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Osprey Aircraft of the Aces 1 : Mustang Aces of the Eighth Air Force

Unquestionably the best American fighter of World War 2, the North American P-51 Mustang served in large numbers with the USAAF's Eighth Air Force from late 1943 until VE Day, and was the mount of most aces in-theatre. Charged with the responsibility of escorting huge formations of B-17 Flying Fortress and B-24 Liberator bombers on daylight raids deep into Germany, the P-51 pilots of the various fighter groups within the 'Mighty Eighth' went head to head with the cream of the Luftwaffe's fighter squadrons for control of the skies over the Third Reich. By the autumn of 1943 the bomber groups of the Eighth USAAF based in England faced a crisis. For over a year an increasing number of B-17 Fortress and B-24 Liberator groups had waged war on German industry both at home and in occupied Europe and it was clear that the USAAF experiment of sending heavily armed bombers over Germany in daylight would not be curtailed unless dramatic circumstances dictated it. Unfortunately, the Luftwaffe's fighter force and the German flak defences were making that event a possibility. In desperate need of effective fighter escort, the only glimmer of hope was the outcome of experiments being made in England and the US to mate the Rolls-Royce Merlin engine to the airframe of the North American Aviation (NAA) P-51. Text by Jerry Scutts with illustrations by Chris Davey.

    Contents
  • Merlin's Reach
  • New Blood
  • A Wilder Pony
  • Outclassed
  • Mission Completed
  • The 'Blue-Nosers'
  • Appendices

 

Osprey Aircraft of the Aces


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