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Old October 20, 2014, 10:27   #1
Story
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Six .50 cals - guess where?

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There are few crafts that demand such attention to detail as high-end aircraft restoration. Millions of dollars are plowed into aircraft in horrible shape, some even pulled from glaciers or the sea, and they are meticulously rebuilt by hand. One P-51 owner in particular wanted his Mustang to go a step further than all others- operational .50cal machine guns.
http://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/thi...63530/+Kyosuke
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Old October 21, 2014, 09:58   #2
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If you go to all the trouble to rebuild a "Warbird", ya might as well put the talons in too.

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Always been fascinated by the old Prop Fighters, nothing as cool as a Mustang or Spit, maybe a P 38?
In early '64, I got to see several P-51's up close, parked side by side at an airport in LA, probably John Wayne now? Wish I could remember the name's.
I watched and read the "Glacier Girl" story as she came thru Maine on her way to restoration and stopover on her way back to England for an anniversary.

I love airplanes, as a Navy Fire Control Tech, we referred to them as targets.
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Old October 22, 2014, 00:47   #3
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Those planes killed A LOT of men that were flying them in training - like a F-150 truck guy stepping into a Ferrari, you had to have had King Kong sized balls to strap into one of those fighters...
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Old October 22, 2014, 08:25   #4
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I have had the pleasure of being up close and personal to a P-51 in flight on numerous occasions, and there is no sound more beautiful than that of one of those supercharged Packards passing down the flight line in low level strafing posture. Hearing the distant whine and then to have the aircraft appear suddenly over the treetops with those six .50's blazing must have caused many a Kraut to crap their drawers. In the hands of an experience pilot, the P51 is truly the Ferrari of piston engine fighters, and there is no doubt why we were able to win the air war over Europe in WWII. Not to take anything away from the P-47 "Jug", it was possibly a superior platform for both the ground support and high altitude support roles, but for pure sexy in flight the P-51 takes it hands down.
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Old October 22, 2014, 18:49   #5
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Saw three do a low flyover in a vee at the council bluffs, IA municipal airport with my grandpa and my dad a few years ago. That is a sound I will never forget.
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Old October 28, 2014, 13:47   #6
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There's a P-51 at our local airport in Virginia Beach, along with a whole handfull of WW-II and WW-I planes and other ground fighting vehicles, they put on an air show couple of times a year, and I love to go watch the old warriors do their stuff. Most everytjing they have there is flyable, there is even the only Mosquito in the world!
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Old October 31, 2014, 13:02   #7
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...Not to take anything away from the P-47 "Jug", it was possibly a superior platform for both the ground support and high altitude support roles, but for pure sexy in flight the P-51 takes it hands down.
something to always keep in mind when comparing the P-47 to the P-51: the Luftwaffe pilots in 1943 and early 1944 were better and there were more of than when Mustangs established air superiority in Europe. Same with the German aircraft. P-47s also flew more sorties than P-51, P-38s, and P-40s combined.

Still, the P-51 is a pretty plane and undeniably great. To paraphrase what Quentin Aanenson said in A Fighter Pilot's Story, the Mustang is the one to take your picture next to to send home. The Thunderbolt is the one you want to fly to make sure you come home.
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Old October 31, 2014, 15:40   #8
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Good one DC, I like it.
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Old October 31, 2014, 16:09   #9
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But the 47s never could cover the bombers the whole way on deep penetration missions, which the Mustangs could.

If you read accounts of pilots who flew both, the general consensus was that they first mistrusted the 51 and hated giving up their 47s. After converting, very few ever wanted to change back. Interviews with pilots of the 352nd and 357th FGs are particularly emphatic on this point. Generally, accounts from Luftwaffe pilots held the 51 to be the opponent they most respected. On a personal level, I had an uncle who flew 38s and 51s in combat and was an instructor pilot in 47s. His comments reflect much of what I have read over the years: "Over water, P38. Ground attack, P47s. Air combat, P51s" He also felt that while nothing was as desirable as a 47 for ground work, other a/c could in fact do that job, if not quite as "safely". Nothing else could do what the Mustangs did. The 47 Ms were never reliable and were pulled from service, and the Ns didn't enter service until after VE day. P38s while in ETO service had neither the range nor reliability to meet their potential.

I would further disagree that the 47 was superior at altitude to 51Bs and subsequent variants, and the Luftwaffe was far from beaten or deficient at least at the outset of Mustang ops. Towards the end of course, Luftwaffe proficiency went all to hell quite quickly. While the Me109 was certainly past its prime, the late FWs, most particularly the Doras, were held, both then and in recent studies, to be the equal of any Allied fighter

All the above being said, I don't want to come across as badmouthing the Jug at all. GREAT a/c ! But the fact is, the Mustangs fame was well and truly earned on missions no other a/c could or did accomplish.

An interesting side note, which has no bearing on the above discussion but which I thought was enlightening. The eight .50s of the Jug are frequently cited as proof of its superiority. Most certainly, pilots liked having more guns ( I sure would !!!!) and there is no doubt that they were a big plus in strafing applications. However, a recent study in one of Barret Tillmans ( noted WW2 air combat historian ) articles ( in Flight Journal, IIRC ) showed that the kill ratio per combat engagement in the ETO was pretty consistent across all the American fighter types, with a slight edge to the four gun 51Bs and Cs. I though that was pretty surprising, especially since there were some problems with gun reliability in those marks of 51.
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Old August 26, 2016, 12:10   #10
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OK that's hot stuff. Would love to meet this guy.
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Old August 26, 2016, 13:30   #11
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Maybe he could do a fly over Knob Creek fall shoot.
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Old August 26, 2016, 14:44   #12
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Any of you ever hear the story, maybe bs as far as I know, that a Texas millionaire wanted to rid himself of airplane flying wife after WWII. He bought her a "present" of a surplus Corsair. She was thrilled, he was too after the ground loop killed her.
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Old August 26, 2016, 16:14   #13
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I grew up in a small country town, about a 1/2 over my back fence was the local airstrip. The old guy who owned the air services business (spraying etc) had some serious $$ and loved his old aircraft. Kittyhawk some others I can't recall and a P51. On weekends he would sometimes take one for a spin and would sit out the back and watch and listen to the show He also got a bunch of A37s out of RVN ...and that was another story....
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Old August 29, 2016, 17:36   #14
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Love me some Dragonfly mate! Side by side action...

We used to get to watch them and A-7 Corsair's on the air to ground range at Camp Grayling a bit north of me.
Too cool!
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Old August 29, 2016, 17:53   #15
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Yes indeed, as he got the A37s flying I use to watch and listen to his test flights as well. He was a natural pilot who in the end died doing the thing he loved !
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Old August 31, 2016, 07:56   #16
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And there's also the P40 in New Zealand fitted with live 50's: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTYGDVrZQPI

Been operational for a couple of years, and at Airshows would blank fire while taxiing in front of the spectator line. After a few years of negotiating the regulations (oddly, not with the Police, but with Civil Aviation authorities!) of a private owned aircraft firing machine guns in flight, it now performs strafing runs during a mock battle scene. Fully operational M2's, but only firing blank ammo not Ball, Tracer, etc.

This aircraft is restored in Australian markings, Australian P40's were of course instrumental in the Battle of Milne Bay.
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Old September 20, 2016, 18:18   #17
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I think im still in first for bomber school..

Shooting 50 cals and dropping cement bombs: ) .. in Kalifornia!!

https://youtu.be/Gcb5PETou9g
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Old February 26, 2017, 21:32   #18
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Saw some at Sebring last year. Place was a bomber training base.
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Old March 01, 2017, 22:53   #19
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But the 47s never could cover the bombers the whole way on deep penetration missions, which the Mustangs could.

If you read accounts of pilots who flew both, the general consensus was that they first mistrusted the 51 and hated giving up their 47s. After converting, very few ever wanted to change back. Interviews with pilots of the 352nd and 357th FGs are particularly emphatic on this point. Generally, accounts from Luftwaffe pilots held the 51 to be the opponent they most respected. On a personal level, I had an uncle who flew 38s and 51s in combat and was an instructor pilot in 47s. His comments reflect much of what I have read over the years: "Over water, P38. Ground attack, P47s. Air combat, P51s" He also felt that while nothing was as desirable as a 47 for ground work, other a/c could in fact do that job, if not quite as "safely". Nothing else could do what the Mustangs did. The 47 Ms were never reliable and were pulled from service, and the Ns didn't enter service until after VE day. P38s while in ETO service had neither the range nor reliability to meet their potential.

I would further disagree that the 47 was superior at altitude to 51Bs and subsequent variants, and the Luftwaffe was far from beaten or deficient at least at the outset of Mustang ops. Towards the end of course, Luftwaffe proficiency went all to hell quite quickly. While the Me109 was certainly past its prime, the late FWs, most particularly the Doras, were held, both then and in recent studies, to be the equal of any Allied fighter

All the above being said, I don't want to come across as badmouthing the Jug at all. GREAT a/c ! But the fact is, the Mustangs fame was well and truly earned on missions no other a/c could or did accomplish.

An interesting side note, which has no bearing on the above discussion but which I thought was enlightening. The eight .50s of the Jug are frequently cited as proof of its superiority. Most certainly, pilots liked having more guns ( I sure would !!!!) and there is no doubt that they were a big plus in strafing applications. However, a recent study in one of Barret Tillmans ( noted WW2 air combat historian ) articles ( in Flight Journal, IIRC ) showed that the kill ratio per combat engagement in the ETO was pretty consistent across all the American fighter types, with a slight edge to the four gun 51Bs and Cs. I though that was pretty surprising, especially since there were some problems with gun reliability in those marks of 51.
The P51 was in large part responsible for us winning the air war in Europe. In 1943 I think it was about 1/3 of the heavy bombers like the B17 were being shot down. The problem was no other fighter plane had the fuel capacity to escort the heavies to the target and back. The Germans would wait right at the edge where the fighter escorts would have to turn back, and turn the bombers into Swiss cheese. Until the mustang came along with the more efficient Rolls Royce Merlin engine to escort the heavies to the mission and back most of these bombers were sitting ducks. It's very likely that I would not be in existence if they had not upgraded to the Merlin engine in the mustang and started using them for escorts. My Grandpa was a b17 pilot in the beginning of 1944 right around the time the upgraded mustangs were increasing in service.
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Old March 17, 2017, 01:14   #20
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I guess if SHTF nobody is going to take his rice and beans. Even today, that is a formidable bird. For zombies on the ground it would just be a meat grinder. Glad to see someone go the extra mile. Client of mine restores rare WW2 aircraft. Did a lot of one off fabricated parts for a torpedo bomber he restored. Was only one of its type left and had to do it all from bad black and white photos and about 25% of actual original shop drawings. Spent two weeks on the instrument panel and refacing modern gauges to look old.
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Old March 18, 2017, 08:44   #21
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I think im still in first for bomber school..

Shooting 50 cals and dropping cement bombs: ) .. in Kalifornia!!

https://youtu.be/Gcb5PETou9g
Very cool man, nice recoil too. Wish I was there with my HD camera...
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