The effects of the P-51 Mustang in World War II.

Essay by coloradosilver October 2003

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The effects of the P-51 Mustang in World War II


This paper deals with the contributions of the P-51 Mustang to the eventual victory of the Allies in Europe during World War II. It describes the war scene in Europe before the P-51 was introduced, traces the development of the fighter, its advantages, and the abilities it was able to contribute to the Allies' arsenal. It concludes with the effect that the P-51 had on German air superiority, and how it led the destruction of the Luftwaffe. The thesis is that: it was not until the advent of the North American P-51 Mustang fighter, and all of the improvements, benefits, and side effects that it brought with it, that the Allies were able to achieve air superiority over the Germans.

This paper was inspired largely by my grandfather, who flew the P-51 out of Leiston, England, during WW II and contributed to the eventual Allied success that is traced in this paper.

He flew over seventy missions between February and August 1944, and scored three kills against German fighters.

Table of Contents

* Introduction

* Reasons for the Pre-P-51 Air Situation

* The Pre-P-51 Situation

* The Allied Purpose in the Air War

* The Battle at Schweinfurt

* The Development of the P-51

* The Installation of the Merlin Engines

* Features, Advantages, and Benefits of the P-51

* The P-51's Battle Performance

* The Change in Policy on Escort

* Fighter Function

* P-51's Disrupt Luftwaffe Fighter Tactics

* P-51's Give Bombers Better Support

* Conclusion

* Works Cited


On September 1, 1939, the German military forces invaded Poland to begin World War II. This invasion was very successful because of its use of a new military strategic theory-blitzkrieg. Blitzkrieg, literally "lightning war," involved...