North American P-51D Mustang 8th AF History
The appearance of the cutting-edge P-51B Mustang marked a solid improvement to the protection of bomber formations. By the time the final D version was deployed, the control of German airspace was entirely in the grasp of the Allied Forces. The laminar airfoil and undersurface of the fuselage minimized air resistance, making the P-51D aerodynamically polished. For its power source, the P-51D packed a Packard Merlin V1650-7 engine with supercharger. A teardrop type canopy provided excellent visibility for the pilot, and six 13.7mm guns put daunting firepower at his disposal. Auxiliary drop tanks enabled the Mustang to achieve a continuous flight range up to 3700km, and secure thorough bomber protection all the way to Germany. As a result of the P-51D Mustang’s effectiveness against the Me109 and Fw190 interceptors, a significant reduction in the amount of B-17 losses and a marked increase in pilots achieving the status of Ace was realized .