Allison-Engined P-51 Mustang

Published on
November 10, 2012
Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
Martyn Chorlton
Other Publication Information
Softcover, 64 pages, color profiles, historical b&w and color photos
Product / Stock #
Air Vanguard 1
Company: Osprey Publishing - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Osprey Publishing - Website: Visit Site

Most books covering the P-51 Mustang begin with the design and development phase. It’s not uncommon for the books to mention briefly that Mustangs were sent to England early in the war and the deficiencies they had. The authors explain that soon after, the Rolls Royce Merlin replaced the original Allison engine. Generally, from this point forward, the authors describe what a great fighter the P-51 was – and rightfully so, but the original Allison-powered aircraft is all but ignored.

Author Martyn Chorlton doesn’t take that path in his new book, Allison-Engined P-51 Mustang. He describes what a great airplane this was in operations other than those of the high-altitude fighter – e.g., dive-bombing, low-level reconnaissance, and ground-attack.

This book is divided into five sections rather than chapters. The Introduction is the first section where the author provides a quick overview of the book. The following section, Design and Development, starts getting into the details of the P-51’s story. This is thoroughly done and includes a number of b&w photographs of early Mustangs both on the ground and in the air. There are several photographs of the engineers and test pilots associated with the development of the Mustang. The third section is called Tech Specification. While there are a few tables of specifications, the information presented in this section is in text format. For example, the author describes in detail the cooling system, the cockpit, and the laminar flow wing, among other items.

For me, the most interesting section was the fourth section, Operational History. Beginning in January, 1942, with the arrival of the first P-51s in the RAF, the author describes what it was like flying low-level missions across Europe. He does this using personal stories of the pilots and units flying the missions. The photo-recon missions prior to D-day are described in detail. A story is told of how a group of 12 A-36s, the dive-bomber version of the P-51, destroyed a German battery of four heavy guns on Sicily. There are other stories from the China/Burma/India Theater, the Pacific Theater, and the Mediterranean Theater.

The short last section, the Conclusion, summarizes the life and times of the Allison-engined Mustang. Between the covers are many B&W period photographs. The full-color artwork of illustrators Richard Chasemore, Ian Plamer, and Adam Tooby complement the text beautifully.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the “down on the deck” Mustang, the one that is over-shadowed by its famous high-flying sister. With the way this book is written, the stories told, the photographs, and the artwork, I can easily recommend it to the historian and modeler alike. It’s a good value for the price.

I would like to thank IPMS/USA and Osprey Publishing for allowing me to review this interesting book.


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