North American P-51D Mustang
|670 km/hTop Speed at Sea Level|
|670 km/hTop Speed at Best Altitude|
|2200 mOptimum Altitude|
|850 km/hMaximum Dive Speed|
|130 m/sRate of Climb|
|160 km/hStall Speed|
|462 km/hOptimum Airspeed|
|10.9 sAverage Time to Turn 360 deg|
|140 °/sRate of Roll|
|Engine Power, hp|
|Muzzle Velocity, m/s|
|Rate of Fire, rounds/min|
|Tier||Engine||Engine Power, hp / Thrust||Type||Weight, kg||Price,|
|Tier||Machine gun||Caliber||Muzzle Velocity, m/s||Damage||Rate of Fire, rounds/min||Weight, kg||Price,|
|VI||12.7 mm AN/M2 (W)||12.7||1120||45||750||60||16400|
|VII||12.7 mm MG-53-2 (W)||12.7||1160||52||800||60||24500|
Pros and Cons
- Can mount 2 more machine guns than the P-51A.
- More powerful engine and better service ceiling than the P-51A.
- With 6 machine guns, the P-51d can shred most fighter craft and even heavy fighters.
- Can easily be underestimated as a threat to more agile craft.
- Still has low damage per shot that hits.
- Same maneuverability as the P-51A. (But with the right build can out-turn Bf-109s!)
- Unlike the P-51A, it doesn't have the highest HP pool at its tier for a fighter (The La-7 does).
- Must research top airframe first to mount 6 machine guns, can be an agonizing grind.
With more horses under its hood than the A model, the D also develops a nastier punch, with six machine guns instead of four, the D will make shorter work of tier 6 craft than the A model could, and proves a more dangerous opponent to tier 7s. However like the A model, the D has nothing else of serious note. With the right build it can however be made into a very serious threat even to spitfire and even more so Bf 109 pilots in certain turn-fight situations if they are not careful. Use what you have learned in the A model to master the D model mustang, and you will reach the H model mustang with as minimal pain as possible.
It is paramount to research the airframe first, as this will allow the D model to mount 6 machine guns and become competitive against tier VII and VIII aircraft it will see. If you researched the top machine guns of the A model, you will be able to immediately mount the top machine guns of the D model once you research, purchase, and mount the top airframe. Proceed to unlock each of the engines once you have done this, which lead to the P-51H.
Note: this page will cover the history of the development and service of the Merlin engine powered variants of the P-51 that saw service in the USAAF
For the history of the initial development of the P-51 Mustang family and the Allison powered Mustangs:https://wiki.wargaming.net/en/Plane:P-51a
For the history of the Lightweight Mustangs: https://wiki.wargaming.net/en/Plane:P-51h
For the service history of all variants of Mustangs in non-USAAF/RAF service:
For the history of the Mustangs that served the RAF:
By far the most famous of the Mustang variants that saw combat during World War Two the “Merlin powered” mustangs show the world what happen when you combine an American built airframe with a British develop engine giving birth to what many people consider to be one of the most deadliest, beautiful, and iconic aircraft to have ever flown in any air force during this period of time The search for the perfect escort fighter:
During the Mid-War period Allied strategist where face with a rather severe problem when it came to how they bomb Axis cities with their long-range heavy bombers in broad daylight, specifically the problem of how to keep said bombers alive long enough so that they can fly over Germany, drop their bombs, and get home safe and sound.
When the war began Allied air command operator under a pre-war theory that the heavy bombers can defend themselves by arming them with machine guns and mass them up in huge formations with the theory being that any groups of interceptor aircraft will be shot down before it can get a shot off due to the mass firepower these groups of bombers can carry. However this theory was proven incorrect in spectacular fashion during the early war period as mass formations of RAF and USAAF bombers despite all there firepower where suffering from huge numbers of casualties with some groups losing more than 20% of bombers sent per bomb run especially during the “round the clock” bombing that took place during 1943 bombing campaigns. In response RAF switch to nighttime bombing whereas the USAAF began looking for an escort fighter able to protect the bombers on the journey to the target and back home
Initially the USAAF plan to create a bomber that can carry even more machine guns, the most famous result of this endeavor was the YB-40 however the project fail after the USAAF saw the result of several test runs which produce less than satisfactory results they turn to utilizing fighter escorts mainly eyeing the P-38 Lightning Heavy Fighter, however, most within the higher-ups of the USAAF began favoring the P-47 Thunderbolt for bomber escort duty but neither the P-47 or the P-38 had the endurance to escort the bombers for the entire run, the P-51 was also considered and it was a much better suited for the task due its superior endurance and airframe over the P-47 and P-38 but it still had one severe problem, they were still using the Allison V-1710 engines which suffer from performance issues in the altitudes that most bombers operated. For a while it seems there was no solution in sight, that was till an RAF test pilot name Ronald Harker suggested something completely different, mainly combining the P-51 airframe with the Rolls-Royce Merlin 61 engine.
Mustang X, the match made in heaven
Immediately upon hearing this suggestion the RAF took five Mustang’s (most likely Mustang MkI or P-51A’s) and modify them so that they can carry the Merlin 61 engines, designated as Rolls-Royce Mustang Mk.X these aircraft where flown by Ronald Harker and the results greatly impress the RAF, it seem that the Merlin 61 with its two-speed two-stage superchargers and 1,620 hp worth of power was the perfect match for the P-51 airframe as it greatly improve performance, where once the P-51 cannot fly past 15,000 ft without risking performance, it can now fly up to 42,000 ft without performance drops, more than enough to escort Allied bombers, as well as increasing the top speed to 440 mph, the Mustang X can be said to be a result of a match made in heaven and so impress where the RAF that the Vice-Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sir Wilfrid R. Freeman, insisted that two of the five experimental Mustang Xs be handed over to the USAAF for trials and evaluation, these two Mustang X will later be designated XP-51B
XP-51B, the final touches
Upon receiving the two Mustang X’s the USAAF tested both of the planes and seeing its potential began working on improving the design, strengthening the airframe and completely redesigning the engine cowling so it can hold the Packard V-1650-3 which was a USA license-built version of the Rolls-Royce Merlin engines as well as creating a new fuselage duct and cooling system since the Packard engine require a lot more cooling when compared to the Allison engines. However, these planes were given the same weapons loadout as the P-51A’s. after all these modifications the XP-51B was ready for production with the USAAF designating them as P-51B (NA-102) if they were built in Inglewood, California or P-51C(NA-103) if built at Dallas, Texas with the RAF granting the aircraft the designation Mustang Mk III, though some P-51B/C’s where modify for photoreconnaissance and designated F-6C.
The birth of the legend
With the arrival of the P-51B/C on August of 1943 the USAAF finally had the escort fighter they were looking for and then some, the P-51B/C turn out to be more than a match for any of the interceptor aircraft within the Luftwaffe inventory in fact in some cases it was complete overkill, it also helped that the USAAF change bomber tactics as well during its introduction, now the USAAF will send their bombers under a “layered” escort where the first Layer will be P-47’s and/or P-38’s who escort them during the raids initial stage before handing the bombers over to the second layer which will be a flight of P-51 B/C’s who will escort them for the rest of the raid guaranteeing that the bombers will have continuous fighter cover to carry out their raid, later on at the start of 1944 the USAAF specifically Major General James Doolittle will supplement this tactic with Fighter sweep operations where fighter aircraft mainly P-51’s will fly ahead of the bomber raid to establish air dominance and intercept and German aircraft attempting to attack the bombers.
The tactics prove their worth during the second half of Operation Pointblank when USAF and RAF bombers began targeting the factories responsible for producing single-engine fighter aircrafts from June 14 1943 to April 19 1944 during this time the P-51 B/C began to prove their worth epically during the Big Week (Operation Argument) where they shot down the majority of the 355-500 Luftwaffe fighters claim to be destroyed during that operation, the results convinced the 8th Air Force of the USAAF to convert their fighter units to P-51’s B/C, in response the German began to utilize a tactic know as Gefechtsverband where a group of FW 190A’s will hunt down the bombers and deal with them while two groups of Bf 109’s escort them in order to fend off any fighter aircraft that go after the FW’s, however, the Fighter sweeps prove to be sufficient enough to handle Gefechtsverband and manage to mitigate any meaningful damage it could inflict. They also prove quite effective when it came to intercepting V-1 Rocket bombs provided there using 150 octane gasoline.
Despite its successes the P-51 B/C did suffer from issues, most problematic was complaints about poor reward visibility due to how the cockpit was shaped, low-speed handling issue where the P-51 can enter a “snap roll” under certain factors and more severally a design defect where horizontal stabilizers can be torn off during maneuvering. While the cockpit issues will not be fixed till the arrival of the P-51 D/K the USAAF issue so call “Dorsal Fin” kits to deal with the horizontal stabilizers issue.
P-51D, the USAAF angle of war
Now with wartime experience at hand in mid-1944 North America created the P-51 D/K (P-51D was designation for P-51D’s made in Inglewood while P-51K was the designation for P-51D’s made in Dallas) variant, compare to the P-51 B/C the P-51 D/K was a vast improvement of an already stellar aircraft, featuring a new “teardrop” design cockpit to grant better visibility, redesign wings that allow the guns to be “up righted” reducing the chance of the guns jamming, replacing the Packard V-1650-3 with the new V-1650-7 which was the license-built version of the Rolls-Royce 60 series Merlin engines granting the aircraft more power, and was up gun with two more .50 in (12.7mm) AN/M2 "light-barrel" M2 Browning machine guns as well as being able to deliver 1,000 lbs worth of bombs or carry removable under-wing 'Zero Rail' rocket pylons that carry up to ten T64 5.0 in (127 mm) H.V.A.R rockets. In short, the P-51 D/K was a P-51 B/C on steroids.
And it showed, during Operation Jackpot the P-51 D/K was instrumental in establishing total air supremacy as they ruthlessly attack Luftwaffe airfields either by themselves or by escorting bombers who bombed the airfields. The P-51 D/K also prove to be a decent ground attack aircraft during this time however they did suffer higher losses when carrying out ground attack missions since there engines where more vulnerable to small arms fire than the Double Wasp engines used on the P-47’s. The P-51 D/K also play a role in the struggle for military integration within the USA as it was the signature fighter used by the all-black 332nd Fighter Group the famous Tuskegee Airmen who beforehand where using hand me down P-47’s. Upon receiving the new P-51 D/K the Tuskegee Airmen painted their tails red and along with their new aircraft will go down in fame as being the only fighter group in the USAAF to never lose a bomber to enemy fighter aircraft in World War 2 and pave the way for the eventually integration of the US military.
Soon things change however, since the allies had established total air supremacy the Germans began to focus on creating high performance to counter them resulting in the creation of the Me 262 Jet Fighter, which proved to a superbly dangerous foe to the P-51 D/K as the Me 262 not only was it much better armed, it was quicker and most importantly for the Mustang, more agile than the P-51. In response to this new threat, the USAAF sent P-51 D/K’s to attack any Me 262 airfields they can find. They also took advantage of the Me 262 main weakness, mainly it was vulnerable when landing and taking off from its airfields resulting in Mustang pilots pouncing on Me 262’s as they approach and land on their airfields. Though it was the preferred way of killing the Me 262 there was at least one case of a P-51 D/K shooting down a Me 262 in a dogfight but that was a very rare case as the Me 262 outmatch the P-51D/K in a dogfight.
By the end of the war in Europe the P-51D/K along with the older P-51 B/C establish itself as one of the if not the top allied fighter of the European war as P-51 pilots claim to have shot down a total of 4,950 in the air with an additional 4,131 aircraft in the ground while only losing about 2,520 aircraft giving it a total K:D ratio of 55:28 (this does not include planes destroyed on the ground)
P-51 D/K’s were also used in the Pacific theater but they arrive late since they were much more needed in Europe but did saw action in Iwo Jima and mainly escorted B-29 Superfortress as they bombed Japan. They also often got confused for Ki-61 Hien fighters by both USAAF and Chinese pilots as well.
Post World War II, Twilight of the Prop Fighter
Immediately after World War II the P-51 became the “standard” fighter of the USAAF replacing the P-38 and P-47. And on 1948 when the USAAF became the United States Air Force (USAF) the P-51 and all its variants were re-designated as F-51 B/D/K (former P-51 B/C/D/K), RF-51D/K (former F-6D/K) and TRF-51D (a two-seated trainer variant of the F-6D). the P-51 continue to saw service till the Korean War but at that point, most P-51’s where being sent into storage or where transfer to Air Force Reserve (AFRES)/ Air National Guard (ANG).
During the Korean War the P-51D/K were once more called to action but instead of serving as fighter aircraft like in WW II they where employ as ground attack aircraft, however, they took serious loses to ground fire. Korea will prove to be the last war the P-51D/K will see action in under US service, as during and after the war the P-51 where being replace by the F-86 Sabre’s, F-84 Thunderjets and F9F Panthers with the last US user being the US Army who used a P-51D as a chase aircraft for the Lockheed YAH-56 Cheyenne armed helicopter project. It was so successful that the Army ordered two P-51Ds from Cavalier in 1968 for use at Fort Rucker as chase aircraft. They were assigned the serials 68-15795 and 68-15796, following the end of the Cheyenne program, these two chase aircraft were used for other projects. One of them (68-15795) was fitted with a 106 mm recoilless rifle for evaluation of the weapon's value in attacking fortified ground targets. Only one of them, (68-15796) survived.
While today none of the Merlin powered Mustangs are no longer fly for any air force, they still fly in the hands of civilians though these Mustangs are mostly restored, models.
Mustang vs. Luftwaffe
The general opponents of the P-51 during World War Two came from the Luftwaffe with most of them being Messerschmitt Bf 110, Focke-Wulf FW 190A and the Messerschmitt Bf 109
When facing the Messerschmitt Bf 110 heavy fighter which was the primary fighter aircraft the Luftwaffe was using to intercept Allied bombers upon the introduction of the P-51 B/C the Bf 110 relatively poor agility made them easy targets for P-51 B/C pilots causing the Luftwaffe to pull them out of the interceptor soon after the P-51 B/C enter the scene, replacing them with FW 109A’s and Bf 109’s
When facing the Focke-Wulf FW 190A generally the P-51 B/C/D/K’s came out on top since the FW 190A suffer performance issues at high altitudes where it generally had to reach to intercept the bombers and face there Mustang escorts, an issue made worse due to its heavy weapons it carry to shoot down the bombers meaning that what will happen is that the P-51 pilots will attempt engage the FW’s in turn fights where their superior agility will allow them to outmaneuver the FW’s and shoot them down with relative ease since while the P-51 B/C/D/K was more agile than the FW 190A it wasn’t as tough nor did it carry any cannons like the FW did
The only plane in the Luftwaffe arsenal they had in large numbers that can match the P-51B/C/D/K at high altitudes where the Messerschmitt Bf 109’s and generally speaking when these two aircraft faced each other the victor was generally whoever was the most skilled pilot however that was only true if the Bf 109’s where not equip with any anti-bomber weapons since due to its lighter airframe the additional weight hamper its agility more than it does to the FW 190A, however, this no longer became a problem when Germany began utilizing Gefechtsverband tactics
Variants (Merlin powered):
Mustang X: a Mustang Mk I modified to carry the Merlin 61 Engine, five were made XP-51B/NA-101: a heavily modified Mustang X given to the USAAF for testing, utilize the Packard V-1650-3 engine, two were made
P-51B(C)/Mustang Mk. III/ NA-102(103): first mass produce Merlin powered Mustangs, utilize the Packard V-1650-7 engine, armed with four .50 in (12.7 mm) Browning machine guns, two 250 lb bombs, and/or two 500 lb bombs, and utilized the N-3B reflector sight. about a total of 3750 were made
F-6C: photo-reconnaissance variant of the P-51 B/C
P-D(K)/ Mustang Mk. IV(IVa)/ NA-109: most produce Mustang variant, utilize many improvements learned from the P-51 B/C most famous being the teardrop canopy, armed with six 0.50 caliber (12.7mm) AN/M2 Browning machine guns, six or ten × 5.0 in (127 mm) T64 H.V.A.R rockets, and/or up to 1,000 lbs of ordnance. about a total of 9602 where made.
F-6 D(K): photo-reconnaissance variant of the P-51D/K, about 299
Length: 32 ft 3 in
Wingspan: 37 ft 0 in
Height: 13 ft 4½ in
Empty weight: 7,635 lb (3,465 kg)
Loaded weight: 9,200 lb (4,175 kg)
Max. takeoff weight: 12,100 lb (5,490 kg)
Maximum fuel capacity: 419 US gal (349 imp gal; 1,590 l)
Powerplant: 1 × Packard V-1650-7 liquid-cooled V-12,
Maximum speed: about 440 mph at 25,000 ft
Range: 1,650 mi with external tanks
Service ceiling: 41,900 ft
Power/mass: 0.18 hp/lb (300 W/kg)
Armament: six 0.50 caliber (12.7mm) AN/M2 Browning machine guns, six or ten 5.0 in (127 mm) T64 H.V.A.R rockets (P-51D-25, P-51K-10), and/or 1,000 lbs worth of bombs on two wing hardpoints
- The P-51D as shown in WoWP is a mixture of the historical P-51B and P-51D
- The P-51D historical armament was the 0.50 caliber (12.7mm) AN/M2 Browning machine gun, it never used the MG-53-2 which was most likely added for balance purposes
- One of its historical armaments, the 5.0 in (127 mm) T64 H.V.A.R rockets used on the P-51D is missing
- None of the Merlin-powered Mustang models carried the Packard V-1650-1, it is most likely a reference to the Rolls-Royce Merlin 61 used to power the Mustang X
- the P-51D had a climb rate of 16.3 m/s, not 135.5 m/s as shown in WoWP, this is most likely there for balance reasons
- the P-51D had a top speed of about 708 km/h, not 710 km/h as shown in WoWP, this is most likely there for balance reasons