal armor. If one hit the front of a tiger, and then another hit within 2 feet of the last shot it would punch through. This is how the numbers game won. The tigers were taken out by massed fire before they could effectively engage what must have been a plethora of targets.

So 8 .50 cals at the point of convergence were very likely to punch through the german armor. Also side, and rear armor was thinner so they would simply manuever to hit them in their backsides.

Although I think bombs were the preffered method as the .50 cals weren't that effective, and expending most of your ammo on a tank, and possibly getting jumped by enemy fighters makes preserving your ammo a good idea.


Also I've read that a big reason for a lot of losses of P-51's on ground runs was due to pilot error. It was a very fast, very agile fighter, and was "not forgiving".
Target fixation is also always a major problem on ground attacks.
Basically a lot of pilots simply flew their mustangs into the ground. It's an aircraft that is as dangerous to it's own pilot as it is to enemy pilots.



Every take-off is optional, but every landing is mandatory!

XyZspineZyX
11-07-2003, 09:52 AM
Ahh yer your right. but also pilots realised that shooting from directly above, like steep diving whould also penetrate the armor of almost any tank as the top armor is almost always the thinest... i've heard of .50s bouncing of sealed roads, which is probably what had the chance of taking out a tank from the bottom, it the pilot was luckey enough to find a tank on a sealed road, most likely in France. My origional question remains... did P-51 carry bombs with any frequency? they were fast and unforgiving at low altitudes which makes me think no, as well as the P-47s and P-38 as well as the British S gun mounted Hurricanes and Typhones, it seems that the role of ground attack was somewhat filled so maybe p-51 never really often carried bombs... but an answer would be nice...

XyZspineZyX
11-07-2003, 01:10 PM
If you've read the object viewer in FB, it makes a big deal out of the Mustang's vulnerable engine. I think a lot of us were worried that when it became flyable that this vulnerability would be exaggerated. All inline engines were inherently less robust than radials, but the P-51 shouldn't be very different than a Yak, for example.

Fortunately, if the beta is any indication, I don't think we have to worry about that now. Engine hits will produce the usual leaks and smoke, but the Mustang certainly hasn't been shortchanged.

I haven't tried the RC02 patch, but hopefully they'll include some of the bombs and rockets Mustang's could carry for ground attack.