P51 Mustang. British or American

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by wheel, Aug 6, 2008.

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  1. On the Spitfire topic a few members voiced praise of the Mustang. Which I agree was pants untill the Alison engine was replaced by the Merlin.
    The Lord Flashheart stated its American so its pants. Now if my memory is correct I belive the Mustang was a British design ( can not recall the name of the designer) that was then built by the Americans. But the RAF had several squadrons.

    So my question is . The P51 Mustang is it British or American ?.
  2. No proof, but I think somewhere in the dim distant past I was told that the P51 Mustang was designed 'for' the RAF to RAF requirements, but by an american company (North American Aircraft).

    The RAF were the first to take delivery and part of that first contract was for them to provide a couple of aircraft for the USAAC for evaluation.
  3. Yes it was.
  4. The Mustang was American built, originally for the RAF, to an RAF spec and was a miracle in that it was designed, tested, flown and put into series production in a record time.

    As an aircraft it exceeded the spec however the engine would not deliver at any sort of altitude so it was restricted to low level work until (as everyone knows) it was fitted with the Merlin engine where the supercharger made all the difference.

    Eventually a superb aircraft (all American though - even the Merlin was an Packard built version) although, as ever, it could not have been done without Brit know-how....

    Same applies to the Royal Navy and USN Destroyer Escorts (except they could not fly)
  5. seaweed

    seaweed LE Book Reviewer

    Meanwhile give thanks for Lady Hudson who bankrolled the Merlin when the Crabs wouldn't. Without her .. no Merlin and whwre would that have left us in the Battle of Britain? to say nothing of its use in bombers. An amazing engine of which I believe a variant even finished up in the Centurion tank.
  6. The tank version was called the Meteor (but was not in the Centurion)

    Google Meteor Engine (I couldn't be arrsed)
  7. If I remember correctly, it was only a matter of 10 weeks from when North American received the specification from the Air Ministry until when the prototype made its first flight. Can you imagine that being done nowadays? The only reason that it was built by the Americans was that the British aircraft industry was running at full capacity at the time.

    The USAAF were intially reluctant about the aircraft and refused to buy it, because they thought that existing fighters such as the Curtiss P-40 and the Bell P-39 were adequate as fighters. It was only when one of the RAF aircraft was diverted to them that they accepted it - initially as a dive-bomber called the A-36 Apache.

    The early Allison engined Mustangs were used as low-level reconnaisance fighters from when they entered service in 1941-42 right up until the end of the war in Europe.

    In 1942, at the RAF's instigation, Rolls-Royce bolted a Merlin on to a Mustang airframe. The rest is history. But it did take a lot of lobbying by the Air Ministry to get the US Government to permit North American to manufacture the Merlin powered Mustang which entered service in 1943.

    Here are more details. Although the RAF stopped using the Mustang at the end of 1947, it carried on in USAF service until 1957 and was used by the US Army as a chase plane for experimental aircraft programmes until well into the 1970's.

  8. This is a very emotive subject IMHO. British or American, it was born by a sequence of events and neccessaties that only war can bring about. The final historical outcome is what is more important.
  9. Agreed, Panda

    US and UK were very much a team in those days and without their industrial and financial power we would have been well and truly bollixed.

    The cooperation extended into all kinds of things (some of which we will probably never know) and indeed existed long before the US joined the War (think, for example, of penicillin, which we discovered, the Yanks manufactured, and we trialled)

    I know we love to take the pi$$ out of them (and rightly so) but we could not have done without them.
  10. One of my favourite qutes about the Mustang runs along the lines:
    "It can't quite do what the Spitfire does - But it does it over Berlin..."

  11. Due to papier mache drop tanks I believe.
  12. Just to make it even more of a joint effort the paper drop tanks (there were others) were a British invention. Oh and P-51 - American, Mustang - British ;)
  13. Wheel, to be fair, I didnt say it was pants.

    I was comparing its grace and beauty to a Spit.

    Given the chance, I wouldn't say no to a cabby in one thats for sure.

    You'll find it was that psuedo spotter, mdn that suggested it was pants until they put the Packard Merlin in it. Why do people get me and that freakoid mixed up?
  14. The RAF, being in need of fighters, hoped that NA would build P-40s for them. NA said 'we can do better' and the Mustang/A-36/P-51 with the Allison engine resulted.

    This was not really a 'pants aircraft' at heights below 12-15,000ft, but above that, thanks to the engine requiring a sick note from matron to explain its lacklustre performance, it wasn't really a match for an Fw-190 or later model '109. What it was, though, as FC has intimated, was a superb low-level, long-range fighter-recce aircraft, and they were still in limited use in 1945 with one RAF unit because there wasn't anything better.

    The RAF would've loved to have received more, but USAAF demand was such that getting aircraft from the production line was a bit of a slow affair.

    By the by, I think Seaweed may be getting Lady Houston's funding of the Supermarine S6 for the Schneider Trophy. The government, not the RAF, refused to fund the entry for the race, as had been customary. Lady Houston stumped up the cash.

    She funded the race team partly as a means of attacking Ramsay MacDonald's government; she also offered to donate £200,000 to boost the defence budget (which was refused).
  15. The Alison engine in the original Mustang was a poor performer at anything over 10K Ft. It had a poorly designed supercharger although the engine was well designed, apart from its compressor, Alison was a very small company at at start of WW II.
    The original Merlin was at start of war only giving 1,000 hp until its supercharger and induction system was redesigned by Dr. Stanley Hooker. His redesign add another 300 HP to the engine.
    It was also Hooker who was responsible for the later marks of the Merlin becoming first Two Stage supercharged, then Two speed Two Stage Supercharged.
    The Two stage supercharger used the Compressor from the Rolls Royce Vulture engine, which had not proved successful in the Avro Manchester heavy bomber.
    This large compressor fed compressed air to the original Merlin compressor via an intercooler and memory says 1,700 HP was available at 20 K +.