JasonLacyMr.FowlerReciprocatingengines12/10/2017 P-51 Mustang The P-51 mustang was an extraordinary aircraft that carriedthe United States through extremely difficult battles that took place over theentirety of the European continent during the early nineteen forties, andremained in some air forces until the mid eighties. The P-51 competed with someof Germany’s best aircraft and even was used to eliminate some of the bestpilots Germany had to offer. The P-51Mustang prototype started to be developed by North American Aviation (NAA) leadby Raymond Rice and Edgar Schmued on May 30th, 1940 and was completed September9th, 1940. The P-51 was first flown on the following October 26th. The firstflight was a success and in result, mass production started in April of 1941.The two section semi-monocoque fuselage was constructed entirely out ofaluminum to make the plane lighter.
It was armed with four .30 caliber M1919Browning machine guns. In the wings there were two .50 caliber M2 browningmachine guns that were situated under the engine and fired through the propellerarc using gun synchronizing gear. The P-51 Mustang was suited with a low altitude AllisonV-1710 piston engine. The engine was a 12 cylinder, liquid cooled engine thatwas the only engine of it’s type to be used by the United States during WorldWar 2. It was developed in 1930 by Allison Engine Company and was mass producedto be put into aircraft in 1940 when it was put into the P-38 Lightning in1939.
It had 12 cylinders and a bore and stroke of 140 by 150 millimeters in a60° V-format, for 28.032 L total displacement, with acompression ratio of 6.65 to 1. The valvetrain has single overhead camshaftsper bank of cylinders and four valves per cylinder. The P-51 was originally designed for the RAF (Royal AirForce) which were its first users. The first mustangs supplied under lend leasewere ninety-three P-51s also known as the Mk 1a class Mustangs, followed byfifty P-51As known as Mustang Mk II. After the initial wave of fighters inOctober 1941, the first Mustang Mk 1s entered service in January of 1942, thefirst squadron to use them was the 26th RAF squadron.
Due to the poor engineperformance at high altitudes of the Allison engine it was equipped with, itwas first used by the Army for reconnaissance and ground attack duties. On May 10th, 1942 a squadron of Mustangs first flew overFrance near Berck-Sur-Mur. On the 27th of July, 1942, 16 RAF mustangs had beenordered on their first long range reconnaissance mission. During the DieppeRaid on the French Coast, four Canadian and British Mustang squadrons went ontheir first combat mission. By 1944, British Mustangs were being used to seekout V-1 flying bomb sites.
The last P-51 Mk I and Mk IIs were struck off chargein 1945.The Dieppe Raid, also known as Operation Rutter in earlyplanning stages, and officially named Operation Jubilee, was an allied attackon the German occupied port of Dieppe. The raid took place on the northerncoast of France in August of 1942. The main objectives of the raid was tocapture the port not only to gain ground on the German war machine and gatherintelligence, but also to boost the moral of the British soldiers and show themthat they can gain victory over the Nazis. The assault began at exactly 5:00 a.
m., but by only 10:50 a.m., lessthan six hours later, allied commanders were forced to call a retreat. Uponretreat, soldiers attempted to destroy important strategic structures, but hadlittle to no success doing so.
Of the 6,086 infantrymen that landed on shore,3,623 were wounded, killed, or captured. The P-51 Mustang was an extremely good solution to theproblem of bombers being shot down when taking long range missions. It used areliable engine that, when fitted with external fuel tanks, could escortbombers from France to Germany and back without a problem. However, the engineit was equipped with had multiple problems. One of its biggest being that itdoesn’t perform well at altitudes higher than 15,000 feet, which made itimpossible for it to accommodate USAAF bombers. When the RAF were disappointedwith the P-51 Mk I, Ronald Harker, a test pilot for Rolls-Royce, suggestedfitting it with a Merlin 61, as fitted on the Spitfire.
The Merlin 61 engine was designed by Stanley Horker of RollsRoyce. It had 1,585 horsepower at 3,000 rpm at an elevation of 12,250 ft, and1,390 hp with 3,000 rpm at an elevation of 23,500 ft. The Merlin 61 was fittingwith a new two speed, two stage supercharger that gave it a boost of horsepowerat medium to high altitudes. It was the first british production variant toincorporate two piece cylinder blocks designed by Rolls Royce.
The reductiongear ratio was at 42;1, with gears for pressurization. The first Merlin 61 wasproduced on March 2nd, 1942. When the Merlin 61 was fitted to the Mustang, itmade it unstoppable at high altitudes. It boosted the Mustang to 1,620 hp and1,720 hp when in War Emergency Power, delivering a top speed previously from390 mph to 440 mph, as well as lifting the altitude which it remained efficientat to 42,000 ft. Which means it can now go on long range missions as bomberescorts at the same altitude at which the bombers are flying.
The P-51B entered production in June of 1943 at NorthAmerican’s IngleWood plant in southern California. The P-51B had its firstflights in October of 1942 for the RAF and November for the USAAF. With the newengine installed, there was no more room for guns mounted in the nose of theaircraft, so they were put into the wings instead which made turning a slightbit slower but not extremely noticeable.
The P-51B outmaneuvered and outgunned almost anything theLuftwaffe could throw at it. The Messerschmitt BF 110 for example served aseasy prey for the Mustangs and had to be quickly removed from the frontline andwas later used as a nighttime attack plane. The Focke-Wulf FW 190A’s alreadysuffered from poor high altitude performance so they had to be pulled off thefrontline as well. The Messerschmitt BF 109 had similar performance at highaltitudes to the Mustang, but it had such a light frame that the Mustangs guntore through it’s fuselage. There is so much speculation to which fighter was the bestaircraft in the second world war, but I personally believe that the P-51Mustang, and all of it’s variants were the best on the factor that it couldescort B-17’s all the way from England to Berlin and back with one backup tank.It could also get from Iwo Jima to Japan and back in one tank which gave theU.S.
a very large advantage and easily lead to the end of the war.