Along with the British Spitfire, the P-51 Mustang was one of the most beautiful (not to mention fast, maneuverable and deadly) flying machines ever to take to the skies. This particular plane, the Twilight Tear, has a colorful history. Imagine the terror felt by a Luftwaffe pilot in an Me-109 with a Mustang sporting those six Browning M2s on his tail.
sweet……..I want one
Don’t let Piers Morgan know. No one needs a fighter jet, with six assault weapons on it.
(and yes, I know it’s not a jet, but Piers probably doesn’t.)
P-47 will always be my favorite fighters of the era, but the P-51 is an amazing plane. Sad so few of them are still flying.
Yeah, and it had eight .50s and was much more rugged!
p47 lacked range and could not turn with 109’s and 190’s like a Mustang could. Where the p47 shined was as a ground attack machine.
It had the range to make it to Germany and back. And while it may have been less maneuverable, it was fast and rugged enough to excel as a ground attack plane wiped out a good chunk of the Luftwaffe as it struggled to destroy the 8th Air Force’s bombers. P-47 Thunderbolts have come back chewed to pieces with radials blasted out of their engines.
The range was the problem CG. Spitfires were excellent fighters. P47’s were rugged and had hellacious fire[power. But until the Mustang came along the bombers had to fly without protection on the long runs into germany. The cost was awful for the bomber crews.
P38’s had so many teething problems and they never were produced in the numbers needed. In the ETO the Mustang made the daylight bombing missions possible. And the truly important part of these missions was the fact that the Luftwaffe had to defend against all of them and the attrition is what killed the Luftwaffe. The war was truly lost for the Germans when the allied air forces could roam at will over Germany.
And still no clue as to whether this one flies or not.
According to a quick check this Mustang has 3 confirmed kills from ww2. 2 ME262’s and a 109. It spent time in Isreal after the war and then in Switzerland. It was apparently wrecked in Iceland on it’s way to the states and the civilian pilot who was flying it was killed. It has since been rebuilt and is in flying shape.
I’m partial to P-38s and P-63s.
So I’m weird…
We can thank the Brits for the P-51. It was a mediocre platform until they shoved their RR Merlin engine into it. Same goes for the M-4 Sherman tank. The Brits crammed their potent 17pdr cannon into the turret (at a bit of an angle), and suddenly, the lowly M-4 was a Tiger killer. Ta veddy much, dontcha know.
The U.S. Army didn’t use the 17pdr “Firefly”.
The Sherman Firefly was used by the British Army. It was offered to the Americans but they had concerns over the continuity of supply. And they thought their 76mm gun was going to be a war winner.
In reality the 76mm gun could only kill a Tiger or Panther if the range was less than 200 yards. The 17 pounder could kill those tanks at more than 700 yards. The 75mm Shermans wouldn’t pierce the heavy armour even if the gun was placed against the plate. The Tigers and Panthers could kill Allied tanks at more than 200o yards. On the Eastern Front, Panthers made confirmed kills on T-34s out to over 4500 yards (and that is NOT a typo).
The Firefly might have been a hasty lash-up (the gun was rotated 90-o to fit in the turret), but it worked very well.
Do I need a background check for that?
The Spits with their .30 cals were formidable but the Mustangs, Thunderbolts and Lightnings were simply deadly with their .50’s. The fifty was a great compromise between the smaller .30 cal and the big, slow firing cannons. Mr. Browning’s .50 has been around for 70 years and is still going strong. What a great gun!
The P-47 carried 8 fifties! That was the ultimate airplane shredder at the time. 600 rounds per minute per gun added up to 4800. As fast or faster than a Gatling today.
And probably capable of neutralizing air speed with all guns cannon blazing. Daddy, why is that plane falling straight down?
I once spoke with a P-47 pilot who told me that when you triggered off those eight Brownings it was like flying into a brick wall from the recoil. A huge plane for a fighter, it’s my favorite warbird.
US (and British to some extent) fighters had machine guns instead of cannon because their primary targets were fast moving fighters, where a snap shot might be all you got, so better get a few .50 hits than miss with slow firing cannon. Whereas the Luftwaffe was primarily shooting against big slow steady bombers, guaranteed hits, and wanted every hit to do as much damage as possible.
Interestingly enough, in the Pacific, the US Navy pilots were pissed as hell when the nextgen Wildcat came out with 6 .50s instead of just the 4 of the old version. They wanted more ammo per gun, since 4 .50s was plenty of simultaneous firepower to knock out Japanese planes. But they brass decided to combine folding wings (for more fighters on each carrier) with the Brit request for more firepower in a single rev rather than take the time and trouble for two separate revs,
Thank you Mr. John Browning, way cool 50 Cal. gun, the 1911, the BAR, The Hi power. bet he is turning over in his grave now, knowing they all will be banned .. the weapons of Liberty…..
Folks sometimes forget that JMB is also responsible for creating CARTRIDGES that survive and in fact are outstanding rounds TODAY (like the 45ACP and 50BMG) ! The guy was a genius pure and simple. How many people can brag that their invention SHAPED an entire industry and had influence for a century and counting? I wonder how our current anti-gun atmosphere is suppressing other innovations?
Even more terrifying when you find Chuck Yeager flying the P-51 on your six:
If you haven’t read his biography then I highly recommend it!!!! I have read it 4 times 🙂
I’m more of a F4U-D Corsair fan, but the ‘Stang is damn fine, and that Merlin engine sounds so sweet
The most amazing thing about the P-51 was how quickly it went from the drawing board to the air. Compared to the years-long lead time to get the early prototype P-47’s and P-38’s into the air, the North American engineering team must be recognized as near supermen for how quickly they got that aircraft into production.
If you’re ever at the Reno Air Races, buy a pit pass, go back and see the internals of a P-51 (or several other WWII fighters) up close. As you’re standing there, getting a bit excitable about seeing such machines at close range, think of getting all that done without CAD/CAM, without CNC, without simulations, without computers, without pocket calculators… with only slide rules and drafting tables.
The p51 was a great plane. But the only piston engine fighter kept in production when ww2 ended in the American arsenal was the Corsair. New Corsairs were coming off the assembly line into the early 50’s. They had speed,range and power in excess of their needs. For a ground support aircraft the early jets didn’t have the loiter time over the troops because they were fuel burners.
The Corsair and Mustang served in the Korean war and both had kills against Russian jets during that war. El Salvador and Honduras fought a short war in 69, called the soccer war, and Mustangs and Corsairs fought on opposite sides in that war.
And as for this guy playing with his Mustang and machine guns, some guys just have all the luck.
That plane was moving back about 8-inches on the stand when firing. Awesome.
Here’s a picture of one I made back in 2008:
I think they need to repop some of the old WW II aircraft like they make new Mustang and Camaro bodies. I am sure we can find enough rich guys to buy them and bring down the price to where I can buy one somday? OK, probably not. I would love to own something like that, but keeping 6 .50s fed would take a months worth of paychecks.
Were those shooting .303 British?
Lee, the guns in the videos were .50’s. Some very early Mustangs, with the Allison engines, entered service with the RAF and they had a combo of .50’s and the .303’s. To the best of my knowledge all the british fighters that used wing mounted .303’s were Brownings chambered for the British round.
I hate to be one of those who would have the shell fall on my head.
It’s nice to see a P-51D with it’s teeth still intact, isn’t it?
Spitfires, Mustangs, Mosquitos, Lightnings– the Allies had some gorgeous planes. I have to say though, the Luftwaffe’s Fw-190 and Me 262 are very elegant in their own right.
Unlike the Me 163, which as cool as it was, is still ugly as sin.
I would love to own just one Ma Deuce. And the P-51D a dream plane.
Actually, of all odd things about California, I can buy an M2 provided it is semiauto (it doesn’t count, for some reason, as a 50 BMG “rifle” and so is not banned). But I would be limited to belts of 10 rounds…doesn’t seem as fun…
That’s more of a swatch than a belt; what a visual!
Rifles are shoulder fired; spade grips kinda prevent that, so it’s not a rifle. The law bans only .50 BMG rifles. Typical stupid political nonsense.
Awesome. PC Nerd moment: made me want to find my old copy of “Chuck Yeager’s Air Combat” or “Aces over the Pacific”.
The P-51 was a flying gas tank. What made that plane, like someone earlier mentioned, was the British Rolls-Royce Merlin engine. Before, fitted with the American made Allison engine it was mediocre at best.
The Merlin allowed it to fly higher and faster than any German fighter, up until the end with the Ta-152 and some FW-190D-9s. But you get a Mustang at low-mid altitude, it couldn’t turn with a Me-109. Luckily for us, most of the best German pilots were flying against the Russians, the good pilots in the Western Front did not last long against the attrition of day in and day out flying up against hundreds of B24’s and B17’s and their fighter escorts.
If any of y’all live near Virginia Beach, VA, there is a yearly air show in May. They have a flying P51, Corsair, FW-190 (I know right!), Ju-52, Spitfire, and a Me-262! etc. I go every year as a re-enactor.
The Allison engined Mustangs were war winners under twenty thousand feet. It was above that that their performance dropped off and made them unacceptable as a front line fighter. Below 15,000 feet they were hell on wheels. The brits made a group of them into photo recon planes that operated at low to mid level with very few losses. They flew alone into enemy territory and relied on their performance to get them out of trouble.
P-51 Mustang!!! Cadillac of the Sky!!!
That’s my all-time favorite weapons platform… Great video>>> Thanks!!!
I’ve been a fan of WW2 warbirds since I was a kid (not to mention the A1Es that were still used in Vietnam at that same time) and it just seemed like a shame from the practicallity/ affordability side of things (not much of a factor in things military, I know) there should be a modern place for them. So I was really jazzed to learn about the Brazillian “Super Toucan” armored turboprop (solo cockpit and a two-passenger trainer) that is used by a bunch of Latin American countries as a low-cost, rugged, land-anywhere alternative to fighter jets. (It’s in evaluation/ limited use by the US as the A-29.) Especially with the shark-jaw art on the cowling.. it just seemed like a very cool 21st century version of the P40. Then I figured out that “low cost” in todays arms market works out to…. ten million dollars per plane. For a solo prop job. Even with fighter-jet grade avionics…. figure 9 mil for electronics and a mil per plane FOR A SOLO PROP PLANE. There’s overpricing, there’s price gouging and then there’s military spending.