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Allison-Engined P-51 Mustang

Allison-Engined P-51 Mustang Book Review

By Rachel E. Veres

Date of Review September 2012 Title Allison-Engined P-51 Mustang
Author Martyn Chorlton Publisher Osprey Publishing
Published 2012 ISBN 9781780961514
Format 64 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $18.95


RAF pilots, defending Britain's shores alone after France fell in 1940, needed more fighters to complement Hawker Hurricanes and Supermarine Spitfires.  Britain commissioned North American Aviation (NAA) to build Curtiss P-40s.  But NAA offered a counterproposal: it would build a new, better single-seat fighter using Allison engines fitted for P-40s.  Thus the P-51 Mustang was born.

In Allison-Engined P-51 Mustang, author Martyn Chorlton details early Mustang history from conception in 1940 to battle operations during WWII.  Despite performance limitations at higher altitudes, Allison-powered P-51s proved invaluable flying low-level armed reconnaissance (F-6) and dive-bombing operations (A-36A).

A-36As demonstrated extraordinary bombing accuracy in July 1943.  A battery of four heavy guns was disrupting advancing US ground forces in Sicily when 12 A-36s from the 27th FBG carried out the strike.  After arriving, no enemy guns were seen in the orchard.  The aircraft circled three times before dropping bombs onto given coordinates.  Upon returning to base, the pilots discovered how precisely they struck – all four heavy guns were silenced!

Illustrators Richard Chasemore, Ian Palmer and Adam Tooby offer readers evocative artwork of Mustangs in action.  And historic WWII photographs accompany text.  However, profile drawings depicted on two pages don't quite match the normally excellent quality of those in other Osprey aviation titles.  Proportions of post June 1943 national insigne don't appear correct.  And the overall presentation generally lacks polish.

Still, this is an excellent introduction to the first of North American's legendary Mustang family.  And it heralds the start of a valuable new series from Osprey.


My sincere thanks to Osprey Publishing for this review sample!