Allison and Merlin in a P-51

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Airman 1st Class
Feb 18, 2010
Nice post. I wonder if 430 squadron R.C.A.F. doesn't deserve some mention here. They were still equipped with Mustang I when they started converting to Spitfire XIV in Nov 44.

Oh, I think if you read the Operations Record Books of 2 and 430 Squadrons you'll find that the Spitfire XIV equipped units acquitted themselves quite admirably in the Tac/R role. They could also engage enemy aircraft successfully when opportunities presented themselves such as here and here and here and here and here
No.430 (RCAF) Squadron ceased operating the North American Mustang Mk.I, rather abruptly on the morning of 1 January 1945. So they were not operating the Mustang by VE-Day, which was the context in which the other units were listed. Their final sortie using Mustang Mk.I was on 31 December 1944 - see below.

I've read all the ORBs and all the combat reports of all the Army Co-operation and Tactical Reconnaissance Squadrons, No.II(AC) RAF and No.430 (RCAF) Squadrons included. I've also read the original trials reports and assessments on the various aircraft put forward from 1940 to 1945 for the AC-Tac/R role, plus had the priviledge to know a number of the AC-Tac/R pilots who flew from Hawker Hectors and Westlands Lysanders through Tomahawks, Hawker Hurricanes, Mustangs 1 thru IA and II (and Merlin engined types as well), Hawker Typhoon FR.1b to Spitfire FR.XIVe, and been able to get their personal appreciation of the types. To a number of them the Spitfire FR.XIVe was a nice new type, had some particular performance advantages, but compared to the Mustang Mk.II that was the staple of the remaining Allison Mustangs at the time, was a step backwards. Didn't have the same range, didn't have a vertical camera (some of the Mustang Mk.II by early 1945 were equipped with 5 cameras - 2 oblique each side and a vertical to permit horizon to horizon full coverage on a single pass), was trickier to take off and land (both a consequence of its narrower undercarriage and the torque of the prop on take-off - and don't throw the power on to do a go around on landing), and visibility over the nose of the Griffon was worse than over the nose of the Allison. Didn't stop the Allison Mustang boys remaining having a go when the opportunity presented itself, Lyke and Mercer on Mustang Mk.IA on 1 January 1945 (same early morning sorties as Packwood and Young of Shiney Two out of Gilze), or Perkins in a Mustang Mk.II in February 1945 on a Me-262 (damaged) and a FW-190 (claimed damaged upgraded to destroyed). The Spitfire FR.XIVe were good at what they did, but could not do all the required tasking that could be done by the Mustang Mk.IA and particularly the Mustang Mk.II. When the Wing Ops staff were making decisions on the tasks to be accepted from the Army demands, and then handing out the tasks to the Squadrons, they had to take account of the capabilities of the aircraft types they had, and the Mustang Mk.IA and Mk.II could - according to those who were actually there at the time - do more of the potential demands than the Spitfire FR.XIVe.
430RCAF Last Mustang Sorties.jpg

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